Dale Jr. First Victory Driving for JR Motorsports
JR Motorsports Race Report
Saturday, April 23, 2016
Race 8 of 33: ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway
Track Specs: .75-mile D-shaped oval / 140 laps
Weather: Cloudy, 71 degrees
Race Winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s first NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Richmond International Raceway since September 2002 ended in similar fashion to that night nearly 14 years ago, with the two-time series champion dominating the race on his way to victory lane. Today’s victory, Earnhardt’s first Xfinity Series win since 2010, was also his fourth in six career starts at the Virginia short track.
After starting and finishing second in his heat race, Earnhardt rolled off third in the 140-lap main event. He wasted little time establishing his No. 88 Hellmann’s Chevrolet as the car to beat. At lap 18, Earnhardt bypassed Erik Jones and proceeded to lead the race until the first caution waved at lap 126.
Under that caution, Earnhardt dropped to third after Brennan Poole elected to stay on track and JR Motorsports driver Justin Allgaier vaulted ahead of the No. 88 on pit road. When the green flag waved again, Dale Jr. peeked low under Poole’s No. 48 heading into turn one, which resulted in Poole drifting up and making contact with Allgaier’s No. 7 car. Carnage ensued while Earnhardt skirted by on the inside to reclaim the lead.
Following a lengthy caution, Earnhardt led the field to a NASCAR overtime restart and fended off Ty Dillon, Elliott Sadler, Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon to score his 24th career Xfinity Series victory and first driving for JR Motorsports.
The No. 88 Dave Elenz-led team now leads the Xfinity Series Owners standings through eight events. Elenz, who also guided Chase Elliott to a victory lane in the season opener at Daytona, has now earned victories with three different drivers (Earnhardt, Elliott and Kevin Harvick) during his tenure at JR Motorsports.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver No. 88 Hellmann’s team
“It really was a big win. I only run these Xfinity Series races a couple times a year, so the opportunities to win are few and far between. This is a unique situation because of Hellmann’s being on the car, the way the tweet went viral, and then taking that opportunity to raise money for one of the partners we work with – Blessings in a Backpack. That all worked out very well. We ended up raising over $150,000 and today was when we wrapped up donations to DaleJrSandwich.com. Also, in the last 48 hours, we learned that Unilever, which is the parent company for Hellmann’s, has signed on for two more years with our program. That’s such a critical thing for our race team to have partners that want to continue their relationship with us and that want to continue working with us and be able to get these cars on the race track. It’s so important to have won today with all of that happening. To be able to come here and win the race in that car is incredible. I knew we had great cars at Richmond and that is why I picked to run here because of how well they have ran the last few years.”
Congratulations to Dale and the entire JR Motorsports team. SEM red looks good on you!