Earnhardt admits: 'We should've done better'

Dale Earnhardt has admitted he only has himself to blame for not pushing Bobby Labonte harder for the Winston Cup crown

Earnhardt admits: 'We should've done better'

'The Intimidator' only grabbed second in the final points standings from Jeff Burton at the weekend, as his title push became more of a rearguard action in the closing races.

"I really feel bad about running so bad at Rockingham and Homestead," said Earnhardt, where he finished 17th and 20th respectively. "We should have been better at those tracks, and we also fell way back at Charlotte. If we could have capitalised on some of those races, we would have been better off. Those bad finishes got us where we were, and we had to race hard today to get back to second."

The seven-time champion refuses to blame anyone else for his lack of pace in the championship run-in, although he dug deep to record a second-placed finish at Atlanta at the weekend to push Burton back to third.

"[Team owner] Richard Childress has a bunch of good guys, and they've all done a good job this season," he added. "To come out second in points is really pretty neat. I wish we could have kicked it up one more notch. We're going to try to capitalise more on our opportunities next year and not have the bad races we had this year. I think [crew chief] Kevin Hamlin and I have got things headed in the right direction for next season."

Earnhardt's son Dale Jnr was another to rue a tail-off in form which restricted him to runner-up spot in the Rookie of the Year class. He won two of the first 11 races outright, but lost form in the second half of the year and finished 30 points shy of Coca-Cola 600 winner Matt Kenseth.

"It's been a good year," said Kenseth. "In a lot of ways the year has exceeded our expectations. We weren't sure we were going to win, and we were close to getting two if things would've gone our way at Fontana. But in a lot of ways, it's been about what we expected. We had some good runs and some not-so-good runs. We're never quite satisfied because once you're satisfied, you stop getting better. I'm proud of my performance in the Rookie of the Year."


1 BOBBY LABONTE 5130 34 4 19 24 $4,041,746
2 DALE EARNHARDT 4865 34 2 13 24 $3,701,391
3 JEFF BURTON 4836 34 4 15 22 $5,121,354
4 DALE JARRETT 4684 34 2 15 24 $5,225,499
5 RICKY RUDD 4575 34 0 12 19 $2,385,404
6 TONY STEWART 4570 34 6 12 23 $3,200,191
7 RUSTY WALLACE 4544 34 4 12 20 $3,037,721
8 MARK MARTIN 4410 34 1 13 20 $2,763,536
9 JEFF GORDON 4361 34 3 11 22 $2,703,586
10 WARD BURTON 4152 34 1 4 17 $2,385,326
11 STEVE PARK 3934 34 1 6 13 $2,052,827
12 MIKE SKINNER 3898 34 0 1 11 $1,985,594
13 JOHNNY BENSON 3716 33 0 3 7 $1,627,874
14 MATT KENSETH 3711 34 1 4 11 $2,150,764
15 JOE NEMECHEK 3534 34 0 3 9 $1,907,281
16 DALE EARNHARDT, JR 3516 34 2 3 5 $2,610,396
17 TERRY LABONTE 3433 32 0 3 6 $2,043,094
18 KEN SCHRADER 3398 34 0 0 2 $1,530,844
19 STERLING MARLIN 3363 34 0 1 7 $1,819,644
20 JERRY NADEAU 3273 34 1 3 5 $2,038,669
21 BILL ELLIOTT 3267 32 0 3 7 $2,447,788
22 JIMMY SPENCER 3188 34 0 2 5 $1,858,762
23 JOHN ANDRETTI 3169 34 0 0 2 $1,964,402
24 JEREMY MAYFIELD 3156 32 2 6 12 $2,090,501
25 ROBERT PRESSLEY 3055 34 0 1 1 $1,427,717
26 KENNY WALLACE 2874 34 0 1 1 $1,723,966
27 MICHAEL WALTRIP 2797 34 0 1 1 $1,689,421
28 KEVIN LEPAGE 2795 32 0 1 3 $1,679,186
29 ELLIOTT SADLER 2762 33 0 0 1 $1,578,356
30 BOBBY HAMILTON 2715 34 0 0 2 $1,619,775
31 DAVID BLANEY 2656 33 0 0 2 $1,272,689
32 CHAD LITTLE 2634 27 0 0 1 $1,418,884
33 RICK MAST 2366 29 0 0 2 $1,156,427
34 WALLY DALLENBACH 2344 30 0 0 1 $1,169,069
35 BRETT BODINE 2145 29 0 0 0 $1,020,659
36 DARRELL WALTRIP 1981 29 0 0 0 $1,246,280
37 SCOTT PRUETT 1879 28 0 0 1 $1,135,854
38 STACY COMPTON 1857 27 0 0 0 $1,069,649
39 MIKE BLISS 1748 25 0 0 1 $953,948
40 TED MUSGRAVE 1614 18 0 0 0 $827,216
41 KYLE PETTY 1441 19 0 0 1 $894,911
42 KENNY IRWIN 1440 17 0 1 1 $949,436
43 ROBBY GORDON 1309 17 0 1 2 $620,781
44 RICKY CRAVEN 1175 16 0 0 0 $636,562
45 GEOFFREY BODINE 1039 14 0 0 0 $704,981
46 DAVE MARCIS 723 11 0 0 0 $405,572
47 ED BERRIER 628 10 0 0 0 $417,144
48 KURT BUSCH 613 7 0 0 0 $311,915
49 TODD BODINE 456 5 0 0 1 $234,065
50 HUT STRICKLIN 436 7 0 0 0 $255,200
51 DICK TRICKLE 423 6 0 0 0 $233,865
52 STEVE GRISSOM 419 5 0 0 0 $231,850
53 JEFF FULLER 390 7 0 0 0 $223,691
54 CASEY ATWOOD 328 3 0 0 1 $97,030
55 ANDY HOUSTON 314 5 0 0 0 $141,850
56 RICH BICKLE 231 3 0 0 0 $135,960
57 DERRIKE COPE 198 3 0 0 0 $179,151
58 P J JONES 158 2 0 0 0 $70,900
59 DAVID A GREEN 143 2 0 0 0 $105,350
60 BOBBY HAMILTON, JR 134 2 0 0 0 $82,390
61 RON HORNADAY 118 1 0 0 0 $47,020
62 CARL LONG 107 2 0 0 0 $79,471
63 GARY BRADBERRY 104 2 0 0 0 $63,700
64 JOE BESSEY 82 1 0 0 0 $48,975
65 TOM HUBERT 64 1 0 0 0 $33175
66 BRIAN SIMO 55 1 0 0 0 $37,110
67 BUCKSHOT JONES 52 1 0 0 0 $35,275
68 ADAM PETTY 43 1 0 0 0 $38,675
69 BOBBY HILLIN 43 1 0 0 0 $27,525
70 RYAN NEWMAN 40 1 0 0 0 $37,825
71 BORIS SAID 37 1 0 0 0 $36,940
72 RONALD FELLOWS 34 1 0 0 0 $24,725
73 KERRY EARNHARDT 34 1 0 0 0 $21,830
74 SCOTT WIMMER 0 1 0 0 0 $37,780

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