The last time Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran an XFINITY Series race at Richmond, he found his way into Victory Lane. His 2016 attempt? Rinse and repeat.
Starting from the second row, Junior led a race high 128-laps in Saturday's ToyotaCare 250 XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash en route to his first Series win since 2010.
“In the first 20 laps there was a lot of guys as good, maybe better, than us,” Earnhardt said. “I think Ty (Dillon) was better than me on the last couple of laps. It was a good race and a good finish.”
#DaleYeah it was.
Junior navigated his way through two late-race cautions, including one that resulted from a multi-car wreck involving JRM teammate Justin Allgaier. Allgaier, one of the four XFINITY Series regulars in the running for the XFINITY Dash 4 Cash prize, was running out front before contact with Brennan Poole sent him spinning.
The wreck also put D4C-eligible Erik Jones, running seventh at the time, out of contention for the $100,000 prize.
RCR's Ty Dillon took advantage of the late-race wreckage and maneuvered his way to a second place victory and Richmond's Dash 4 Cash crown.
“You’re sure this is Richmond, right?” Dillion laughed. “This place has been really tough on me and my team as a whole. To finish second and run the way we did all day was just impressive.”
While the win is the 24th of Earnhardt’s career, it’s his first victory while driving a car he owns.
“I knew we had great cars at Richmond and that’s why I picked to run here,” Earnhardt said. “This was one of the races I asked if I could run, so I was lucky to just be able to drive our stuff here.”
He'll get to drive that stuff again for tomorrow afternoon's TOYOTA OWNERS 400 and is excited about the race's transition to a Sunday afternoon event.
"There will be some good passing, and racing, and slipping and sliding throughout the pack," Earnhardt said. "You’ll see guys really having a hard time getting the throttle down off the corner. They’re going to be spinning out sideways getting into Turn 3 and Turn 1...they’re gonna be moving around, looking for grip - and I think that’s great."
Virginia native Elliott Sadler came home third. Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon rounded out the top-five. Cole Custer, in his Xfinity Series debut, finished sixth.