Atlanta II: Dale Earnhardt Jr race report

Jeff Gordon wins second straight, Dale Jr. Sixth at Atlanta No. 8 Budweiser Team leads 32 laps in rain-delayed race Jeff Gordon won for the second week in a row, taking the victory Monday in the rain-delayed Bass Pro Shops 500 at Atlanta Motor...

Jeff Gordon wins second straight, Dale Jr. Sixth at Atlanta
No. 8 Budweiser Team leads 32 laps in rain-delayed race

Jeff Gordon won for the second week in a row, taking the victory Monday in the rain-delayed Bass Pro Shops 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Tony Stewart finished second while Jimmie Johnson finished third. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 8 Budweiser team finished sixth, leading five times times for 32 laps. His 20th Top-10 finish of the year boosts Dale Jr. to second place in Winston Cup points with three races remaining. Dale Jr. has now led a league-best 23 races this year, for a total of 952 laps. The Bud team has led the last eight Winston Cup races, and has now scored five consecutive top-10 finishes at Atlanta, leading each of those five races for a total of 268 laps.

The Key Moments:

Dale Jr. started third (he has started third in three of the last four races), and ran among the top-three Sunday afternoon until rain stopped the race on lap 39. The rain continued into the evening, postponing the remainder of the race until Monday. Taking advantage of superb fuel mileage, Dale Jr. took the lead for the first time on lap 100 when the other leaders pitted for fuel and tires. While Dale Jr. was rolling down pit lane for his stop on lap 104, the yellow flag came out, creating an odd situation where Dale Jr. regained the lead, but restarted in the middle of the field behind a long line of cars at the end of the lead lap. Dale Jr. traded the lead several times in an exciting dual with Tony Stewart through the middle stages of the race. Dale Jr. faded from the top-three in the latter stages of the race as the final two sets of tires did not seem to agree with the No. 8 chassis.

Dale Jr. Quotes:

"It was like any other race here -- a lot of fun and a lot of two- and three-wide racing. When the race restarted (this morning), we weren't as good as we were on Sunday, but we made a few small changes and the car was really, really fast through the middle of the race. The final two sets of tires just weren't the same for us, and we weren't near as good. We had a streak of three-straight top-fives here that we wanted to extend, but we did gain some points on Matt (Kenseth) and Kevin (Harvick) so we'll take it. We'll keep trying to get all the points we can get."

About the late-race contact with Ryan Newman:

"That's a bad deal, cuz' he's a helluva driver... and we had traded spots back and forth for probably 10 laps. I had a really strong run off the corner, and he moved up toward me. I breathed the gas pedal but he got sideways and I hit him. I couldn't get off the throttle quick enough."

Best Radio Conversations

Exhaustion has set in after 17 consecutive weeks of racing, compounded by a one-day rain delay to finish the race. The Monday morning mood seemed to match the weather: kind of sleepy, glum and dreary.

During a yellow-flag period on lap 172, while running third:

Tony Eury Jr. (car chief): "We're stayin' out..."

Dale Jr.: "I'm following the 24 (Gordon) or the 20 (Stewart) if they come in ahead of me..."

Dale Jr. came onto pit road, despite his rivals staying on the race track. The stop dropped Dale Jr. to 15th place. When the race restarted,

Dale Jr. made a mad dash up through the field, getting as high as eighth place before the next yellow flag on lap 201.

Dale Jr: (slightly sheepish) "Uh, yeah, I probably shouldn't have pitted that last time. That's my fault. But, it sure was fun passin' all of them cars!"J

VH-1:

VH-1 will show "All-Access; NASCAR," starring Dale Jr., Tony Stewart and 3 Doors Down, beginning this Tuesday. The show will air multiple times throughout the week, so check your local listings... (VH-1 is also calling the show "NASCAR Fever." Should you contract NASCAR Fever, we suggest you see your doctor...)

Because of the one-day rain delay, the usual Monday Budweiser Race Preview will be sent Tuesday...

Nothing's better than a cold Bud at the end of a long day. Unless you drink one while logging in to www.Budweiser.com for all of the latest Dale Jr. news, games, music, short films and more! Your race team. Your beer. True.

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Tony Eury Jr.