Solid if not spectacular: Dale Earnhardt was ninth in the Farm Aid on CMT 300, his
fifth top 10 in nine races.
He has not finished worse than 18th since he swapped crew chiefs with Richard Childress
Racing teammate Mike Skinner after the Pontiac 400 at Richmond 10 races ago, bringing
Kevin Hamlin to his team while Larry McReynolds moved to Skinner's team.
"We had some fun today, but I didn't go anywhere," Earnhardt said. "We were
just good enough to stay where we are. We were consistent today."
Earnhardt drove his back-up Chevrolet after crashing his primary car in practice Friday.
He didn't leave New Hampshire International Speedway without giving race winner Jeff
Gordon a backhanded compliment.
"Can you believe that kid won another race?" Earnhardt said. "Two tires and
away he goes. I don't know how he does it. Go ask him."
Earnhardt's teammate Mike Skinner didn't have quite as good of a day. He finished
fifth here in July and said Sunday he felt his car was good enough to win before the day
started. But once the green flag flew, Skinner's Chevrolet was off the mark and he
wound up 15th.
"I don't know what happened," he said. "It was a different race car when I
sat in it today. It was terrible. This is a funny business. I had a gut
feeling we were going to get our first win today."
Earnhardt and Skinner will both be running for a $1 million bonus in next Sunday's
Southern 500. They finished in the top five at the Brickyard 400, along with Gordon,
Martin and Bobby Labonte, to be eligible to collect that bonus with a win at Darlington.