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1999 Winston

Race: The Winston (Non-points Event)
Date: May 22, 1999
Track: Lowe's Motor Speedway
Qualified: 5th (two laps of qualifying w/ pit stop)
Finished: 4th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 70 of 70
Points Pos. Before/After Race: 9/9 (non-points event)
Points Earned: 0
Money Earned: $30,000


Earnhardt settles for fourth in Winston May 22
Dale Earnhardt gave a throwback effort in a throwback car but settled for fourth at The Winston on Saturday night.

The event consisted of three segments - two 30-lap runs and a final 10-lap sprint - with a 10-minute break after the first segment for teams to make adjustments to their cars. Also part of the first intermission was a "Plinko" board that determined the number of spots that would be inverted for the second 30-lap run.

Earnhardt, his Chevrolet Monte Carlo painted with the blue and yellow Wrangler Jeans scheme from the 80s, started the race from fifth position, dodged a couple of multi-car crashes, briefly took the lead from Jeff Gordon at one point, but due to a tight handling car, finished fourth in the first segment. The biggest wreck of the segment, which was triggered close behind Earnhardt, took nearly half of the field out of contention, including many top contenders.

After the first segment, the "Plinko" board decided that the top six cars would invert their positions. Dale moved from 4th to 3rd because of this. Before the segment started, Dale's crew tightened the car up because it was loose in segment one. Earnhardt moved into second position at the start of the second segment. During laps 8 and 9 of the 30-lap segment, Dale swapped the lead a couple times with Terry Labonte. But his car became loose, and he fell back to finish 6th in the second segment.

Earnhardt's crew changed four tires and tightened the car up a bit for the final 10-lap shootout (segment 3). The Intimidator tried to get to the front with his four fresh tires but couldn't get into position to become a contender. He moved up two spots at the start of the final dash but couldn't make any more progress, finishing almost one second behind Gordon in third place.

Terry Labonte passed Tony Stewart with four laps remaining to capture NASCAR's Winston Cup all-star event under the lights at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Jeff Gordon finished third, followed by Earnhardt and Jeremy Mayfield.

Earnhardt, the only three-time winner of The Winston, earned $30,000 for the fourth place finish. 
Five pictures of the Wrangler scheme, which Dale ran in the race, are available.

Earnhardt "Wrangles" 5th starting
spot for Winston
  May 21
Dale Earnhardt fared better than usual in Bud Pole Qualifying on Friday night.

Earnhardt, the 1998 Daytona 500 winner, placed his specially painted GM Goodwrench Chevrolet fifth on the starting grid for Saturday night's The Winston, NASCAR's Winston Cup all-star event at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Earnhardt completed his run at 142.847 mph in 1 minute, 53.408 seconds in a qualifying session comprised of three laps with a mandatory two-tire pit stop after the first or second lap.

"This is a good race car so hopefully it will race good tomorrow night," Earnhardt said. "We've got a great setup under the car, it's driving good and the guys did a great job on pit road."

Earnhardt's trademark No. 3 Monte Carlo will feature a special paint scheme for Saturday night's race. Richard Childress racing has reprised the blue and yellow Wrangler Jeans paint scheme that Earnhardt sported in the 1980s.

Bobby Labonte captured the pole for The Winston with a session-best qualifier at 146.830 mph in 1 minute, 50.332 seconds. Jeff Gordon will start outside of Labonte, followed by Mark Martin, Wallace and Earnhardt, who round out the top-five.

Bad night for the paint job   [May 19]
The idea of this weekend's Winston Select "All-Star" race is quite simple; pit the best drivers in the sport against one another, in a short dash style format, with no points to worry about and a lot of money on the line. The concept breeds inevitable excitement.

This week's excerpt from the book "Dale Earnhardt: Rear View Mirror," which can be purchased from us via credit card or mail-in order form, features the 1995 Winston Select.  Dale Earnhardt entirely lived up to his nickname in the event ...


May 21, 1995:

Bad night for the paint job

by Ron Green

The sparks fly as Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip hit the wall exiting Turn 4 on the first lap of the final segment of The Winston Select. The accident was the third involving Earnhardt of the evening, and it allowed Jeff Gordon (lower right) to slip by and cruise to a $300,000 victory. (Mark B. Sluder/The Charlotte Observer)

Charlotte, N.C.— It’s a good nickname for him, one that fits his daring racing style, but you may not want to mention it for a while.

He did a little more terminating Saturday night in the Winston Select race at Charlotte Motor Speedway than he would care to have brought up over his morning coffee.

In 70 laps of racing, 10 cars wrecked in accidents that he accidentally triggered. That was eight others and his twice. He must have felt like Dennis The Menace out there.

When Jeff Gordon won the Winston Select, Earnhardt was in the garage area looking at the remains of his Chevrolet.

Maybe it was the color. Earnhardt’s No. 3 is ordinarily black, but he agreed to drive a silver car on this occasion to celebrate R.J. Reynolds’ 25th anniversary as a sponsor of the Winston Cup program. Maybe it was like Michael Jordan wearing No. 45 and losing his jump shot.

Whatever, Earnhardt had a tough night.

It began with just a thrill. In the first of three segments of this unique race, he started fourth but quickly made a move to the front. There, he came abreast of his buddy Rusty Wallace. Suddenly, they clanged together and got a little squirrelly, which is not good when you have the entire field packed tightly behind you.

Memories of last year’s Winston Select flashed to mind. They tangled in that one and wound up in smoking wreckage.

But they’re good. They straightened up this time and hurried on off.

In the second segment, in heavy traffic, Dale Jarrett appeared to slow just a fraction to let another car tuck in, but Earnhardt, who was behind him, didn’t slow. He tapped Jarrett’s bumper, sending him spinning, and when the smoke cleared, five cars had run into something hard.

Asked what happened, Jarrett growled, "Got hit."

Everyone went in for pit stops. When they came out, Earnhardt was sent to the rear of the pack for having exited pit road too fast.

Told you it was a bad night.

But Earnhardt brought his beat-up silver car back near the front and finished the second segment in third place. That gave him a second-row start behind Gordon for the 10-lap shoot-out.

Now, the last 10 laps of the Winston Select is not for the faint of heart. It invites every instinct in a racer’s body to express itself in some wild and crazy racing.

On the first of the 10 laps, with Darrell Waltrip coming out of the third turn, Earnhardt went under a car and Waltrip went above it. Car sandwich.

Gordon watched and said to himself, "No way are they gonna get out of the fourth turn without wrecking."

Earnhardt rarely if ever complains if someone wrecks him. And when he wrecks somebody, he admits it.

"I just got loose and lost it and got into Darrell," he said.

A thought occurred to some of us as the cars rolled toward those last 10 laps with Gordon looking at Earnhardt in his rear view mirror.

Tough night or not, Earnhardt is still the best, still running out front the way he has for years. But he can see the future. It is Jeff Gordon, and it’s coming on fast.

Some of the other drivers call Gordon, The Kid.

If The Kid keeps going the way he has the past couple of years, they’ll soon be calling him The Man.


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