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redarrow.gif (62 bytes)Earnhardt Looking To Keep Momentum
Text Courtesy of Champion Sports Group
May 12, 1999 (country.com)

Dale Earnhardt hopes to continue in the right direction and keep the momentum on his side when the NASCAR Winston Cup Series returns to action in the Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond International Raceway. In the past four races, Earnhardt has moved up five positions in points. Included in the strong spring have been a pair of Top 10 finishes, including a gratifying victory at Talladega Superspeedway.

"We're moving in the right direction," stated Earnhardt. "We haven't been competitive at Richmond in a while, and we want to change that. The crew has been working hard to give me good cars, and it has shown. We took that car off the truck at Bristol, started last and ended up ninth. Then Talladega speaks for itself. A mistake at California cost us, so we need to have a good showing at Richmond."

Earnhardt has to be looking forward to racing at the 0.750-mile Richmond oval. He has won five Winston Cup events at RIR, the first coming on the old half-mile configuration in the 1985 Miller High Life 400. Earnhardt started his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet from the fourth position, collecting $33,625 and the first-place trophy. His fifth and last win came in 1991 where he started 19th and collected $67,950. Earnhardt has posted 29 Top 10 and 24 Top 5 finishes in 34 races at RIR. He has collected $1,041,153 in winnings from the track, his first payday coming in March 1979 when he won $2,015 for a 13th place finish.

The seven-time Winston Cup champion has started from the pole position twice at RIR. His first came in 1979 in only his second trip to the old fairgrounds track, finishing fourth that day, one lap down. His second RIR pole came 16 years later in the 1995 Miller 400 where he drove his #3 Chevy to a third place finish.

"This is an important stretch for us," Earnhardt stated. "Richmond, Charlotte, Dover, Michigan and Pocono we need to have a good run at each of these tracks. If we have a shot at the points, we need to close the gap between 10th and fifth, and it needs to be done during this stretch. We're starting with Richmond then we'll worry about the next one and take them down one-by-one."

Childress has five victories at Richmond International Raceway as a car owner. He shares fourth place in that category with two former team owners, Cotton Owens and DiGard Racing. "Short tracks are tough on our qualifying," said Childress. "We can race with them on these tracks. I looked at our records from Bristol and Martinsville and we passed 53 positions in those two races. Racing from the green flag, we raced past 53 cars on short tracks, counting 33 places at Bristol and 20 at Martinsville, then backed it up at Talladega with a win. We can do it. I feel good about this team and where they are headed."

 

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