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Earnhardt's car to be displayed

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          NASCAR NEWS - Thursday, Sept. 13, 2007

Earnhardt's 1987 No. 3 car to be displayed at Lowe's
Car made famous with 'pass in the grass' at all-star event 
By Official Release

CONCORD, N.C. - Dale Earnhardt's "Pass in the Grass" Car 
Returns To Lowe's Motor Speedway for Sept. 13-16 Food Lion 

(Aug. 24, 2007) - The No. 3 Wrangler Chevrolet that Dale 
Earnhardt was driving 20 years ago when he performed the 
legendary "pass in the grass" will return to Lowe's Motor 
Speedway Sept. 13-16 for the Food Lion AutoFair. 

The historic stock car will be among the featured 
attractions showcased in the spacious Food Lion Pavilion 
throughout the four-day automotive extravaganza. 

During the 1987 NASCAR All-Star race at Lowe's Motor 
Speedway, Earnhardt and Bill Elliott were locked in a 
heated battle for the $200,000 first-place prize. Seven 
laps from the finish, an attempt by Earnhardt to squeeze 
Elliott into the frontstretch grass failed and, instead, 
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Earnhardt, however, kept his car heading straight, plowing 
through 150 feet of grass, and returned to the track in a 
remarkable driving feat that kept him ahead of Elliott. The 
move was immediately dubbed "the pass in the grass," even 
though it actually wasn't a pass, and is one of the most 
famous moments in NASCAR history. 

"The way the tri-oval is shaped at Charlotte you can give 
a guy the inside or not. If you want to cut the corner, 
you can," Elliott said in talking about the race 20 years 
later. "I had the run on him coming off [Turn] 4. I was 
already up to his left-rear wheel when he turned left to 
try to cut me off. Instead, it turned him into the grass. 
I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, but from 
then on, he was ticked off because it looked like I was 
trying to spin him, which I wasn't." 

Earnhardt went on to win the race and Richard Childress 
Racing eventually sold that particular No. 3 Chevrolet 
Monte Carlo to an ARCA team. 

Bill Tower, a longtime General Motors engineer who now 
lives in Plant City, Fla., bought the car in 1990 with 
aspirations of racing it in vintage stock car events. 

"I bought it in June of 1990 and in the vintage motorsports 
thing you have to document the car's history," Tower 


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During his research, Tower quickly learned of the car's 
impressive championship pedigree, but it was several more 
years before he learned about its most famous moment. 

"It was really exciting to learn about the history of the 
car," Tower said. "It's a superspeedway car that started 
out as a No. 11 Mountain Dew Buick. Junior Johnson had it 
built by Banjo Matthews in September of 1981 and the serial 
numbers are still there where Banjo stamped them. 

"Darrell Waltrip won the first race they ran with the car 
and he went on to win Winston Cup championships in '81, '82 
and '85," Tower continued. "Then, Junior decided to sell a 
bunch of his cars and Richard Childress bought two of them. 
Chevrolet was going to a different body style in 1986 
called the aero-coupe. It had a big, slanted back window 
instead of the notch-back and this car was the first aero-
coupe Childress built." 

The revamped car was part of two more championships as 
Earnhardt earned titles in 1986 and '87, bringing its total 
to five. 

It wasn't until 1996 that Tower learned his car was the 
one Earnhardt was driving in 1987 when he executed the 
"pass in the grass." 

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"Will Lynn, who actually worked on the car for Childress, 
told me it was the car from that race. They have the photos 
from the winner's circle at Charlotte. The window net and 
a brace in the back window are a dead giveaway that this 
is the car." 

Tower rarely shows the No. 3 Chevrolet, but says when he 
does it demonstrates the impact Earnhardt had on race fans. 

"A lot of people actually start crying when they see it. 
They won't speak when they get around it -- it's like a 
shrine to them," he said. "The car is really an eye opener 
because it brings out the true fans and shows what Dale 
was really all about." 

Other attractions scheduled for the Sept. 13-16 Food Lion 
AutoFair include a trio of cars from Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s 
personal collection; TV host John Walsh's unique amphibious 
vehicle; Bumblebee and Ironhide from the hit movie 
Transformers; and two awesome Audis-the R8 supercar and the 
R10 diesel racecar. 

Food Lion AutoFair is the world's largest automotive 
extravaganza. The four-day event includes a car show 
featuring various makes and models from more than 50 clubs; 
more than 7,000 vendor spaces that offer a plethora of 
automotive parts and memorabilia and a car corral that 
features nearly 1,500 vehicles available for sale or trade. 

Questions? Comments? Email us at: Email your comments

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