Dale Earnhardt Jr. Breaks Dry Spell
Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway saw Dale Earnhardt Jr. cross the finish line in first place, breaking his dry spell of 143 races without a win. His last Sprint Cup victory was also in Michigan, almost four years ago to the day. With 25 laps of the 400-mile race to go, Earnhardt pulled away in his No. 88 Chevrolet and held the lead to cross the finish line ahead of Tony Stewart by 5.393 seconds.
Earnhardt’s 11 top-ten finishes this season put him second in the points standings as the race began, but there were mixed opinions as to whether he would take the checkered flag, particularly after a four-year break from that achievement. To say that loyal fans of Dale Earnhardt Jr. were delighted with the win, would be an understatement, and the fact that he has a loyal fan-base was certainly not lost on the triumphant drive. In a post-race interview he noted that the victory was for his fans who had stuck behind him over the years, adding that he and his team wouldn’t have made it back to Victory Lane without their support.
With an average speed of 139.144 per hour, Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned 48 points for his Quickens Loans 400 Sprint Cup Series win. Tony Stewart (#14 Chevrolet) took second place, with Matt Kenseth (#17 Ford) in at third, followed by Gregg Biffle (#16 Ford) and Jimmie Johnson (#48 Chevrolet). The current top ten standings for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series are:
1. Matt Kenseth – #17 Ford – 565 points
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. – #88 Chevrolet – 561 points
3. Greg Biffle – #16 Ford – 548 points
4. Jimmie Johnson – #48 Chevrolet – 532 points
5. Denny Hamlin – #11 Toyota – 514 points
6. Kevin Harvick – #29 Chevrolet – 504 points
7. Martin Truex Jr. – #56 Toyota – 497
8. Tony Stewart – #14 Chevrolet – 491
9. Clint Bowyer – #15 Toyota – 481
10. Brad Keselowski – #2 Dodge – 458 points
The next 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup race will be the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on June 24 June at Sonoma, followed by the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky on June 30.