THROWBACK: Dale Earnhardt Jr Survives Massive Last Lap Wreck to Win at Talladega in 2001

Published 10/12/2021, 1:29 AM EDT
DAYTONA BEACH, FL – JUNE 30: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, looks on during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 59th Annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on June 30, 2017 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)


The Talladega Superspeedway has witnessed a number of insane finishes in its long history. One race that tends to stick out a lot is the 2001 EA Sports 500 on October 21, which Dale Earnhardt Jr won. However, his win was overshadowed by one of NASCAR’s infamous ‘Big Ones’ on the last lap of the race.

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Around that time, it was the battle of the Bobbys that triggered the whole wreck. Apparently, Bobby Labonte was defending his position from Bobby Hamilton Jr, and the two of them clipped each other. This resulted in Labonte flipping wildly, with cars swerving to avoid the carnage. Naturally, the two-man wreck soon spread to involve many of the race leaders.

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That left Jeff Burton’s #99, Tony Stewart’s #20, and Dale Earnhardt Jr’s #8 to fight for the victory. Luckily for Earnhardt, Burton and Stewart were busy with each other, so he could sneak past with relative ease. From there, he began to pull away and cruise to a victory.

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The drama did not end for Dale Earnhardt Jr

Dale Jr, Burton, and Stewart dodged the 16-car wreck and crossed the finish line. Among the victims were the two Bobbys, Ricky Rudd, Sterling Marlin, Bill Elliott, Ward Burton, and Buckshot Jones. Others included Terry Labonte, Dale Jarrett, Johnny Benson Jr., Robert Pressley, and Ricky Craven. Finally, Jason Leffler, Rusty Wallace, Robby Gordon, and Mike Wallace rounded out the retirees.

LOUDON, NH – JUNE 27: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, stands on the grid prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on June 27, 2010 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Later on, there was a massive twist in the tale when his car failed post-race inspection. However, he was still credited with the win and has since been hugely successful at the track. Case in point, he boasts of three wins at the iconic speedway, and the Dale Earnhardt Inc team has registered four wins on the trot. His father, Dale Sr was just as successful, if not more, and he has seven wins under his belt.

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DIVE DEEPER

“Show People What This Racetrack Can Do” – Dale Earnhardt Jr on the Bristol Motor Speedway

29 days ago

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Dhruv George

12121 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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