Dale Earnhardt Jr. reacts to attention around final Daytona start
By James Jackson
July 2, 2017
Just like a novel has a final chapter, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s final chapter at Daytona is complete.
Earnhardt Jr. completed his final confirmed Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway Saturday night.
Earnhardt Jr. started on the pole position for the 2017 Coke Zero 400. He ran up front for most of stage one, challenging for the lead several times and led one lap. At the conclusion of stage 1, Earnhardt Jr. finished in 2nd giving him 9 playoff points.
In stage two on lap 52, he blew a right-rear tire and hit the Turn 1 wall putting him two laps down. On lap 71, he avoided “The Big One”. At the the end of stage two he was one lap down in 31st.
On lap 91 in stage three, Brendan Gaughan got put into the outside wall bringing out the yellow flag putting Dale Earnhardt Jr. back on the lead lap and back in contention for a win.
After recovering from his earlier incident in stage two, Earnhardt Jr. was running sixth on lap 106 when Kevin Harvick spun around in front Earnhardt Jr. collecting him and giving him a substantial amount of damage.
Earnhardt Jr. went to the infield care center and officially retired for the evening.
“I just didn’t expect all that attention all week,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “My phone buzzing all day long with social media going crazy. Everybody talking about this being my last Daytona race.
“I hope every weekend isn’t like this as far as that goes. The attention and the reaction from the fans makes me feel great. Hopefully we are able to turn that around and back on them for the rest of the season and thank them for all they had done.”
Earnhardt Jr. has a total of 17 career wins at Daytona International Speedway, including two Daytona 500 wins.
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