Earnhardt preps for Talladega

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 17, 2002

In less than a month, Kerry Earnhardt will make his qualifying run to compete in his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series event at Talladega Superspeedway.

Earnhardt and his NASCAR Busch Series crew recently turned more than 50 laps on Alabama's 2.66-mile tri-oval in preparation to make their first Winston Cup event of 2002.

Earnhardt will bring the No. 83 RacingUSA.com Chevrolet to Talladega for the EA SPORTS 500 Weekend, Oct. 3-6, 2002. Earnhardt races for Fitz Bradshaw Racing, but will bring a Dale Earnhardt Inc. car and motor to Qualifying Day on Oct. 4.

"We're all really excited about this deal. This is something that came about after a call about a one-time race sponsorship and an off week in the Busch Series," said Earnhardt. "We're just working on our qualifying runs and seeing what the car will do."

Earnhardt has raced a full Busch Series schedule this year after competing in a limited number of events in the ARCA RE/MAX Series in 2001. Earnhardt won three of the five ARCA races he entered last year.

"That ARCA car was more similar to this Winston Cup car than the Busch Series cars," said Earnhardt. "You start looking at how the cars handle, the wheelbase and things like that, and the Busch cars are more different than what we're in today.

"I'm looking forward to racing here at Talladega, racing on this superspeedway," said Earnhardt. "We're going to have this car ready and hopefully make a good run during qualifying."

Plenty of great seats remain for the entire weekend, including the two-day $60 ticket for the Allison Grandstand and seats in the Tri-Oval Tower.

The EA SPORTS 500 Weekend kicks off on Thursday, Oct. 3 with qualifying for the ARCA RE/MAX Series Food World 300. Winston Cup Series qualifying for the EA SPORTS 500 is Friday, Oct. 4. The Food World 300 begins on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 1 p.m. with the green flag dropping on the EA SPORTS 500 at noon on Sunday, Oct. 6.

NASCAR fans will no doubt see the signifance in Earnhardt's car number 83.

"That number was taken by NASCAR marketing, but they are allowing me to use it for this race," said Earnhardt. "The number 8 is what my grandfather raced and the number 3 was my dad's number."

Earnhardt's brother, Dale Earnhardt Jr., also drives the No. 8. Dale Jr. has put that Chevrolet into Talladega's Victory Lane in the past two NASCAR Winston Cup Series events.

Other teams testing at Talladega Superspeedway were the No. 36 MB2 Motorsports with Ken Schrader, the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing with Bobby Labonte and the No. 91 Evernham Motorsports with Dick Trickle. The two-day test session will concluded on Wednesday.

For information or to make plans to attend the EA SPORTS 500 Weekend, call the ticket office at (256) 362-RACE or purchase online.

Also available is a Commemorative NASCAR Winston Cup Series Qualifying Day Ticket celebrating the success of Winston's No Bull 5 Event at Talladega.

The ticket is $10, the same price as walk-up admission on Friday, Oct. 4, 2002, during the EA SPORTS 500 Weekend. Fans can purchase the Commemorative Qualifying Day Tickets by calling the track's ticket office at (256) 362-RACE or online.

Pictured on the front of the Commemorative Qualifying Day Ticket are Talladega's three winning drivers of the Winston No Bull 5 event: Dale Jarrett, Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr., each celebrating in Victory Lane.