Budweiser Winston Cup Race Report Another Wild Finish At Pocono Earnhardt Jr. 13th While Wallace Wins Rusty Wallace won the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway when his teammate Jeremy Mayfield blew a right front tire while leading on the...
Budweiser Winston Cup Race Report
Another Wild Finish At Pocono
Earnhardt Jr. 13th While Wallace Wins
Rusty Wallace won the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway when his teammate Jeremy Mayfield blew a right front tire while leading on the final lap. Mayfield dropped to a tenth-place finish while Jeff Burton finished a close second behind Wallace. Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove a back-up Budweiser Chevrolet to a 13th place finish after starting the race at the back of the 43-car starting grid. Earnhardt Jr. was uninjured in a vicious practice crash Saturday morning that destroyed his primary race car. Dale Jr. had qualified 15th in Friday's Bud Pole qualifying session.
The Key Moment:
Starting from the back, Earnhardt Jr. took advantage of a fast car and fast pit work to climb as high as eighth position on lap 146 (of 200). The Budweiser crew called Dale Jr. into the pits on that lap, but when a yellow flag came out (due to a blown tire suffered by father and car owner Dale Earnhardt), the pits were closed. By the time Dale Jr. pitted on the following lap, the car had run out of fuel, and the red No. 8 coasted silently and slowly into the pit stall. After a lengthy push down pit lane, the car re-fired, but Earnhardt had dropped to 30th position. In the final 48 laps, Dale Jr. charged back up through the field, finishing 13th.
Dale Junior's Quotes:
About the effects of Saturday's crash: "How cool is it that the crew worked on the back-up car with very little practice time and we were that good? I didn't feel too bad in the car until the last caution period there (on lap 165) - I thought about it a bit and then I started feeling really sore. I told the guys I needed some aspirin when this thing is done."
"No tellin' where we woulda finished if we wouldn't have run out of fuel there. We might've been in the top five. We were coming into the pits that lap, but when they threw the caution, NASCAR closed the pits and we had to do another lap. Tony Jr. (car chief Eury) told me 'save fuel, you'll need it.' He was right!"
"We had some awesome pit stops - I think we gained eight spots on the first stop. It seemed like every time we came in we gained some positions."
Pennsylvania 500 Race Notes
"RACE FOR THE GOLD"
This is the final week for consumers to enter to win the $5 million "Budweiser Race for the Gold" sweepstakes. Fans (21 and older) can register at www.Budweiser.com until July 28. The winning fan will receive a trip to the Sydney, Australia Olympic games and a trip to the goracing.com 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, August 26. The winning consumer will score $2.25 million from Bud if Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins the race at Bristol and Kenny Bernstein wins the US Nationals at Indianapolis, September 4.
Points Points Points
Dale Jr. remains 14th in Winston Cup points, but lost ground to Matt Kenseth in the rookie-of-the-year race. Kenseth finished fifth, which gained him six bonus points in the rookie race.
Earnhardt Jr. was uninjured in a vicious crash in turn two during Saturday morning's practice session. As a precaution, Earnhardt was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, PA and was given a battery of tests, including a CAT scan.
The crash seriously damaged the chassis that had carried Earnhardt Jr. to victory in the Winston in May and the team raced with the chassis that had previously raced at Darlington in March.