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Earnhardt Jr Drives No. 3 Chevy To Victory Lane

[1]In a tribute to his legendary father, Dale Earnhardt Jr drove his No. 3 Wrangler Chevy to Victory Lane in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Jalapeño 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

Earnhardt Jr, who was running the No. 3 to honor the late Dale Earnhardt Sr’s induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, took the lead from Kyle Busch with about 30 laps to go. The caution came out on the same lap. 

The leaders pitted, with Earnhardt winning the race off pit road, thanks in part to Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch both slipping through their boxes and having to back up.

When the green flag flew again, the first nine cars lined up nose to tail and began pulling away from the rest of the field.

Justin Allgaier almost spun when his rear bumper cover came loose. That separated the field even more. By the time there were 10 laps to go, Earnhardt Jr led Kevin Harvick with Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Joey Logano running behind them.

With five laps to go, Paul Menard hit the wall when his tire blew, bringing out the caution. Earnhardt Jr stayed out while other leader went down pit road, including Kyle Busch. All told, nine cars stayed out with Earnhardt Jr.

On the green-white-checker restart, Logano pushed Earnhardt Jr ahead of Harvick. The two pulled away from from the field, as the cars behind him searched around for more speed. Ultimately, Logano couldn’t pass Earnhardt and Earnhardt drove the car to the 23rd Nationwide Series victory of his career.

With the win, Dale Earnhardt Jr becomes the first driver to win in the Nationwide Series car of tomorrow.

Afterwards, Earnhardt Jr said:

I worked hard to try and win it. I’m proud of him going into the Hall of Fame and he would be proud of this, I’m sure. He had so many great fans. This is for his fans. I hope they enjoyed it. This is it. No more 3 for me.

Top 5: Earnhardt Jr, Logano, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Brad Keselowski, and Kevin Harvick.

Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Brian Ickler, amd Steve Arpin rounded out the top 10.

Notables: Carl Edward (11th), Michael Annett (12th), Jason Leffler (14th), Steve Wallace (15th), Justin Allgaier (17th), Jason Keller (20th), Greg Sacks (21st), Reed Sorenson (22nd), Ken Schrader (25th), Paul Menard (28th), Brendan Gaugher (29th), Kenny Wallace (31st), Mike Wallace 34th), and Michael McDowell (35th).