Daytona II: Dale Earnhardt Jr race report

McMurray Wins Daytona Photo Finish, Dale Jr. 36th Bud Team Knocked From Contention in Lap 14 Crash Jamie McMurray nipped Kyle Busch by the smallest of margins (.005 margin of victory) in a crash-filled race at Daytona International ...

McMurray Wins Daytona Photo Finish, Dale Jr. 36th
Bud Team Knocked From Contention in Lap 14 Crash

Jamie McMurray nipped Kyle Busch by the smallest of margins (.005 margin of victory) in a crash-filled race at Daytona International Speedway Saturday night. Kurt Busch was third. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 8 Budweiser team began the evening with immense confidence and a racecar that had been potent in practice. After easing through the pack in the early laps, Dale Jr. was hit from behind in a lap 14 crash, sending the Bud car into the pits and then eventually to the garage area for extensive repairs. The Bud car returned 25 laps behind the leaders, eventually finishing the night in the 36th position, 26 laps behind the leaders. The finish allows Dale Jr. to remain in 12th place in Nextel Cup points after 18 races.

Key Moments:

Dale Jr., starting 13th based upon NASCAR team owner points after Friday's Bud Pole Qualifying session was rained-out, paced himself early in the 160-lap race, driving with a special red-white and blue paint scheme in honor of troops around the world. While running in 12th place, Junior slowed when the first and second-place cars crashed into the outside wall off of turn four on lap 14. The Bud car was seemingly clear of the crash, when it was slammed from behind like an 8-ball being struck hard by the cue ball. In this instance, the cue ball was Bobby Labonte, whose car was slammed hard from behind by the car of Reed Sorenson, who failed to slow down when the initial crash happened. The Bud car was seriously damaged, and spent many laps in the pits and then the garage for repairs. It returned to action on lap 64, but was 25 laps behind the leaders and running in the 38th position. Junior simply made laps until getting swept into a second multi-car incident on lap 131, sending the Bud car into the outside wall with a flat left-front tire. After more repairs, he limped home to finish 36th.

Dale Jr. Quotes:

About the crash: "I don't know what happened. You tell me... we got run over. I had slowed down and was clear and then somebody hit me hard from behind and I was looking backwards up the track. That's frustrating when you come out here with a great car that had what it takes to win the race and then get taken out by someone not paying attention. The rest of us got it slowed down alright, so I don't know what he was doing. Even after we wrecked, the guys fixed the car and we were pretty decent until the second time we go run into the wall. It's frustrating on a lot of levels because we've been doing so well lately and we believed we had something for them in the special paint scheme. (see notes below) But, it takes a lot more than this to get this team down, so we're going home and getting ready for next week."

Best Radio Chatter:

Dale Jr. was unsure what happened when he was swept into the crash on lap 14.

Tony Eury Jr. (crew chief): "Get ready boys."

Dale Jr: "We got run over... he didn't slow down. I dunno why. Everybody else did."

Eury Jr: "OK guys. We've done this before, let's do it again."

Dale Jr. (concerned about the damage to the car) "Why don't we go to the garage and fix it decent?"

Eury Jr: "Nahhh... let's work on it out here (on pit lane)."

Dale Jr: "Who run into the back of us?"

Steve Hmiel (spotter): "I don't know. It was all smoke from up here."

Eury Jr: "I think it was the 43 (B. Labonte). But - somebody might've hit him and turned him into us."

***

Running 26 laps behind the leaders, the team needed one more stop for fuel to make it to the finish. The yellow flag flew on lap 116.

Eury Jr.: "Pit the second time by. We'll just take fuel and we'll be good the rest of the way."

Dale Jr: "You ain't gonna give me tires?"

Eury Jr: "You only have four laps on those."

Dale Jr: "Well, if you like this set so much, you can take them home with you. I need tires. This place is like Darlington now."

Eury Jr: "Alright, we'll pit for four tires, second time by."

***

After being involved in a second multi-car crash, the Bud car suffered damage to the nose - causing the engine to overheat.

Eury Jr: "How hot is running now?"

Dale Jr: "I dunno. There are no numbers down there... (one lap later) "now it's in the numbers... 270 degrees... I'm gonna try to help (teammate) Martin (Truex Jr.) if I can. If not, I'll just try to miss the wrecks."

***

VERY special thanks to the fans:

RACE FANS ALLOW BUDWEISER TO DONATE $100,000 TO SUPPORT FAMILIES OF SPECIAL OPERATIONS SOLDIERS

Thanks to the generosity of NASCAR fans, Budweiser was able to donate $100,000 to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) to help provide college educations to the children of fallen Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations personnel. Dale Earnhardt Jr. presented the check during special ceremonies this afternoon between the NASCAR Busch and Cup races at Daytona International Speedway.

"Special operations personnel are hand-picked for the most treacherous of missions, and we felt Budweiser needed to show these brave men and women that Americans support and appreciate their courage," said Randall Blackford, Budweiser brand director, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. "Anheuser-Busch has supported our nation's military and their families for more than 150 years, and we're honored to make this contribution to the efforts of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation."

Budweiser and Earnhardt Jr. raced two military-themed paint schemes in 2007. Budweiser's brown and beige "Desert Camo" car raced Memorial Day weekend during the Coca-Cola 600 in honor of fallen soldiers, while the red, white and blue "Stars & Stripes" car ran this evening at Daytona to salute all those who currently serve. The proceeds from the sale of collectible diecasts of the two special cars were ear-marked for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides full-ride college scholarships to surviving children of special operations personnel killed in combat or training missions, and immediate financial assistance to special operations personnel severely wounded in the global war on terror. More than 700 children currently benefit from the efforts of the SOWF.

"Through the generosity of Budweiser and the support of NASCAR fans, children of fallen special operations personnel will be reminded that there are caring Americans who recognize the sacrifices that their parents have made and that they want them to succeed in life with a college education.," said John T. Carney, Jr., President/CEO, Special Operations Warrior Foundation. "This donation also serves as a salute to all of the men and women serving in harm's way all around the globe."

For more than 27 years, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation has provided college scholarship grants for tuition, books, fees, room and board to surviving children of special operations personnel killed in combat or training missions. The SOWF has nearly 700 children in its program, and provided $1.5 million in college scholarship grants, educational, financial aid and family counseling for 109 students who attended 73 colleges and universities in 2006. With an estimated 120-125 students eligible for college each year, the Foundation's estimated financial need is nearly $76 million.

Budweiser is the "Official Beer of NASCAR," the primary sponsor of the Budweiser #8 Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. since 1999, and sponsor of the Bud Pole Award in all NASCAR divisions through 2007. Budweiser is also the title sponsor of the annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, the exclusive beer and malt beverage advertiser of the Daytona 500, and the "Official Beer" of Daytona International Speedway, the Daytona 500 and the Pepsi 400.

-credit: dei

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Bobby Labonte , Kurt Busch , Jamie McMurray , Reed Sorenson , Tony Eury Jr. , Kyle Busch