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1999 PRIMESTAR 500

Race: PRIMESTAR 500 (Race No. 6)
Date: March 28, 1999
Track: Texas Motor Speedway
Qualified: 38th
Finished: 8th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 334 of 334
Points Pos. Before/After Race: 20/16
Points Earned: 142
Money Earned: $97,775


Earnhardt finishes eighth in Texas  
Mar. 28

Dale Earnhardt had his work cut out for him on Sunday for the PRIMESTAR 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway.

After all, the "Intimidator" ran poorly in qualification on Friday and started 38th today out of forty-three drivers.

Before the race even began, Earnhardt knew that his chances for victory were slim.

"We're going to need a lot of magic to do well today," Earnhardt said. "We didn't do well in qualifying, and hopefully we'll get some breaks today."

"We have to stay out of trouble and make something happen."

Fortunately for his GM Goodwrench Service Plus team and their Chevrolet racer, Earnhardt was able to avoid the accidents that ended the day for three of the top five drivers in Winston Cup points standings --
Jeff Gordon, Mike Skinner and Mark Martin all were involved in single car accidents.

Earnhardt was quiet at the start of the race, slowing moving up through the field on the one-groove track.  Later in the race the groove widened some.  Following a few single car accidents and one rather big accident on the frontstretch, Earnhardt was into the top-15.  From there he inched his way to an eighth-place finish, his third-best finish of the season.   Dale was one of 11 cars that finished on the lead lap.

Earnhardt is 38th in Texas qualifying  
Mar. 26

Earnhardt could only muster the 38th quickest lap in first-round qualifying on Friday.  Dale did not re-qualify in second-round qualifying on Saturday -- he used a provisional and will start the PRIMESTAR 500 from 38th.  Check in after the race on Sunday for a full report on Dale's run.  Also, be sure to join the chat room after this Sunday's and every race.

Earnhardt makes top-40 in Texas!  
Mar. 26

(This article expresses the opinion of its author.  It does not express the opinion of The Earnhardt Connection.  The article looks at Dale's misfortunes in a somewhat positive way.)
There were many doubters saying he couldn't do it; saying Earnhardt wouldn't crack the top-40 in first-round qualifying on Friday.  They learned once again never to count out Earnhardt.  Dale flashed through qualifying with an awesome lap of 185.707 MPH, grabbing 38th spot!  Dale beat many big names in the sport, such as Geoffrey Bodine, Derrike Cope and even Darrell Waltrip!  Dale's speed should give him a starting spot that enables him to be in great position for, maybe, another top-25 finish on Sunday!


Earnhardt can find no relief  
Mar. 26

Dale Earnhardt was hoping for a return to the top of NASCAR in 1999.  At the beginning of the season his odds of winning an eighth title looked excellent. Dale won his 10th-straight Twin 125's race, won the opening IROC event and finished second to Jeff Gordon in the Daytona 500.

However, Dale's fortunes came to an end after the series left Daytona.  The 1999 season starting to become another struggle for Earnhardt, just as the past few seasons have been.  Dale wrecked and finished 41st in Rockingham.  At the next race, in Vegas, Dale qualified poorly but managed a 7th place finish.  In the next two races, Atlanta and Darlington, Dale and the No. 3 team finished 40th and 25th, showing no sign of competitiveness.  Instead of being on top of the points running for an eighth title, Earnhardt currently sits 20th in points.

This week the series returns to Texas.  Earnhardt's struggle continued in the first two practice sessions.  In session one Dale ran the 41st quickest lap.  In second practice Dale ran only the 45th quickest lap.


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