Watkins Glen: Dale Earnhardt Jr race report

Tony Stewart Wins, Fifth Place for Dale Jr. No. 8 Budweiser Team Grabs Road Course Top-Five Tony Stewart won Sunday's Sirius at the Glen, despite suffering from flu-like symptoms. Road-course ace Ron Fellows, driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Tony Stewart Wins, Fifth Place for Dale Jr.
No. 8 Budweiser Team Grabs Road Course Top-Five

Tony Stewart won Sunday's Sirius at the Glen, despite suffering from flu-like symptoms. Road-course ace Ron Fellows, driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc. finished second after starting last, while Mark Martin was third. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 8 Budweiser team gained their second consecutive top-five finish at the Watkins Glen road course, leading one lap on the way to the team's 10th top-five finish of 2004. Dale Jr. and the Bud team have now led laps in twelve races this year. Dale Jr. gained points on the two drivers ahead of him, but remains third in Nextel Cup points, 128 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson.

Key Moments: After qualifying was washed-out by rain Friday, Dale Jr. started third (based on his points position) and remained among the top-five until making a pit stop on lap 18. The stop dropped him to 15th at the restart, but he climbed his way back into the top-10 in less than 10 laps. The Bud team took advantage of efficient fuel mileage and moved through the field into third place until their second stop on lap 50. The red Bud car took the lead on lap 60, then pulled into the pits on lap 61 for a splash of fuel. The quick pit work sent him back on course in seventh, and Junior was able to gain two positions by the finish of the 90-lap race.

Dale Jr. Quotes:

"I owe this finish to my team - Tony (Eury) Jr. and Tony (Eury) Sr. - those guys gave me a good car and they made great calls on the pit stops. Our strategy was perfect and I need to thank the Bud crew for all of their work and all of their help. Y'all were awesome. The car was OK - not great, not bad. It actually started off as a good car but we lost our way somewhere there in the middle of the race. I asked for a little more than I could handle on adjustments, and the car got away from us a little and we got behind eight ball. We worked hard. We just tried to dig and keep what we could keep and do what we could do. We gained some ground on the guys ahead of us in the points, so it was a good day."

"I'm happy for Ron (Fellows, DEI teammate). He's a legend in road racing, and a great guy. You know, I owe a lot to him and Boris Said and Andy Pilgrim for helping me with my road racing skills in the last four or five years. They're all great guys and it's a privilege to know 'em. I guess I was more proud of last year's finish here (a third-place after leading 11 laps) than my run today, but I'll take it. I have a lot more to learn though. I watched Ron go past me late in the race and I said 'why can't I get my car to do that too?' He really can get around this place."

Best Radio Chatter:

Dale Jr. restarted the race behind points leader Jimmie Johnson on lap 8, and nearly crashed into the back of Johnson's car on the front stretch. The incident would eventually lead to Johnson's withdrawal from the race with transmission troubles.

Dale Jr: "Whoa man. Jimmie must have gone from first (gear) to second and then back to first instead of third there. I almost got into him."

The middle laps of the race found an impatient and hard-charging Dale Jr. held back by another young driver.

Dale Jr: "I'm not puttin' up with that boy's (stuff) today! He does that every time I try to pass. He just cuts me off! I'm tryin' hard not to turn him around, but I'm tellin' ya I may have to soon if he doesn't stop."

Tony Eury Jr. (car chief): "Just cool down a bit. Just hit your marks and you'll be OK. He was slowing you down by a second a lap there, so just run your race and we'll just worry about ourselves here."

Before the final restart of the race:

Tony Jr.: "OK, Hot Rod. There'll be 15 laps to go when we go green. Keep doin' what you're doin - you're doin' great."

A few laps later as Dale Jr. climbs to fifth position:

Tony Jr: "You're doin' good. 11 to go. Keep doin' what you're doin."

Dale Jr.: (trying to concentrate) "OK! Keep quiet!"

-dei-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Tony Stewart , Boris Said , Ron Fellows , Andy Pilgrim , Jimmie Johnson , Tony Eury Jr. , Mark Martin