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NASCAR's missing video history: Dale Earnhardt's 1979 Bristol victory

   By Mike Mulhern

   BRISTOL, Tenn.
   It's the 30th anniversary of that first NASCAR tour breakthrough victory by the late Dale Earnhardt, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., just four years old at the time, has never seen that video footage….if it even exists.
   That 1979 Winston Cup tour win was the first of Earnhardt's 76 victories, but it came two years before NASCAR's full Cup tour events were routinely telecast in their entirety.
    But the third generation Earnhardt did watch his father here, while growing up.
   The elder Earnhardt made a lot of Bristol history.
   "The 'Earnhardt Moment' for me here was when he ran like 450 laps and won the race and had no power steering," Earnhardt Jr. says. "I think that was in '87 or '86, or something like that.
    "I have run like 20 laps at California with no power steering, and it was difficult -- it was hard to drive the car where you wanted it to go. The whole handle of the car, the whole feel of the car changed.
   "I just can't imagine running like that here. I was having a hard time running (at California) any kind of competitive time on new tires; on old tires I was okay without the power steering, but on new tires it was just really hard to run as fast as everybody else was running.
    "For him to have been able to do that here -- a place like this, on the blacktop -- for basically the entire race and win, that was pretty cool. I was here for that and I was pretty proud of him for that kind of effort."

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