Earnhardt: I got beat By Brett Borden LONG POND, Pa. (June 19, 2000) Man bites dog. The sportscasters and writers are going to have a field day with this one. Dale Earnhardt, the Tazmanian Devil himself, got spun loose on the final lap of...
Earnhardt: I got beat
By Brett Borden
LONG POND, Pa. (June 19, 2000) Man bites dog. The sportscasters and writers are going to have a field day with this one. Dale Earnhardt, the Tazmanian Devil himself, got spun loose on the final lap of a race that he appeared to have in his pocket. The Intimidator had his cage rattled, and was so rattled afterward that he chased after Jeremy Mayfield, the Mobil infantry unit on this day, and gave him some pointed suggestions on how to drive.
"It felt like he hit me," said Earnhardt. "I don't know if he did or not. What did it look like on TV? He took the air off something."
Mayfield definitely took the air out of the lungs of the fans watching. After all, this is the Intimidator we're talking about here. Someone up and punched the bully between the eyes, right before their own disbelieving eyes.
For his part, Earnhardt took his medicine once tempers cooled down. Even after Mayfield used the same words in Victory Lane that the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion made famous after pulling a similar final-lap maneuver to beat Terry Labonte last August at Bristol Motor Speedway. "I didn't mean to hit him," said Mayfield with a nudge and a wink to those Labonte fans at home. "I just wanted to rattle his cage a little."
"It hadn't done that before with any cars behind me," said Earnhardt of his car's loss of control when bumped by Mayfield. "It was a good race, though. You don't ever have a win until the checkered flag falls. I got beat. I got in the corner and shoved a little bit and got beat and ended up fourth.
"(Mayfield) got me. He drove that sucker in 10 car lengths deeper than he'd been driving it in all day. Still, all in all it was a good day. We gained some points on Labonte, and now Taylor (his daughter) and I are going camping. It's been cut a day short already, so we've got to make up for lost time."
He's doing that on the track this season. Earnhardt crept to within 57 points of leader Bobby Labonte. He may have lost this battle, but the Intimidator is still very much alive in the war.