Race Reports The Earnhardt Connection

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Results:
Goody's 500


Goody's 500

Race: Goody's Headache Powder 500
Date: August 22, 1998
Track: Bristol Motor Speedway
Qualified: 30th
Finished: 6th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 500 of 500
Points Position Before Race/After Race: 8/8
Points Earned: 155
Money Earned: $42,540

Summary:

Dale Earnhardt had three essential elements which he used to grab a solid finish at the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway...luck, strategy, and a front bumper.  Earnhardt had neither the fastest race car nor a pit stall on the frontstretch, but these three elements brought him another strongly needed top-10 finish.

Earnhardt first caught luck on lap 119 when the caution came out for an accident involving Morgan Shepherd.  The caution saved Dale from being lapped by Jeremy Mayfield, who was square on Earnhardt's rear bumper when the caution came out.

More luck came on lap 215 when Earnhardt managed to drive right through the biggest wreck of the night without becoming involved.  The accident, which was triggered coming out of turn 4, involved over nine cars.

When the caution came out again on lap 247, Earnhardt used pit strategy.   Although none of the leaders came in for pit stops, Earnhardt pitted for four tires and gas.  The move paid its dividends.  Thirty laps later the caution came out again.  All the leaders pitted while Earnhardt, with fresher tires, stayed out on the track to assume the lead for the first time.

Earnhardt held off all challenges for the lead for 34 laps before tire wear caused him to begin fading.

Late in the race with fresher tires Earnhardt charged forward, putting his front bumper to the use it was designed for.

First, Earnhardt gave Jeremy Mayfield a tap, sending the No. 12 Ford Taurus into the upper grove and allowing Earnhardt to pass underneath.

Then, with 13 laps remaining, Earnhardt began an exciting battle with Mike Skinner for the 6th position.  Just two and a half months ago Earnhardt and Skinner traded crew chiefs...now they were trading paint.  The two teammates battled for over 5 laps until Earnhardt in the No. 3 Chevrolet finally bumped Skinner clear up the race track to take the sixth spot.

Skinner was upset about the incident to say the least.  Following the altercation Skinner had some choice words about the Intimidator over the radio.

The strong performance brought Dale his third top-10 finish in the last five races.

Earnhardt became a Bristol millionaire following the race.  Dale took home $42,540 for his 6th place finish, boosting his winnings at "Thunder Valley" clear over the $1 million dollar mark at the track.  Earnhardt now has over $1 million dollars in earnings at nine different Winston Cup tracks.
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