Published on June 15th, 2008 | by Michael J Smith0
The Streak Ends
Dale Earnhardt Jr. used a huge fuel gamble and survived a late green-white-checkered finish to win the Lifelock 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
As the race began winding down and teams started calculating fuel mileage, Jr. was about two laps short. Jamie McMurray and Kasey Kahne were also close on fuel. They backed down their lap times, while the other teams began pitting with about 22 laps to go.
Jr. inherited the lead in the closing laps, as the others pitted. Then, he began racing with McMurray for what they thought would be the win.
Jr. took the lead and began pulling away from McMurray when Sam Hornish Jr. spun bringing out the caution, forcing a green-white-checker. Under caution, Jr. kept turning the car off and coasting to conserve fuel.
On the restart, Mark Martin appeared to run out of fuel, and cars began passing him on the inside and outside. Jr. took the white flag with Kahne behind him. Martin finished 25th.
On the last lap, Martin Truex Jr. and Michael Waltrip got together sending Waltrip spinning, ending the race. Jr. had enough fuel to cross the start-finish line and win the race.
Top 10: Earnhardt Jr., Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brian Vickers, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, David Ragan, Elliott Sadler, and McMurray.
Notable: Kevin Harvick (12th), Kyle Busch (13th), Denny Hamlin (14th), Jeff Burton (15th), Jeff Gordon (18th), Greg Biffle (20th), Kurt Busch (21st), Martin (25th), Clint Bowyer (26th), and Ryan Newman (42nd).
Vickers expressed some frustration with his finish. According to him, NASCAR told him to let the No. 8 car pass him under caution, despite the fact that, he said, he was in front of him by many car lengths when the caution came out. With the buffer of the 8 car, he couldn’t catch Jr. or Kahne.
Earnhardt Jr. said:
They can write what they want but we won one!