Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

E-Day Draws near Earnhardt Jr. Repeats Father's Historic Debut in Winston Cup Series

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

E-Day Draws near Earnhardt Jr. Repeats Father's Historic Debut in Winston Cup Series

Article excerpt

CONCORD, N.C. -- History is about to repeat itself 24 years after a young driver named Dale Earnhardt made his Winston Cup debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to race for the first time in NASCAR's top series at the Coca-Cola 600. First-round qualifying for Sunday's event, the longest on the circuit, is set for tonight.

"We know that we've got a lot of growing to do, a lot of changes, and this is a good way to find out where we are," said the 24-year-old Earnhardt, who plans to run five Winston Cup races this year before moving to the series full time in 2000.

The driver known as `Little E' is attracting a lot more attention than his father did in his first Winston Cup race. The elder Earnhardt was virtually unknown outside the region when he showed up on Charlotte's 1.5-mile, highbanked tri-oval in 1975, starting 33rd and finishing 22nd in a car owned by Ed Negre.

Earnhardt went on to win 72 races and seven Winston Cup championships, and his fame was one of the reasons his son became a star practically overnight. …

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