DALE EARNHARDT JR.
NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/DIET MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET
POST-RACE RECAP/BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
DATE: Feb.18, 2012
RACE: Budweiser Shootout
RECAPPING THE RACE:
Dale Earnhardt Jr. started the Budweiser Shootout on a promising note by climbing from his eight-place starting position to lead the first three laps and in his No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet. But his hopes of winning the season-opening exhibition event were dashed after he was collected in a late-race incident.
Earnhardt qualified for this year's shootout because he finished the 2011 season ranked seventh in the final standings – eligible drivers had to finish inside the top 25 in points. He also was eligible as a previous winner of the Daytona 500, the July Daytona event and the Budweiser Shootout, all of which were additional qualifying criteria for the non-points race. This year's event was made up of a 25-lap segment followed by a 10-minute break and a 50-lap sprint to the checkered flag.
Earnhardt's pole starting position was determined by random draw during Friday night's traditional Draw Party, which established the field for the exhibition event.
At the drop of the green flag, Earnhardt brought the crowd to their feet by leading the first three laps and running up front for the first segment.
Earnhardt was scored as the leader in his blue-and-white Chevrolet when the caution flag waved on Lap 25 signaling the end of the opening segment. Earnhardt steered his No. 88 Chevy onto pit road for the 10-minute break, and the crew bolted on four fresh tires to the National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew machine.
The field went back to green for a 50-lap dash, and Earnhardt continued to show his skill in the draft. On Lap 56, another competitor made hard contact with the No. 88 machine, causing heavy damage and ending the team's night early. Earnhardt was credited with a 19th-place finish.
QUOTING DALE EARNHARDT JR.:
EARNHARDT (ON THE MULTI-CAR INCIDENT ON LAP 56): "I was behind (Martin) Truex Jr and we checked up into the corner and I lifted a little bit. Then there was a wreck. I got into the back of Truex and I had somebody, I think somebody was pushing me, I don't know. We all just kind of went up in the fence. I couldn't get slowed down fast enough going that quick. We were all just running single file. It is a silly way to wreck. It was just something that happened that should not have happened."
Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports.
Media Relations | No. 88 AMP Energy / National Guard Racing
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