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Skinner low man on Daytona pole For rookie, front row, respect aren't same


"I don't really look at him as a teammate " Earnhardt said. "Richard owns two race teams and they're completely different. We share information back and forth. If it comes down to it and we can help each other in a race, as far as drafting goes, it'll be great to do.

"[But] if it comes down to winning, I'm probably going to bend the fenders on that 31 [Skinner's car], just like I would on any other car to get to the front."

Earnhardt has already bent a few of Skinner's fenders, so to speak.

"Whenever we go anywhere, he's so competitive, he has to be the first one in and the first one out," said Skinner, smiling an Earnhardt-like smile. "He's been known to run people over to be first. But I think some of that is going to change. I'm just planning my best attack. I like being first sometimes, too."

All of it brings a knowing look to Childress' face. He has an explosive mix.

"They're similar in nature," said Childress. "Both are very aggressive and determined to win. Right now, we've got a real good working relationship. We'll have to see how the season goes on. But that's my job, to make sure they keep it. They talk and discuss things. They don't go to dinner together, but I think each of these guys has respect for what the other can do."

Childress is the latest to join the multi-car trend. Fifteen cars, 29 percent of the entries, are part of multi-car teams in Sunday's lineup. Childress said the success of such owners as Rick Hendrick and Robert Yates encouraged him to add another car to his domain.

Hendrick drivers Terry Labonte and Jeff Gordon won a total of 12 races last season and have back-to-back Winston Cup championships. And the Yates team of Dale Jarrett and Ernie Irvan won six races a year ago, including Jarrett's victory over Earnhardt in the Daytona 500.

"What it does is give you so many more resources," Childress said.

But with the pluses comes a minus: "Keeping everybody with a strong sense that it's a team effort."

Asked if team unity is a challenge, Childress looked toward the garages where his two teams were getting ready for practice and said: "A balancing act, I think, is what you can call it."

Speedweek schedule

Today's events

Event: Gatorade Twin 125-mile qualifying races

Time: 12: 30 p.m.

TV: Channel 13, Saturday (tape), 2: 30 p.m.

Outlook: The races will determine positions 3 to 38 for Sunday's Daytona 500. Mike Skinner and Steve Grissom locked up the front-row spots with their first-day qualifying efforts.

Rest of the week

Tomorrow: Discount Auto Parts 200, Goody's Dash Series race, 11 a.m.; True Value Firebird International Race of Champions (IROC) XXI, 1: 30 p.m.

Saturday: Gargoyles 300, Busch Grand National race, noon.

Sunday: Daytona 500, Winston Cup series, 12: 15 p.m.

Pub Date: 2/13/97

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