Dale Earnhardt to Miss Cup Preview

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Jan. 11, 2000) Seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt will not attend this weekend's T. Wayne Robertson NASCAR Winston Cup Preview at the Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum due to his recovery from recent spinal ...

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Jan. 11, 2000) Seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt will not attend this weekend's T. Wayne Robertson NASCAR Winston Cup Preview at the Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum due to his recovery from recent spinal surgery. However, fan favorite Mark Martin, who also underwent back surgery following the NAPA 500 NASCAR Winston Cup finale in November will be able to attend the event.

The T. Wayne Robertson NASCAR Winston Cup Preview is set for Saturday, with doors opening at 8:30 a.m. The event ends at 6 p.m.

R.J. Reynolds officials said Tuesday fans attending the NASCAR Winston Cup Preview will be able to receive autograph session wristbands beginning at 12:30 a.m. on Saturday.

"With the possibility of colder weather, we looked at ways to keep the fans from having to spend the night outside, waiting in line for driver wristbands," said Rich Habegger, T. Wayne Robertson NASCAR Winston Cup Preview director. "We think the new procedure will alleviate the rush and confusion that occurred last year."

Fans will be able to obtain wristbands in the LJVM atrium area, which will remain open until approximately 10 a.m. Doors open for the 11th annual T. Wayne Robertson NASCAR Winston Cup Preview at 8:30 a.m., with the first driver autograph session starting at 9 a.m.

As was the case with last year's preview, fans must obtain color-coded wristbands for 16 designated drivers in order to attend that driver's autograph session. Wristbands will be available for the first 400 people wishing to meet these predetermined drivers.

The following drivers require wristbands: Ward Burton, Martin, Terry Labonte, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Burton, Rusty Wallace, Mike Skinner, Bill Elliott, Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd, Kyle Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Junior Johnson and Tony Stewart.

Preview attendees do not need wristbands to attend the autograph session of any driver not mentioned. People obtaining wristbands will still be allowed to visit the autograph areas of drivers not requiring wristbands.

Attendees must have a valid ticket in order to obtain a driver wristband, with only one wristband allowed per person. Children under the age of 12 do not need tickets to receive a wristband, but must obtain the same driver wristband as their guardian.

Earnhardt underwent surgery Dec. 18, to repair a ruptured disc in his spinal column. The anterior cervical discectomy was successful, and Earnhardt returned to some light activity last week. However, the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion has cleared his schedule until he travels to Daytona Beach, Fla., for Speedweeks 2000, which begins for stock cars on Feb. 9.

"As much as I would like to be there, I really need to take it easy and get ready for the 2000 Winston Cup season," Earnhardt said. "Getting back to 100 percent has to be my main focus right now. "

-nascar.com-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Burton , Ward Burton , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Mike Skinner , Junior Johnson , Mark Martin