Earnhardt Jr, Budweiser 2001 season recap

<pre> 2001 In the Rearview Mirror Dale Earnhardt Jr. / No. 8 Budweiser Team NASCAR Winston Cup Statistics Category 2001 2000 Career ('99-'01) Starts 36 34 ...

<pre> 2001 In the Rearview Mirror Dale Earnhardt Jr. / No. 8 Budweiser Team

NASCAR Winston Cup Statistics Category 2001 2000 Career ('99-'01) Starts 36 34 75 Wins 3 2* 5* Bud Poles 2 2 4 Points Finish 8 16 -- Top Five Finishes 9 3 12 Top 10 Finishes 15 4 20 Top 10 Starts 12 14 27 Average Finish 15 21 19 Average Start 17 15 16 Prize Money $5,382,565 $2,583,075 $8,127,731 Races Led 16 10 27 Laps Led 765 427 1193 Races w/Most Laps Led 4 2 6 Did Not Finish (DNFs) 4 7 12

(*These totals do not include victory in the Winston non-points race in May 2000.) </pre>

The No. 8 Budweiser team improved in every statistical category (except average start and top-10 starts) during 2001, their second full season in NASCAR Winston Cup competition.

The team won three races in 2001: the Pepsi 400 at Daytona (July 7), the Cal Ripken MBNA 400 at Dover (Sept. 23) and the EA Sports 500 at Talladega (Oct. 21). Three wins placed Dale Jr. third in overall victories. Jeff Gordon (six), Dale Jarrett (four) and Tony Stewart (three) were the other leading victors.

The No. 8 Budweiser team recovered from a low point of 26th in points following the spring race at Bristol to as high as sixth in only 16 races before finishing eighth, an improvement of 100 percent compared to 2000.

Dale Jr. led 765 laps this season, third best behind Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace. He led the most laps in four races this year (three were victories, plus Atlanta in November).

Comparing 2001 race results versus the 2000 season, the No. 8 Budweiser team improved their finishing position in 24 out of 34 races. (Kansas and Chicago were new events for 2001.)

Number of tracks with new career-best finishes in 2001: 14 (out of 21 tracks)

The No. 8 Budweiser team won a million-dollar bonus from Winston in the No Bull 5 promotion at the EA Sports 500 at Talladega. It was the team's first No Bull victory in their third attempt at the million-buck bounty. Carrie Richter of Conneaut, Ohio also won a million dollars in the Winston promotion. The victory makes them eligible for the next No Bull 5 event at Las Vegas in March 2002.

Dale Jr. qualified for the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona in 2002 with two Bud Poles in 2001 at Texas (April) and Atlanta (Nov.). He also won two Bud Poles in 2000.

Dale Earnhardt Inc. was the only team in 2001 with three different winning drivers. Michael Waltrip (Daytona, Feb.), Steve Park (Rockingham, Feb.) and Dale Jr. (three victories) all found the winner's circle this season. DEI swept the victories at both Daytona races, and three out of four restrictor-plate races.

Dale Jr's four restrictor plate finishes were second (Daytona, Feb.), eighth (Talladega, April), first (Daytona, July) and first (Talladega, Oct.). Dale Jr. led 229 laps and 588.5 miles during the four races, more than twice as many laps and miles as any other driver.

Dale Jr's three victories helped Chevrolet win the NASCAR Winston Cup Manufacturers' Championship for the 26th time and the first time since 1998.

His four career Bud Poles places Dale Jr. 45th in Winston Cup history. Dale Jr. still holds one-lap qualifying records at Charlotte and Michigan since he won the Bud Pole with record laps at both tracks in 2000.

His five victories place him 55th in the all-time career win category in NASCAR Winston Cup history. He shares that position with four accomplished racers: Alan Kulwicki, Dan Gurney, Ralph Moody and Dave Marcis. The next victory will place him in a lone spot: no driver currently has six career victories.

In the "modern era" of Winston Cup (since 1972), Dale Jr. is 27th in victories (tied with Kulwicki), and ranks 13th among active Winston Cup drivers.

Among all-time Winston Cup money winners, Dale Jr. has already leaped into the top 30. His Talladega million dollar bonus launched him past Richard Petty in career winnings in only his 70th career start. (Petty had 1,185 starts in his career!) Dale Jr's "average dollar winnings per-start" ($108,369) is second all-time to Jeff Gordon.


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Steve Park , Dan Gurney , Richard Petty , Alan Kulwicki