2000 Race Reports
Pontiac Excitement 400

 

Race: Pontiac Excitement 400 (Race No. 11)
Date: May 5, 2000
Track: Richmond International Raceway
Qualified: 31st
Finished: 10th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 400 of 400
Points Pos. Before/After Race: 5/5
Points Earned: 139 (including 5 bonus points for leading)
Money Earned: $52,800

Summary:

Earnhardt finishes 10th in Richmond_5/6
Dale Earnhardt led 19 laps in Saturday night's Pontiac 400 en route to a 10th place finish.

Earnhardt had to start from the back after qualifying 31st. As usual it didn't take him long to race his way through the field, and by lap 46 he was up to 18th. Dale moved from 13th to 6th following an extra-quick 15.5 second pit stop on lap 64. Midway through the race Earnhardt was running 4th.

Earnhardt, Mike Skinner and Bobby Labonte ran three-wide for an entire lap before the points leader lost control and spun on the front stretch on lap 262. Unhappy with his Chevrolet's handling (car was too tight), Earnhardt joined Labonte in pitting out of sequence with the field during the succeeding caution on lap 263. The rest of the field pitted for tires during a caution 11 laps later, and so it was the seven-time champion leading the race on lap 276. Dale led for 14 laps before he was passed by Terry Labonte.

Dale later retook the lead under caution on lap 366 during the final pit stop after taking two tires for track position. Taking two tires proved to be a bad call for Earnhardt as he struggled during the race's last 30 laps, fading to a tenth-place finish.

Dale Jr. passed his dad following the drop of the green flag on lap 369 and never looked back. Junior held off a strong challenge from Terry Labonte in the final couple laps to become the first repeat winner of the 2000 season.

“They made the call for two tires," Earnhardt said. "We were going for it. We went for it and got got. We finished 10th, but it was a sorry 10th. The car was a lot better than that. It was top five easy and maybe a second or third or maybe a win. Junior did a good job. I didn’t have anything for him with two tires. I really wish I could have raced him for the win. That would have really been fun, but he did a good job. I guess he’s going to make a habit of winning. He’s the first repeat winner this season, and I guess that’s a pretty good deal for a rookie.”

Dale Earnhardt is still 5th in points, and is now only 78 points out of the lead.


Dale qualified 31st in Richmond
_5/5
Dale Earnhardt qualified 31st in first-round qualifying at Richmond on Friday night.

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