Tony Stewart Wins at Charlotte, Dale Jr. Ninth No. 8 Budweiser Team Grabs 18th Top-10 of 2003 Tony Stewart passed Ryan Newman in the closing laps to win Saturday night's UAW-GM 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte, NC. Newman finished ...
Tony Stewart Wins at Charlotte, Dale Jr. Ninth
No. 8 Budweiser Team Grabs 18th Top-10 of 2003
Tony Stewart passed Ryan Newman in the closing laps to win Saturday night's UAW-GM 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte, NC. Newman finished second, followed by Jimmie Johnson in third. The No. 8 Budweiser team with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished ninth. They have now recorded a team-record 18 top-10 finishes with five races remaining in the season. Earning five bonus points for leading the race, Dale Jr. remained in third place in the Winston Cup point standings, behind Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick.
The Key Moments: Dale Jr. started from the 11th position, and ran among the top-10 for the vast majority of the 334-lap event. The No. 8 Budweiser car led two laps mid-race when the team was able to stretch their fuel mileage further than the other top competitors. Several aggressive pit stops gained the team positions in the final half of the race, but the red No. 8 car gradually dropped from fourth place to ninth in the final 120 laps.
Dale Jr. Quotes:
"Ninth won't win any awards. I would have liked to have finished in the top-five because I think we had a car that could run with the top five when it was handling like it should. After the last two pit stops, the car was loose, and I couldn't get on the gas like I wanted. I just wasn't comfortable with the car for the last 100 miles or so..."
"This is a bumpy track, and we fought all night with the front of the car hitting the ground over the bumps, especially near the (cross-over) gate in turn one. It would upset the car enough that the rear brakes would lock. The rear tires were coming off the ground, and that was enough to lock 'em up. We could run with anybody in turns three and four, but I was never able to get a lot of torque coming off the turns to be really fast going down the straights. I had to hit it perfect in the corners to have a good lap. Look at this (points to the bottom of his right shoe), I darn near bent this damn shoe I was pushing the pedal so hard..."
Best Radio Conversations
During the pace laps, before the race began...
Ty Norris: (spotter): "Hey Junior, do you see your pit? It's right there to your left..."
Dale Jr.: (laughing) "I see it. It's where all them idiots are standing on the wall... (silence) Hey now- y'all don't take it so personal! I was joking..."
The race included a series of long green-flag segments, leading to long
moments of silence on the radio...
Dale Jr.: "Well... anybody? How's my lap times? Somebody?"
Tony Jr: "That last lap was great..."
Dale Jr.: (sarcasric) "Hey, thanks for letting me know that was a great lap."
Tony Jr: "And that one there was even better..."
Under a yellow flag on lap 206, Dale Jr. received an unexpected
Dale Jr.: "I don't know what it is about this place. This track is the hardest to concentrate when the field gets spread out and I'm running by myself out there. I start to wonder what's going on in the condos or what's happenin' in the pits...."
Teresa Earnhardt (team owner, answering on the radio from her track-side condo in turn one): "Hey, we're up here watching ya!"
Dale Jr. (sounding surprised) "Hey! Are ya havin' a good time?"
Teresa: "Just watching you! That exit from the pits was really good that time."
Dale Jr: "Hey, I'm wheelin' it!"
Today's Best Celebrity Guests: Carmen Electra, R&B singer Monica and former Olympic gold-medalist Bruce Jenner.
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