Earnhardt finishes 3rd in Phoenix
Earnhardt proved to be one of
the best cars in the field for the third-straight race, and again something beyond his
control ruined his chance at victory. Earnhardt had worked his way into the top-5
from his 39th place starting position when rain ended the race early after 257 of 312
laps. Earnhardt finished third. After 58 laps in the race he had moved up to
15th. During his three pit stops he made no chassis adjustments. Kevin Hamlin
made adjustments to the car the morning before
the race. The adjustments gave Earnhardt what he needed for his top-5. More
Earnhardt Phoenix Advance
EARNHARDT STARTING TO GET BACK ON TRACK
Courtesy Champion Sports Group
Dale Earnhardt and the GM Goodwrench Service Plus team are former winners at Phoenix
International Raceway. They crossed the line first winning the Checkered 500 in 1990. That
year, Earnhardt was in a point's battle with Mark Martin for the championship. He entered
Phoenix trailing by 45 points. After starting the race from third, Earnhardt went on to
dominate the race by leading the final 272 laps. He left Phoenix with a six-point lead and
only one race remaining on the schedule. Earnhardt went on to win the championship the
following week, marking his fourth NASCAR Winston Cup title.
Earnhardt finished in the top 10 at Phoenix seven times, including one win and four
top-five finishes. He finished fifth in the 1997 NASCAR Winston Cup event.
Earnhardt needs to finish the season strong. Currently in eighth position in the points
standing, he has Terry Labonte and John Andretti drafting close behind. He holds a 23
point lead over Labonte and 97 over Andretti.
The GM Goodwrench Service Plus team led 40 laps last week during the Pepsi 400. It is
the most laps they've led since winning the Daytona 500 where they led 107 of 188 laps.
QUOTES "It felt good to run with the leaders the last two weeks," said
Earnhardt. "It has been a struggle. We have a good run and something spoils our
chances. We haven't had much luck. I think we've wrecked four or five cars this year.
That's more than we did the last two years."
"Richard and I enjoy watching the Truck Series," remarked Earnhardt.
"We've watched it grow into a good racing series and have had a friendly rivalry.
Since he can't win the championship, I'm sure he's pulling for us to take the
Earnhardt qualifies 42nd in Phoenix 10-23-98
Many Earnhardt fans felt
confident in the No. 3 team following two satisfactory qualifying runs in the last two
weeks of restrictor plate racing. However, Friday's first round qualifying for
Sunday's Dura-Lube 500 reminded fans of the tough season that the team is enduring.
Earnhardt began his qualifying run with the usual cheer from the crowd but was able to
muster only a grisly 42nd-place run (lap speed: 127.991 MPH). The Dura-Lube 500