Earnhardt Jr. Phoenix race notes

Jeff Burton crossed the finish line first in the Dura-Lube 500 for his fourth victory of the 2000 Winston Cup season today at Phoenix International Raceway, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 8 Budweiser team finished 27th, one lap behind ...

Jeff Burton crossed the finish line first in the Dura-Lube 500 for his fourth victory of the 2000 Winston Cup season today at Phoenix International Raceway, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 8 Budweiser team finished 27th, one lap behind Burton. Jeremy Mayfield finished second, while Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) teammate Steve Park finished third. Burton completed a clean sweep of the weekend, as he also won Saturday's Busch Series race at the one-mile oval in the Arizona desert.

After moving up into the top 15 early in the race, Dale Jr's day went from good to bad on the team's first pit stop on lap 37. A mix-up with the tires meant the right-side tires were placed on the left side of the race car, causing severe handling problems for the No. 8. Forced to make an extra pit stop, Dale Jr. dropped to last place, one lap behind the field. From 43rd position, the team was able to crawl back to the 27th place finish.

Dale Junior: "We had a good car, a fast car. We ran with the leaders for a lot of the race after that unscheduled pit stop, but we were a lap behind them. To be really fast, I needed to use the whole track, which meant I wasn't that good in traffic - it made it hard to pass."

"When the race went back to green (on lap 41, after a yellow flag period), I was caught on the outside line, and it felt like a tire was flat or was going flat. After a few laps, it just didn't get any better, so we had to come in for another stop. It just put us behind for the rest of the day. We could run with those guys, but we just never got back on the lead lap. Based on the guys I was running with, I imagine we had about a tenth-place car today."

About the final green flag with 12 laps to go: "That was wild. We were three-wide a couple of times and I thought I was gonna get wrecked on that deal."

With two races left in the 2000 Winston Cup season, Dale Jr. and the Budweiser No. 8 team are in 16th position overall in the points, and remain in second place in the rookie-of the-year standings. Matt Kenseth, the rookie point leader, had a rough day, finishing 42nd after an early crash. However, the 27th place finish allowed Dale Jr. to shave only a few points from Kenseth's rookie lead. Dave Blaney put in the strongest run of his career, finishing a career-best eighth place. He was the top-finishing rookie.

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Burton , Matt Kenseth , Jeremy Mayfield , Steve Park , Dave Blaney