Earnhardt looks for road racing experience, success By Shawn A. Akers WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 24, 1998) Dale Earnhardt Jr. has more than proven himself as a NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division driver in 1998. In...
Earnhardt looks for road racing experience, success By Shawn A. Akers
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 24, 1998)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has more than proven himself as a NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division driver in 1998. In his first full season on the circuit, all the son of seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt has done is win two races, pile up nearly $375,000 in prize money, and stake out a spot in third place in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings.
Now, the standout driver of the No. 3 ACDelco Chevrolet has another hurdle to clear -- road racing. Earnhardt Jr. is relatively inexperienced on the road courses of NASCAR, and hopes that he can overcome that with a good run Sunday in the Lysol 200 at Watkins Glen International.
Earnhardt Jr. qualified ninth for last year's event at The Glen, but wound up finishing 39th due to engine failure after only a few laps on the 2.45-mile road course.
"I am looking forward to getting back to The Glen," said Earnhardt Jr., who sits 82 points behind series point leader Mike McLaughlin. "It is the only road course the Busch Series races on, and it is a place all of us look forward to coming to. It's a lot of fun for a driver.
"I am excited about my first trip to The Glen with this AC Delco team. Last year we came up here with an old piece we had. The oldest guy on the team was 22. We had fun and, at the same time, learned a lot. Unfortunately, we blew the motor 10 laps into the race."
The best finish for a Dale Earnhardt, Inc., driver in the NASCAR Busch Series at Watkins Glen is fifth, recorded by Jeff Green in 1995.
To better prepare himself to run his debut at Watkins Glen last year, Earnhardt Jr., known better as "Little E" to some in the garage area, took a three-day driving course at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Phoenix. Several NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers have also recently gone to the Bondurant School to help them prepare for road races at Sears Point and at Watkins Glen this year.
"Watkins Glen reminds me of driving my go-kart around the farm when I was seven or eight years old," Earnhardt Jr. said. "Up, down, all-around -- it's a lot of fun."
Earnhardt Jr. will join other NASCAR drivers at the "NASCAR Night in the Heights" on Thursday, an autograph session held in Elmira Heights, N.Y.
Source: NASCAR Online