Charlotte Budweiser race preview: The Winston

Dale Jr. Quotes "I think it's the most fun race no matter what they pay to win because it's all-out, no hanging back, no messin' around. They don't need to pay $500,000 to win this race! It would be just as fun to win if they gave you ten bucks.

Dale Jr. Quotes

"I think it's the most fun race no matter what they pay to win because it's all-out, no hanging back, no messin' around. They don't need to pay $500,000 to win this race! It would be just as fun to win if they gave you ten bucks. That last ten laps is like being in the middle of a mosh pit or being thrown in among a pack of angry wolves. There were so many times last year that we could have been in those wrecks, but managed to avoid them.

"The winner's circle last year was the happiest time I think I ever spent with my dad. It was just a great time. I felt like I had really done something you know -- like 'hell yeah, I did this!' And I knew dad felt the same way. He said ‘this is cool.' He didn't have a plane to catch, so we just hung out there and had one helluva time. The stage was right on the track near the crowd and it felt like a rock concert out there.

"It was an incredible race. I had a great car, but we kept having trouble. We almost lost a lap when we had loose lug nuts on the left rear wheel but the yellow flag came out and we were saved. Then, I came off of turn four chasin' Rusty (Wallace) and ran into the wall. I thought that would hurt us, but the car was still great. With eight laps to go, Tony (Eury) and the boys said 'c'mon on in, we're goin for it!' It was gutsy, and we made it pay off. I knew I had a fast car, but it was so few laps to make up that many spots. We were lucky that our car worked in the high groove, because that meant we could get around cars much faster, and I was able to catch Dale Jarrett with one to go. That race is my proudest moment as a driver."

Dale Jr. at the Winston
Previous Winston All-Star Races: 1
Best Start: 5th
Best Finish: 1st
Worst Finish: 1st

Dale Jr. was the second rookie in NASCAR history to qualify outright for NASCAR's all-star race, and he made it count, becoming the only first-year driver to take home the winner's purse (a total of $516,000 for 70 laps of racing). He started fifth, and then finished third in both of the 30-lap preliminary segments. In the final 10-lap bash for cash, he pitted with 8 laps to go for 4 tires, and then came from 10th to first by the white flag lap. He ledonly two of the 70 laps, but they were the ones that counted at the end. The crowd went berserk, prompting one newspaper to proclaim "Juniormania!" in a banner headline the next day.

The Bud team returned five nights later to set a Winston Cup track record in qualifying on the Bud Pole for the Coca-Cola 600. Dale Jr. led 175 laps of the race and finished fourth.

What: The Winston 70 Laps / 105 miles / 1.5-mile oval
Non-Points Race / $2 million purse
Where: Lowe's Motor Speedway / Concord,NC
When: Saturday,May 19 / 9:00pm
Watch: FX-TV / Pre-race:7:00 pm (the Winston Open preceeds the Winston.)
(All Times Eastern)

Bud Pole Qualifying:

Bud Pole qualifying will be seen live Friday at 8:00 p.m. on FX. The Winston Cup practice session will also be seen on the FoxSports Network Friday afternoon at 3:00 pm.

What to Watch

With the possible exception of the Bristol night race, this event is the most heavily anticipated for teams, drivers and fans. With big money and no points on the line, it becomes an all-out sprint to the finish, harkening back to the Saturday-night short-track roots of many competitors. The pre-race spectacle is one to behold and it leads beautifully into a race that almost always produces hard racing, hard crashes and a lot of fun.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett