Martinsville Dale Earnhardt Preview

Seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt's first race at Martinsville Speedway was in the Virginia 500 in April of 1979. Earnhardt started the race from the 11th position and finished five laps down to the leader with an eighth place finish....

Seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt's first race at Martinsville Speedway was in the Virginia 500 in April of 1979. Earnhardt started the race from the 11th position and finished five laps down to the leader with an eighth place finish. On his last trip to Martinsville in October, Earnhardt started his No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo from the back of the field in 38th. At the end of the 500-lap event Earnhardt was a contender for the win until time ran out and he took home a second place finish.

Improving their qualifying efforts for the 2000 season was a priority for the RCR/GM Goodwrench Service Plus team. In a comparison of the first seven races in 1999 to this season it shows that the teams efforts have paid off. In 1999, the No. 3 team had an average starting position of 27.85, while in the first seven of 2000 they have a 17.85 starting position. Where you start to where you finish sure does make a difference. In that same comparison the GM Goodwrench Service Plus teams average finish was 19th in 1999 and is currently 11.71 in 2000.

Dale Earnhardt has been a NASCAR Winston Cup car owner since 1998 when Steve Park entered the series as a Rookie of the Year contender. This past weekend in Texas Earnhardt Inc. captured its first victory in Winston Cup competition, NASCAR's premier series. Earnhardt Incorporated has accomplished a victory in the Truck, Busch and Winston Cup Series', NASCAR's top three racing divisions.

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"It took me some time to get over the race at Martinsville last October," remarked crew chief Kevin Hamlin. "We passed the field twice because of where we started, then having trouble in the pits that put us in the back again. On that last restart we got caught-up in traffic and missed the last opportunity to stay with the leader. He took off with a clean racetrack ahead of him and built a big enough lead to keep us behind him until the end."

"We have a good unit preparing these cars and working on them during the weekend," commented Dale Earnhardt. "We struggled last week, but that was because we were running tenth and not satisfied and tried to make some adjustments. After we had the car working good we experienced an electrical problem and the guys changed the battery and still kept me in the lead lap. They've been working their tails off and it really has shown in our performance."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Kevin Hamlin