Junior has to wait one more
day for a possible sweep
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Dale Earnhardt Jr. salutes the fans during driver introductions Saturday. Earnhardt Jr.
By Kenneth Ferguson
July 6, 2014
If Dale Earnhardt Jr. captures the checkered flag in today’s rain delayed Coke Zero 400, the third-generation driver will join a short list of NASCAR drivers who have won both Daytona races in a single season.
Earnhardt Jr., who won this year’s Daytona 500, starts seventh today with teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson close by.
“It’s [going to be] real tough to [do it],” Earnhardt Jr. said on Thursday of sweeping both races.
In total, only six drivers have accomplished this feat, most recently done last year by Earnhardt Jr’s. teammate Jimmie Johnson.
The other drivers to complete the task are Fireball Roberts 1962, Cale Yarbrough in 1968, Leeroy Yarbrough in 1969 and Bobby Allison in 1982.
In the new win-and-you’re-in playoff format, Earnhardt Jr. has already clinched a playoff berth having two previous wins this season. If he wins today, he will join his teammate Jimmie Johnson as the only three-time winners.
Earnhardt Jr.’s top-ten qualifying run puts the three-time Daytona winner off to a great start for a potential sweep but as with anything racing, it is not how you start it is how you finish.
Expect Earnhardt Jr. to try and stay in the first cluster of cars, as the driver was “embarrassed” of his laying back strategy at the Talladega race.