Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 32° Partly Cloudy

Earnhardt Puts Himself In Prime Position For Daytona

Philadelphia Inquirer

Dale Earnhardt continued his habit of winning qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, and, in doing so, once again raised the specter of the one thing he has never done here - win the Daytona 500.

Thursday, in 80-degree temperatures, Earnhardt held off a late-race challenge from Jeff Gordon to win the second of two 125-mile qualifying races. The combined results of the races determine how the field for Sunday’s Daytona 500 will be filled out.

The win was a record 10th in Daytona 500 qualifiers for Earnhardt, including a record eight in a row. The win gave Earnhardt 24 career wins in various races at Daytona International Speedway, yet he remains 0-19 in the Daytona 500, the sport’s premier event.

“I guess it’s a good omen for eight championships,” Earnhardt said, underlining his season-long quest to break his tie with Richard Petty of seven Winston Cup championships. “Our confidence level is pretty good right now.”

Earnhardt, who started in fifth, took the lead on the 19th lap and held it the rest of the way.

“It’s a race I have fun with,” Earnhardt said. “It’s an important race. It’s history. It’s a streak that I don’t know if anyone else can match.”

Spokane’s Chad Little was 19th in the second race and didn’t qualify for Sunday’s race.

The first 50-lap qualifying race was won by Dale Jarrett, the defending and two-time Daytona champ. “This may be one of the best 500s ever,” he said. “If I win, it will be the best ever.”

Mike Skinner and Steve Grissom, who had the two fastest times in qualifying, will start on the front row of Sunday’s race. Because of their wins Thursday, Jarrett will start third and Earnhardt fourth.

“Once Dale got out front, there was nothing we could do with him,” said Gordon.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.

Annual health and dental insurance enrollment period open now

 (Courtesy Washington Healthplanfinder)

2020 has been a stressful year for myriad reasons.