Monday news 97-09-01

NASCARFans E-Mail List Happy Labor Day, everyone! Here's a report on Dale Earnhardt, from Mike Mulhern, writing for JournalNow: Dale Earnhardt gave his crew and car owner Richard Childress quite a scare yesterday when he mysteriously passed...

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Happy Labor Day, everyone!

Here's a report on Dale Earnhardt, from Mike Mulhern, writing for JournalNow:

Dale Earnhardt gave his crew and car owner Richard Childress quite a scare yesterday when he mysteriously passed out in his race car just as the Southern 500 got under way.

Earnhardt was taken to McLeod Regional Medical Center for further tests and overnight observation after slapping the wall twice the first lap of the race.

He had several CAT scans, which revealed no problems. ''But they're going to keep him for observation for 24 to 48 hours,'' Childress said. ''He just blacked out before the race ever started. We didn't know it. We just thought he'd laid over in the car to go to sleep, so they woke him up and cranked the car, and he laid back over again.''

Childress said that it wasn't heat stroke, and doctors didn't seem to know what the problem might be.

Earnhardt had complained of pain on the left side of his body before the race and he appeared disoriented to his crew. When the race went green, Earnhardt, who started 36th, immediately slowed and twice slapped the wall. He came back around to pit row and seemed out of brakes as his car rolled to a stop. He was helped from the car and taken to the infield care center and then to McLeod.

Don Hawk, Earnhardt's business manager, said he was equally perplexed. ''The doctors don't know yet,'' Hawk said. ''Every test has come back negative. He doesn't remember the wreck.

''They've ruled out heatstroke, and they've ruled out carbon monoxide, and everything that your body might be low on that would give you those symptoms. They checked potassium levels. They checked everything they can possibly check. The CAT scan was negative.

''He's stable, and we don't know any more than that,'' Childress said. ''I talked to him for just a minute, and he was seeing double. He was a little groggy before the race started, and we were going to try to get him in before the race started but he didn't hear us.''

What makes the situation all the more frightening is that Earnhardt, 45, lost his father, Ralph, to a heart attack while in his late 40s.

Mike Dillon, Childress' son-in-law and a promising Busch tour racer, took over Earnhardt's car after lengthy repairs and drove it the final 200 laps.

''I got out there at first and I was just riding,'' Dillon said of his first Winston Cup run. ''Larry McReynolds just told me all they wanted me to do was ride. The car got to feeling pretty good, and we got up to speed.

''I was hoping they were going to get one of these other guys who fell out early to drive. You don't know what to expect. But they had the car so good, and Larry really worked with me.

''But right now we're just thinking about Dale. The main thing is Dale is all right.''

Bill Elliott appeared well on his way to his first tour win in quite a while yesterday, leading half the race. ''I just hated to see the sun go in,'' Elliott said of the weather that killed his day. ''But we had a great car. We didn't win the race, but man, we ran good all day long. That's what we've got to keep doing every week.''

For those of you who do so, please keep Dale Earhardt in your thoughts and prayers for his recovery. Also remember David Green, who is still healing from his Bristol crash.

Jeff Gordon who won the Winston Million at Darlington is donating $100,000 of the prize to the charity that finds bone marrow donors, 1-800-MARROW2 (Jayski)

"Rusty Wallace said he doesn't plan to leave Roger Penske's team, that reports he might want out of his contract so he can move to the Jack Roush or Robert Yates camp are ''just vicious rumors. It all started when Robert Yates started looking for a new driver and somehow my name got caught up in all that,'' Wallace said. ''There's nothing to it. It's all bull. There was talk about Don Miller (the team manager) leaving at the end of the year, because he wasn't feeling well, but he's decided to stay another year. We're not having any problems now. It's just we've had seven engine failures. But the guys in the engine shop are busting their tails to get the problems fixed.''"(JournalNow/Jayski)

Ward Burton said that he and car owner Bill Davis have talked about teaming again next year but that Davis still hasn't offered him a new contract. Burton is a candidate for the Petty ride, according to sources close to the Petty camp. Burton is trying to stay out of the rumor mill and feels his present team has much potential(JournalNow/Jayski)

Don't be surprised if Richmond-based Heilig-Meyers announces before the end of September that it plans to renew its association with the team owned by Richmond's Junie Donlavey. Heilig-Meyers hooked up with Donlavey in 1993, and sources indicate the company is looking at an extension of at least two years (GVA)

On the rumor mill, here's a new one: Lexington-area resident Rick Mast fills the vacancy in the Richard Petty-owned No. 43 car next season. Derrike Cope, among others, also has been mentioned as a possibility now that Bobby Hamilton is bound for the No. 4 car next year. One car owner said yesterday he has heard the talk, and said he thinks Mast would be ''a perfect fit'' for Petty. (GVA)

Mike Irwin (mike@nascarfans.com) NASCAR Fans _______________________________________ NASCAR Fans Website http://www.nascarfans.com

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Ward Burton , Derrike Cope , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Rusty Wallace , David Green , Rick Mast , Richard Petty , Robert Yates , Roger Penske