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Dale Jr Newsletter
   
 

 

 

   
Dale Jr's wins
 

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Perhaps no victory is as emotional as the one Dale Earnhardt Jr scored on July 7, 2001 in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Not for the winning team, the fans, or the other competitors.

When NASCAR had last visited the famed 2.5 mile high-banked speedway the unthinkable had occurred -- Dale Earnhardt was killed in the final turn of the final lap in a headlong crash into the 4th turn wall.

The NASCAR family had been in mourning for nearly 5 months. Dale Earnhardt Jr’s win at the track that had just claimed his father -- on the first visit back there -- seemed to allow the healing process to begin.

 
 

It was clear to everyone that Junior had a fast car on this night. After all, he led almost three quarters of the distance. But his car never seemed faster than when the green flag fell for the final time on lap 154 -- just 6 laps short of the checkered flag.

A late race pit stop had relegated the 8 car to 7th place on the re-start. 2 laps later Dale Jr completed a pass on Johnny Benson for the lead -- a position he would hold until the checkered flag fell.

"We were able to break away and that was something I didn't think we were able to do," Earnhardt Jr said following the race. "I just kind of realized I had to get to the front the last eight laps or so."

 

You could see it on the faces of Dale Jr and teammate Michael Waltrip, who finished 2nd, as they celebrated in the grass just inside the tri-oval immediately after the race.

Junior pumped both fists in the air, and then dove from his car into the arms of his pit crew, who by now were at the car.

"This is as good as it gets," Earnhardt Jr. exclaimed.

"You can't write a better script," said Junior. "I never would have imagined this happening. I never could have imagined coming here and being so dominant and winning this race. And I never probably will get to enjoy it because I just can't believe it happened."

Dale Jr paid tribute to his Father saying "I dedicate this win to him, there ain't nobody else that I can dedicate it to who means more to me."

Dale Earnhardt Jr led a race-high 116 laps on his way to victory. While the margin of victory over 2nd place finishing Michael Waltrip was a slim .123 seconds, Waltrip never seemed to be able to challenge for the lead. In fact, he only led 2 laps during the race.

This was the 2nd Daytona race in a row where teammates Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Jr finished 1 - 2, with Waltrip wining the previous Daytona 500.

 
 

You could see it on the faces of Dale Jr and teammate Michael Waltrip, who finished 2nd, as they celebrated in the grass just inside the tri-oval immediately after the race.

Junior pumped both fists in the air, and then dove from his car into the arms of his pit crew, who by now were at the car.

"This is as good as it gets," Earnhardt Jr. exclaimed.

"You can't write a better script," said Junior. "I never would have imagined this happening. I never could have imagined coming here and being so dominant and winning this race. And I never probably will get to enjoy it because I just can't believe it happened."

 

You could see it on the faces of Dale Jr and teammate Michael Waltrip, who finished 2nd, as they celebrated in the grass just inside the tri-oval immediately after the race.

Junior pumped both fists in the air, and then dove from his car into the arms of his pit crew, who by now were at the car.

"This is as good as it gets," Earnhardt Jr. exclaimed.

"You can't write a better script," said Junior. "I never would have imagined this happening. I never could have imagined coming here and being so dominant and winning this race. And I never probably will get to enjoy it because I just can't believe it happened."

Dale Jr paid tribute to his Father saying "I dedicate this win to him, there ain't nobody else that I can dedicate it to who means more to me."

Dale Earnhardt Jr led a race-high 116 laps on his way to victory. While the margin of victory over 2nd place finishing Michael Waltrip was a slim .123 seconds, Waltrip never seemed to be able to challenge for the lead. In fact, he only led 2 laps during the race.

This was the 2nd Daytona race in a row where teammates Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Jr finished 1 - 2, with Waltrip wining the previous Daytona 500.

 
 
 
 
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