Earnhardt Rock solid_2/27
Last year, Dale
Earnhardt had terrible luck at Rockingham -- he qualified poorly for both races and
finished even worse, 41st and 40th. Fortunately that wasn't the case this Sunday at
Rockingham. Earnhardt backed up his 4th place in qualifying with an impressive
Earnhardt ran in the top-5 most of the day. Leaders Bobby Labonte and Earnhardt pitted on
lap 330 of 393 laps and ran 1-2 on the track moments later. Labonte's pace eventually gave
him an overwhelming five-second lead. Earnhardt, who's car was strong on long green-flag
runs, pulled within 1.067 seconds as the race ended. Had the race been ten laps longer,
Earnhardt would have had a good shot at winning.
Earnhardt led one lap, when he took the lead from Bobby Labonte on lap 262. He gained 175
points toward the championship by finishing second, and moved from 21st all the way to 7th
in the point standings.
Earnhardt qualifies 4th in Rockingham_2/25
Dale Earnhardt was back
in his black GM Goodwrench Service Plus paint scheme today for qualifying in Rockingham.
Earnhardt ran a solid lap and will start Sunday's Dura-Lube 400 from 4th position.
"It felt good in qualifying," Earnhardt said.
"We'll see how it races on long runs. That's my biggest worry."
"On Friday, the Dale Earnhardts and Jeff Gordons are going to reach down and
get a good qualifying lap, but where you'll see the difference again in on Sunday when the
cars start sliding around out there," said Larry McReynolds.