NSCS: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Victorious Tonight at Daytona
After a six-plus hour rain delay today at the Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR was finally able to get the race back going. Once the race started back up, it was all Dale Earnhardt Jr. chasing his second Daytona 500 victory. Tonight, Earnhardt Jr. scored his 20th win of his career and ending a winless drought since 2012. He joins a list of five drivers to have only scored two Daytona 500 wins in their racing career, with his last win in the event back in 2004. He heads into the Phoenix International Raceway with a five point lead.
“Yeah, I think so. Man, winning this race is the greatest feeling that you can feel in the sport, aside from obviously accepting the trophy for the championship. I didn’t know if I’d ever get a chance to feel that again and it feels just as good, if not better than the first because of how hard we tried year after year after year funning second all those years and wondering why and what we needed to do. I’ve got to get my head together," said Dale Earnhardt Jr. "This race car was awesome. We showed them there night long how good a car we had and it’s because of these guys right here putting it together in the shop. We could fight off battles after battles. We got a little help from Jeff (Gordon) to get away on that restart and tried to take care of it from there. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I’ll never take this for granted because this just doesn’t happen twice, let alone once. I’m so thankful."
Denny Hamlin fell just short of dominating all of Speedweeks this weekend. Hamlin came into tonight's race looking to be the first ever driver to have won the Sprint Unlimited, Duel and the Daytona 500 all in the same year. On the final lap, Hamlin lost the draft entering turn-three and didn't have help to push him to the front. Despite this, Hamlin had to settle for second and heads into one of his best tracks next weekend.
"“Well, it was intense for me. I had no spotter. Our radios weren’t working after we went back green after the rain so just had to wing it on my own really for the most part after we went back. If I cut anyone off I’m sorry, just trying to do it out there on my own,” said Hamlin. “It was intense. Everyone was content not to run the top line, which was good. I thought for sure we’d wreck more cars, but still that was a great race for the fans. It was a great race from my standpoint. It was just so hard to pass -- similar to when we got out front. You can block your way to a victory, and really Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) just played it perfectly once he got out front on that last fuel run -- everyone else is just side by side and you really can’t make any moves.”
Brad Keselowski came home third in the 56th annual Daytona 500 after being in the lead four different times tonight. When the field was frozen, with the caution off turn four coming to the finish, Keselowski just edged out in-front of Jeff Gordon for the position. He earned his third top-10 finish after 10 starts at Daytona and led a total of 13 laps this evening.
“We had a really fast Miller Lite Ford and just came up a little short there at the end. We had a good restart but didn’t get any help from behind. I was really proud of my car and team to be able to hold fourth with no help. Dale and his teammates were really fast and they did a good job executing at the end. Congratulations to him,” said Keselowski. “If I had maybe one or two cars behind me I think I could have maybe had a shot but I just didn’t get it.”
The next race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be next weekend at the Phoenix International Raceway. You can catch The Profit on CNBC 500 live on FOX at 2:00 p.m. Et. Not near a TV? The Motor Racing Network will provide the live radio broadcast of the event.
Brett has been following the sport of NASCAR since the beginning of the 2006 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Since Brett was 13, he has had a passion of chasing a job in sports that not many get the opportunity of doing. He has been in the NASCAR media since the middle of the 2010 season. Since then, he has been a part of many racing podcast shows to improve his talents. You can find him on twitter @NASCAR_Brett.
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