Earnhardt Jr.’s Daytona 500 win began at MB Speedway

earnhardt-mbsWhen the rain finally relented and the green flag finally waved, Dale Earnhardt Jr. went on to win NASCAR’s biggest event the same way he learned to race – under the lights.

It has been exactly 20 years since the former Saturday night regular at Myrtle Beach Speedway (1994-96) spent three seasons swapping paint with the local boys at MBS, and that fearless style paid off handsomely under the much brighter lights of Daytona International Speedway on Sunday night.

In a race that started in broad daylight and ended 42 minutes before midnight, and with a swatch of tape covering part of his grille, Earnhardt Jr. won the 56th running of the Daytona 500 Sunday night at Daytona International Speedway.

Earnhardt was a car-length ahead of Denny Hamlin when NASCAR threw the seventh caution of the race a split second before Earnhardt crossed the finish line to win the Great American Race for the second time in his career.

Under NASCAR’s new Chase for the Sprint Cup format, Earnhardt’s 20th career Sprint Cup Series victory almost assuredly locks him into the 10-race postseason playoff, set to start at Chicagoland Speedway in September.

In Victory Lane, Earnhardt didn’t even try to contain his elation. After all, he had just broken a 55-race winless streak. After finishing second in three last four Daytona 500s, he had just won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opener in his last year with crew chief Steve Letarte, who is headed for the TV booth in 2015.

“Man, winning this race is the greatest feeling that you can feel in the sport, aside from obviously accepting the trophy for the championship,” Earnhardt said. “I didn’t know if I’d ever get a chance to feel that again, and it feels just as good, if not better than the first because of how hard we tried year after year after year, running second all those years and wondering why and what we needed to do.”

Maybe it was just a matter of flipping the light switch, because the bulb finally went off over Earnhardt’s head after three rough-and-tumble seasons under the lights of MBS. His famous father and late namesake sent his son to the half-mile asphalt oval because he knew it was the best place to get the experience he needed to move up the NASCAR ranks.

Earnhardt Jr.’s education didn’t come easily, more like the school of hard knocks. He was routinely wrecked by older and perhaps jealous drivers who would rather put him in the wall than watch him win a race. It wasn’t until his third and final season at MBS that he finally won a race, two to be exact, and he made his NASCAR Busch (now Nationwide) Series debut at the local track later that season. He won the Busch Series championship two seasons later and was well on his way to stardom at NASCAR’s highest level.

Courtesy of MB Speedway

Comments

comments

Moglia steps down as CCU coach, pitches to Chadwell

Moglia steps down as CCU coach, pitches to ChadwellFive-time National Coach of the Year finalist Joe Moglia, who [more]

Hoops: Sharks claim first region win over Panthers

Hoops: Sharks claim first region win over PanthersA big win for the St. James boys basketball team [more]

CA's Green, Jones reach major hoops milestones

CA's Green, Jones reach major hoops milestonesThe Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach basketball programs celebrated a [more]

CCU makes another poll, hosts free clinic for kids

CCU makes another poll, hosts free clinic for kidsThe Coastal Carolina baseball team received another top 25 preseason [more]

Conway's Moody makes mark as freshman for Tide

Conway's Moody makes mark as freshman for Tide The national championship game didn’t turn out the way Jaylen [more]

Hoops: Chiefs tip Falcons; MB, Knox rock Red Foxes

Hoops: Chiefs tip Falcons; MB, Knox rock Red FoxesMyrtle Beach's Emorie Knox erupted for 32 points Tuesday night [more]

Chants fall short on final shot in skirmish with Mavs

Chants fall short on final shot in skirmish with MavsJunior guard Rashad Davis hit a 3-pointer with less than [more]

Hoops: Green lifts Saints; Seahawks rally past 'Dogs

Hoops: Green lifts Saints; Seahawks rally past 'DogsOn a night chosen to recognize a milestone for Christian [more]

All-County Volleyball: NMB duo adds to state-title run

All-County Volleyball: NMB duo adds to state-title runHow do you choose between two state championship teammates and [more]

Vincent breaks new ground as NMB boys hoops coach

Vincent breaks new ground as NMB boys hoops coachA referee approached the North Myrtle Beach High boys basketball [more]

CCU baseball joins another Top 25 list for 2019 season

CCU baseball joins another Top 25 list for 2019 seasonWith just over five weeks until the season opener on [more]

Pelicans, Cubs make over field staff for 2019 season

Pelicans, Cubs make over field staff for 2019 seasonThe Myrtle Beach  Pelicans and parent club Chicago Cubs announced their on‐field staff for the 2019 season on Wednesday. New to Myrtle Beach this season, Jimmy Gonzalez will take the helm for the Pelicans following four seasons managing the Single-A South Bend Cubs. The 2016 Midwest League Manager of the Year with South Bend, Gonzalez was  [more]

Hoops: Falcons fly by MB; Tigers rally to top Sharks

Hoops: Falcons fly by MB; Tigers rally to top SharksCraig Martin walked off the court at the end of [more]

Tigers crush Crimson Tide for national championship

Tigers crush Crimson Tide for national championshipClemson captured its third national football championship - and its [more]

CCU alums Ross, Johnson pioneers in upstart league

CCU alums Ross, Johnson pioneers in upstart leagueFormer Coastal Carolina football players Alex Ross and Kerron Johnson [more]

Jags drop Chants in 2OT; Lady Chants lose to USA

Jags drop Chants in 2OT; Lady Chants lose to USAFour players reached double digits for Coastal Carolina, but it [more]

Hoops: Braves sweep CF; Seahawks split with Chiefs

Hoops: Braves sweep CF; Seahawks split with ChiefsSocastee scored a big road victory in its Region 6-5A [more]

CCU Hoops: Road teams win SBC debuts with Troy

CCU Hoops: Road teams win SBC debuts with TroyTyrell Gumbs-Frater scored a game-high 20 points as Coastal Carolina [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 6: Comets top Cards for title

Beach Ball Classic, Day 6: Comets top Cards for titleMonday's Beach Ball Classic championship game didn't feature the offensive [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 4/5: CA's Green leaves his mark

Beach Ball Classic, Day 4/5: CA's Green leaves his mark This week's Beach Ball Classic has been a memorable one [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 3: MB takes one on the chin

Beach Ball Classic, Day 3: MB takes one on the chinMyrtle Beach went toe-to-toe with St. Edward (OH) before falling [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 2: Socastee, MB, CA stumble

Beach Ball Classic, Day 2: Socastee, MB, CA stumbleSocastee turned in a solid team effort but suffered an [more]

CCU mourns loss of former Olympian, assistant Henley

CCU mourns loss of former Olympian, assistant HenleyTwo-time Olympian (1992 and 1996) and Coastal Carolina assistant track [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 1: Braves, Saints lose debuts

Beach Ball Classic, Day 1: Braves, Saints lose debutsTwo local high school basketball teams found out just how [more]

Wrestling: Young Panthers stay hungry for region title

Wrestling: Young Panthers stay hungry for region titleMatthew Ashworth knows the Carolina Forest wrestling squad isn’t the [more]

Moglia steps down as CCU coach, pitches to Chadwell

Moglia steps down as CCU coach, pitches to ChadwellFive-time National Coach of the Year finalist Joe Moglia, who [more]

Hoops: Sharks claim first region win over Panthers

Hoops: Sharks claim first region win over PanthersA big win for the St. James boys basketball team [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2018 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach