Charlotte; Dale Earnhardt, Jr handling the long runs

What: The Winston Where: Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, NC When: Saturday, May 20, 2000 Watch: TNN 7:00 p.m. Eastern (The Winston Open qualifying race will precede the Winston, which is slated to begin at ...

What: The Winston Where: Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, NC When: Saturday, May 20, 2000 Watch: TNN 7:00 p.m. Eastern (The Winston Open qualifying race will precede the Winston, which is slated to begin at approximately 9:00 p.m.)

The Winston qualifying is Friday, May 19. In line with the unique all-star race format, qualifying is also different. Each team will make a two-tire pit stop and then complete three qualifying laps to determine their total qualifying time. The best overall time wins the pole - and a $50,000 bonus.

Quotes from Dale Earnhardt Jr.

"All year, we've been learning how to make the Bud car handle on long runs - conserving the car and the tires has been the challenge for us. We would do really well after a pit stop - but after 30 or 40 laps we would drop back.

"Now, the Winston changes all of that. We're going back for some of our old tactics - it's like running a late model race. The car has to go NOW! It has to be fast immediately - none of this waiting around for the car to "come in" on long runs. It doesn't matter how it does on long runs - it only has to go for short stints and then haul ass the final ten laps."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Charlotte Career Winston Cup Starts: 1 (1999) Started: 8th Finished: 16th

-- The 1999 Coca-Cola 600 was the first career Winston Cup start for Dale Jr. "E Day" saw Dale Jr. start in the top 10 and finish 16th, completing 397 of the 400 laps.

Career Busch Series Starts: 4 Best Start 5th (Fall, 1998) Best Finish 2nd (Spring, 1999)

-- Dale Jr. led three of the four Busch Series races he entered at Charlotte, and scored three top five finishes.

Love Those 1.5 Miles

In three races this year on D-shaped ovals of 1.5 miles in length (the approximate shape and length of Lowe's Motor Speedway), Dale Jr. won in dominating fashion at Texas and led the races at Atlanta and Las Vegas. He qualified 2nd (Atlanta), 3rd (Las Vegas) and 4th (Texas) for those races - leaving a Bud Pole (and a spot in the 2001 Bud Shootout at Daytona) as his only missing badge of honor.

What to Watch

The Winston is seventy laps broken into three segments (30 laps/30 laps/10 laps) with the final ten lap shoot-out for gazillions of Winston's dough. The winner will take home $500,000, so it's an all-out dash for cash among the biggest stars in NASCAR.

This prime-time, non-points race nearly always provides enough sparks and fireworks to fill a 'chills-n-spills' videotape. Although Dale Jr. publicly says he's "just happy to be in the field," don't be fooled by the modesty. The Bud team was quickest among all of the Cup cars in testing at the Charlotte track last week - and are sure to be gunning for a historic cash-filled victory.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is only the second rookie to qualify outright for the Winston. Davey Allison - another famous son - made the race in 1987 and finished 12th. Tony Stewart made the field last season by winning the Winston Open qualifying race.

Be part of something big

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Tony Stewart