|Race: MBNA 400
|Date: May 31, 1998
|Track: Dover Downs International Speedway
|Laps Completed: 395 of 400
|Points Position Before Race/After
|Points Earned: 88
|Money Earned: $33,205
The road downhill continued this Sunday for Dale Earnhardt. His recent
failures would be unexpected for a man who started the season in dominating style in
Speedweeks, including wins in the Gatorade 125's and Daytona 500. Everything from
poor pit stalls to accidents have contributed to his string of mediocre finishes that have
followed his Daytona 500 win.
In Sunday's MBNA 400 at Dover International Speedway, it was poor handling that
brought Dale to yet another poor finish. Dale took blame for the car's performance.
"The car was way off chassis-wise," he said. "It was as much
my fault as anybody's. It was what I wanted to run. They adjusted to what I
wanted. We all agreed on what we had under it, but we were just way off. We'll
get 'em at Richmond."
By lap 25 of the race, Dale had maneuvered his way from 34th up to 22nd spot.
However, that was about as high as he would get.
Dale's Chevrolet developed a tight handling condition shortly after his first pit
stop. Throughout the day, the problem would, if anything, get worse.
By the day's end, Dale found himself five laps down in 25th position. Another
race closer to the season finale in Atlanta, another drop in the points standings.
His 25th-place finish dropped him from the top-10 in the point standings for the first
time in 40 races. "The Intimidator" now sits 13th, 52 points out of the
The weekend also included another poor qualifying position. Earnhardt has
posted nine straight starts of 14th or worse at Dover since 1994, including his 34th place
starting spot this race.
"That was all right," Dale said after qualifying. "It's about
what we ran in practice. We didn't pick up any. Everybody ran faster even if the
track did warm up. We should have been down in the .50s. That's what I was
shooting at. I needed to be in the .50s. Where I'm at is not fast enough.
Maybe we'll be in the top-30 and we can start from there and race."
© 1998 Unimount Enterprises