Budweiser race report, Dale Jr. 31st at Bristol

Elliott Sadler won his first career Winston Cup race Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway, taking the checkered flag at the Food City 500. Sadler, who topped John Andretti by less than half a second, won in his 75th career start, and secured the first...

Elliott Sadler won his first career Winston Cup race Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway, taking the checkered flag at the Food City 500. Sadler, who topped John Andretti by less than half a second, won in his 75th career start, and secured the first victory for the Wood Brothers team since 1993. It is the 97th victory in the long NASCAR history of the Wood Brothers race team. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 8 Budweiser team were involved in crash on lap 381. The team repaired the car and returned to the track, but finished 31st, 44 laps behind.

The Key Moment: Starting 9th, Dale Jr. stayed among the top 10 for the first 60 laps, but fell backwards when the handling on the Bud car began to deteriorate. Dale Jr. dropped back as far as 30th place, but managed to hang onto the lead lap for more than 300 laps. It was similar to an action movie where the hero slips and falls over the edge of a cliff, but manages to hold on by his fingertips. His grip finally failed on lap 317, when he went one lap down to the leader. Our hero managed to bounce back, however, climbing back onto the lead lap on the 370th lap. With an ever-improving car, Dale Jr. bounded back into the top 20 only to get swept up in a multi-car accident on lap 380. The team welded, hammered and bent the car back into shape, returning to the race 44 laps down.

Dale Jr's Quotes: About the crash: "I feel sorry for my guys. I saw the 17 car (Matt Kenseth) get sideways and I thought there was gonna be a helluva wreck. I slowed up and somebody just ran over me. I got hit in the right rear and spun before I knew what happened."

"We were terrible early on. The car just wouldn't turn -- the front tires would just hop and skip across the track. We really fell back, but then the car just got better and better with each pit stop. We were pretty good on longer runs.

About gaining a lap back: "Hell yeah! I've never gotten a lap back like that in my whole career! I drove like (mad) to keep up with the 43 (leader John Andretti). We were movin' up!"

More MTV Updates The one-hour documentary about Dale Jr. ("True Life: I'm a Race Car Driver") is now scheduled to air on MTV beginning Saturday, April 21.

Another MTV show, "Cribs," a behind-the-scenes look at celebrity homes will also feature Dale Jr. next month. Tune in beginning April 19 to see Dale's crib and his many vehicles.

Today's Stats <pre> Started: 9th Finished: 31st Current Points Position: 26th Money Won: $77,266 Laps Led: 0 Best Pit Stop: Lap150 / 15.33 seconds

-Budweiser Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers John Andretti , Matt Kenseth , Elliott Sadler