The Earnhardt Connection - Race Reports

Race Report for:
TranSouth Financial 400
The Earnhardt Connection

Race: TranSouth Financial 400
Date: March 22, 1998
Track: Darlington Raceway
Qualified: 27th
Finished: 12th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 292 of 293
Points Earned: 127
Money Earned: $37,595
Stories: gdot.gif (833 bytes)Dale entered Darlington 3rd in points after a 13th place finish in Atlanta.

gdot.gif (833 bytes)On Saturday, a day before the race, second-round qualifying was held at the track.  The top 28 cars in qualifying receive pit stalls on the frontstretch, while the remaining cars are forced to pit on the backstretch.   Since pitting on the frontstretch is a clear advantage during the race, and Dale having qualified only 41st in first-round qualifying, it was an easy decision for the team to re-qualify.  Earnhardt placed his car in the 27th starting spot, securing himself one of the last pit stalls on the frontstretch.

gdot.gif (833 bytes)About a week prior to the event, NASCAR took two inches off the width of the Ford's spoiler.  This came after NASCAR performed wind tunnel tests on all three manufactures.  However, the rule change seemed to have little effect on the Tauruses during the race.  Larry McReynolds said that changing the spoiler was not the answer to leveling the competition.   He thought that something should be done about the greenhouse of the Ford Taurus.  This would mean that a new template would have to be developed for the Taurus.

gdot.gif (833 bytes)Dale stayed in the top-15 during most of the race, entering the top-5 only a few times.  Pitting on the frontstretch greatly helped Dale maintain this position, and contributed to his eventual 12th place finish.

gdot.gif (833 bytes)Many people noticed that Dale was usually one of the last cars to exit pit road.  Remember that he was one of the last cars to enter pit road also.  His pit stops were just as fast as most of the leaders.

gdot.gif (833 bytes)Dale is still 3rd in the point standings. He trails Rusty Wallace and Jeremy Mayfield. The series now heads to Bristol.  Because Bristol is a short track, the Ford Taurus should not show the dominance that it has shown recently.  This race should be pretty competitive.  If Earnhardt is able to get a pit stall on the frontstretch in qualifying, he should be a major threat to win.

Post-Race Quotes: wdot.gif (833 bytes)INCOMPLETE
Related Articles: gdot.gif (833 bytes)Results: TranSouth Financial 400

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