Earnhardt Jr. to defend Texas title

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (March 16, 2001) - On Sunday, April 1, the green flag will drop on the Harrah's 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Among those circling the 1.5-mile paved oval will be defending race champion Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the No. 8 Budweiser...

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (March 16, 2001) - On Sunday, April 1, the green flag will drop on the Harrah's 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Among those circling the 1.5-mile paved oval will be defending race champion Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet.

If past performance can predict the future, then Junior has an advantage over his opponents at Texas. In 1998, he won his first NASCAR Busch Series race and followed two years later with his first NASCAR Winston Cup win last April in only his twelfth Winston Cup start. Junior, who finished 16th in the 2000 Winston Cup point standings, became the second first-time Cup race winner at Texas, joining Jeff Burton who won his first race at Texas in 1997.

"I don't know why we do so well here," said Earnhardt, Jr. "At other tracks like this one, we don't do as well. We just run good here."

However, the 2001 season has proven to be the most difficult and the most challenging for Junior. In a year's time, he experienced the unparalleled joy and elation of victory lane and the indescribable despair of tragedy and loss.

By putting the No. 8 car back on the track at Rockingham just one week after his father's tragic death, Junior made it clear to the racing world, his family and the fans that he will go on, as competitive as ever. On Sunday, April 1, he will continue his family's racing legacy as he competes to defend his Texas title.

"You put yourself in a position to win," said Junior. "You put yourself in a position to lose. You never really do know if you're going to win, ever. Guys race and race for years and years and don't ever know."

Practice for the Harrah's 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race will begin Friday, March 30 at 11:45 a.m. with qualifying at 3:00 p.m. The green flag start for the Sunday, April 1, Harrah's 500 is noon (CDT).

Tickets, including reserved seats in the Victory Lane Club, may be purchased through the speedway ticket office by calling (817) 215-8500.

-TMS

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton