JUSTIN, Texas (April 4, 2002) - Kerry Earnhardt finished right where he started in the O'Reilly 300 Busch Grand National race at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday afternoon, bringing the SUPERCUTSÂ®/Mitel Networks Chevrolet home in 23rd place. Only...
JUSTIN, Texas (April 4, 2002) - Kerry Earnhardt finished right where he started in the O'Reilly 300 Busch Grand National race at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday afternoon, bringing the SUPERCUTS®/Mitel Networks Chevrolet home in 23rd place.
Only 116 of the 200 laps were completed, as rain set in over the speedway and washed away the ending; this after a morning shower delayed the event nearly four hours. Earnhardt had worked his way up to 14th with a pass of Jamie McMurray just prior to the race's third caution. But handling problems then caused the No. 12 Chevy to backtrack a bit at the end, sending the SUPERCUTS®/Mitel Networks machine home just shy of a top-20.
"We tested here, and I think it helped us," Earnhardt said. "The speeds were fast all weekend, and we learned a lot for next time. This is the kind of track that you're glad just to be around at the end."
Some cars weren't. A multi-car accident on lap 46 had the field running pace laps for 20 laps. The final caution came at lap 111, and pit strategy eventually won the race for Jeff Purvis. Leader Jack Sprague had led 57 laps, but he took on four tires on the final round of pit stops. Purvis, who was running ninth, took only two tires, giving him enough time to beat Sprague out of the pits.
From there, Mother Nature took over. With the field still running behind the pace car, the bottom fell out from up above, prompting the red flag. It took NASCAR mere minutes to call the race and proclaim Purvis the winner.
Sprague finished second followed by Joe Nemecheck, Scott Riggs and Jeff Green. Sprague had led laps 43 to 109 before surrendering his advantage under caution. Purvis' only laps led were under the final yellow flag.
The SUPERCUTS®/Mitel Networks team will move on to Nashville Superspeedway next Saturday for the Pepsi 300. The race is slated for a 3 p.m. start and will air live on FX.