Earnhardt finishes 11th in Dover June 6
Dale Earnhardt won seven Winston Cup championships by recognizing the
need for change when it arises.
So, after finishing 11th Sunday in the MBNA Platinum 400 at
Dover Downs International Speedway, Earnhardt said he discovered what needs altering.
"It was a pretty good day for us," he said.
"I wish I could have got a little more, but at least we learned something for the
next race here. I think we learned that we're probably going to bring back another
Even that might not be enough. Earnhardt has returned with
plenty of new cars after losing efforts on The Monster Mile. He has three victories in 41
races at the track - the last in 1993.
Starting 34th, Earnhardt struggled with a tight handling car
in the early stages of the race and was first lapped around lap 60. He eventually worked
his way into the top-10, but being lapped could not move further forward. He finished in
11th, two laps down.
"It was a handful to start with, but we adjusted on it
and got it better," said Earnhardt. "If we hadn't started that far back, maybe
we wouldn't have got lapped. I think the track changed. I couldn't run on the bottom at
first and then all of a sudden I could. I just took my time with the car because I
couldn't rush it in the center of the corner."
So Earnhardt and the Monster Mile called it a draw after 400 miles. Earnhardt didn't
get a top-10 finish, but by coming home 11th he came as close as he possibly could,
holding his ground in the points chase all the while.
Pole-sitter Bobby Labonte inherited the lead with six
laps remaining after Jeff Gordon was forced to pit for fuel, marking the second time in as
many years that fuel mileage has determined his fate. Meanwhile, Labonte, who had taken on
fuel under caution with 106 laps remaining, drove to his first victory of the season and
the eighth of his career.
Gordon finished second as the only other car on the lead lap.
Mark Martin was third, followed by Tony Stewart and Dale Jarrett.
qualifies 31st for MBNA Platinum 400 June 4
Dale Earnhardt qualified 31st today in
first-round Bud Pole qualifying for the MBNA Platinum 400 at Dover.
Since finishing 40th and 25th at Atlanta and Darlington earlier this season, Dale
Earnhardt has been on a blistering pace back toward the top of the Winston Cup standings.
Following his Darlington finish, Earnhardt dropped to 20th in the point standings.
Since Darlington, he has registered five top-10 finishes, including a win at
Talladega and has moved to seventh in the standings, only three points behind sixth-place
That's an increase of 13 positions over seven races.