advertisement

Earnhardt Jr. ends drought with win in Michigan; Edwards 11th

Sunday, June 17, 2012 | 5:37 p.m. CDT; updated 6:16 p.m. CDT, Sunday, June 17, 2012

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. raced to his first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory in four years, ending a 143-race winless streak Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.

The victory came almost exactly four years to the day after his last trip to Victory Lane in a Cup race. That also was in Michigan on June 15, 2008. He led for 36 laps last weekend at Pocono but made a late stop for gas instead of trying to stretch the fuel to the end.

On Sunday, it wasn't even close. He pulled away over the final 25 laps of the 400-mile race, and led by over 5 seconds in the final laps before his black Chevrolet with the green No. 88 crossed the finish line well ahead of Tony Stewart.

"Those last 15 laps were the longest laps ever," Earnhardt said.

Earnhardt already had 11 top-10 finishes this season and was second in the points standings entering this race. But after another close run at Pocono, the questions kept coming about his dry spell.

That's now over.

"Dale had the fastest car all day," Stewart said. "It's not a national holiday, guys. This morning they were celebrating his fourth anniversary of his last win, so I guess we're all in a state of mourning now, because he's broke that string now, so I don't know what we're all supposed to think."

Earnhardt moved past pole winner Marcos Ambrose on lap 70 to take the lead, and although Stewart would lead for a bit, Earnhardt was in front again not long after the race's halfway point.

Earnhardt led on lap 171, after a pitting cycle. With 25 laps remaining, he was ahead by 1.978 seconds. With 10 remaining, he had built a 5.468-second cushion.

The end was almost anticlimactic — and it was certainly a relief for the hugely popular Earnhardt.

After finally winning, Earnhardt stopped in front of the grandstand and spun his wheels in front of thousands of fans who were on their feet screaming.

It was the 19th Cup victory of Earnhardt's career and second in 159 starts for Hendrick Motorsports. He had 17 victories in 291 races for Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Edwards watch

Carl Edwards finished 11th at Michigan International Speedway, despite starting at the very back of the pack. It was the second consecutive week that Edwards finished 11th.

Sticking with that theme, Edwards' finish kept him in 11th place in the Sprint Cup Standings. He has 456 points and trails Brad Keselowski by two points for 10th place.




Like what you see here? Become a member.


Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Comments

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.

advertisements