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1999 Pennsylvania 500

Race: Pennsylvania 500 (Race No. 19)
Date: July 25, 1999
Track: Pocono Raceway
Qualified: 11th
Finished: 9th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200 of 200
Points Pos. Before/After Race: 7/7
Points Earned: N/A
Money Earned: $N/A


Earnhardt nabs 5th-straight top-10  July 25
Dale Earnhardt started the Pennsylvania 500 from the 11th position. He quickly moved into the top-10, and stayed there during most of the race. He cracked the top-5 from time to time, mostly in the middle portion of the race, but made no major moves until after the second half of the 200-lap event.

The Intimidator made three pit stops during the race's final 48 laps. The first of his three final stops took place when the day's sixth caution came out on Lap 141 due to rain showers. Under the caution, only Rusty Wallace and Earnhardt elected to pit. Green-flag racing resumed on Lap 147 but only for a short while, as the rain returned and the caution was displayed again on Lap 153.

Most of the race leaders pitted under caution this time. Earnhardt stayed out and took second position behind Rick Mast, who, of course, also stayed out. Johnny Benson, Bill Elliott and Steve Park stayed out as well, and occupied positions 3 through 5.

Earnhardt passed Mast for the lead on Lap 158 as Mast became tangled up with the lapped car of Marlin. On the next lap, Elliott slammed into the Turn 3 wall bringing out another caution beginning on Lap 160.

Kevin Hamlin makes adjustments before the race.The race leaders, Earnhardt included, pitted again for gas. Earnhardt took two tires and fuel. When the reshuffling was done, Steve Park was the race leader, followed Rich Bickle and Bobby Labonte on the restart with 36 laps remaining.  Following the restart, Dale charged from 22nd to 15th in just two laps.

Geoffrey Bodine then got into Jerry Nadeau, sending Nadeau and Kenny Wallace into the wall and causing the ninth caution of the day. Labonte held the lead taking the caution, followed by Jeff Burton and Martin. Earnhardt pitted again for four tires and gas. When green flag racing resumed with 27 laps to go, Earnhardt was in 17th position with fresh tires. He quickly moved back into the top-10, delighting fans in the process. Unfortunately, he used up his tires doing so, and finished ninth, just one spot ahead of teammate Mike Skinner. Bobby Labonte won the race, his second win of the season at Pocono.

"I was amazed that some of them made it on fuel, but that's the way it goes," commented Earnhardt.

"We went after it this weekend," Earnhardt later said. The crew did a great job setting up the car before qualifying and had it ready to go when I took my lap. We had a late number on Friday and went out 41st, which helped our efforts. When it was all over we were sitting 11th, making that our sixth consecutive first round qualifying, that's a big improvement from the beginning of the season when we just couldn't make it go fast. As we raced throughout the day on Sunday, the pit crew did a heck of a job making adjustments and getting me back on the race track. At the end we fought for every position and finished with another top-10, that's five in a row. If we can get a break and have those guy's leading the points to have a little bad luck we could make-up some ground on them.

I'm looking forward to spending next weekend with my family and will be on it at Indianapolis Motor Speedway the following weekend. We'll be going for the IROC championship on Friday and maybe a clean sweep with four-for-four. That would be tremendous to win all four and end it at Indy."

The finish was Dale's fifth-straight top-10, as the No. 3 team is finally beginning to show something they haven't shown in years, true consistency.

Earnhardt 18th quick in Happy Hour  July 24
Dale Earnhardt was only 18th fastest in Happy Hour and will line up 11th in the GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet on Sunday. He was thoroughly displeased after practice, too.

"I got to get over to the truck and get with Kevin (Hamlin, crew chief) and figure out what we need to do," Earnhardt said. "This is a different car than we used in June. We made some pretty gutsy changes and ended up second in the race. The car is just not doing what I want it to do and it's not doing what it should do. We know where we should be; we just can't get there from here. It's not really a guessing game but it's going to be a mystery shuffle. Our race team is getting better and better. I feel good about it."

Earnhardt qualifies 11th in Pocono  July 23
During Friday's qualifying at Pocono, Earnhardt ran a lap time of :53.222 with an average speed of 169.103 mph, good enough to put him in the 11th position to start Sunday's Pennsylvania 500. In practice, prior to qualifying, Earnhardt posted the 13th quickest lap. The race is Sunday at 1:05 p.m. on TBS.

Senior showing he still has it  July 22
Beginning with his win at Talladega, Earnhardt has seven top-ten finishes in ten races. Only once has he finished outside of the top-12, and his worst finish in the ten races was 16th at Michigan. He has climbed from 20th in the points after Darlington, to seventh heading back to Pocono. Full Story.

Pocono Schedule
Friday, July 23
8 - 9 a.m. ARCA practice
9:30 a.m. ARCA qualifying (pos. 26-36) 1 lap
10:25 - 10:55 a.m. ARCA final practice
11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Winston Cup practice
3 p.m. Winston Cup qualifying (pos. 1-25) 1 lap

Saturday, July 24
9:30 - 10:50 a.m. Winston Cup practice
11:30 a.m. Winston Cup qualifying (pos. 26-36) 1 lap
1:05 p.m. Start of ARCA Pepsi 200 (80 laps)
After race Winston Cup practice (1 hour)

Sunday, July 25
1:05 p.m. Winston Cup Pennsylvania 500 (200 laps)

Returning to Pocono Raceway  July 18
The Winston Cup series will run its 19th race of the 1999 season this weekend at Pocono Raceway. In previous Pennsylvania 500's:

At Pocono on July 26, 1998 -- Earnhardt thrills fans with competitive run - Fans were on their feet during most of the Pennsylvania 500 as Earnhardt once again looked the dominating racer so many have come to love or hate.
Also see: 1998 TEC Pennsylvania 500 Race Report.

At Pocono on July 18, 1993 -- Without an Allison in the field for the first time since Nov. 2, 1975, Dale Earnhardt outlasted Rusty Wallace to win the Miller Draft 500 at Pocono International Raceway. It was the first race since Davey Allison died on July 13 from injuries sustained in a helicopter accident at Talladega, Ala. Following his victory, Earnhardt waved a large flag carrying Allison's No. 28 while taking a "Polish Victory Lap" (clockwise) made famous by the late Alan Kulwicki.

At Pocono on July 19, 1987 -- Dale Earnhardt bumped Alan Kulwicki out of the way on the last lap and beat him by a second in the Summer 500 at Pocono International Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. It was Earnhardt's eighth win of the season and Kulwicki's best finish of a 44-race career.


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