2000 Race Reports
Coca-Cola 600


Race: Coca-Cola 600 (Race No. 12)
Date: May 28, 2000
Track: Lowe's Motor Speedway
Qualified: 15th
Finished: 3rd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 400 of 400
Points Pos. Before/After Race: 5/4
Points Earned: 170 (including 5 bonus points -- led 20 laps)
Money Earned: $103,250


Earnhardt finishes 3rd in Charlotte_5/28
Dale Earnhardt finished 3rd Sunday night in the Coca-Cola 600. After starting 15th, Earnhardt soon moved into the top-10. Before long he was in the top-5, where he ran almost the entire race.

Earnhardt's crew had great pit stops all night. During a caution around lap 115, Dale entered the pits 5th and came out 2nd. When the race when back to green Earnhardt passed Jeremy Mayfield to take the lead for the first time of the night.

Probably Earnhardt's fastest stop of the night came after the 3rd caution came out on lap 129. Dale came into the pits 3rd, and got a very quick 15.2 second pit stop. He would have had the lead exiting the pits, but Mike Skinner and Dale Jarrett only changed two tires.

When the race resumed, Dale passed Jarrett and then Skinner to take the lead again on lap 135.

Then Robert Pressley caused caution and everyone pitted for 4 tires. Dale Earnhardt had another great stop and came out of the pits still in the lead on lap 150, with Dale Jr. in second.

Earnhardt led for 7 more laps before Earnhardt Jr. passed his dad on the outside in turn 2 and led lap 158. But two laps later Jerry Nadeau got around Earnhardt Jr. to regain the lead, bringing Earnhardt past his son and into second.

Earnhardt Jr. got second back a few laps later, and on lap 193 he slid by Nadeau for the lead.

Then a 50-minute rain delay put the race on hold at about lap 250.

The race resumed. Dale caught a big break when the 6th caution came out on lap 306. Just a couple laps earlier Dale had reported that his right rear tire was going down. The caution gave Dale a chance to change the tire without having to pit under green.

Dale said that his car got tighter as the race went on. During his last few runs the car was especially tight. He tried to make an adjustment on the final stop but was still too tight to race for the win with Bobby Labonte and Matt Kenseth. Kenseth won while Labonte finished 2nd.

"It was a pretty good car, Earnhardt said after the race. "It was a little tight there at the end. If I had been a little looser I think I could have run with 'em. I was just a little too tight off. We still had a good race car. Third place is OK, but it ain't what we came here to do. We came here to win. I'd like to congratulate Matt (Kenseth). It was a good night for him, but I tell you, we miss Kyle Petty. We want to have them boys back here. We just hope Kyle and Patti can get over everything and come on back and race with us and be a part of our family.

"I'd have been more satisfied if he (Earnhardt Jr.) had won. As a driver, I would have liked to won. Dale Jr. and Matt and these guys have raced each other in the Busch Series and they're doing a good job. Robbie Reiser and all those guys with the 17 car have done a good job. They're a class act. It's fitting he should win as Dale Jr. did, so it's been good for 'em. We feel pretty good about our run and what we're doing with Richard and RCR. I think we moved up in the points a little bit tonight. We still didn't gain on Bobby.

"My car was actually better after the rain delay than it had been, but everybody was going for it. We lacked a little or we were too tight off or what. We just never was perfect off the corner. I'd have to back off early and get it to the bottom and keep it on the bottom. We did OK. It was a pretty good night.

"During the rain delay we adjusted the car and got it a little freer. I still couldn't run off the corner with Matt and Bobby. Their entrance was better than mine. I couldn't get down in the corner as deep as they could.

"On fresh tires I could go pretty good. As it goes, the car would get tight off the corner. We just never got the car as comfortable off the corner as I would have like it, therefore, it didn't run good on long runs. I wish I could have been right there with them guys racing them. I'm pretty proud of my son and their team. I think you're going to see a lot of first-time winners this year.

"It was good racing him (Earnhardt Jr.). I enjoyed it, but we've got a lot of racing to do yet. I really hated not seeing his car up there in front at the end like he was all night, but I was pretty proud to be in front of him myself. Still, it was good racing him. I'd like to see Park, myself, Mike Skinner, all of us win a race before it's over here."

Dale picked up one spot in the points, moving past Jeff Burton for fourth. Dale is now just 2 points behind Mark Martin in the standings for third, and just 29 points behind Ward Burton in second.

'Junior' can drive, 'Senior' can do it all
Almost everyone is talking about what a wonder Dale Earnhardt Jr. is, and for good reason. Going into today's Coca Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, the Winston Cup rookie is on the pole. He is also the only driver in the series who has two victories this season. On top of that, he added to his reputation last weekend by winning The Winston, the sport's all-star race. But, maybe the guy everyone should be talking about is Dale Earnhardt -- the elder. Full Story.

Earnhardt qualifies 15th for Coke 600
Dale Earnhardt was the 7th car out on Wednesday night in qualifying for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. Earnhardt ran a lap of 183.324 mph, which was good enough to put him 15th on the starting grid.

"I thought the car drove great," said Earnhardt. "We needed to run down in the .20s. It's going to be a tight night. Everybody is going to run fast. I don't think anything is the .40s is going to be where you need to be. The car is handling great and driving great. I don't feel like we're going down the straightaway as fast as we need to. I'm really concerned that we're not going to be in the top 25. I'm really worried about staying in the top 25. It's disappointing because the car is driving so great. We feel like we should have run a lot faster."

Dale Jr. won the pole.

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