Sunday, May 2, 2004
Earnhardt now is 'beautiful' and successful
The Associated Press
FONTANA, Calif. - Nextel Cup points leader and fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. recently was named one of People Magazine's "Most Beautiful People."
The 29-year-old racer is flattered and amused by the honor.
"I don't know how I made the list," Earnhardt said, laughing. "They must not be just looking at looks alone. Maybe I got it on personality."
Junior said his team had a good laugh over the article, "picking on me and everything."
"But that's great. It really means a lot to my mom, I'll tell you that. She was really thrilled over it."
Earnhardt will start 10th today in the Auto Club 500.
BUSCH SERIES: Greg Biffle's engine had a sporadic cough, he was losing oil pressure, had hot air blowing in his face - and he still won Saturday's Busch Series race at California Speedway.
"The guys never gave up and I never gave up," said Biffle, a former Busch Series champion who won his second race of the season and the 13th of his career.
Biffle's car was far from perfect, though.
Besides the mysterious engine and oil pressure problems he overcame, his personal cooling system stopped working on the 90-degree afternoon.
"With about 50 laps to go, it was like somebody flipped a switch and I had a hair dryer in my face," Biffle said.
NEXTEL CUP: A top-15 finish by either Petty Enterprises Dodge in today's race at California Speedway would be a big boost for the team.
My, how times have changed.
The Petty team, founded by NASCAR pioneer and three-time champion Lee Petty and carried on under the stewardship of his son, stock car king and seven-time champion Richard, and Richard's son, Kyle, has fallen on hard times in recent years.
The team has accumulated 268 victories but none since 1999.
When Jeff Green qualified third for today's Auto Club 500, it marked the best starting position for a Petty entry since John Andretti was second at Phoenix in the fall of 2002. Kyle Petty, his teammate and boss, will start 28th in the 43-car field.
Kyle, who also has the day-to-day responsibility of running the team, has finished better than 18th only once this season - 12th at Las Vegas - and Green's best performances in the No. 43 car that Richard made famous have been a pair of 19th-place finishes.
But Richard, who remains a very involved team owner, is hopeful that Petty Enterprises has turned the corner.
"It's definitely improved from last year," he said Saturday. "Some of our finishes might not have been any better than last year, but the cars are definitely making the fields a little bit better, running a little bit better as the race goes on. ...
"You just keep plugging away."
130th KENTUCKY DERBY
wins with sentimental journey
Elliott, it's just a race - but a big one
Jones draws a crowd at home track
sees good things in the future
special place in their hearts
make for a contrasting infield
ads raise no fuss
gallery: The race
Photo gallery: The scene
FLYING PIG MARATHON
push each other in Pig Relay
age 82, marathoner's been a long time running
test doesn't trouble Panthers
lose 4th straight
Faraway fan reminds us of what we have
will test free agency
AL: Tigers hand
Mariners eighth loss in 10 games
NL: Rockies get
win against Braves
need funding for new stadium
hoping to shake his past
struggles require patience
McEachern exudes that star quality
combine continues to grow
Walton-Verona both lose in All 'A' Classic
Sistrunk hurdles to Roosevelt event victory
take 'blue-collar' approach to winning
season ends in Game 7
remain alive on Sakic OT goals
MORE SPORTS HEADLINES
celebrates 18th birthday with the lead
shorty goal tops Russia for USA
baseball team has 29 wins, 5 losses, 1 proposal
may get another shot at Illini
now is 'beautiful' and successful
quick chat with ... Mark Cassis
up with that?