2000 Race Reports
NAPA 500


Race: NAPA 500 (Race No. 10)
Date: April 30, 2000
Track: California Speedway
Qualified: 35th
Finished: 17th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 250 of 250
Points Pos. Before/After Race: 4/5
Points Earned: 112
Money Earned: $59,075


Handling problems lead Earnhardt to a 17th at California_4/30
Dale Earnhardt battled handling problems all day during Sunday's NAPA 500 at California. Sunday's weather was warmer than it had been during practice, causing many cars to be loose, including Earnhardt's. Dale, who started 35th, lingered at the back of the field for most of the first half of the race because his car was so loose in the turns. The team made many adjustments during pit stops to try and help the car. Halfway into the race (around lap 125) Dale was up to 20th position. He would later get as high as 13th. Unfortunately, in the race's closing laps following final pit stops, he fell back from 14th to 17th position.

Dale lost one spot in the points, dropping from 4th to 5th, and is now 132 back from points leader Bobby Labonte.

Fontana Report_4/30
By Tom Reilly
Kind of a disappointing weekend. That's the worst car I've seen them put under Dale in quite a while. Unless that baby races good at some other track, it's ready for the chop shop.

I thought the race was a bit more competitive this year. There were maybe 10 cars with a legitimate shot at winning. Unfortunately, we were never one of them.

I saw Dale practice, requalify and in Happy Hour on Saturday. He requalified at almost the exact same speed I timed him at in the morning practice. That's all she wrote with that car gang. It was just too loose and too damn slow up off the corners.

I heard an interesting exchange between Dale and his spotter just before Happy Hour. Dale said "We're gonna need some help tomorrow morning. Those guys are all down in Tiajuana. They think Saturday is a vacation day when we come out here." I'm not sure who he meant. If it was the pit crew, might explain their performance today.

I don't know what ESPN showed of Happy Hour, but Dale was loose off the whole time. They tried several sway bar adjustments but never hit on anything. With less than five minutes to go, the 28 got behind Dale and the back end broke loose and Dale had to chase it up the track in turn 2. As Happy Hour ended, Dale was telling Kevin "Almost parked it that time."

The car was really junk at the start of the race. Dale was loose off and chased it up the track several times in Turn 2. At the first pit stop, they tried a spring rubber in the rt. rear, but it made the car worse. Dale was just hanging on for that run.

Major adjustments in the next two pit stops. Dale came out in the back both times. He was so far back that he topped off for fuel both times. Nothing to lose.

Dale had a pretty good run near the middle of the race and got up to about 17. A caution came out at lap 150 and the pit crew blew it. Dale dropped to the mid 20's. Lost all the track position he had struggled for. Dale asked Kevin "What happened back there." Kevin said that all 5 lug nuts fell off one of the tires. Tiajuana? These guys have been pretty good this year, but the pit stops today really hurt.

Dale continued to report that the car was loose off for the remainder of the race. After about 15 laps of a run, you could see him move to higher line. He couldn't run on the white line and was losing about .5 seconds per lap to the leaders. He was about 4 seconds from losing a lap to Kenseth at one point.

Dale was pretty calm, but obviously disappointed in the car. He got on Richard at one point for doubling on the radio with Kevin. He wasn't happy with the spotter (Cavelli?) and asked Danny to step in about 3/4s of the way through the race. (What's going on with that? Danny was the spotter in Vegas. Had he changed since then?)

Dale was pretty upset when the last caution came out. You could see him slow down as he passed start finish, and Elliot and Hamilton roared by. Dale said "I took the caution. They can't pass me, I took the caution." Kevin argued with Dale and said when it's "yellow with the white you have to race back to start finish." I see on NOL that Dale was right; he is posted at 17, ahead of Elliot and Hamilton.

Hey gang. This was not a good day. But let me tell you, it could have been a whole lot worse. The car was junk. Dale got everything there was to get out of it. I've never seen him race any harder and it was a handful all day long. A lesser driver would have had it in the wall or finished 3 laps down. Dale did one hell of a job, and that's what I will remember about this one.


Scanner Report_4/30
By gmgoodwrenchserviceplus (Tom)
well, dale only said that he couldn't drive this car 4 times. They adjusted the heck out of it spring rubbers in the front and rear, wedge, and finally unhooking the rear bar. there were some disagreements on some of the calls for adjustments, but nothing to get excited about. However, Dale got pissed at Kevin and Richard at the end of the race. The very last caution flag came out before dale crossed the line for the last lap, he sort of slowed down and called in that he had taken the caution, Kevin and Richard told him to race back to the line, by that time two cars passed him and put him back to 19th. Dale told Kevin that when you have taken the yellow you cannot lose a position on the last lap. Kevin disagreed but said he would check it out, Dale told Richard to go to. Looks like it worked because on NASCAR online they have him finishing in 17th. Wish he had a better day, he was in good spirits when he first came on the radio. I'll give another report from Phoenix later in the year. We will be good in Richmond!!

A Pirate Looks at... 49
Dale Earnhardt believes in the adage that age and treachery will beat youth and enthusiasm just about every time. Full Story.

Earnhardt will start 35th on Sunday
Earnhardt's black No. 3 failed inspection for the second race in a row on Friday morning when NASCAR officials disapproved of the rear quarter panels and rear end of the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet during inspection at California. Later that afternoon Earnhardt got loose a few times during his first-round qualifying lap and wound up just 36th fastest. On Saturday during second-round qualifying, Earnhardt requalfied but was only able to improve by one position, and will start Sunday's NAPA 500 from 35th.

This is only the 3rd time in the ten races this season that Dale has qualified outside the top 25. Last year at this point he had already qualified outside the top 25 six times.

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