Talladega: Dale Earnhardt Jr race report

Budweiser Team 15th at Talladega After Late Crash Gordon repeats Aaron's 499 victory TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Jeff Gordon led 139 of 194 laps and survived a green-white-checkered finish to repeat as winner of the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Budweiser Team 15th at Talladega After Late Crash
Gordon repeats Aaron's 499 victory

TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Jeff Gordon led 139 of 194 laps and survived a green-white-checkered finish to repeat as winner of the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Tony Stewart finished second and Michael Waltrip third. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #8 Budweiser team finished 15th, this after being involved in a six-car accident two laps from the scheduled finish. Dale Jr. was in sixth place when the accident took place. The finish broke a string of eight consecutive top-10s at Talladega. Even so, he still improved three positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings to ninth (1070 pts.), putting him in the top-10 for the first time since the season-opening Daytona 500.

Key Moments:

Starting 36th, it didn't take long for Dale Jr. to become a factor, as he needed only 10 laps to take over 12th position and a few more to climb into the top 10. He took his first and only lead on lap 89 with a gusty pass of Kevin Harvick, holding the point for three laps. On lap 132 he narrowly missed the biggest crash of the afternoon -- a 25-car accident that required a 43-minute red-flag period to clean up the carnage. Junior was in second place for a lap-174 restart, but he couldn't hold the position. He slipped to as far back as 13th with eight to go, staged a late rally, and was knocking on the door of a top-five before the wreck took him out of contention.

Best Radio Chatter:

After being relatively quiet through the first 130 laps, the chatter picked during a lengthy red-flag period that was needed to clean up a 25-car accident:

Dale Jr.: "Who's that car on the rollback? Looks like Phil Parsons' car when he wrecked here back in like '84. (Pause.)JRemember that wreck?"

Steve Hmiel (spotter): "Yeah. White Grand Am. Skoal car.

Dale Jr.: "Yeah, that was bad-ass, ya know, for Talladega!"

After several minutes of silence:

Pete Rondeau (crew chief): "You sleeping in there?"

Dale Jr.: "No, I'm flipping everybody off."

Following a brief radio chat with Darrell Waltrip for Fox's live telecast of the event:

Dale Jr.: "That was a cool piece of commentary. Maybe I've got a future."

Hmiel: "Yeah, like you need it."

Rondeau: "They're getting restless out there (in the grandstands). They're doing the wave."

Dale Jr.: "Yeah, you should seem 'em all down here. Crazy stuff going on."

-dei-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Darrell Waltrip , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick