Earnhardt Jr. laying low about championship until Sunday By Shawn A. Akers HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 12, 1998) Dale Earnhardt Jr. hasn't allowed himself to even think it of himself as the 1998 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division champion...
Earnhardt Jr. laying low about championship until Sunday By Shawn A. Akers
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 12, 1998) Dale Earnhardt Jr. hasn't allowed himself to even think it of himself as the 1998 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division champion just yet. Granted, it's almost a foregone conclusion that the son of seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt will take the crown on Sunday during the Jiffy Lube Miami 300, the season finale, at Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex in Homestead, Fla. All he has to do is climb in the car and start the race to win the title.
But until that moment comes on Sunday, he's tried to put the championship out of his mind, a tough thing to do when you've got reporters hounding your every step for comments, and fans following you everywhere to congratulate you.
"The only comment I can really say about the championship is that I guess it will sink in once it happens on Sunday," said the driver of the No. 3 AC/Delco Chevrolet, owned by his father. "I'm trying not to think about the championship until Homestead. I guess it will sink in once I see the look in my daddy's eyes next week. That'll help it sink in when we officially win it."
Earnhardt Jr. all but sealed the championship last weekend when he finished second in the Stihl 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He pulled 166 points ahead of second-place Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 LYCOS.com Chevrolet. By just starting the Jiffy Lube Miami 300, Earnhardt Jr. will accumulate enough points to prevent Kenseth from mathematically catching him.
And nothing, and Earnhardt Jr. means NOTHING, will keep him from getting to Homestead and at least starting the race.
"I'll climb in that car this week if my legs and all my bones are broken," said Earnhardt Jr., a seven-time winner in 1998, his first full season in the NASCAR Busch Series. (Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s) Don Hawk told me I was under house arrest. They told me this is probably the only time that they are not going to give me a hard time about playing on my computer and sleeping late." Earnhardt Jr. will try to wind up the season in style on Sunday with a victory in the Jiffy Lube Miami 300. He already has five superspeedway wins this season to tie him with Mark Martin (1993, 1996 and 1997) and Chad Little for the most superspeedway wins in a single NASCAR Busch Series season. Last year at the 1.5-mile Homestead oval, Earnhardt Jr. finished 13th in a Chevrolet sponsored by Wrangler.
"I like Homestead," Earnhardt Jr. said. "It has been a while since we tested there, but I am really looking forward to racing there. This is probably the first race of the year that I don't feel any pressure. I am going there to win."
Source: NASCAR Online