Earnhardt is again Goody's goody, winning for 4th time in row

February 14, 1993|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- A creature of habit.

That's what they called Dale Earnhardt in victory lane yesterday after he won the Goody's 300 Grand National race for the sixth time.

"We had just enough to hold 'em off," said Earnhardt, who beat Kenny Schrader to the finish line by a car length. "But I could run high or low, anywhere I wanted."

Earnhardt, who averaged 146.441 mph, said there is nothing to be learned from this race that will carry over to today, when he will try to win the 35th annual Daytona 500 for the first time.

"I can't wait for the 500 and I'm scared to death my luck's going to run out," Earnhardt said after avoiding four crashes that eliminated 17 cars from contention in the 44-car field. "But I take them one at a time. I couldn't go out there and try not to win this race and save my luck for [today]. I want to win each one from the littlest to the biggest and I'm more fired up than I've ever been."

This was Earnhardt's fourth straight Goody's 300 victory and the 13th straight time a Winston Cup driver has stepped down to the Grand National class to drive to victory here.

The 300 also was Earnhardt's third victory of the week; he earlier won the Busch Clash and a 125-mile qualifier earlier. He has dominated each of the events, leading a total of 131 of a possible 190 laps.

Yesterday, he collected $39,375 to bring his total winnings for the week to $134,575.

A survey of drivers, crew chiefs and team owners revealed Earnhardt as the odds-on choice today.

Earnhardt even picked himself.

"This is one of the best chances I've ever had to win here," he said. "And I feel better about the race than I have in a long, long time."

Gibbs' son on team, too

Showing that racing isn't just a personal whim, car owner and hTC Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs has made the Daytona 500 a family affair.

Not only is his wife, Pat, here, but his 23-year-old son, J. D., will spend today working as a tire changer for his dad's Dale Jarrett team.

"Coach Gibbs is nervous and excited about J. D.," said Jarrett. "I think J. D. will do a good job. He's a good athlete and that's what you look for. We're breaking him in in the biggest race of the year, but I know he'll do a good job. We've practiced and he's played college football, so he knows what the anticipation is like. I think once he gets by that, everything will be great."

He's still The King

Richard Petty may not be driving anymore, but the demands on him seem never ending.

"I've got to sign 30,000 autographs in the next couple months," Petty said. "That's not even counting the ones I sign when I'm traveling and down here and stuff. It's not even counting the stuff that comes into the office."

What Petty will be signing are figurines, miniature race cars and other collectibles.

"We made some special deals that call for me to personally autograph each one," he said. "Now, how am I gonna do all that and still run a race team and take care of everything else that has to be done?"

He said he might save a few seconds by dropping car No. 43

from the signature.

Skating in slow lane

A group of Winston Cup drivers and team members joined car owner Felix Sabates for a charity hockey game Friday. The NASCAR contingent, including drivers Kenny Wallace and Phil Parsons and crew chief Jeff Hammond, took on the Daytona Sharks old-timers team in a preliminary to the Daytona Sun Devils game.

The game, which ended 6-6, benefited the NASCAR Wives Racing Auxiliary, but was slow starting.

"He [Sabates, who was coach] tried to send 11 guys out on the ice," said Hammond, who was on skates for the first time. "He thought it was played like a football game."

More than $1,500 was raised.

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