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MBNA 400

MBNA 400

Race: MBNA 400
Date: May 31, 1998
Track: Dover Downs International Speedway
Qualified: 34th
Finished: 25th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 395 of 400
Points Position Before Race/After Race: 10/13
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 top-10.

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