Photo by Zach Catanzareti Photo – License
Daytona 500 Wreck Ends Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Day Early
By Kent Whitaker
Dale Earnhardt Jr started the Daytona 500 off strong in the number two starting position alongside Pole winner Chase Elliot. The two drivers from Hendrick Motorsports locked up the front row during qualifying and proved that they had the fast cars during the Can-Am Duel races. When the Green Flag dropped the two drivers lead the field of forty Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers around Daytona International Speedway.
Earnhardt entered the race with hopes that his No. 88 Nationwide Chevy would propel him to a checkered flag to start the 2017 season off. During Daytona speedweeks Earnhardt seemed excited about the strength of his ride, the team, and the 500. The Driver told reporters, prior to the Can-Am Duel races, that it was exciting to see fans back at the track.
“Coming through the (driver) intros, seeing everybody in everybody’s shirt, no matter what driver they pull for, clapping and excited that you’re back, it’s awesome,” Earnhardt stated during the Thursday night duels. “I know Junior Nation is behind me, but it’s awesome when your competitors’ fans are supportive as well.”
However; things did not end so well for Dale during the Daytona 500 despite a strong start. The driver battled his teammate Chase Elliott, as well as other cars, before things settled down. Earnhardt proved that he could move around in the pack as he needed too but a problem with another car ended his day.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota had a tire go down which spun him into other cars including Earnhardt on lap 103. After trying to fix the car Earnhardt pulled it behind the wall for goo one lap 106.
When the smoke cleared Victory Lane would be visited by race winner Kurt Busch and his No. 44 Monster Energy – Haas Automotive Ford with Ryan Blaney coming in second. The next race on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“Kent Whitaker, often called ‘the Deck Chef’ is a sportswriter, culinary writer, and cookbook author with fourteen titles. He covers NASCAR, racing in general, Football, barbecue, grilling, and tailgating. You can visit him on www.thedeckchef.com.”