The Story Behind The #96 Cardinal Tractor Ford When the original driver of the No. 96 Cardinal Tractor Ford had to be scratched after a dust up with Charlotte law enforcement, car owner Will Conkrite said he found himself without a driver for one of the biggest races of the year, the 1978 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "The television news was announcing that we didn't have a driver", said Conkrite. "The news gentleman didn't get those words out of his mouth before Dale called me on the telephone and said, "Can I driver that car?" Conkrite, who at the time wore the hats of both car owner and crew chief, told Earnhardt he'd give him a shot. So, later that evening, Earnhardt met him at the track for a practice run. "I'm from the old school where you d what the driver says," Conkrite said. "A happy driver is a good driver." Which is why when Earnhardt asked Conkrite to make major adjustments to the seat position so he could see the field better, Conkrite didn't balk. "What has always impressed me is that he was new - but he was confident enough in his ability to ask for what he needed, Even if that meant asking me to cut up my new car." Earnhardt drove the car to a 17th place finish in his first race with Conkrite. He then drove it three more times, notching his first top 10 in NASCAR's premier series.
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