Historic win for Earnhardt

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 DIET MOUNTAIN DEW Chevrolet, stands on the grid prior to qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 DIET MOUNTAIN DEW Chevrolet, stands on the grid prior to qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

MARTINSVILLE, Va.—No one could fail to notice the depth of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s elation after he took the checkered flag in last fall’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville.

Earnhardt told reporters on Friday at the legendary short track why the victory meant so much to him.

“It’s a real historic race track,” Earnhardt explained. “It was one of the race tracks that I always could come to even when we were in school, it being such a short trip from home. We always did get to go to this race.

“So it is one of the few tracks that I always got to go to even as a young kid. You could get right up on the action, man, right against the fence down there in the corner and see the guys coming through there in practice. And you could see the balance of the cars and what they were dealing with.

“It’s just a fun place to be at even as a kid. I don’t know, man, just been coming here a long time and I always wanted to win. That (grandfather) clock makes it even more special and more desirable, I guess, because of the uniqueness of that trophy.”

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