Dale Earnhardt and the GM Goodwrench Service Plus team are ready to defend their title in the "Hottest Night of Racing" on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit. Earnhardt won the 1999 Goody's 500 in a controversial last lap incident that gave Earnhardt...
Dale Earnhardt and the GM Goodwrench Service Plus team are ready to defend their title in the "Hottest Night of Racing" on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit. Earnhardt won the 1999 Goody's 500 in a controversial last lap incident that gave Earnhardt his ninth victory on the high-banked ½ mile oval. The GM Goodwrench Service Plus team started that event from the 26th position, forcing the team to service the black Monte Carlo from the back stretch pits. Serving a disadvantage from the outset by having to make up time because of the pit situation. It didn't stop the "Intimidator" as he won the event setting a record for winning the 500-lap event from the furthest back in the field.
The win at Bristol was the second of three victories for Earnhardt and the GM Goodwrench Service Plus team in 1999. They came back and won again in 2000 at Atlanta Motor Speedway serving their only win so far in the NASCAR 200 season.
Earnhardt's first win at Bristol came in April 1979 his "Rookie" season on the circuit. 20 years later he returned to winners circle in August of 1999. He has won back-to-back events three times in his career including the spring event of 1979 and spring of 1980. (He missed the August 1979 event due to injury) Again sweeping the Bristol events in 1985 and 1987.
The GM Goodwrench Service Plus teams finish in the spring event doesn't tell the real story. Earnhardt took the lead after starting 11th. As he was starting to pull away from the field, a lapped car spun in turns three and four as Earnhardt entered the turn the damaged car slipped down the race track clipping the race leader and spinning the black No. 3 into the wall causing severe damage. The GM Goodwrench Service Plus crew made repairs and got the seven-time champion back on track ending the day with a 39th place finish. The RCR crew will be returning to Bristol with that same black No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo.
"We looked back on our performances so far this year and the spring race is one that we wish we could have back," commented Kevin Hamlin. "We had a good car and were leading when we got clipped. Things happen very fast at Bristol and tempers get hot. I've been coming here for a good number of years and have seen many angry drivers and crewmembers leave this place. I've been one of them a time or two myself."
"Bristol under the lights is one of the best events for the race fans," commented Dale Earnhardt. "It's close tight racing right in front of the fans. Sometimes too tight, but going into this race everyone knows it's going to be that way. If you let it, Bristol will definitely mess with your mind by the end of the night."
"Friday the key is qualifying for a front stretch pit position," remarked Richard Childress. "We started 11th in the spring and that helped keep us in contention at the start. The less cars you have to pass the better off you are to save the equipment for the end. Dale is the best at using his equipment wisely. He knows when to run hard and when to run as hard as needed, saving a little for later."
"There are so many variables into winning a race at Bristol," remarked Earnhardt. "Everything has to go your way. Including track position, avoiding all the wrecks in front, behind and beside you during the night."