Race Reports The Earnhardt Connection

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NAPA AutoCare 500

Race: NAPA AutoCare 500
Date: September 27, 1998
Track: Martinsville Speedway
Qualified: 33rd
Finished: 23rd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 495 of 500
Points Position Before Race/After Race: 8/8
Points Earned: NA
Money Earned: $NA

Summary:

Dale Earnhardt is not accustomed to the situation he is in as he has scarcely been a situation like it in his 20 remarkable seasons in NASCAR.  During Sunday's NAPA AutoCare 500 Earnhardt ran miserably once again.  Earnhardt finished 22nd after another dreary day on the track.

Comparable to last week in Dover, the team was never able to get a handle on the car.  This was evident in qualifying as Earnhardt posted a lap deserving of only 32nd position.

Following final practice on Saturday, Earnhardt's crew chief Kevin Hamlin changed nearly everything on the car in a desperate attempt to give Dale a decent car for Sunday's race.

It was to no avail as Dale struggled once again on the track.  Then things worsened.  While he was running in 17th position just 2 laps down, Earnhardt's brakes burned up.  Dale coasted around the track for the remainder of the race, finishing five laps down in 22nd spot.

A few weeks ago it looked like Earnhardt was turning things around after he posted three straight top-10 finishes.  Now he has posted three straight finishes of 22nd or worse.
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