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Blk3GM's NASCAR Busch Series News

Feb. 13, 1999
Junior says, "Dad never had it this hard"
By Tim Hipps - Potomac News Staff Writer
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 13, 1999)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Saturday that he doesn't believe his father had to deal with nearly as much carnage as do today's up-and-coming NASCAR drivers.
Earnhardt Jr. spoke after surviving a wreck-marred NAPA Auto Parts 300 at Daytona International Speedway. The NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division opener was slowed six times by cautions for 27 laps.

So, Junior, did you acquire some newfound respect for dad during that wreck-plagued NAPA Auto Parts 300?

"Well, I don't think it's been that hard for the past 20 years, has it?" Earnhardt Jr. asked. "He's been through this a time or two, probably in the past 10 or 15 years. But it's been building up. The more popular the sport gets, the more the demand becomes for the team and the driver. Everybody's excited and anxious to race. That's why you get so much action."

Earnhardt Jr. got caught up in two multi-car accidents, yet managed to complete the race in his defense of the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division championship.

"Yeah, it was one thing after another," Earnhardt Jr. said immediately after climbing from the No. 3 ACDelco Chevrolet with a 14th-place finish. "We got lucky a couple times, and we were unlucky a few other times. I didn't care if we had just a steering wheel when I ran across the finish line, as long as I finished the race. We've had so much trouble with (these tracks). My mindset going into it just didn't fit the race track and the strategy. I've got a lot to learn, I really do."

With that lesson learned, Earnhardt Jr., 24, of Mooresville, N.C., gained a ton of confidence.

"I got to finish the whole race, and I got to draft a little bit and learn a lot," he explained. "That pays off, the more laps you can get in one of these races. And once you do finish one, you gain that confidence that you can. These things are a monster, and the hardest thing to overcome is to finish one of these races. You see these guys crashing now right and left.

"It's not just the rookie mistakes, it's just the law of the land. When you come here for restrictor-plate racing, you're gonna have that stuff. It's a lot of fun. I wouldn't change a thing about it. But it's probably the toughest challenge we've got.

"We're real happy because we finally finished one of these restrictor plate races. We've been shortchanging them everywhere we go, from Talladega to Daytona. We tried to be patient and come from the back, got up there to about second, and I think the No. 35 car (of Lyndon Amick) tore the transmission out or something on the restart.

"I kind of committed, when I saw the smoke come out from under the car, to go low, and he went that way, too. He could've went low or high, it's really nobody's fault. It's just something happened to his car, and I really had nowhere to go. Then the 44 (Terry Labonte) got me in the back and spun me on around. We tried to keep spinning and not get hit, but it's kind of inevitable in that situation."

Earnhardt Jr. said the Speedweeks spectacle takes its toll on drivers, young and old alike.

"Being away from family and wives and newborns for more than a week, it's tough on these guys," Earnhardt Jr. said of his crew. "It's better suited for me because I get to drive. These guys just have to work on them. And when you tear them up like I do, it makes their job pretty hard.

"We tore up a pretty good body, but the other car's a little bit better. We'll probably still take it to Talladega."

"I've been through a lot," Earnhardt Jr. said of his busy week. "We were in the IROC race, then jumped out of that to go Busch practicing. We've been doing something every single day for about a week and a half. It's about wore me out. This Daytona Speedweeks is pretty tough on a driver, I'll tell you that."

He did not see how toughly the week ended for fellow racer Casey Atwood, whose No. 27 Chevy did a backflip on the final lap.

"No, I didn't see Casey's flip at the end," Earnhardt Jr. said. "Is he all right?"

"He walked away," a reporter told him.

"That's a good deal," Earnhardt Jr. said. "That's important."

NAPA Auto Parts 300 Official Results

Pos Car Name Sponsor Make Lap Points Bonus Money Status
1 1 Randy LaJoie Phoenix Racing Chv 120 185 10 $90,950 Running
2 32 Jeff Green Kleenex Chv 120 175 5 $60,700 Running
3 18 Andy Hillenburg MBNA America Chv 120 165 0 $44,825 Running
4 17 Matt Kenseth DeWalt Tools Chv 120 160 0 $48,500 Running
5 8 Bobby Hillin Clean Shower Chv 120 155 0 $39,650 Running
6 45 Adam Petty Spree Chv 120 150 0 $29,600 Running
7 99 Kevin Lepage Red Man Chv 120 146 0 $31,400 Running
8 37 Kevin Grubb Timber Wolf Chv 120 147 5 $29,450 Running
9 9 Jeff Burton Track Gear Frd 120 138 0 $34,400 Running
10 90 Brad Loney Coyne Textile Svcs Chv 120 134 0 $25,950 Running
11 63 Chuck Bown Exxon Superflo Chv 120 130 0 $23,750 Running
12 29 Curtis Markham Diamond Ridge Chv 120 127 0 $23,375 Running
13 25 Jeff Finley Dura Lube Chv 120 124 0 $21,000 Running
14 3 Dale Earnhardt Jr. ACDelco Chv 120 121 0 $30,200 Running
15 34 Mike McLaughlin Goulds Pumps Chv 120 123 5 $29,350 Running
16 38 Glenn Allen Barbasol Frd 119 115 0 $29,350 Running
17 27 Casey Atwood Castrol GTX Chv 119 112 0 $21,850 Accident
18 59 Mike Dillon Kingsford/Matchlight Chv 119 109 0 $23,625 Running
19 44 Terry Labonte Slim Jim Chv 118 106 0 $21,500 Running
20 40 Kerry Earnhardt Channellock Chv 117 103 0 $19,675 Running
21 98 Elton Sawyer Lysol Chv 117 100 0 $23,250 Running
22 57 Jason Keller Fleming/IGA Chv 116 97 0 $22,125 Running
23 89 Jeff Fuller Heritage Consumer Products Chv 108 94 0 $21,000 Running
24 50 Mark Green Dr Pepper Chv 104 91 0 $21,900 Running
25 00 Larry Pearson Cheez-It Pon 93 88 0 $25,450 Handling
26 5 Dick Trickle Schneider National Chv 89 85 0 $18,625 Running
27 33 Jason Jarrett Bayer/Alka-Seltzer Chv 88 82 0 $25,050 Handling
28 74 Tony Raines BACE Motorsports Chv 87 79 0 $24,975 Accident
29 35 Lyndon Amick SCANA Chv 85 81 5 $20,375 Engine
30 95 Bobby Hamilton Jr. Sponsor Pon 84 73 0 $18,375 Running
31 22 Jimmy Kitchens Air Jamaica Vacations Chv 78 70 0 $18,400 Handling
32 66 Todd Bodine Phillips 66 Chv 76 67 0 $21,050 Accident
33 10 Phil Parsons ALLTEL Chv 76 64 0 $21,000 Accident
34 31 Ron Hornaday NAPA Auto Parts Chv 76 61 0 $19,950 Accident
35 36 Tim Fedewa Stanley Tools Pon 72 58 0 $25,300 Accident
36 87 Joe Nemechek BellSouth Mobility Chv 70 55 0 $17,725 Engine
37 26 Johnny Benson BACE Motorsports Chv 56 52 0 $17,675 Accident
38 15 Ken Schrader Oakwood Homes Chv 45 54 5 $18,925 Rear end
39 60 Mark Martin Winn-Dixie Frd 43 51 5 $19,800 Accident
40 21 Michael Waltrip Band-Aid Chv 24 43 0 $17,525 Accident
41 4 Jeff Purvis Lance Snacks Chv 24 40 0 $24,975 Accident

 

Time of Race: 2:10:04
Average Speed: 138.391 mph
Margin of Victory: Under Caution
Cautions: 6 for 27 laps
Lead Changes: 11 among 7 drivers

NAPA 300 Contingency Awards

Dale Earnhardt Home

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redarrow.gif (62 bytes)NAPA Auto Parts 300 Race Results