Youth Served for Dale Earnhardt Inc. at Bristol MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 26, 2008) -- In a race traditionally known as one of the wildest on the NASCAR circuit, the youthful Dale Earnhardt Inc. trio of Aric Almirola, Regan Smith and Paul Menard...
Youth Served for Dale Earnhardt Inc. at Bristol
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 26, 2008) -- In a race traditionally known as one of the wildest on the NASCAR circuit, the youthful Dale Earnhardt Inc. trio of Aric Almirola, Regan Smith and Paul Menard held strong during Saturday night's Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. In addition, 28 year-old Martin Truex Jr. exhibited a fast car early, before tire issues put an early end to his promising evening.
"We took four cars to Bristol that were much better than even their finishing positions showed," said Dale Earnhardt Inc. Vice President of Motorsports Operations John Story. "Our cars were well prepared and the speed and talent of our four drivers were evident throughout practice and the race.We had a few issues on pit road that cost us some spots and obviously the No. 1 car had a tire failure early that ruined their night, but we are very proud of the promise all four cars showed."
"All four were among the fastest cars at Bristol and we're optimistic that success will carry over for the rest of the season," added Story. "Our testing and engineering programs have been making good progress and we expect great things out of all our young guys."
All three drivers showed driving skill and patience well beyond their combined three seasons of Sprint Cup racing, as each patiently moved to strong finishes, placing three DEI cars inside the top 16 of the finishing order of the race.
Almirola and Smith - both rookies - finished 13th and 14th respectively, while sophomore Sprint Cup driver Paul Menard finished in 16th. In addition, Smith -- who leads the 2008 Raybestos Rookie of the Year competition - equaled a career-best qualifying effort of fourth.
Almirola, who finished eighth at Bristol in the spring, just narrowly missed out on another top-10 finish at the .533-mile track. The co-driver of the No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet started 23rd and advanced all the way to seventh position, before a late mishap in the pits put him back to 13th where he went on to finish.
The dynamic foursome will return to action this weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. for Sunday night's Sprint Cup race, where the DEI organization will look to build on the momentum of last week's effort.