Dover: Dale Earnhardt Jr race report

Budweiser Team Struggles at Dover, Finishes 22nd Greg Biffle takes fourth win of season Greg Biffle led 150 of 400 laps to win Sunday's MBNA RacePoints 400 at Dover International Speedway, his fourth victory of the year. Biffle dominated the ...

Budweiser Team Struggles at Dover, Finishes 22nd
Greg Biffle takes fourth win of season

Greg Biffle led 150 of 400 laps to win Sunday's MBNA RacePoints 400 at Dover International Speedway, his fourth victory of the year. Biffle dominated the latter half of the race, dropping out of the lead only briefly during a final series of green-flag pit stops with 20 to go. He regained the top spot 16 laps from the finish and beat rookie Kyle Busch by 4.28 seconds. Mark Martin finished third and Jimmie Johnson fourth. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the Budweiser team finished 22nd after spending the entire afternoon trying to find the handle of their #8 Chevy. Dale Jr. remains 15th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 79 points out of the top-10.

Key Moments:

With the #8 car "bouncing like a jackhammer" on both ends of the one-mile track, the Bud team never found a combination that would take the car higher than its original starting position of 15th. It wasn't because of lack of effort. The Brew Crew made countless adjustments over the course of seven pit stops to try to fix the poor-handling car, but received minimal results. After hanging on to the lead lap for much of the day, Dale Jr. was passed by the leaders on lap 273. He maintained "lucky dog" position for a brief period of time and would have benefited from a timely caution had it come out, but a long green-flag run and a deteriorating race car in the final stages prevented a repeat of last year's comeback performance in this race.

Dale Jr. Quotes:

"Not much fun out there today. We struggled with the car; never really could find out how to make it work through the corners. The last two runs were the worst it had been all day, and I thought for sure I was gonna be crashin'. I'm not sure where we finished, but I know it wasn't good."

You finished 22nd.

Really!?! Hell, that's a lot better than I thought. I figured I was in the 30s somewhere. Considering how bad our car was, I'll take a 22nd."

How are you feeling physically? It was a hot day, and that was a long race.

"I'm actually pretty sore from the car bouncing and throwing me around so much. I felt like I was in a paint-can shaker with a cinder block tied to my back. The car just bounced, bounced, bounced all day through the corners, and it didn't matter what we did, the bounce never went away. But it's cool. We've got to get better, and we know it. This is a track we've never really been consistent at. Sometimes we do good, sometimes we do bad. But we'll learn from this. We're going to test at Michigan this week, and then head to Pocono. Looking forward to it."

Best Radio Chatter:

Dale Jr. provided detail of the awkward "bouncy" feeling during the fifth caution on lap 136.

Steve Hmiel (crew chief): "How we doing, June?"

Dale Jr.: "Slidin'! Bouncin'! Looser in, tighter off. (Long Pause) Bouncin' the front real bad right there ... "

Hmiel: "The bouncin' is worse now?"

Dale Jr.: "Yeah, I think so. Not so much the back. Towards the front was bouncin' real bad... Not chattering. Bouncing like a jackhammer. Exactly like a jackhammer, but if the jackhammer had a rubber tip like I have rubber tires, Think about how that would feel... that's exactly what it feels like. That would be harder to control if it had a rubber tip than a steel one."

Having struggled all day with the handle, the Bud team elected to go back to the original set-up.

Hmiel: "Still bouncing?"

Dale Jr.: "It was at the start. Right there it was just sliding the nose. We're going backwards. The car just has no grip at the start. Then it just takes forever for it to come in. It was just getting drivable there at the end. Hell, for a long time I was about to crash from spinning out. It just started getting decent (before the caution came out)."

After the pit stop:

Hmiel: "We had gotten nervous about our air pressures being too high, June, and we came off them, and that looks like a mistake. We've gone back to where we were at the beginning, and we put the rubber back in the left rear (spring)."

Dale Jr.: "Okay."

-dei-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Greg Biffle , Jimmie Johnson , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin