Winston: Dale Earnhardt Jr race report

No. 8 Budweiser Team Caught in Multi-Car Crash Jimmie Johnson won the million-dollar first prize after winning Saturday night's NASCAR all-star race, The Winston. Johnson beat Kurt Busch and Bobby Labonte in the final 20-lap sprint for the big...

No. 8 Budweiser Team Caught in Multi-Car Crash

Jimmie Johnson won the million-dollar first prize after winning Saturday night's NASCAR all-star race, The Winston. Johnson beat Kurt Busch and Bobby Labonte in the final 20-lap sprint for the big money. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 8 Budweiser team led the race early in the evening, but were involved in a six-car crash on lap 69, and finished 17th. Earnhardt Jr. was uninjured, but the Budweiser car was damaged beyond repair. This is the first Winston Cup race (points or non-points race) that the team has not been running at the finish in almost a full year (Charlotte 600, May 2002). They enter next week's 600-mile race in second-place in the Winston Cup point standings, 20 points behind leader Matt Kenseth.

The Key Moments: Starting in the fourth position, Dale Jr. cruised among the top positions early in the running, taking the lead on lap 17 before making a pit stop on lap 21. Dale Jr. ended the first segment (of three total segments) of the all-star race in fifth position. Dale Jr. got as high as fourth in the second segment before pitting for adjustments during a yellow-flag segment on lap 47. The pit stop dropped the Bud car back to 17th position. After fighting back to as high as 13th place, Dale Jr. was unable to avoid a massive six-car crash ahead of him on lap 69. This is the first time the Budweiser No. 8 team has finished worse than seventh in the Winston.

Dale Jr's Quotes:

"I'm OK. I'm just heartbroken for my crew guys because they built a brand-new car just for this race. You kind of expect this kind of thing in the Winston- no points on the line, just big money to win, and it's just like a brawl out there. I don't know what happened ahead of me -- all of a sudden there's smoke everywhere and you can't see anything. I hit someone and then someone hit me. You hope you can get out of this race in one piece, but that's how it goes. You can't cry about it, but I know the guys hate to see their new car torn up like that.

"We took a risk by making that pit stop to make some changes. It dropped us back at that point, but we were making it better for later in the race. This race is just about winning. We had to try to get the car better because at that time we didn't feel like we had a car good enough to win. If we didn't take that risk, we might have been running ahead of that crash, but we're here to win, so we'll go home and get ready to come back here to win the 600 next week. We'll be good."

Best Radio Conversations

After dropping back near the back of the pack after a pit stop on lap 46...

Dale Jr: "The car is better. I'd rather finish 10th in this segment and learn about what we need to do with the car than finish second and not learn anything..."

During a yellow flag on lap 66, while running in 13th position...

Dale Jr.: "It's been fun racing back here (in the pack). It's a helluva race back here. It's been interesting. (Jeff) Gordon got in my lane on that restart, but we're able to pass some guys."

There's only one thing cooler than Dale Jr., and that's being the Designated Driver. On second thought, there is a second thing that's cooler, and that's the King of Beers internet site at: www.Budweiser.com. The recently revamped smooooooooth site offers the latest and coolest in music, sports, games, Dale Jr. stuff and beer!

-dei/budweiser-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Kurt Busch , Jimmie Johnson