In Ernie's comeback from live threatening injuries he went though extensive therapy, raced a legend car at Charlotte (for charity),tested his Busch Series car, and raced a Supertruck, before entering his first Winston Cup race since Michigan.
And in My opinion, His comeback is complete! He has shown all of us that he is still a winner. I feel his polish Victory lap tribute was VERY fitting, Not only was this his first win after the accident, but it was the anniversary of Davey's last Winston Cup race. I loved the fact that Ernie won the race that Davey finished 5th in 1993. I also got what I wished for all season. I got a 1-2 finish of Robert Yates' cars in a race.
Irvan comes back to Brickyard and finishes second. If anyone still doubts the fact that Ernie has made a comeback to the Top of Nascar Racing. I cannot convince you and will not waste my time trying. If 6 consecutive top 5 finishes is not proof, someone please tell me what is. The 3rd Brickyard 400 was another one of those Yates Rocket 1-2 Finishes that I wished for on my birthday and it has been granted twice.
Well Ernie's bad luck just seems to be never ending. An accident at Texas in which Ernie ran over Greg Sacks car to finish 36th. He comes to Bristol and has engine trouble and finishes 38th. In the aftermath of the Texas accident the spotter who was in the spotters box was released and a new one would be in place at Bristol.
Ernie had a bad qualifying session and had to take a provisional to make the race, and finsihed 28th
Well in case you didn't see the finish of the No Fear Challenge. Ernie ran fourth and was involved in a late race scuffle and post race altercation with Kenny Irwin Jr.
Ernie started on the pole at Talledega and finished fifth. He also qualified for the Winston No Bull five, along with Terry Labonte, Bobby Labonte, John Andretti, and Ken Schrader.
Well it was announced today(8-28-97) that Ernie would be driving the #36 Skittles Pontiac in 1998. So look for a page reformat at the conclusion of the 97 season to reflect the make and color change in Ernie's sponsor. Although I am saddened by the fact that Ernie is going back to GM I am happy that he has set his plans before the end of the season.
I for one saw the Charlotte race as a turn around for the 28 team. I think if the car had anything to do with the showing of the team, that we should send a note to RYR about keeping the old paint scheme. I for one liked the old black & white better anyway.
Ernie made the biggest break through that any driver could make. He tame the beast that almost took his life. With the win at Michigan I feel that we will see a different Ernie from now on. I don't think that he will ever forget what happened there, but winning made racing easier for him.
Announced the day after the race at JournalNow that Robert and Ernie are now in negotiations to put together a 4 year contact extension.
These photos are screen captures from the 1996 Awards Banquet
The Second photo is from January testing at Daytona of Ernie's test car.