Defending Daytona 500 champ Dale Earnhardt Jr. rallies back to third

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 3rd Sunday at Daytona.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 3rd Sunday at Daytona.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 3rd Sunday at Daytona.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—By Daytona 500 standards Sunday’s running of the Great American Race was relatively tame. Dale Earnhardt Jr. came into Sunday as one of the favorites. He won this race last year and had been strong all week, winning his Duel qualifying race Thursday after being forced to start from the back of the field due to a NASCAR penalty from qualifying the previous Sunday.

For most of the 500 miles Sunday Earnhardt was living up to his status as a favorite. He led for 32 laps and was among the lead pack for most of the race. On a restart however with 19 laps to go, Earnhardt suddenly found himself sliding back in the middle of a three wide pack after trying to hook up with his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson.

“Jimmie was on the quarter panel,” Earnhardt later said.MORE>>>

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.