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Junior wins Daytona 500

By on February 24th, 2014

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Daytona 500 in dominant fashion on Sunday.

This is his second Daytona 500 title, a decade after his first, while the victory ends a 55-race losing streak going back to 2012.

Earnhardt Jr. said he couldn’t be more excited about the victory.

“I was lucky enough to win this race in 2004 and it’s the greatest feeling you can have as a driver in NASCAR on a single event, single day,” Junior said. “Just trying to explain that feeling for people, I’ve been trying to tell people for 10 years what that felt like and it’s just hard to put into words.”

Following a rain delay that lasted 6 hours and 22 minutes, Earnhardt Jr. led the field six times for 54 laps.

“You sort of connect with that car,” he said. “That car I drove tonight… we got along. We worked as a unit.”

Earnhardt Jr. dedicated the win to his crew chief Steve Letarte who will be leaving after the season, for an NASCAR analyst opportunity for NBC in 2015.

“This is Steve’s last ride, so he’s going to let the rough side drag all year. He’s got a little racing left in him and he’s going to try to get it all out so that’s good for me,” Earnhardt Jr. “I’m fortunate to be on the ride with him and this is his first Daytona 500 victory so I was glad to be a part of that and to be a part of the team to deliver that for him.”

Denny Hamlin finished behind Junior for second. Brad Keselowski took home third.

Earnhardt Jr. becomes the first of 16 drivers to clinch a Chase berth with the victory because of the new 2014 Chase format.

For the audio from the story, click below.

Earnhardt Jr. talks about the emotions behind the win

Earnheardt Jr. on driving the best car in the field

Earnheardt Jr. dedicates the win to his crew chief Steve Latarte, who will become a broadcaster next year.

 


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