Michigan II: Dale Earnhardt Jr race report

Newman wins at Michigan, Dale Jr. 32nd No. 8 Budweiser Team knocked out of contention on pit lane Ryan Newman won for the fifth this season, milking his final tank of fuel to the finish of Sundayâ^À^Ùs Michigan 400. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and ...

Newman wins at Michigan, Dale Jr. 32nd
No. 8 Budweiser Team knocked out of contention on pit lane

Ryan Newman won for the fifth this season, milking his final tank of fuel to the finish of Sundayâ^À^Ùs Michigan 400. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 8 Budweiser team were climbing through the top-10, and heading toward pit lane when Rusty Wallace turned hard right into the Bud car, knocking Dale Jr. into the grass and damaging the car. After the contact, Dale Jr. was further plagued by flat left-front tires, finishing 32nd, seven laps behind the leaders. Kevin Harvick finished second with Tony Stewart in third. Dale Jr. remains second in Winston Cup points, but dropped 329 points behind the leader Matt Kenseth. Kenseth finished ninth.

The Key Moments:

Dale Jr. started 19th, and unlike his usual dash forward at the start, dropped rapidly through the field. Dale Jr. fell back as far as 40th position on lap 11. After making adjustments during a pit stop on lap 16, Dale Jr. rocketed back through the field. Restarting in 39th, Dale Jr. needed only 40 laps to climb back into the top-10. The Bud car continued to improve, moving as high as seventh place, until an unbelievable moment when Wallace turned right while coming into pit lane, slamming into the No. 8 machine. The damage to the nose of the Budweiser machine was extensive. After a series of repairs, the Bud machine blew a left front tire on lap 88, causing more severe damage and dropping the team to 36th place, two laps behind the leaders. Dale Jr. soldiered on for the final half of the race, finishing 32nd.

Dale Jr. Quotes:

"At the start of the race, the car was real loose and the back end was coming around. We came in on the first stop and pulled a spring rubber out of the right rear and dropped the track bar. The car was awesome and we climbed back to about 13th, when the caution came out. After that, we made it to seventh."

"The caution came out again (lap 78), and we were trying to decide to pit or not pit, and the guy beside me decided he was going back onto the race track and I was there. We kind of ran into each other, spun around, and it tore the nose up real bad. It threw the left front tire out of alignment."

"We just tried to salvage the most points as we could today. I really wanted to park it, but you have to stay out there and try to get as many points as you can. It's not exactly how we wanted to end up today, but I had a great car so I can't complain. You don't want to run around all day in a torn up race car, but it's going to happen. We've got a race next weekend, so we'll move on and get prepared for it."

Best Radio Conversations

The Bud car was a wicked handful for Dale Jr. in the early laps of the race. Spotter Ty Norris did all he could to keep Junior focused while fighting an evil handling car.

Ty Norris (on lap 11): "Just survive right now buddy. Just hang in there."

Norris (after yellow flag on lap 16): "Good job Junior. That was wicked, guys."

Dale Jr (to the crew): "It was like the right front tire was flat. It rolled over on the right front every corner. Please let me know you have an idea of why that is. I mean, I don't wanna argue, I was just really loose and I need to know you guys can fix it..."

Thirty laps after the blown tire, Dale Jr. discussed the pit lane incident with the crew.

Dale Jr: "When we were coming around, all I heard from you (Tony Eury Jr.) was static. I didn't know what to do so I followed the leaders. It's nobody's fault, so there's no need to kick and scream at each other."

Tony Eury Jr (car chief): "I wanted to stay out. I didn't think it would have helped us."

Dale Jr: "I was just following the leaders. When you told me what to do, all I heard was static."

Tony Jr.: "We're only two laps down so let's not get crazy, we're alright..."

America's Sport? It's No Longer Baseball...

Dale Jr. appeared on the cover of today's USA Weekend magazine, an insert in more than 40,000,000 newspapers across the country. Dale Jr. appeared with Oakland A's Cy Young Award winner, Barry Zito.


A crew from VH-1 spent time at the track this weekend, shooting footage for an upcoming documentary on Dale Jr., Tony Stewart and the rock band 3 Doors Down...

Special thanks this weekend to Rick Oleshak of Anheuser-Busch.

Nothing's better than a cold Bud at the end of a long day. Unless you drink one while logging in to www.Budweiser.com for all of the latest Dale Jr. news, games, music, short films and more! True.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Kevin Harvick , Ryan Newman