Earnhardt places disappointing 10th in
Pepsi 400 10-17-98
Dale Earnhardt looked like the
car to beat in Saturday night's Pepsi 400 until he ran into pit troubles in the second
half of the race. He ran into a tire from No. 18 car on pit road. The front
air dam was dented in a couple feet, giving him a huge aerodynamic disadvantage. The
team tried time after time throughout the rest of the rest to repair it. Earnhardt
felt the car was pretty good again around the last dozen laps, but he was unable to charge
to the front with the traffic being bad. NASCAR red-flagged the race with 5 laps to
go. On the restart Dale moved up from 12th to 10th, where he finished.
Dale Earnhardt led 41 laps but his GM Goodwrench
Service Plus Chevrolet slammed an errant tire on pit road and stove in the front air dam
on the car. At that, he was lucky to come back for a 10th place finish.
"I hit that tire on pit road and that's what cost us," the Daytona 500
winner said. "We had a really good car up to then. The guys worked their tails off to
get us back out there and try to do something with 'em, but it just wasn't meant to be.
The luck's not going our way right now, but it'll change and we'll get 'em."
Earnhardt seeks historic Daytona double 10-15-98
If Earnhardt is victorious on Saturday, he will
join an elite group as one of only five drivers in Daytona's 40-year history to turn the
"Daytona Double," winning the Daytona 500 and the Pepsi 400 in the same year.
Earnhardt qualifies 5th for Pepsi 400 10-15-98
The first official competition
under the lights at Daytona took place Thursday night when 49 drivers shot for a solid
starting position for Saturday night's Pepsi 400. The race was meant to be run three
months ago on the Fourth of July but Florida's wildfires postponed the event.
Earnhardt was the first car to qualify, posting a lap of 191.783 MPH. Earnhardt
will start fifth after he was later surpassed by Bobby Labonte, Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett
and Terry Labonte. This is Earnhardt's third top-5 qualifying position of the season
-- the others were a fourth in the Daytona 500 and a second in the DieHard 500 in
"One and two is just a bear to drive," said Dale after qualifying.
"Three and four aren't too awfully bad, but one and two is just awful to drive
through there bottoming out. You've got to get down on that racetrack to go fast. It's
pretty neat to be the first car to qualify under the lights. It's a great honor. We picked
up from practice. I think a lot of guys are going to pick up. It's cooler, and I don't
think the air has gotten as heavy as everybody thought it would with the night air. It's
going to be fast. This is a brand new car. We're trying to duplicate that car in the
museum (Daytona 500 winner) and this is getting even closer."
Earnhardt was the 12th fastest car in practice on Thursday afternoon. Dale has a
record 31 victories at the speedway, including the 1990 and 1993 Pepsi 400s.