Charlotte Earnhardt will not be slowed

Earnhardt will not be deterred Shawn A. Akers CONCORD, N.C. (May 20, 1998) Dale Earnhardt has always been a fighter. Through injury after injury during his NASCAR Winston Cup career, he's endured and he's always been ready mentally, if not ...

Earnhardt will not be deterred Shawn A. Akers

CONCORD, N.C. (May 20, 1998) Dale Earnhardt has always been a fighter. Through injury after injury during his NASCAR Winston Cup career, he's endured and he's always been ready mentally, if not physically, for the next race.

Once again this week, Earnhardt is battling a nagging injury, one he suffered Saturday night's during The Winston at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Earnhardt suffered a cracked rib during a three-car accident on lap 9 of the all-star event, but it's not enough to keep him away from the race track for this Sunday's Coca-Cola 600.

"I've had a therapist working on 'em Sunday and Monday and today they're going to work on me again," Earnhardt said Tuesday. "The soreness is starting to work its way out a little bit. They were real sore yesterday. I'm sure once I get racing and racing for the lead I'll forget about how sore they are."

You can bet on that. Earnhardt is looking for a chance to redeem himself and his team in Sunday's race, a grueling event that is the longest on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series schedule.

Earnhardt has battled through his share of bumps and bruises this season, having been wrecked at Talladega prior to last Saturday night's accident. He was also suffered a broken sternum back in 1996 after a multi-car crash at Talladega, but was in the car the next week turning laps in the early stages of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis.

"You just have to fight through the soreness when you wake up in the morning and work your way to the shower and take you a good, hot shower, take you a couple of Advil and go," Earnhardt said. "I've got to get my soreness worked out and get myself in shape to go the 600 miles (on Sunday).

"That's my concern right now, getting back to 100 percent before the weekend or as close as I can and be as strong as I can. I'll just keep working on it here until it doesn't hurt. There's a lot to the mental preparation to go out and do well and overcome whether you're sick or sore or whatever."

After Earnhardt won the season-opening Daytona 500, ending a career-long winless streak in the sport's biggest event, the driver of the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet vowed that it wouldn't be long before he got back to Victory Lane. It's been nine races since then, however, and Earnhardt is anxious about getting that next win.

"It's time to turn it around and win races," said Earnhardt, who is currently seventh in the standings. "That's what it's all about. If you're not competitive for the win, you're not going to win the championship.

"It takes those top-five finishes and consistent runs and a win or two to win the championship this day and time. I know Jeremy (Mayfield) is sitting there leading it and hasn't won any races yet, but it's going to get more competitive as you go. It's just like us. You can't make but so many mistakes and then you'll be out of it. It's time to start winning."

Source: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt