2000 Race Reports
Pepsi 400

 

Race: Pepsi 400 (Race No. 17)
Date: July 1, 2000
Track: Daytona International Speedway
Qualified: 18th
Finished: 8th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 160 of 160
Points Pos. Before/After Race: 2/2
Points Earned: 142
Money Earned: $64,375

Summary:

Earnhardt the top Chevy in Daytona_7/1
In a race all but dominated by Fords, Dale Earnhardt was the highest finishing Chevy in the Pepsi 400, coming home 8th.

Earnhardt started 18th but was never a real threat until the end of the race. He didn't get into the top 5 until passing Ward Burton for 5th on lap 96.

In the closing laps Earnhardt and Jarrett began drafting together and worked their way into the third and fourth positions by Lap 139 (of 160).

On Lap 141, Earnhardt and Jarrett picked up another spot and brought Martin and Stewart with them around Wallace. Then Earnhardt went low to pass Jeff Burton for the lead, but Jarrett went high. Jarrett got by Earnhardt for third. A late caution for a Jimmy Spencer wreck set up a 4 lap shootout.

Earnhardt then got shuffled back to 8th after being passed by Rusty Wallace with three laps to go. Dale was able to gain 14 points on Bobby Labonte after Bobby finished 12th.

"Aerodynamically and speed wise, we couldn't go with them on the restarts, said Earnhardt. "Handling wise after I'd get going, I could really work on 'em, especially down there off turn two. The car was turning good down there. We had a good setup in it. The guys did a good job.

"I think the Chevrolets are all about 15th-place cars. I was just lucky to come home in the top 10. Once we got going and ran awhile, we got 'em on hot tires. I think we could race 'em. It didn't give you a chance on that restart. They sort of sucked up on you and got around me. It's hard to block 'em all at one time. I was expecting no help from whoever. Everybody was wanting to better their position. You can't blame 'em. Everybody behind them was pulling out and it was just a chess match. Not a race, just a chess match. Lost 15 or 20 to the 88 didn't we? I want to beat them (18 and 88) both. We lost ground on that 88. He's behind us, but he's as much a factor as that 18 car."

Links:
Earnhardt Message Board
Race Results


Earnhardt has had his fill of plate racing
_6/30
Dale Earnhardt has run in all 50 of the Daytona and Talladega races in which restrictor plates have been used, and leads all drivers with 10 wins, 31 top-fives, 38 top-10s and 2,084 laps led. Despite that success, he hates plate racing. Full Story.


Jarrett would love a last-lap crack at No. 3
_6/30
In the Pepsi 400 last year, fans never got to see Dales Jarrett and Earnhardt battle against each other for the victory thanks to a late-race spin by Jeremy Mayfield. Full Story.


Earnhardt will line up 18th in Pepsi 400
_6/29
Dale Earnhardt ran the 18th fastest lap (184.888 mph) in Thursday night's qualifying at Daytona. Only one Chevrolet qualified in the top-14. Earnhardt indicated his car will be stronger in the race than it has been in practice and qualifying.

"I feel better about our car," said Earnhardt. "I know we're going to be able to get in there and race with them. We're really lost in qualifying, but qualifying isn't the race. We picked up a lot from practice. We did some things after practice and adjusted the car. We pulled some things out of our head really. We changed some gearing around in the car, and it got better. We're happy with that, and I think we can adjust the car and go racing.

"It's not a Ford track. It's a Ford restrictor. It's frustrating coming down here and having to race like this. This is not what we wanted, but we gained a lot. We threw some mystery things at it after the last practice, hoping they would work and some of them did. Our fastest lap in practice was a 49.25, so a 48.67 (in qualifying) is quite an improvement.

"Daytona is more of a handling, horsepower track. It takes a lot of horsepower. I think they hurt us, more than they did some of the other cars with the restrictor plate size and all that. It's tough we're racing for a points championship. We're racing with what you might say is a disadvantage or an advantage, I don't know. The things we have to go through here just to race here, the shocks, restrictor plates and all this stuff. I'll be glad to get back to the unrestricted tracks. It'll be a lot more fun. I think we'll be OK here. Our race car races good. That's the one thing we've got going for us. If we can race good here, we'll be in good shape (regardless of where we start)."

Earnhardt raced this same Monte Carlo chassis in the Daytona 500 and again in the DieHard 500 in April at Talladega. He finished 21st in the Daytona 500 and third at Talladega. Earnhardt has scored six straight top 10 finishes, including a sixth-place performance last week at Sears Point. Earnhardt, a 49-year-old seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion from Kannapolis, N.C., stands second in the NWCS and trails leader Bobby Labonte by 57 points.



Dial E for Daytona dominance
_6/28
When it comes to superspeedways, one letter spells dominance -- E.

Dale Earnhardt, driver of the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet, is without a doubt the master of the Daytona draft, having notched 34 victories in three different series on the famed 2.5-mile oval. Overall, 'Big E' has totaled 12 NASCAR Winston Cup Series wins at Daytona and Talladega, tying Richard Petty for most superspeedway wins. Full Story.

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