Dale Jr. Seventh in Talladega iRacing Pro Invitational Slugfest

Ron Lemasters | 4/22/2021

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Feeding America iRacing News Unilever Walmart

Dale Jr. brought home his first top-10 finish in this year's iRacing Pro Invitational Series. He'll be behind the wheel once again when the series heads to the virtual Darlington Raceway May 5.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (April 22, 2021) – Brad Keselowski outlasted the field in Wednesday night’s eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing event on the virtual Talladega Superspeedway, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. put his superspeedway superpowers to work coming to the checkered flag after a two-lap dash, eventually winding up a wounded seventh at the finish in his No. 88 Walmart Fight Hunger Chevrolet.

It might have been a top-five had it not been for Michael McDowell’s body slam at the finish line, the result of a blocking attempt gone bad.

The event was the second of five such events to be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and the second of 10 planned events for the 2021 season.

Earnhardt Jr. started seventh in the 40-car field on the 2.66-mile virtual oval, a track at which the 15-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver earned six of his 26 career NASCAR Cup Series victories (including four straight from the fall of 2001 to the spring of 2003).

Pole winner James Davison dominated the event, leading 61 of the 70 laps before getting shuffled out late and finishing eighth. Fellow front-row starter Anthony Alfredo—a graduate of JR Motorsports’ Late Model program, finished 30th.

On the initial green flag, Earnhardt Jr. stayed in the low line as the field immediately went to single-file racing, dropping a position to eighth entering Turn 1. Timmy Hill pulled out of line down the backstretch to avoid a crash and Earnhardt Jr. was back to seventh. He would stay there for much of the initial run.

As the race progressed, Earnhardt Jr. stayed in line and worked toward the front as the tension mounted. With less than 25 laps remaining, one of the big crashes Talladega is known for erupted ahead of him. Taking to the high line, Earnhardt Jr. missed the melee and continued on without damage.

 

 

After most of the field came down pit road under green to make the fuel last to the end, business started to pick up and spawned a spate of caution flags.

The final restart of the race, a green-white-checkered, saw Earnhardt fire off from ninth position on the preferred inside line. Earnhardt Jr. stayed on the bottom line through Turns 1 and 2, getting some drafting help from Alex Bowman to maintain position. As the field flashed under the white flag, Earnhardt Jr. was seventh with Davison on his outside and Bowman delivered another shove to get him into sixth place. Coming off Turn 4 and through the tri-oval, Earnhardt Jr. had a head of steam and came off the bottom to go around McDowell as the finish line loomed.

McDowell edged higher to block the move and ended up pushing Earnhardt Jr. into the outside wall to take sixth place.

Eventual winner Keselowski snookered Davison by getting to the inside line first to take the top spot, which he held to the finish. It was his first Pro Invitational victory and resulted in a $5,000 donation to his Checkered Flag Foundation.

Christopher Bell was second, with Kyle Busch, Hill and Bowman the rest of the top five. McDowell was sixth, with Earnhardt Jr., Davison, Cole Custer and Austin Dillon rounding out the top 10.

Earnhardt Jr. will be back for more eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series action on May 5 at the virtual Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, which will air on Fox Sports 1. Earnhardt Jr. will unveil a special throwback scheme for the event in the coming weeks.

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • May 15 01:30 PM ET
    Dover International Speedway
  • May 22 04:00 PM ET
    Pit Boss 250Circuit of the Americas
  • May 29 01:00 PM ET
    Alsco Uniforms 300 at CharlotteCharlotte Motor Speedway
  • June 5 01:00 PM ET
    B&L Transport 170Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
  • June 12 04:00 PM ET
    Alsco Uniforms 250Texas Motor Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Steakhouse Elite 200

Darlington Raceway | 5/8/2021
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Austin Cindric3880
2Daniel Hemric349-39
3Harrison Burton321-67
4AJ Allmendinger297-91
5Jeb Burton294-94
6Justin Haley293-95
7Justin Allgaier265-123
11Noah Gragson218-170
12Michael Annett213-175
16Josh Berry #169-219