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Earnhardt Jr. Returns To XFINITY Victory Lane

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, April 23 2016
Dale Earnhardt Jr. took a reverse victory lap at Richmond after earning a rare XFINITY Series win on Saturday. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Andrew Coppley)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. took a reverse victory lap at Richmond after earning a rare XFINITY Series win on Saturday. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Andrew Coppley)

RacinToday.com

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his first NASCAR XFINITY Series race since 2010 and the first in his own JR Motorsports equipment on Sunday.

Earnhardt beat Ty Dillon by .266 seconds at Richmond International Raceway, but Dillon collected Xfinity Seriesthe $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus available to the two highest finishes among XFINITY Series regulars from each of the two heats that preceded the main event.

The victory was Earnhardt’s fourth at Richmond – his first at the .75-mile short track since 2002 – and the 24th of his career. Earnhardt’s last win in the series came in the July 2010 race at Daytona in a No. 3 Chevrolet owned by Richard Childress.

Though Earnhardt led 128 of the 149 laps after passing Erik Jones for the top spot on Lap 18, the final two were a challenge, with Dillon restarting beside him for the two-lap overtime.

“Those last couple of laps, we were real loose in the corner,” Earnhardt said. “I thought Ty was going to get to me – he tried to get to me. When we got to (Turn 3), we drove into the corner wide-open.”

But Dillon couldn’t pull even with Earnhardt, who cleared Dillon’s No. 3 Chevy off Turn 4 on the first overtime lap.

“We came up a little short, but we’re going to get one soon,” Dillon said.

“Today was an all around excellent day for our No. 3 WESCO team. With Nick Harrison out this weekend, our race engineer, Danny Efland, really stepped up and delivered today. This team has a whole lot of fight and was there with me at the end to give me a great race car. I really wanted to win this race today, and thought we had a chance at the end. It’s cool to win this Dash4Cash and I can’t thank XFINITY enough for allowing us to race this format. It was exciting to win the heat race and be one step closer to locking ourselves in the Chase. We’re looking forward to getting Nick back next week and hopefully scoring a win. Today was fun; we need more days like today.”

Dillon wouldn’t have had a shot at the win at all, had a nine-car pileup on Lap 134 not bunched the field and necessitated the overtime.

NASCAR XFINITY Series Race – ToyotaCare 250
Richmond International Raceway
Richmond, Virginia
Saturday, April 23, 2016

  1. (3) Dale Earnhardt Jr.(i), Chevrolet, 149.
  2. (2) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 149.
  3. (9) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 149.
  4. (6) Daniel Suárez, Toyota, 149.
  5. (10) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 149.
  6. (17) Cole Custer(i), Chevrolet, 149.
  7. (15) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 149.
  8. (16) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, 149.
  9. (8) Brad Keselowski(i), Ford, 149.
  10. (7) Brennan Poole #, Chevrolet, 149.
  11. (18) Ryan Reed, Ford, 149.
  12. (19) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 149.
  13. (12) Justin Marks, Chevrolet, 149.
  14. (25) Dakoda Armstrong, Toyota, 149.
  15. (13) Brandon Jones #, Chevrolet, 148.
  16. (11) Darrell Wallace Jr., Ford, 148.
  17. (22) Spencer Gallagher(i), Chevrolet, 148.
  18. (14) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 148.
  19. (21) Jeb Burton, Ford, 148.
  20. (26) Garrett Smithley #, Chevrolet, 147.
  21. (20) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 147.
  22. (23) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 147.
  23. (24) Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, 146.
  24. (29) Ray Black Jr. #, Chevrolet, 146.
  25. (30) Travis Kvapil(i), Ford, 146.
  26. (32) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 146.
  27. (31) Harrison Rhodes, Chevrolet, 146.
  28. (28) BJ McLeod #, Ford, 146.
  29. (33) Ryan Ellis, Chevrolet, 145.
  30. (37) Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, 144.
  31. (38) Timmy Hill(i), Dodge, 143.
  32. (36) Todd Peck, Ford, 143.
  33. (5) Matt Tifft(i), Toyota, Accident, 135.
  34. (1) Erik Jones #, Toyota, Accident, 134.
  35. (4) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, Accident, 134.
  36. (34) Mike Harmon, Dodge, Accident, 123.
  37. (27) Jeff Green, Toyota, Brakes, 104.
  38. (35) Carl Long, Dodge, Brakes, 17.
  39. (39) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Suspension, 12.
  40. (40) Josh Wise(i), Chevrolet, Transmission, 7.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  93.623 mph.

Time of Race:  1 Hrs, 11 Mins, 37 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.266 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  2 for 20 laps.

Lead Changes:  4 among 4 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   E. Jones # 1-17; D. Earnhardt Jr.(i) 18-129; B. Poole # 130-132; J. Allgaier 133; D. Earnhardt Jr.(i) 134-149.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  D. Earnhardt Jr.(i) 2 times for 128 laps; E. Jones # 1 time for 17 laps; B. Poole # 1 time for 3 laps; J. Allgaier 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 10 in Points: D. Suarez – 279; E. Sadler – 270; T. Dillon – 260; B. Jones # – 249; E. Jones # – 244; B. Gaughan – 242; J. Allgaier – 241; B. Poole # – 212; R. Reed – 210; D. Wallace Jr. – 201.

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, April 23 2016
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