2000 Race Reports
Chevy Monte Carlo 400

 

Race: Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400 (Race No. 25)
Date: September 9, 2000
Track: Richmond International Raceway
Qualified: 22nd
Finished: 2nd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 400 of 400
Points Pos. Before/After Race: 3/2
Points Earned: 170
Money Earned: $81,190

Summary:

Earnhardt opts for 4 new tires, gains ground on Labonte_9/9
By Jim Utter
Dale Earnhardt wasn't about to make the same mistake twice.

Having tried and failed an attempt to use a two-tire pit stop to win the May race at Richmond International Speedway, the decision came quick and easy when a caution came out on Lap 381 of Saturday night's Chevrolet 400.

Earnhardt was the only driver running in the top five at the time the caution came out to elect to head to pit road. When he did, his team quickly put four new tires on his No. 3 Chevrolet.

On the restart on Lap 386 of the 400-lap race, Earnhardt started sixth and he wasted no time in working his way toward the front.

In the end, Earnhardt came up just short in trying to hunt down race-winner Jeff Gordon. But he did make a significant gain in the series points race and now sits 158 points behind leader Bobby Labonte with nine of 34 races remaining on the schedule.

"We finished ahead of everybody we were racing for the points. (Jeff) Burton was wearing me, but we got by him and beat him, so it was a good day for us," Earnhardt said. "Bobby (Labonte) and (Dale) Jarrett had a little bit of problem, so we gained a few. We got to keep gaining."

Earnhardt said it was crew chief Kevin Hamlin and team owner Richard Childress' decision to make the pit stop.

"We came up a little short, but it was a good call by the guys. We thought we could run them down," he said. "I raced (Steve) Park a little bit too long, but he was trying to hold position and he did a good job staying where he did in the top five.

"I thought we could get (Gordon). If it had been another lap, maybe, but then again maybe not."

With his eyes set on a possible eighth Winston Cup championship, Earnhardt said his team's simple objective is to gain ground every week.

"That's what we did today," he said. "We're a contender and we mathematically can win it, so we'll be dogging it and doing all we can."

But Earnhardt - a vocal critic this weekend of NASCAR's decision to place a 1-inch restrictor plate on Winston Cup cars next weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway - did not miss an opportunity to take another dig at NASCAR on the subject.

"New Hampshire will be a different twist next week with restrictor plates and short-track racing, and I look for people like Mark Martin and Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. who used to run (Grand National) cars to probably run real good with that small (restrictor) plate," he said.

"I just got to get my car to run good and run free. Heck, I may even take my Daytona car up there, who knows?"   -- By Jim Utter

Also see:
Earnhardt surges into second in point chase
Park does his best "Intimidator" impression



Links:



Earnhardt will start 22nd in Richmond
_9/8
Friday evening at Richmond Int'l Raceway, Dale Earnhardt qualified 22nd, with a lap of 124.355 mph. Jeff Burton won the pole.


Chevy Monte Carlo 400 Earnhardt notes


Chevy Monte Carlo 400 schedule_9/7
Friday, Sept. 8
12:30-1:55 p.m. - Winston Cup Practice
3-4:30 p.m. - Winston Cup Practice
5:30 p.m. - Winston Cup Bud Pole Qualifying Pos. 1-25 / 2 Laps

Saturday, Sept. 9
11:30-12:30 p.m. - Winston Cup Practice
1:15 p.m. - Winston Cup Pos. 26-36 / 2 Laps
Followed by - Winston Cup Practice until 2:20 p.m.
7:40 p.m. - Start of the Winston Cup CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO 400

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