Talladega II: Dale Earnhardt Jr race report

Bud Team an Early Victim in Talladega Crash-fest Dale Jarrett beats Tony Stewart in wild finish A wreck on the final lap of the UAW-Ford 500 left NASCAR referring to its scoring loops and computer system to determine a winner between...

Bud Team an Early Victim in Talladega Crash-fest
Dale Jarrett beats Tony Stewart in wild finish

A wreck on the final lap of the UAW-Ford 500 left NASCAR referring to its scoring loops and computer system to determine a winner between Tony Stewart and Dale Jarrett. When the verdict fell, the 48-year old Jarrett was determined the leader when the final yellow waved, hence giving him the victory at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday. The final lap, which was already part of a green-white-checkered extension, was one of only two Jarrett led all day. Matt Kenseth finished third. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #8 Budweiser team had the horse to be a player at the end, but a multi-car wreck on lap 19 took them out of contention. Dale Jr. finished 40th with his fourth DNF of the season. As a result, he drops one spot to 18th in the Nextel Cup point standings.

Key Moments:

Starting 20th, Dale Jr. needed only five laps to climb into the top-10 and eight laps to reach the top-five. He was battling with the front-runners when contact between Jimmie Johnson and Elliott Sadler -- in fourth and fifth respectively -- caused a chain-reaction, multi-car pile-up in turn 2. The Budweiser Chevrolet slammed into the 48 car and careened into the outside wall. With nowhere to go, Mark Martin's #6 Ford then plowed into the Bud Chevy. Dale Jr. limped the mangled car to the garage but was unable to continue the race.

Dale Jr. Quotes:

"I don't really know what happened, but the car is tore up pretty bad. The 48 car had to slow down for something, and I couldn't get slowed down, and I ran in the back of him. I had nowhere to go. From what I'm told he got into Elliott (Sadler) in front of him and turned Elliott around. I don't know how they got checked up or what they checked up for. You'd have to ask them. I didn't really see that. I went down in the corner and everybody stopped. Then I saw in my mirror cars on their roof. I'm glad everybody's OK. I'm glad Michael (Waltrip) is OK. He took a wild ride."

Is this a product of restrictor-plate racing, and racing too hard too early?

"Racing is what we get paid to do. That was an accident, and accidents happen. That wasn't a case of bump drafting. It was just hard racing right there. We're all together, so it's hard to miss something when we're going so fast. You can turn left, but the car is still going to go straight. It's just frustrating. The car was super-fast. These guys worked really hard on it. They cut the whole body off it and built it back together in two weeks, and it's pretty much destroyed again now."

Best Radio Chatter: With only 18 green-flag laps registered Sunday, the Budweiser team's radio activity consisted primarily of spotter Jimmy Kitchens guiding Dale Jr. through crazy three-wide and four-wide racing -- that is, until the wreck on the 19th circuit.

Kitchens: "We got crashed guys. He's still rolling."

Dale Jr.: "They checked up in front of me... couldn't tell what happened, but I got into the 48 pretty hard."

Tony Eury Jr. (crew chief): "What kind of body damage do we got?JGot any flat tires?"

Dale Jr.: "I got a lot of damage. I hit pretty hard."

Tony Jr.: "OK, bud, see if you can get it here, and we'll see what we got."

Kitchens: "Guys, he's on pit road. Coming to you. (Pause) Actually, he's going to the garage, Tony Jr."

Tony Jr.: "Ten-four."

Kitchens: "The left-front is hit pretty hard."

Kitchens: "Martin just came on the radio and told Stevie (Reeves, spotter) here we're junk. We're pretty crashed up here."

Tony Jr.: "That was Michael turning over, wasn't it?"

Kitchens: "Yeah, believe so."

Tony Jr.: "Did he get out?"

Kitchens: "Uhh, I can't tell."

-dei-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Jarrett , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Jimmie Johnson , Elliott Sadler , Tony Eury Jr. , Mark Martin