Dale Earnhardt wasn't all that happy about his
fourth-place finish Sunday in the Southern 500 at Darlington.
He was expecting a win.
Jeff Gordon came from behind in the final 70 laps to pass Jeff Burton and win his fourth
consecutive Southern 500 Sunday, gaining an extra $1 million bonus as part of the Winston
No Bull 5 program.
Earnhardt, who started 18th, was one of only four cars to finish the race on the lead lap,
and his top-five finish Sunday ensured he will have another chance to win $1 million at
the Oct. 11 race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. It was also Earnhardt's best
performance since finishing fourth at the Martinsville race in April.
``That son of a gun (Gordon) has got it together, ain't he? We were better than usual
today, but it wasn't a win,'' Earnhardt said. ``I would like to have been up there
contesting him, but we just were too loose all day. We never did get hold of the race
track in (Turns) 1 and 2.
``The car was good, but it was just on the loose side and I couldn't lay on it when I
wanted to. I wanted to a lot, but I just couldn't do it. I sort of had to ride the pedal
through the corner, and I had to ease it down.''
Earnhardt's finish was his first top-five since his fifth-place finish at Indianapolis
last month. But it was also fifth top-10 finish in his past seven races.
``We finished in the top five again, and that puts us in the No Bull 5 again, but we don't
need to give Gordon all the money. Him and his team are awful good,'' Earnhardt said.
``They're doing the job. He'd better ride that horse while it's running. That thing might
break a leg.''
Earnhardt's team used the same car Sunday he used in his ninth-place finish at New
Hampshire last weekend and the team plans on using it again in Saturday's Exide NASCAR
Select 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Speedway.
``I can't say enough for this crew,'' said Earnhardt, who remains in eighth-place in the
Winston Cup points race. ``They've done a good job. I think if we keep on that maybe we'll
get a handle on this car and maybe get up to the front.''