Earnhardt finishes 18th in Pepsi 400
Dale Earnhardt finished a disappointing two laps down in
18th position at Sunday's Pepsi 400 presented by DeVilbiss. The finish was Dale's
worst with crew chief Kevin Hamlin. (details to follow)
Earnhardt to start 37th in Pepsi 400
The agonies of qualifying persisted for Dale Earnhardt
and the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus team during qualifying for this weekend's Pepsi
400 presented by DeVilbiss.
Earnhardt, who has only three top-10 starts to his credit in the NASCAR Winston Cup
Series this year, didn't even get to make a lap on Friday during first-round Bud Pole
Qualifying. Scheduled to run 46th of 47 entrants, Earnhardt began to leave pit road
but suddenly halted.
It was detected that an oil pump belt on the No. 3 Chevrolet has broken, and the
car had to be pushed back to the garage area.
"We hadn't been running that great, but we tried some things here for
qualifying and we were going to give it our best shot," Earnhardt said. "We felt
good about it. As I started off pit road, the oil light came on. I looked down and the
pressure was gone, so I shut it off. I stopped at the end of pit road.
"It had locked the oil pump up and broke the belt. We had checked right before
qualifying and everything looked good in the engine. It's a freak deal. Something has
malfunctioned in the pump I think."
On Saturday Earnhardt took a provisional and will start Sunday's race from the 37th
Earnhardt's best starting position in recent weeks was ninth in the Pennsylvania
500 at Pocono last month.
Earnhardt hits Michigan on hot streak 8-13-98
(NASCAR Online) Dale Earnhardt is riding
the crest of what's been a hot streak for the last six races. And this weekend's NASCAR
doubleheader at Michigan Speedway will give him an unusual opportunity: To run a fast car
and observe his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who's been on a tear of his own.
The GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet team enters this weekend's Pepsi 400 presented by
DeVilbiss having improved on its starting and finishing positions in the last six races.
It has qualified on its first attempt in five of the last six events and has three top-10
finishes, too. All of this comes after team owner Richard Childress made the bold move of
swapping crew chiefs, moving Kevin Hamlin to the No. 3 and Larry McReynolds from the No. 3
to driver Mike Skinner's No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet.
Now, Earnhardt heads back to Michigan, where he has won twice in his career, and aims to keep his hot streak
alive. But the icing on the cake for Earnhardt this weekend will be watching Dale Jr.
compete on Saturday in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division Pepsi 200 presented
by DeVilbiss. Earnhardt Jr. leads the standings and has won five times in the ACDelco
Chevrolet owned by Earnhardt and his wife, Teresa.
Dale Earnhardt continued his spell of top-15 finishes with a
passable run in the final road course race of 1998, the Bud at the Glen. Earnhardt's
car was not very strong, but the No. 3 team put Earnhardt in position for a good finish
with a wise fuel strategy call during Dale's final pit stop.
"The guys did a great job in the pits with that fuel mileage call," said
Earnhardt. "That was the only way we were going to stay up close to the
"Congratulations to Larry McReynolds and Mike Skinner and that RCR team,
Earnhardt followed. "They were on the same strategy we did, and they pulled it
Skinner looked almost set to notch his first Winston Cup victory. The driver
of the No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet was leading the race up until three laps to go when he was
passed by Jeff Gordon.
"I let off," said Skinner, who finished third. "I was trying
to give him a second a lap. Larry said we couldn't make it on fuel if I didn't buy
them some fuel mileage, so I really just took it easy. A top-five is better than
running out over there on the backstretch and finishing 25th."
Earnhardt has now finished in the top-15 in six of his seven races with crew chief
Kevin Hamlin. The pair (Hamlin and Earnhardt) has not reached victory lane yet, but
they're moving in the right direction.
"The gear and the transmission, we just need to work on it a little bit
more," voiced Earnhardt. "We're moving the right way. We were just out of
the top-10, but we'll get 'em next week."