Emotional win for Earnhardt Jr

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who bounced off the wall early, eventually bounced back to take the victory, and half million dollar payoff, away from 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Dale Jarrett

Emotional win for Earnhardt Jr

It was 1, 2, 3 for the Dales in the end - with seven-time Series champion Dale Earnhardt powering his way past Jerry Nadeau to the third finishing position.

There was plenty of emotion, and love, exchanged between father and son in the alternate Victory Lane established for the two weekends of racing at Lowe's Motor Speedway - the 'real' Victory Circle is not being used as a solemn remembrance of young Adam Petty, who lost his life at New Hampshire International Speedway one week ago during practice for the Busch 200.

The first segment started off, and ended quickly, for John Andretti in the Petty Enterprises #43 Wheaties Pontiac. Kenny Irwin was 'kissed' by Earnhardt Sr.'s front bumper, and Irwin was unable to gather the car back up, taking out Andretti in an instant.

Andretti was clearly disappointed, but managed to keep smiling in the face of complete disappointment.

The next victim, and taking all fault for it, was Michael Waltrip.
Waltrip's rear wheels broke loose heading into Turn 1 and he smacked the wall, ending his night after 24 laps.

Top-10 finishers for the 30-laps of Segment 1 were Bill Elliott, Mark
Martin, Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Gordon, Steve Park, Nadeau, Rusty Wallace,
Ward Burton, Tony Stewart and Jeremy Mayfield.

The second segment had more fireworks than Humpy Wheeler's pre-event show.

The first pileup of the second 30 occurred eight laps in and brought out the 200-mph tape en force to be applied to the cars of Gordon, Park and Earnhardt, Sr. Nadeau just barely escaped being part of the wreckage.

Mayfield led the remaining 18 down to take the green for the restart on Lap 10. It was a breathless moment when Mayfield's transmission went sour with the pack of cars bearing down, but he somehow quickly dodged to the bottom and a rush-hour pileup was avoided.

Fourteen laps later, Martin's strong run was ended when Stewart, with a full head of steam, ran up underneath the rear bumper of Martin's Taurus, and the rear wheels lifted off the ground as the car spun around. Ward Burton, who was also having a great night, was in the wrong place and when Martin's car shot up the track, bounced off the wall twice, and spun around and down to the apron, and briefly showed fire from the engine compartment.

Burton couldn't change his committed path of progress and wound up a victim.

"I'm fine, it's okay," said a shaken, but otherwise fine, Martin. "We were kind of in the way, and sometimes that happens when you're in the way. That's the way it goes somedays.

"I hate fire, but it was far enough away that I could get away from it.
That was the best car we had."

After the restart, it was a charging Stewart who tangled with Earnhardt, Sr. Both bobbled, Earnhardt kept it off the wall, and everyone got straighted out and continued on to finish out the second 30.

Elliott, Jarrett, Earnhardt, Jr., Joe Nemechek, Rusty Wallace, Park,
Nadeau, Jeff Burton, Stewart and Earnhardt occupied positions 1 through 10 as the pace car led the field around for the final 10-lap shootout.

The term 'shootout' was most appropriate for the final segment. And the sparks and tempers flared almost at the drop of the green.

An admitted 'payback' to Park by Joe Nemechek caused a pileup that finished not only Nemechek's night, but Park's, Gordon's and Stewart's as well - just two laps in.

The lap prior, Park nudged Nemecheck on a bump-n-go maneuver, which caused Nemechek to bump into Elliott. When Park got around, Nemechek returned the bump, a little harder and contacted longer, sending Park into a spin. Stewart and Gordon went high, but so did Park's spinning car and the three of them wound up collecting each other.

There was a heated discussion between Nemechek and Park about the whole incident, with nothing more than heated words exchanged.

Jarrett was leading, his car trailing visible smoke. Nadeau was second and Junior was in third. When they started battling for position, Jarrett was able to put some daylight between them. Junior won the second spot, but with the laps quickly clicking off, had some ground to cover before he could reach the rear bumper of the #88 Quality Care Ford.

Junior dug in, and the gap began shrinking. With three circuits remaining, Junior moved to the point and opened up his own daylight. Meanwhile, Earnhardt Sr. moved to the high side of the track to notch Nadeau back another spot. Jarrett tried his best to catch up and overtake the #8 Budweiser Chevy with the yellow stripe on the back, to no avail.

When the checkers waved on the All-Star night, it was the Rookie's tire smoke that filled the night air - fresh donuts on the fronstretch, and a clenched fist of victory.

Following the Dales and rounding out the top-10 were Nadeau, Jeff Burton, Terry Labonte, Rusty Wallace, Elliott, Bobby Labonte and Ward Burton.

SEGMENT 1 RESULTS - 30 Laps

Pos No Driver Sponsor Make Laps
1 94 Bill Elliott McDonald's Ford 30
2 6 Mark Martin Valvoline Ford 30
3 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr Budweiser Chev 30
4 24 Jeff Gordon DuPont Chev 30
5 1 Steve Park Pennzoil Chev 30
6 25 Jerry Nadeau Michael Holigan Chev 30
7 2 Rusty Wallace Miller Lite Ford 30
8 22 Ward Burton Caterpillar Pont 30
9 20 Tony Stewart Home Depot Pont 30
10 12 Jeremy Mayfield Mobil 1 Ford 30
11 18 Bobby Labonte Interstate Pont 30
12 33 Joe Nemechek Oakwood Homes Chev 30
13 3 Dale Earnhardt GM Goodwrench Chev 30
14 88 Dale Jarrett Quality Care Ford 30
15 5 Terry Labonte Kellogg's Chev 30
16 99 Jeff Burton Exide Batteries Ford 30
17 66 Darrell Waltrip Big Kmart Ford 29
18 42 Kenny Irwin BellSouth Chev 28
19 7 Michael Waltrip NationsRent Chev 24
20 43 John Andretti STP/Cheerios Pont 0

SEGMENT 2 RESULTS - 2nd 30 Laps

Pos No Driver Sponsor Make Laps
1 94 Bill Elliott McDonald's Ford 60
2 88 Dale Jarrett Quality Care Ford 60
3 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr Budweiser Chev 60
4 33 Joe Nemechek Oakwood Homes Chev 60
5 2 Rusty Wallace Miller Lite Ford 60
6 1 Steve Park Pennzoil Chev 60
7 25 Jerry Nadeau Michael Holigan Chev 60
8 99 Jeff Burton Exide Batteries Ford 60
9 20 Tony Stewart Home Depot Pont 60
10 3 Dale Earnhardt GM Goodwrench Chev 60
11 18 Bobby Labonte Interstate Pont 60
12 24 Jeff Gordon DuPont Chev 60
13 5 Terry Labonte Kellogg's Chev 60
14 66 Darrell Waltrip Big Kmart Ford 60
15 22 Ward Burton Caterpillar Pont 60
16 42 Kenny Irwin BellSouth Chev 59
17 6 Mark Martin Valvoline Ford 54
18 12 Jeremy Mayfield Mobil 1 Ford 40
19 7 Michael Waltrip NationsRent Chev 24
20 43 John Andretti STP/Cheerios Pont 0

SEGMENT 3 RESULTS - Final 10 Laps

Pos No Driver Sponsor Make Laps
1 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr Budweiser Chev 70
2 88 Dale Jarrett Quality Care Ford 70
3 3 Dale Earnhardt GM Goodwrench Chev 70
4 25 Jerry Nadeau Michael Holigan Chev 70
5 99 Jeff Burton Exide Batteries Ford 70
6 5 Terry Labonte Kellogg's Chev 70
7 2 Rusty Wallace Miller Lite Ford 70
8 94 Bill Elliott McDonald's Ford 70
9 18 Bobby Labonte Interstate Pont 70
10 22 Ward Burton Caterpillar Pont 70
11 66 Darrell Waltrip Big Kmart Ford 70
12 42 Kenny Irwin BellSouth Chev 69
13 1 Steve Park Pennzoil Chev 62
14 33 Joe Nemechek Oakwood Homes Chev 62
15 20 Tony Stewart Home Depot Pont 62
16 24 Jeff Gordon DuPont Chev 62
17 6 Mark Martin Valvoline Ford 54
18 12 Jeremy Mayfield Mobil 1 Ford 40
19 7 Michael Waltrip NationsRent Chev 24
20 43 John Andretti STP/Cheerios Pont 0

shares
comments
Steve Park takes The Winston Open

Previous article

Steve Park takes The Winston Open

Next article

Earnhardt Jr smashes track record

Earnhardt Jr smashes track record
Load comments
The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin Plus

The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin

A multiple F3000 race winner, Marc Goossens was on the precipice of making Formula 1 in the 1990s - but a lack of budget left him without a path to the promised land. Turning to an illustrious racing career in sportscars, Goossens left the endurance circuit to try his hand at racing stock cars - and now calls the NASCAR Euro Series home

NASCAR
Jul 1, 2021
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

NASCAR
Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

NASCAR
Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

NASCAR
Feb 12, 2021
How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career Plus

How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a shot at redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith

NASCAR
Feb 11, 2021
Autosport's top 5 NASCAR machines Plus

Autosport's top 5 NASCAR machines

The American stock car scene is more famous for its close racing and occasional punch-ups, but there have been some fantastic machines too. As part of Autosport's 70th anniversary celebrations in 2020, we picked out five of its best

NASCAR
Jan 3, 2021
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Plus

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future

NASCAR
Nov 17, 2020
Why Johnson’s playoff failure won’t tarnish his legacy Plus

Why Johnson’s playoff failure won’t tarnish his legacy

The last season of a retiring NASCAR great has shown promise, and may have resulted in another playoff push without small issues outside his control. 2020 won't be the year Jimmie Johnson would have wanted, but it won't be what he is remembered for

NASCAR
Sep 3, 2020