Race Reports The Earnhardt Connection

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Coca-Cola 600

Coca-Cola 600

Race: Coca-Cola 600
Date: May 24, 1998
Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway
Qualified: 28th
Finished: 39th
Status: Accident
Laps Completed: 336 of 400
Points Earned: 46
Money Earned: $57,580

Dale Earnhardt almost finished a race with his car in one piece, but it just wasn't meant to be.  An accident on lap 336 of 400 continued Dale's bad luck.   Including the Winston Select, it was Dale's third wreck in the last four races.

Dale's wreck, which also involved Randy LaJoie, brought out the seventh caution of the day.  The two drivers, who were not running on the lead lap at the time, had been racing side by side for 18th spot for several laps when the accident occurred.  Apparently the No. 16 Ford of Ted Musgrave closed up on LaJoie's rear bumper.  LaJoie's car got loose and slid up the track into Dale's car.  Both Earnhardt and LaJoie then slammed into the wall.  The accident occurred in turn four.

Disgusted, Dale climbed from his battered Chevy.  He walked to LaJoie's wrecked car, removed the passenger side window, and let LaJoie know what he thought of the incident.

"I hate it for myself and Dale Earnhardt," said LaJoie, who finished 38th. "He's a home-track hero. The car got loose. We made an adjustment and were racing real hard there. The 16 car (Ted Musgrave) tucked up behind me and got the air off my spoiler and I ran out of race track and got into the 3 car."

"I was riding along there on the outside and LaJoie lost it," Earnhardt said. "He hit me pretty hard. I guess I'm alright. I'm not going to the hospital. I can heal up better on my own."

Dale also complained about the Chevrolets not having enough spoiler, saying that the Chevy teams have been struggling all night.  Dale drooped to tenth in the points standings.

1998 Unimount Enterprises