Indianapolis: Dale Earnhardt Jr. race notes

Bill Elliott wins Brickyard 400 No. 8 Budweiser Team lead early, struggle much of the afternoon. Bill Elliott won for the second week in a row, completely dominating today's Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Elliott led 93 (of...

Bill Elliott wins Brickyard 400
No. 8 Budweiser Team lead early, struggle much of the afternoon.

Bill Elliott won for the second week in a row, completely dominating today's Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Elliott led 93 (of the 160 laps) and leaped from ninth to sixth-place in Winston Cup points with his victory. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 8 Budweiser race team led the race following the first set of pit stops, but an ill-handling car after that point dropped them deep into the depths of the field for the remainder of the afternoon. The team recovered from 38th position on lap 56 to a 22nd place finish at the end of the race, which was run under extremely hot and humid conditions. The laps led today increased the Bud team's bonus points (given for leading a race or leading the most laps during a race) to a league-best 75 bonus points this season. The finish dropped the team one spot in the Winston Cup standings, where they are now in 17th place after 21 (of 36) races.

The Key Moments: Dale Jr., starting 3rd, stayed in that position for the first 11 laps of the race and then took advantage of a very quick fuel-only pit stop to take the lead for three circuits. After Tony Stewart passed Dale Jr. for the lead on lap 17, the rough-handling No. 8 car began to act like a rebellious and cantankerous two-year old. Dale Jr. fell back to 22nd position before the next yellow flag flew on lap 35. Despite numerous pit stops to try a variety of possible solutions, the car never again was cooperative or competitive, and the team was forced to utilize aggressive pit strategy (taking no tires, or only two tires) to gain valuable positions on the track.

Dale Jr's Quotes: "I don't know what to say. The car wouldn't turn. I think I was hollerin' that the car was really, really tight (front tires won't turn efficiently) from the first lap. That's about it - no grip - and really, really, really tight. It was like it was on three wheels or something. I just couldn't get on the gas. I don't know why - because yesterday (during practice) our car drove like a million bucks"

Looking at the race results: "Hey! Great job for Steve (Park, DEI teammate, who finished seventh) and those guys. That yellow (referring to the color of the No. 1 car) team has needed and deserved a good finish for a long time and they got one today. Good for them."

Best Radio Conversations
About the extreme heat and humidity that had concerned Dale Jr. and the team all weekend.

Dale Jr. "The heat in the car is not too bad out here. In fact, it may be a whole lot better than where y'all are standing"

During a mid-race caution-period, Dale Jr. reported on some odd goings-on in the cockpit.

Dale Jr: "There's some crazy (stuff) goin' on in here guys The gauge says I've got no water temperature. It was fine and then after that last stop, it just kept going down until it's pegged to the left"

Tony Eury Jr. (car chief): "Well, it's one of two things: the gauge is broke or you're leaking water."

Dale Jr.: "Does anyone know what that means? Can a gauge just break?"

Tony Jr: "It means the gauge may not be able to read steam if you're leaking water and you've run out. What's the oil temperature that'd go way up if you were out of water"

Dale Jr: "Oil temp and pressure is OK"

Tony Jr.: "Pops (crew chief Tony Eury Sr.) says we're staying out."

Today's Stats
Started: 3rd
Finished: 22nd
Points Position: 17th
Money Won: $125,280
Laps Led: Once for three laps (14-16)
Best Pit Stop: Lap 70 / Stop # 5 of 9 / 4 tires and Fuel / 14.22 seconds

-dei/budweiser-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Bill Elliott , Tony Eury Jr.