An emotional Dale Earnhardt Jr. won at Talladega Superspeedway for the sixth time in his career, but his first since 2004, for his first win of the season.
“It’s just real emotional. I haven’t won here in a long time. It was my daddy’s birthday a couple of days ago, and I’m just real emotional, man,” he said.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. would’ve turned 64 on Wednesday and dominated Talladega in his career, where he won 10 times.
Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 67 laps, beating out Jimmie Johnson, who led 50 laps. Johnson finished second, but couldn’t catch Earnhardt Jr. as multiple wrecks broke out behind them.
The win likely ensures Earnhardt Jr. a spot in the Chase.
Jeff Gordon held the pole for the race, but received a speeding penalty with 30 laps to go. He dropped to 30th after the penalty and finished 31st after being collected in a wreck on the final lap.
Paul Menard finished third followed by Ryan Blaney in fourth. Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top five.