Jan. 22, 1999
Racing notebook: Earnhardt enjoys Daytona 500
Daytona Beach News-Journal Wire Services
Even testing at Daytona International Speedway feels different to Dale Earnhardt these
The seven-time Winston Cup champion finally broke through for a victory last year in the
Daytona 500, the one big NASCAR race he had never won. It took him 20 tries, including a
half-dozen close calls.
"It sure feels good to come back here with a Daytona 500 victory," Earnhardt
said Tuesday after his Chevrolet Monte Carlo turned a fast lap of 190.130 mph on the
2-mile oval during a test session for General Motors cars. "It took us a lot of years
to win it and it was a tremendous time for us down here last year. We want to repeat. It's
just like the first race you win. Then you want to win another one."
The Chevy he drove to victory lane last February has been on display ever since at Daytona
USA, just outside the main gate of the speedway. It went to the stock car amusement center
with everything just as Earnhardt left it when he slid out of the car, including a lucky
coin glued to the dash.
"They're going to give us the car back from the museum sometime this weekend,"
Earnhardt said. "As soon as they give it back, I'm going to pry that coin off the
dash and put it in our new car."
The 500 was the only race Earnhardt won last year, and the 47-year-old North Carolina
native is heading into the 1999 season determined to win more and go for a record eighth
"The team is coming together very well, plus we're working on the 1999 Monte
Carlo," he said, referring to the new GM car that is scheduled to race for the first
time in May at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "We've got a lot of things going on that
we're prepared for right now. We're working well and running smooth.
"We've been preparing for that (new Monte Carlo) for a year now. We've been tuning
with that car and testing and working in the wind tunnel. We should be in great
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