Earnhardt Jr gets his first Phoenix victory

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. took the lead with fifty laps to go, and was unbeatable in the races closing laps. Even a late race caution, at lap 300 of 312, could not help the rest of the field catch the No. 8 Chevy. Earnhardt earns his second win of the...

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. took the lead with fifty laps to go, and was unbeatable in the races closing laps. Even a late race caution, at lap 300 of 312, could not help the rest of the field catch the No. 8 Chevy. Earnhardt earns his second win of the season, and first at Phoenix International Raceway.

"We've been wanting to win one of these races for a long time," said a beer- soaked Earnhardt in victory lane. "We've run so good this year, and come so close a bunch of times, but they gave me a great car today and I could just pass and do whatever."

Earnhardt led three times for 87 laps on his way to his ninth career victory.

"Jimmie's (Johnson) a clean race car driver," said Earnhardt on his battle with the No. 48. "I could race him without worrying about him making too many mistakes, or me making a mistake around him, cause he makes you comfortable. His car was going away a little bit at the end, and mine wasn't. We were finally good at the end."

Jimmie Johnson was second, scoring his 18th top ten of the season.

"It's been a great year for us on the flat tracks," said Johnson. "So close today, we had a great race car.Junior got by me, he was so tough and we were so equal, I don't think I really had anything for him."

Pole sitter Ryan Newman was third, it is Newman's 16th top-five result of 2003.

"That's our best run here at Phoenix," said Newman. "Another top five for the team, great effort. Just wish we could have won it."

Kurt Busch and Michael Waltrip complete the top five.

"The boys did a great job for me," said Waltrip. "We were real confident after practice yesterday.great day considering the last ten races."

Championship leader Matt Kenseth, who took a provisional and started 37th finished 6th, he leads the race for the last Winston Cup trophy by 228 points.

"Great day," said Kenseth. "It puts us in a great position with two races left.we just missed the top five by a fender, so overall it was a great day for us."

Earnhardt remains second in series rankings, while Jimmie Johnson climbs a spot to third, 241 points shy of Kenseth.

Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman round out the top-five Winston Cup trophy contenders, with 101 points separating positions one through five.

The day's most important crash came late in the race, as a number of cars were racing for tenth position. Involved were the vehicles of Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte, Rusty Wallace and Scott Wimmer. It's heartbreak for Kevin Harvick who was attempting to make some points back on Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Harvick plummets from third to sixth in points, 351 points behind the leader.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Scott Wimmer