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Earnhardt Racing News and Highlights

Dale Earnhardt

Earnhardt is ready for streak to end...Dale Earnhardt hasn't won since the season-opening Daytona 500 in February. He hasn't won at Phoenix International Raceway in eight years. The way Earnhardt figures it, it's time for both of those streaks to come to an end this Sunday in the Dura-Lube/Kmart 500 at the one-mile oval.

Although the results haven't quite shown it, the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet and its driver have shown marked improvement over the past few weeks. His top-10 run in the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Charlotte was cut short by a wreck, as was a solid run at Talladega two weeks ago where he was up among the leaders. Earnhardt also ran up front in the Pepsi 400 at last Saturday night at Daytona, but wound up finishing 10th. He and the team led 40 laps last week during the Pepsi 400, the most laps they've led since winning the Daytona 500, where they led 107 of 188 circuits around the 2.5-mile tri-oval.

"It felt good to run with the leaders the last two weeks," Earnhardt said. "It has been a struggle. We have a good run and something spoils our chances. We haven't had much luck. I think we've wrecked four or five cars this year. That's more than we did the last two years."

Earnhardt is a former winner at Phoenix International Raceway. He crossed the line first in winning the Checkered 500 there in 1990. That year, Earnhardt was in a points battle with Mark Martin for the championship. He entered Phoenix trailing by 45 points. After starting the race from third, Earnhardt went on to dominate the race by leading the final 272 laps. He left Phoenix with a six-point lead and only one race remaining on the schedule, and then went on to win the championship the following week, marking his fourth NASCAR Winston Cup title. Earnhardt finished in the top-10 at Phoenix seven times, including one win and four top-five finishes. He finished fifth in last year's Dura-Lube 500.

Earnhardt needs to finish the season strong to keep his position in the standings. Currently in eighth, he has Terry Labonte and John Andretti drafting close behind. He holds a 23-point lead over Labonte, and leads 10th-place Andretti by 97 points.(10-23-98)(Nascar Online)

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Earnhardt the artist...NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt and Jay Rogers of Ormond Beach present a painting they worked on together as part of the Halifax Hospital "Speediatrics" fund-raiser held at Daytona International Speedway, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 1998. (10-15-98)(Daytona Beach News-Journal) We understand the picture was auctioned off for $11,000.

To view a picture of Earnhardt and his young artist friend click here

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Earnhardt still fans favorite....When Dale Earnhardt won the season-opening Daytona 500, it appeared his dream of earning a record eighth Winston Cup championship was a distinct possibility in 1998. Then things turned sour for Earnhardt, who has rarely been at the front since the big win in February.

Still, the 47-year-old Intimidator is the man most fans seem to root for. Last Sunday, during the Winston 500, most of the estimated 160,000 spectators rose to their feet and cheered excitedly as Earnhardt drove to the front of the field midway through the race. They cheered every pass by the black No. 3 Chevrolet, and went into a frenzy of noise and arm-waving when Earnhardt took the lead. He later got caught up in an 11-car accident, and eventually finished 32nd.

Now, heading back to Daytona Beach for the Pepsi 400 on Saturday night, Earnhardt is among the favorites.

"I don't really see the crowd so much in the car," Earnhardt said. "But it's nice to know they still want me to win. I'm trying like hell to make it happen. The whole Richard Childress Racing team is."

Under an agreement with Daytona USA, the motorsports entertainment facility just outside the main gate at Daytona International Speedway, the car that Earnhardt drove to victory in February must remain on display for one year. Before the race Sunday in Talladega, Ala., Earnhardt joked with the previous two winners, Jeff Gordon and Dale Jarrett, about finding a way to use that car.

"Do you think they'd just let me borrow it for the weekend?" Earnhardt asked the other drivers. "Maybe we could rent it."

"We were down in Daytona a few weeks ago for testing and we went into Daytona USA and were measuring every bit of it. We've built other cars like it and they've haven't run as good." Earnhardt is hoping the team can learn something from those measurements. "Maybe we'll just take that car when they're not looking," he said.
(10-14-98)(WRAL5 Online)

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Dale Earnhardt and Daytona....Dale Earnhardt has won 30 races and over $3 million in his career at Daytona. No other driver is over $2 million in career winnings at Daytona.

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Dale Earnhardt has competed in all 42 restrictor plate races since the plates were introduced by NASCAR in an effort to reduce the speed. Earnhardt has won more races than any other driver in the restrictor plate races (ESPN2 Qualifying Coverage), but he really doesn't like them. He would much rather see NASCAR take this rule out of the book, give the cars back the horsepower, move the stands back a little and let the drivers race. Restrictor plate racing has created "pack" racing and has resulted tremendous wrecks. It takes almost two full miles for a car to "come up to speed" with the plates on and as a result it is almost impossible for a single car to pass another car, it must be done while drafting with another car.(10-9-98)

Earnhardt has the most wins of any driver at Talladega Super Speedway, in 39 starts, with seven. He has the most top-five's with 19, and leads the way with 23 top-ten's. He has led 33 races and has led the most laps (1,238) at Talladega. It's fair enough to say Dale Earnhardt likes Talladega.(10-9-98)

NASCAR speeds into Talladega... The NASCAR Winston Cup Series hits the biggest, baddest track on the schedule this weekend with Sunday's Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. It's the first of back-to-back restrictor-plate events, the first time teams have ever had to deal with that. Keeping equipment in one piece will be pivitol this weekend, but with the high speeds and high risks the 2.66-mile superspeedway offers, anything can happen and usually does.(10-9-98)

The Winston 500 is the 29th race of season. Five drivers are eligible for the Winston No Bull $1 million bonus. Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett, Dale Earnhardt and Jeremy Mayfield finished in the top-five at the Pepsi Southern 500 in Darlington, S.C., meaning if one of those drivers can win Sunday, they'll earn an extra million bucks. If you win at Talladega, I think you deserve an extra million bucks.(10-9-98)

NASCAR Inspection...One car that had major problems in this morning's pre-practice inspection was the #3 of Dale Earnhardt. From the time the #3 showed up at the bay of doom (NASCAR inspection), the first time, NASCAR was all over it like a cheap suit. First it was how one template fit on the rear bumper cap - or didn't fit really. The team got around the problem with a device called the 'cheese grater' which is used to cut excess bondo off. A little further up the car inspectors took exception with the rear deck lid and confiscated it from the team. At that point the 3 car bunch decided to cut their losses and roll the 3 back to the garage to replace the rear deck lid.

With the first batch of repairs done the #3 returned to tech for another round of inspections. Things didn't go much better this time and rather than deal with NASCAR's opinions the 3 car was rolled out of tech - without a sticker and plate. They say the third time is a charm --- and it was, but not without problems --- major problems.

The list of items repaired the third time were, rear bumper cap too wide - ground to meet specification, rear quarters too wide - ground to specification, rear quarters too high - ground to specification, rear spoiler too high --- ground to specification, ride height too high - lowered to specification.

With the #3 finally through tech we asked car owner Richard Childress about the process of getting his car through inspection. Through very tight jaws Childress replied, "We try to keep them (NASCAR) happy - but sometimes that's hard. I just wish they'd be more consistent --- that's all."

How long did it take to get the #3 on the track? Approximately 3 hours from start to finish.
(10-9-98)(GoRacing, Mike Snow)

The truthfulness of the legend of the Talladega Curse is lost to time and memory but certainly there have been enough odd and tragic incidents at the track to give even a sober man pause. Of course the laws of physics and perhaps the Talladega curse can not be altered. A couple years' back, Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt and Ricky Craven were all injured after their cars became airborne at the track. This year both Bill and Dale were hurt in a fiery wreck during the spring Talladega event.(10-8-98)(Matt McLaughlin-Speedworld Editorial)

Daytona Double? After 20 long years of near misses, anxious moments and endless frustrations, earlier this year Dale Earnhardt finally reached his dream of driving to Daytona's Victory Lane following a Daytona 500.

But, can he do it again this October? Glen "Fireball" Roberts did it in 1962, followed by Cale Yarborough in 1968 and LeeRoy Yarbrough in 1969. Most recently, Bobby Allison did it in 1982, but no one has since.

If Earnhardt is victorious in the Oct. 17 Pepsi 400, he will join this elite group as one of only five drivers in Daytona International Speedway's 40-year history to turn the "Daytona Double," winning the Daytona 500 and the Pepsi 400 in the same year. Earnhardt's name is already mentioned among the greatest racing names of all time, but adding his name to this very short list would be another significant achievement during his storied career.

As speedways go, Earnhardt has owned Daytona. The seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion holds the record for all-time victories at the "World Center of Racing." With his historic victory in the Daytona 500 earlier this year, he has scored 31 victories at 2.5-mile superspeedway including two Pepsi 400s (1990, 1993), seven NAPA Auto Parts 300 (1982, 1986, 1990-94), 11 Gatorade 125-Mile Qualifying Races (1983, 1986, 1990-98), six Bud Shootout At Daytonas (1980, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1995) and four IROC Daytona titles (1992, 1994-96).

Although the significance of winning motorsports' biggest event and being mentioned as a former Daytona 500 champion is not lost on Earnhardt, he realizes a victory at Daytona in February doesn't guarantee anything in October. And he also realizes the historical importance of putting his name into the record the books as the first driver to win Daytona's inaugural nighttime running of the Pepsi 400. "Leave it to the France and NASCAR family to do something bigger and better," said Earnhardt. "They're always doing something exciting or figuring how to do something more exciting.(10-7-98)(Daytona USA)

1998 Daytona 500 champion Dale Earnhardt, driving his familiar No. 3 Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet, recorded the quickest lap Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway as a two-day test session in preparation for the Oct. 17 Pepsi 400 came to a close. Earnhardt's lap of 189.514 mph bettered laps clocked by Ernie Irvan (189.268 mph) and Geoff Bodine (188.838 mph). Irvan recorded the quick lap of the session on Monday with a time of 47.44 sec., for an average speed of 189.713 mph.(10-7-98)(SpeedNet)

Talladega Notes: Dale Earnhardt -- Had a near disaster here in April, when he was sent across the track into other drivers by Ward Burton on lap 142; the accident caused Bill Elliott's car to flip over several times and catch fire, with the flames singing Earnhardt's moustache and hair; he also broke his collarbone here in 1996; Earnhardt won this event in 1990 and again in 1994, and has a total of seven wins at Talladega, the most of any driver; "The Intimidator" is also the only driver to go over the $1 million mark in earnings at this track; was second to Martin in last season's Winston 500.(10-7-98)(SpeedWorld Online, Drivers to watch)

Dale Sr.'s future... Now that Earnhardt has established a career path for his son, what's ahead for the 1998 Daytona 500 champion? Next year, he'll be controlling four race teams, and act as a spokesman for several companies, in addition to his responsibilities as a driver at Richard Childress Racing.

Earnhardt has two years remaining on his contract with Childress and team sponsor Goodwrench Plus Service. Could a farewell tour be in Earnhardt's future? "I don't do farewell tours," said Earnhardt.

The guess is that Earnhardt will settle into a team owner's role and leave the driving, at least most of the driving, to his first son Dale Jr., known around the farm as "June Bug." "I'm looking down the road," said Earnhardt, when asked to look into the crystal ball. "I want to be involved with NASCAR. I want to be part of the family, be part of the sport."

Dale Jr. isn't the only Earnhardt kid the old man has to keep an eye on these days. Kerry Earnhardt, his second son, will wheel a Busch Series car (No. 40) in '99, and Kelley Earnhardt, his oldest daughter, is learning the management side of the business. "I'm so proud of all my kids," said Earnhardt, whose father Ralph got him started in racing before dying of a heart attack in the mid-1970s. "I'm there to help them when they need it."

"My father would be proud of the family," Earnhardt added. "I'm sure he would be proud of what he sees."(10-6-98)(Godwin Kelly, Speed Weekly) Blk3GM's Note: Dale Earnhardt will be an active dominant presense in NASCAR and there will be wins and we believe an 8th Championship before he takes on just an owners role. Please see our Earnhardt Theory

A Million Dollars....When the Winston Cup series moves to Talladega Superspeedway for next Sunday's
Winston 500, five drivers will have an opportunity to win $1 million as part of the Winston No Bull 5 program should they win the race. The five drivers are Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett, Dale Earnhardt and Jeremy Mayfield -- the top five finishers in September's Southern 500 at Darlington.(10-05-98)

The demolition derby, UAW-GM 500, was not kind to Dale Earnhardt. He started 33rd and from the beginning
of the race began his charge to the front like the Earnhardt we all know and love. He had moved up to as high as fifth and was running in eighth, when on lap 202 Bobby Labonte lost control while attempting to pass Mark Martin for the lead causing an 11 car pile up. Earnhardt did his best to avoid the wreck by cutting low and down into the grass but was caught up with car spinning down the track right in front of him. He finished 29th in a seriously wounded car. (10-05-98)

The Super Speedway Man.....Known as the master of the superspeedway, Dale Earnhardt has a combined total of 48 victories between Charlotte, Talladega and Daytona. He has 31 wins at Daytona, nine at Talladega, and eight at Charlotte. With those three tracks occupying the next three slots on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series schedule, Earnhardt and the GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet team feel confident that it won't be long before they're back in Victory Lane. The team's last win was at this year's Daytona 500.(NASCAR Online 9-29-98)

Martha Earnhardt was the late Ralph Earnhardt's wife. She's Dale Earnhardt's mother and Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s grandmother. That's three generations of celebrating victories and sharing disappointments, not to mention decades of watching cars disappear into clouds of smoke hoping her flesh and blood came out on the other side.

The upcoming week will be a special one for the Earnhardts. Charlotte Motor Speedway, the site of next weekend's All Pro 300 Grand National and UAW-GM 500 Winston Cup races, is close enough to their hometown of Kannapolis to make it feel like the back yard. The track is honoring the family with its commemorative pole night ticket for Wednesday night's admission. The ticket, bearing artist Sam Bass' rendering of Ralph, Dale and Dale Jr., has been a hot seller.(That's Racing 9-26-98)

Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet in Newton will hold its annual open house on Monday, Oct. 5, from 9am - 6pm/et. Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ron Hornaday and Steve Park are scheduled to be there from 2 to 5pm/et to sign autographs.(That's Racin' 9-25-98)

Dale Earnhardt and the GM GoodwrenchService Plus Chevrolet team will have a new look next weekend at CharlotteMotor Speedway. The famous black No. 3 Monte Carlo will no longer carryjust the word PLUS across the hood. Instead, it will have the entire GMGoodwrench Service Plus logo, the same logo that is seen on the NASCARCraftsman Truck Series and NHRA teams.
Monday, Oct. 5, Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet will be having its 12th Annual Celebration Open House. The Celebration starts at 9 a.m. EDT andwill be open until 6 p.m. EDT. Scheduled to appear from 2 to 5 p.m. andsign autographs are Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ron Hornaday and StevePark.
Richard Childress Racing Museum will be holding a fan appreciationsale during the next two weeks with discounts from 10 to 50 percent onmarked merchandise. They will also be offering tours of the RCR shopsMonday through Friday. The RCR Museum is located in Welcome, N.C.(MotorSports News Int'l 9-23-98)

Earnhardt and Jarrett to test at Daytona...Daytona 500 champions Dale Earnhardt and Dale Jarrett will participate in a two-day test session conducted by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. starting tomorrow (9/22 & 23)at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for next year's 41st running of the "Great American Race." Earnhardt is the race's defending champion while Jarrett captured NASCAR's biggest prize in 1993 and 1996.(Jayski's and Daytona USA site)(9-21-98)

600th Career Start...Dale Earnhardt made his 600th career start this weekend at Dover in the MBNA 400. Earnhardt has only missed 4 Winston Cup races since his career began in 1979 all due to injuries. This weekend also marked Terry Labonte's 600th career start.(9-20-98)

Earnhardt will be starting his 600th NASCAR Winston Cup Race...When Dale Earnhardt and the GM Goodwrench Service Plus team start this Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup race, it will mark a milestone for the man behind the wheel. Earnhardt will be starting his 600th NASCAR Winston Cup race in the MBNA Gold 400 at Dover Downs International Speedway. Over his career the Intimidator has done his share of seat time. Out of a possible 212,660 miles of Winston Cup competition Earnhardt has driven 193,154 of those miles, 90 percent of the possible miles. To travel 193,154 on the highway you can compare it to some of the following:

Driving around the world eight times.
You could drive from Homestead Motorsports Complex
in South Florida to Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, CA, 68 times.
To reach 193,154 miles at Bristol Motor Speedway, Earnhardt would have to make 360,390 laps at
the half-mile oval. At 20 seconds a lap it would take 2013 hours or 83 days.

Since beginning his record-breaking career in 1979, Dale Earnhardt has only missed four races on the
Winston Cup schedule. They came in 1979, when he was involved in an accident at Pocono Raceway,
injuring his leg bad enough to keep him out of the race car for those four races. He has started every race
since then, and is second in consecutive starts with 571. "It sneaks up on you," said Earnhardt. "You go
from track to track and season to season just thinking about racing and don't really look at the numbers.
Then one day they tell you you're about to reach 600 starts and realize it is a pretty big accomplishment.
There haven't been many drivers that have reached this plateau. Four out of the Top 10 are still racing
today. I think that says a lot for NASCAR and its safety programs. The drivers are able to compete week
in and week out and avoid injuries."(

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DEI Racing

Hmeil signs mutli-year contract with DEI...ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Nov. 1, 1998)
Dale Earnhardt Inc. announced Sunday the signing of Steve Hmiel to a three-year contract that calls for the longtime crew chief to oversee DEI's motorsports operations for its NASCAR Winston Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams.
Hmiel will oversee all of the technical development and testing for DEI's three existing teams as well as the development of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s new NASCAR Winston Cup Series team. Hmiel will coordinate DEI's involement in RAD -- the new aerodynamics alliance DEI formed with Richard Childress Racing and Andy Petree Racing. Other duties include the development of the 1999 Monte Carlo and implementing race day pit strategy.
"Since Steve joined us a month ago, he's shown us a commitment to our race teams," Earnhardt said. "He's shown us that he is a team player. We've sent him to the Rockingham Busch test, the Las Vegas truck test, and Steve has traveled all around the country with the Pennzoil team.
"Steve brings a great deal of experience to a young team and a young organization, and all of our teams are excited about it."
Hmiel said he will work closely with DEI crew chiefs Philippe Lopez, Tony Eury and Fred Graves, transferring internal information among the teams as well as working externally with General Motors and RAD to bring new information to DEI.
"This is a fairly easy decision," Hmiel said. "When I came here I wanted to see what this place was like. But these guys enjoy their jobs and really want to build something in this sport, and that's why I want to be part of this operation."
Hmiel, 44, a Syracuse, N.Y., native, worked at Roush Racing since its formation in 1987, helping Mark Martin's team to eight consecutive finishes in the top six in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series point standings between 1989 and 1996.
Hmiel and Martin combined for 18 victories, 30 pole positions, 111 top-five finishes and 160 top-10 performances in 228 starts. From 1997 until last month, Hmiel served as general manager of Roush Racing's Liberty, N.C.-based operation as well as crew chief for Johnny Benson's car.(11-01-98)(NASCAR Online)

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DEI Drivers to endorse Gargoyles...One of the most respected organizations in motorsports has entered into an agreement with one of the premier performance sunglasses and protective eyewear companies in the United States.

Don Hawk, President of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI), announced the formation of Team Gargoyles, a collection of top professional motorsport drivers who will endorse Gargoyles sunglasses. Seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Dale Earnhardt, 1997 Busch Series Rookie of the Year Steve Park, current Busch Series points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. and 1996 Craftsman Truck Champion Ron Hornaday will wear Gargoyles sunglasses and protective eyewear exclusively through the year 2001.(10-30-98)(PRNewswire)

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Team DEI speaks out on Pit Crew Limits...Ty Norris, Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s Director of Motorsports, hopes NASCAR's consideration of a plan to limit the number of crew members each team can use during a weekend doesn't become a reality. In fact, Norris said the rule might increase costs as well as push already overworked crew members out of the sport, while escalating the salaries of remaining crew members beyond the cost of the current system.

Published reports say NASCAR is considering limiting the number of crew members in an effort to reduce cost as well as avoid some of the sport's top teams from contracting use of their back-up pit crew with other teams. NASCAR expects to announce the plan under consideration within the next few weeks.

Cost Savings? "I'm glad NASCAR is mindful of our need to save money," specifies Norris. Keeping the cost of racing down is a major concern for all racing teams. NASCAR is reacting to a particular group of people who have tried to sell themselves to race teams as a professional pit crew. I'm glad that was nipped in the bud before it got out of hand. But, I don't know if limiting the number of crew members on Sunday fixes the problem or creates a whole new set of problems."

"Right now, we send eight mechanics to the track to work on the Pennzoil car on Fridays and Saturdays. Then, on Sunday mornings we fly seven more people to the track. Only two of the race day guys go over the wall, but the other five have very important roles, such as, setting up the pits, gluing up lug nuts, setting up the racetime computers and televisions. All of this takes a tremendous amount of time and it would be very difficult to get done before race time without that support group."

Costs Up? "If we are limited to only eight people, which is a number I have heard kicked around, I believe it will drive up costs," notes Norris. "In that situation, a person who is a good mechanic or engine tuner who can also jack a car or handle a pit gun is going to be the most expensive guy in the garage. We might not have as many people, but we will have more expensive people, so the salary portion of the cost-savings approach will eventually cancel itself out."

"My biggest concern is employee burnout. Those eight guys have to get up at 5 a.m. on race mornings to beat the traffic to the track and get in the garage by 6 or 7 a.m. They would have to prepare the car on race morning, set up the pits, glue the lug nuts, get through inspection, push the pit and crash carts to pit road, get changed into their uniforms, grab a quick bite to eat and be on line for the national anthem. Then, once the race starts, they have to be fresh enough to pit the car for the next four or five hours."

"As soon as the race is over, they have to tear down pit road, drag all that stuff back to the hauler, fight traffic to the airport, fly home by 10 or 11 p.m. and be in the shop the next morning. That's the reason we have 15 people at the track on Sundays."

"At Martinsville, we found a motor problem race morning and had to change it. All 15 of our guys worked frantically to change that motor and the car was being pushed through inspection during the national anthem. With eight guys, we would have missed the start of that race."

"The best thing about NASCAR is they talk to a lot of owners, drivers and crewchiefs about issues such as this before they make a rash decision. They will evaluate all of the different angles and make the right decision, and whatever it is, we will find a way to make it work. "

Normal Winston Cup Race Weekend Flight Manifest For DEI:

Plane #1 King Air (Leaves 4 p.m. Thursday afternoons for most tracks)
Phillippe Lopez Crewchief
Steve Hmiel Team consultant
Derek Finley Engineer; catches gas can behind wall
Charles Dickey Mechanic, catch-can
Kevin Manion Mechanic, rear tire carrier
Jim Anderson Engine mechanic, sign board
Travis Block Mechanic, front tire changer
Ed Nawrocki Mechanic, windshield cleaner
Steve Park Driver
Ty Norris Team manager, spotter
Drew Brown Media relations

Plane #2 King Air (Leaves 5 a.m. Sunday morning)
Walt Smith Pit stop/conditioning coach; jackman
Gary Smith Pit stop/conditioning coach; front tire carrier
John Furino Pit set-up, tire temperature and air pressure
Michael Seveird Pit set-up, rear tire support
Jim Smith Pit set-up, refills gas cans
Robbie Fuller Busch Mechanic & tire changer; rear tire changer
Steve Collichio Pit set-up, front tire support
Karen Masencup Scorer

Both planes return with the same crews immediately after the race each Sunday. DEI bills itself $850/hour of King Air flight. On West coast trips the entire team flies commercial with race day crew arriving Saturday afternoon. Only two members of the Pennzoil team's seven-member over the wall crew work outside the DEI race shop. But those two, Walt and Gary Smith, both serve as the team's pit stop coach as well as oversee the strength and conditioning program. This listing does not include Troy Cole -- Truck Driver, Gas Man.(10-15-98)( Motorsports)

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Hmiel should have no trouble keeping busy...After Hmiel finishes the 1998 campaign with Park, he'll start building DEI's second team around Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will run five Winston Cup races in 1999, then go full-time for his dad in 2000.

"The plan is to help Philippe (Lopez, crew chief) with the No. 1 car (Park) through the end of the year, to help with the development of the '99 Monte Carlo, go to all the tests," Hmiel said last week. "Then next year we've got the big job of getting Dale Jr. going Winston Cup racing, although it's only for five races. We intend to test him an awful lot, so I'll be testing with Steve Park and with Junior."

At Roush Racing, Hmiel was turned into more or less a manager. At DEI, he'll be in the shop and hands-on, as far as offering his considerable expertise to building the toddler program.

"I'm just going to stand back and watch, and hopefully use the experience I have to bring along these guys," said Hmiel. "They've got a great crew chief and crew. Philippe and his guys and Tony Eury and his guys do a heck of a job. They don't need somebody staring at their hardware every day, but they need somebody to kind of look at the theme of it and see where it's going and help them with the testing and help them with the wind tunnel.

"If I'm off testing and the other guys are back at the shop getting ready to go to the next race, they'll be better prepared to go to the race track. It's a matter of using the guy with a certain amount of experience who has been to the wind tunnel a lot, who has been to a bunch of the tests and can stand back and actually see the forest for the trees and pick out what looks a little wrong or brag on what looks right and make sure both teams are headed in the right direction." (10-6-98)(Godwin Kelly, Speed Weekly)

Now Hmiel is part of the Chevrolet family, and headed to Childress' shop this week to get his first good look at General Motors' new Monte Carlo. As Earnhardt's new technical consultant -- an awkward title, perhaps, for a delicate role that is still to be fully defined -- Hmiel could be one of the stories of the year.

And it is stunning. Simply stunning.
GM's Herb Fishel must be toasting this deal with champagne up in Detroit.
Timing is everything in this sport, and Hmiel couldn't timed it better.

With Steve Park, a budding star though still just a Winston Cup rookie, in one car and with Dale Earnhardt Jr., in a Busch car, Dale Earnhardt Inc. has been coming on strong this summer. Throw in two of the sport's strongest sponsors, Pennzoil (maybe $8 million a year in sponsorship) and Anheuser-Busch (about $10 million a year), and Earnhardt is bankrolling what could be NASCAR's next major powerhouse in the coming years. Adding Hmiel makes the operation even more formidable, and may well mark a turning point, in the balance of power on the stock-car tour.(Journal Now)(9-27-98)

Dale Earnhardt Inc announced Thursday the hiring of Steve Hmiel as a consultant for its Winston Cup and Busch racing operations. Hmiel will work on the #1 Pennzoil Monte Carlo with crew chief Philippe Lopez and the #3 AC Delco Chevrolet with Tony Eury Sr. Hmiel will concentrate on car preparation at the team's race shop in Mooresville, NC. as well as assist in pit strategy and car setups at the track for the remainder of the 1998 season.(Pennzoil Press Release & Jayski)(9-24-98)

Tony Eury will stay with Earnhardt and along with his son, handle both teams in 1999 and then go to Winston Cup in the year 2000. Dale Earnhardt Sr. also announced plans to construct another building (in addition to the 108,000 sq. ft. facility already standing) on the property to help with the additional operations. Sources in Earnhardt Inc. say that the new facility will house a chassis shop that will produce in-house chassis for the various Earnhardt racing teams.(StockCarRacing Online)(9-22-98)

Earnhardt is considering adding a second team...From Monte Dutton and SpeedNet: Amazingly, a rumor dismissed as wishful thinking six months ago has risen again. Dale Earnhardt will announce a five-race Winston Cup schedule Monday that will let son -- and apparent Busch Series champion -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. wet his feet in the Winston Cup waters. However, with the Tabasco deal in jeopardy, Earnhardt is considering adding a second team for, yes, Darrell Waltrip next year. That way Waltrip, the three-time champion, could warm a seat for Earnhardt Jr., while at the same time Waltrip's farewell tour would be handled under the marketing direction of the Earnhardt braintrust. Makes too much sense not to happen.(SpeedNet) -- Jayski Note: "Sources tell me this will not happen."(9-19-98)

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Aerodynamic Alliance (Childress, Earnhardt & Petree)

Richard Childress' Chevrolet team will be testing its final version of the new Monte Carlo this week at Talladega before presenting it to NASCAR officials.

General Motors engineers are upset over some NASCAR template rules covering the new car's rear deck. The rear decks of both the current Monte Carlo and Taurus were the subject of considerable debate at Talladega and Daytona last month; that part of the car is very important in determining how much or how little air reaches the rear spoiler. By altering the rear deck -- or designing ''wiggle room'' into the specs -- a team can create either a high downforce rear deck that works well in traffic during the race or a low downforce rear deck that is faster but looser for qualifying(11-3-98)(Journal Now)

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Aerodynamic Alliance.... In a move that we may see again in the future of Winston Cup, three former co-workers, who now own their own race teams, have entered into an agreement with Automotive Aerodynamics, Inc. (AAI) and its founder, Louis Duncan. Richard Childress Racing, Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and Andy Petree Racing will form RAD Aerodynamics (Richard, Andy and Dale, get it?) to handle all the aerodynamic engineering for their three NASCAR teams in partnership with AAI. The agreement is effective December 1, 1998, exclusive to these teams, and a multi-year arrangement. Each of the teams will have full access to and share all of the information among themselves, including wind tunnel and track testing data. This is some of the most closely guarded information teams collect, so this is an unprecedented alliance of teams not owned by a common owner, i.e., Jack Roush or Rick Hendrick.

Louis Duncan founded AAI in 1983, and his most recent aero contract was with Ford Motor Co. to supply aerodynamic support to all its Stock car programs: WC, BGN, ARCA and NCTS. What the press release doesn't emphasize is that Duncan has been "Mr. Aero" with Ford for many years and that he was fundamental in the development of the new Taurus. With a new Monte Carlo body coming on-track the (speculated) first quarter of 1999, Duncan's expertise will give these GM teams an edge.

The recent hiring of longtime Ford crewchief Steve Hmiel to Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and Duncan's switching from Ford to GM, is indicative that the competition for technical talent is heating up. Duncan and Hmiel have in the past pored over many a set of wind-tunnel flow numbers and worked the metal over at the track for optimum performance. They'll get to do so for some time to come it seems.(9-30-98 TNN Motorsports Aero Alliance Story)

Earnhardt and his company are in negotiations to try to improve the strength and performance of several Chevrolet teams. Talks are under way to establish a competitive technology-sharing alliance among DEI, Richard Childress Racing and Andy Petree Racing. If the merger happens, it would furnish the group with information from up to six Winston Cup cars. RCR fields two cars, and others are headed in that direction.(Joe Macenka, AP Sports Writer 9-24-98)

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