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 Post subject: OTP's Top Ten...
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:48 pm 
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It's been a great while since I have done a top ten wins list. I did one for Stewart shortly after his final season, and then for Edwards after he announced his surprise retirement. So, let's take on the mother load... Brace yourselves, Junior Nation, cuz we're counting down... the TOP... TEN... CUP WINS... by Dale Earnhardt Jr!

Number 10- 2000 All Star Race. Somehow I always seem to end up with an All Star race on these countdowns. In hindsight I would probably not keep Stewart's or Edwards's on their lists if I re-did them, but the thing about Dale Jr's All Star win that was special was he did it as a rookie, which was UNHEARD OF at the time. Granted this feat doesn't seem as impressive because Ryan Newman did the same thing two years later (hmm... a top 10 Newman win list? Wait, Newman's still active?!?). Dale Jr made the All star race by already having two wins, one of which occurred at Texas (but more on that race later) and then one of his least impressive victories at Richmond the week prior. Nobody expected him to win the All Star race as a rookie but he pulled it off, which was also his only win in his home state sadly.

Number 9- 2002 Talladega 2- I could have picked any of his 6 Talladega wins. The reason I chose this one is because this race will forever be known as the last caution free race in Cup history (thanks, Stage racing!) (ok, I don't actually hate the stage format). Junior had a RIDICULOUS stretch at Talladega where in 7 races, he won five of them and finished 2nd in the other 2. This was the 3rd race and win in that stretch but the other races were marred with big ones, other crazy stuff, Dale passing below the yellow line and not getting penalized for it, etc. This race went caution free meaning we had over 35 cars running at the finish and Dale still easily led the most laps. This was also the race where NASCAR experimented with the smaller fuel cells, meaning more green flag stops meaning the pack got broken up quite a bit. Now... it MIGHT help that every car running a Hendrick engine blew up in this race, but even so. An impressive drive nonetheless.

Number 8- 2014 Daytona 500- I know, it's the Daytona 500. But seeing as how this was his 2nd win in the race, all it truly did was just reinforce the fact that he is one of the best plate racers in NASCAR history. This also happened with Amelia, the dominant, untouchable plate car that was unfortunately lost in the 2016 Daytona 500.

Number 7- 2004 Bristol Night Race- Some consider this race a crown jewel. Whether you are one of those people or not shouldn't impact your thinking when I tell you why I chose this race. Dale started 30th, at a track that was at the time notorious for being difficult to pass on. He took the lead by lap 64 and went on to lead 295 laps and win. This is truly one of the biggest "beatdowns" I can recall Jr giving the field in a Cup race. His only career Bristol win, but it was sure as hell an impressive one.

Number 6- Martinsville 2014- When Dale Jr first started in the Cup series, Martinsville was his worst track. He brought out four cautions there in one race once. Over the years he gradually got better at the place, consistently running in the top 5 but not being able to hang with his teammates Jimmie and Jeff. In 2014, Dale had his day by straight up beating them and scoring his long overdue Grandfather Clock.

Number 5- Dover 2001- The first race after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. NASCAR postponed the Loudon race, and there was even some doubt whether Dover would be run at the time. NASCAR, much like America, was facing a world of uncertainty. Nothing like the sport's most popular driver going out and leading 193 laps en route to victory lane.

Number 4- Michigan 2012- This win was important to Junior's career. I thought about putting his 2008 Michigan win on here but, well, it was fuel mileage. This one was a straight up beatdown. And it came on the 4 year anniversary of his last win. After a dismal 09-10 A lot of fans myself included were wondering if Dale would ever win again. This race was a huge sigh of relief for Junior Nation and NASCAR as a whole.

Number 3- Texas 2000- Dale's first Cup win. Came very early in his rookie season, and he certainly didn't back into it by leading over 100 laps. In case you haven't noticed by now, I tend to be more impressed with Junior wins where he dominates the field. His other win in 2000 though I feel you can make a case for his worst win (Richmond).

Number 2- 2004 Daytona 500- I think we all knew based on his plate success in the early 2000s that Junior was basically a lock to win a D500 in his career. And it happened in his fifth try. No waiting 20 years for this guy! He and Tony Stewart had by far the two best cars and actually pulled away from the pack on a long green flag run (and then Scott Wimmer used pit strategy to get ahead of them. He got smoked but stayed in their draft to finish 3rd). Dale Jr passed Stewart with 19 laps to go WITHOUT DRAFTING HELP and led the rest of the race.

Number 1- Chicagoland 2005- What can I say? In a major down year for Dale, where his speed was lacking and he had Pete Rondeau on top of the pit box, everything came together for him in this one race. Yeah Matt Kenseth had the dominant car and Dale used pit strategy to win, but when you look at his 2005, this one race was.... okay nobody is falling for that. OF COURSE it's the 2001 Pepsi 400. I mean, WHAT ELSE could it be? I've stated my opinion on this race many times before. Not sure if it was "rigged" per se, because let's be real, rigging a race would be an incredibly hard thing to do with all of the variables that go into it, especially at a plate track. But I will say that I will say that I am pretty sure nobody else in the field wanted to be "the bad guy" that night and try to pass Junior for the win. But regardless of how you view this particular race (I personally hated this race), no win by no driver has ever meant more to the sport of NASCAR.

Any suggestions for future lists?

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 Post subject: Re: OTP's Top Ten...
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:29 pm 
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That's a good list and the Bristol win in 2004 brings back great memories, as I was there.


One other that I might have put on that list, maybe near the top were it my list, would be the 2nd Talladega race of 2004, which he won. The famous "shit" bomb in Victory Circle race for which he was fined 25 points. He was tied for the points lead after that race until NASCAR came in and took the points away for one of the stupidest and dumbest reasons I have ever seen them use for anything and for NASCAR - which has excelled at dumb and stupid - that's saying something.

Probably realistically cost him his best shot at the title. And it was a souring point for me on NASCAR. It was that year that I started to turn on them, in large part due to this and also what I saw them do at Martinsville later that month. That was our last trip to Martinsville as ISC had bought it and ruined what was a pretty cool place to visit.

It don't mean shit

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 Post subject: Re: OTP's Top Ten...
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:54 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: OTP's Top Ten...
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:26 am 
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jlb wrote:
That's a good list and the Bristol win in 2004 brings back great memories, as I was there.


One other that I might have put on that list, maybe near the top were it my list, would be the 2nd Talladega race of 2004, which he won. The famous "shit" bomb in Victory Circle race for which he was fined 25 points. He was tied for the points lead after that race until NASCAR came in and took the points away for one of the stupidest and dumbest reasons I have ever seen them use for anything and for NASCAR - which has excelled at dumb and stupid - that's saying something.

Probably realistically cost him his best shot at the title. And it was a souring point for me on NASCAR. It was that year that I started to turn on them, in large part due to this and also what I saw them do at Martinsville later that month. That was our last trip to Martinsville as ISC had bought it and ruined what was a pretty cool place to visit.

It don't mean shit


That race would be 11th. I had a hard time deciding between that race and the 02 Talladega race I chose and didn't want to put both on.

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 Post subject: Re: OTP's Top Ten...
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:48 am 
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off the pace wrote:
jlb wrote:
That's a good list and the Bristol win in 2004 brings back great memories, as I was there.


One other that I might have put on that list, maybe near the top were it my list, would be the 2nd Talladega race of 2004, which he won. The famous "shit" bomb in Victory Circle race for which he was fined 25 points. He was tied for the points lead after that race until NASCAR came in and took the points away for one of the stupidest and dumbest reasons I have ever seen them use for anything and for NASCAR - which has excelled at dumb and stupid - that's saying something.

Probably realistically cost him his best shot at the title. And it was a souring point for me on NASCAR. It was that year that I started to turn on them, in large part due to this and also what I saw them do at Martinsville later that month. That was our last trip to Martinsville as ISC had bought it and ruined what was a pretty cool place to visit.

It don't mean shit


That race would be 11th. I had a hard time deciding between that race and the 02 Talladega race I chose and didn't want to put both on.



Indeed, I think I understand your logic there. That race, and that month in 2004 was a huge turning point for me and my wife as it related to NASCAR. October 2004 was the beginning of my turning away from NASCAR, so my bias towards inclusion and subsequently a higher rating, is highly personal :D

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