Pocono: Dale Earnhardt Jr race report

Carl Edwards tallied his second career victory Sunday at the Pocono 500, crossing the finish line ahead of Brian Vickers and Joe Nemechek. Edwards led 46 laps in his first-ever start at the odd, three-cornered Pocono Raceway. The no. 8...

Carl Edwards tallied his second career victory Sunday at the Pocono 500, crossing the finish line ahead of Brian Vickers and Joe Nemechek. Edwards led 46 laps in his first-ever start at the odd, three-cornered Pocono Raceway. The no. 8 Budweiser team with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. suffered two blown left-front tires before the race was 70 laps old, but repaired the damage on pit lane and returned to finish the race in the 33rd position, six laps behind Edwards. The rough day drops the team one position in the Nextel Cup point standings, falling to a tie for 16th place. After 14 races, Dale Jr. is now 101 points behind 10th place, the final qualifying spot for the season-ending Chase for the Cup.

Key Moments: Starting 35th, Dale Jr. moved as high as 22nd position before suffering a flat left front tire on lap 56. The flat dropped the Bud team one lap behind the leaders, but things went from bad to worse soon after, as a second flat tire slowed the red no. 8 car on lap 67. The flat tire quickly disintegrated, wrapping around the brake rotor and spindle, causing a fire and damaging the front sway bar and fender braces. The resulting repairs dropped the team five laps behind the leaders in 38th position. The remainder of the afternoon was spent logging laps with the driver reporting every subsequent flat tire or tire problems for many of the other competitors in the race.

Dale Jr. Quotes: "It's hard to find anything positive about a day like today. It's been a struggle all season, and today was another frustrating race. We had those flat tires -- and there wasn't much we could do. We fixed it as best we could and then just went out made laps. But, we're going to walk out of here with our heads held high. It's the only thing you can do: put it behind you and make it better for next weekend. Look forward."

Best Radio Chatter:

Dale Jr. remained calm, but frustrated, after a second flat tire caused a fairly ominous fire and damage to the left-front corner of the car.

Dale Jr: "Flat tire. Left front's flat."

Steve Hmiel (crew chief): "10-4. Gotcha."

Jimmy Kitchens (spotter): "There's a lotta sparks. It looks like it's down on the front sway bar."

Hmiel: "The left front's not turnin'. Let's get those fire extinguishers! (to Junior) Do you have brakes? Put that fire out first. Put out the fire! you alright in there June?"

Dale Jr: "'Bout as good as I could be, I guess!"

Hmiel: "Just makin' sure you're still breathin' alright in there."

Dale Jr.: "What's cutting the left fronts down?"

Hmiel: "We don't know. We aren't crazy on air pressures or camber. It's the fourth one so far today."

Dale Jr.: "I'll ride it to the third flat tire, but then you can get somebody else to get in here for the fourth!"

Lap 98, while five laps behind ...

Dale Jr: "The 21 (Ricky Rudd) has another flat tire!"

Hmiel: "If ya think ya got one, c'mon on in."

Dale Jr.: "NO! The 21! The 21 has another flat!"

Hmiel: "Oh, OK. Sorry. I'm just nervous."

Dale Jr.: "Heh. Yeah, me too."

-dei-

Jade Gurss -- fingerprint inc. -- Anheuser-Busch / Dale Earnhardt Jr. Publicity http://www.fingerprintonline.com

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<HTML><FONT FACE=arial,helvetica><HTML><B>Carl Edwards Wins Pocono, Tire Strif= e Troubles Dale Jr. </FONT><BR> </FONT><I>No. 8 Budweiser Team Suffers Two Blown Tires, Finishes 33rd  <BR> </I></B></FONT>Carl Edwards tallied his second career victory Sunday at the Poco= no 500, crossing the finish line ahead of Brian Vickers and Joe Nemechek. Ed= wards led 46 laps in his first-ever start at the odd, three-cornered Pocono=20= Raceway. The no. 8 Budweiser team with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. suffered tw= o blown left-front tires before the race was 70 laps old, but repaired the d= amage on pit lane and returned to finish the race in the 33rd position, six=20= laps behind Edwards. The rough day drops the team one position in the Nextel= Cup point standings, falling to a tie for 16th place. After 14 races, Dale=20= Jr. is now 101 points behind 10th place, the final qualifying spot for the s= eason-ending Chase for the Cup. <BR> <BR> </FONT><B>Key Moments:</B></FONT> Starting 35th, Dale Jr. moved as high as 22nd pos= ition before suffering a flat left front tire on lap 56. The flat dropped th= e Bud team one lap behind the leaders, but things went from bad to worse soo= n after, as a second flat tire slowed the red no. 8 car on lap 67. The flat=20= tire quickly disintegrated, wrapping around the brake rotor and spindle, cau= sing a fire and damaging the front sway bar and fender braces. The resulting= repairs dropped the team five laps behind the leaders in 38th position. The= remainder of the afternoon was spent logging laps with the driver reporting= every subsequent flat tire or tire problems for many of the other competito= rs in the race. <BR> <BR> </FONT><B>Dale Jr. Quotes:</B></FONT> =E2=80=9CIt=E2=80=99s hard to find anything po= sitive about a day like today. It=E2=80=99s been a struggle all season, and=20= today was another frustrating race. We had those flat tires =E2=80=93 and th= ere wasn=E2=80=99t much we could do. We fixed it as best we could and then j= ust went out made laps. But, we=E2=80=99re going to walk out of here with ou= r heads held high. It=E2=80=99s the only thing you can do: put it behind you= and make it better for next weekend. Look forward.=E2=80=9D<BR> <BR> </FONT><B>Best Radio Chatter: <BR> </B></FONT><I>Dale Jr. remained calm, but frustrated, after a second flat tire c= aused a fairly ominous fire and damage to the left-front corner of the car.=20= <BR> </I></FONT><B>Dale Jr: </B></FONT>=E2=80=9CFlat tire. Left front=E2=80=99s flat.=E2= =80=9D<BR> </FONT><B>Steve Hmiel</B></FONT> </FONT><I>(crew chief):</I></FONT> =E2=80=9C10-4. Gotcha.= =E2=80=9D<BR> </FONT><B>Jimmy Kitchens</B></FONT> </FONT><I>(spotter):</I></FONT> =E2=80=9CThere=E2=80=99s= a lotta sparks. It looks like it=E2=80=99s down on the front sway bar.=E2= =80=9D<BR> </FONT><B>Hmiel</B></FONT>: =E2=80=9CThe left front=E2=80=99s not turnin.=E2=80=99 L= et=E2=80=99s get those fire extinguishers=E2=80=A6. </FONT><I>(to Junior)</I><FONT COLOR=3D"#000000" FACE=3D"Geneva" FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" SIZE=3D"2">= Do you have brakes? Put that fire out first. Put out the fire=E2=80=A6 you=20= alright in there June?=E2=80=9D<BR> </FONT><B>Dale Jr</B></FONT>: =E2=80=9C=E2=80=99Bout as good as I could be, I guess= =E2=80=A6.=E2=80=9D <BR> </FONT><B>Hmiel:</B></FONT> =E2=80=9CJust makin=E2=80=99 sure you=E2=80=99re still b= reathin=E2=80=99 alright in there.=E2=80=9D<BR> </FONT><B>Dale Jr.:</B></FONT> =E2=80=9CWhat=E2=80=99s cutting the left fronts down?= =E2=80=9D<BR> </FONT><B>Hmiel</B></FONT>: =E2=80=9CWe don=E2=80=99t know. We aren=E2=80=99t crazy=20= on air pressures or camber. It=E2=80=99s the fourth one so far today.=E2=80= =9D<BR> </FONT><B>Dale Jr.:</B></FONT> =E2=80=9CI=E2=80=99ll ride it to the third flat tire,= but then you can get somebody else to get in here for the fourth=E2=80=A6= =E2=80=9D<BR> <BR> </FONT><I>Lap 98, while five laps behind=E2=80=A6<BR> </I></FONT><B>Dale Jr: </B></FONT>=E2=80=9CThe 21 (Ricky Rudd) has another flat tire= =E2=80=A6=E2=80=9D<BR> </FONT><B>Hmiel:</B></FONT> =E2=80=9CIf ya think ya got one, c=E2=80=99mon on in.= =E2=80=9D<BR> </FONT><B>Dale Jr.:</B></FONT> =E2=80=9CNO! The 21! The 21 has another flat!=E2=80= =9D<BR> </FONT><B>Hmiel:</B></FONT> =E2=80=9COh, OK. Sorry. I=E2=80=99m just nervous.=E2=80= =9D<BR> </FONT><B>Dale Jr.:</B></FONT> =E2=80=9CHeh. Yeah, me too.=E2=80=9D <BR> <BR> </FONT><B>Today's Stats<BR> Started:</B></FONT>          =20=      35h<BR> </FONT><B>Finished</B></FONT>:         = 33rd (-6 laps)<BR> </FONT><B>Led</B></FONT>:           -- =     <BR> </FONT><B>Points:</B></FONT>      16th place (-1 spot, -500 to l= eader, -101 to 10th place)<BR> </FONT><B>Best Pit Stop:      </B></FONT>Stop #2 of 8 / lap 45 /= 14.00 seconds / 4 tires and fuel lap<BR> <BR> </FONT><I>Budweiser, the King of Beers.</I></FONT><BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> Jade Gurss<BR> -- fingerprint inc.<BR> -- Anheuser-Busch / Dale Earnhardt Jr. Publicity<BR> </FONT><A HREF=3D"http://www.fingerprintonline.com">http://www.fingerprintonline= .com</A></FONT><BR> </FONT></FONT></HTML> --part1_6.46f07334.2fde0ba4_boundary--

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Series NASCAR-CUP