Late-Race Wreck Keeps Earnhardt Miller from Victory Lane in MRO Better Half Dash

Ron Lemasters | 6/11/2021

Better Half Dash Brandt iRacing Kelley Earnhardt Miller News

Starting on pole after raising the most donations for MRO, Kelley ran in the top five all race until getting caught up in a wreck on a late-race restart.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (June 11, 2021) – A raucous green-white-checkered restart at the end of this year's Better Half Dash presented by Motor Racing Outreach and hosted on iRacing saw Kelley Earnhardt Miller go from third place with a strong chance at victory to seventh place at the checkered flag on Thursday night at the virtual Legends Car oval at Texas Motor Speedway.

Sitting third in the lineup with three laps to go in the 32-lap race for the Legends Cars, Earnhardt Miller was swept up in a road-block crash that slowed the action. She retained her previous position after suffering little to no damage with her No. 38 BRANDT Professional Agriculture-sponsored machine as many of the race leaders had to come to a stop during the incident.

Lining up for a green-white-checkered finish, Earnhardt Miller fired off third but was immediately put three-wide. The resulting contact saw her spin out of third place, and though she got the car back under way, it was too little, too late and she wound up seventh at the checkered.

Up to that point, it had been a stellar evening for the third-generation racer.

In her heat race, Earnhardt Miller avoided a lap-1 crash and swept to third place, where she would eventually finish in the 10-lap opening stanza.

Earnhardt Miller started from the pole for the 32-lap main event, thanks to garnering the most donations for Motor Racing Outreach among the participants.

"We were No. 1 in donations, and we worked hard for that No. 1 position," she said post-race. "Thanks to BRANDT, thanks to Mr. Hendrick for your donation and to all the fans who donated too. Let’s do this again!"

When the green flag waved, Earnhardt Miller made a strong start, only to see McCall Gaulding take the lead by the time the cars reached start-finish for the first time. Staying tucked in behind the leader, Earnhardt Miller ran the fastest lap of the event on the 10th circuit and was still second until lap 26, when she fell to third.

Three laps later, the road-block crash in Turn 4 set in motion the events leading to the green-white-checkered.

 Following the event, Earnhardt Miller was thankful for the opportunity, both to drive in the race and to help Motor Racing Outreach.

“It was tons of fun,” she said via video. "I want to thank BRANDT Professional Agriculture especially for letting me run those corn fenders. That was a lot of fun. I want to thank my son Wyatt and my husband L.W. for their support. Wyatt wants the crew chief duty,  so he was in training. Jonathan Davis, my crew chief who is also on the No. 1 car and my brother-in-law, was my crew chief and he did a great job training me."

Davis, the car chief for Michael Annett’' No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet, said such things will happen in any race.

"It was a blast," he said. "We made lots of laps at home, and they kind of threw us a curveball today coming down here to the FOX studios. We were third until that last caution and kind of got run over a little bit on a restart and those things happen. Thanks to everybody for the donations to the Better Half Dash and to MRO for putting this on. Kristen Labonte did a great job with all of this."

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XFINITY Series Standings

After B&L Transport 170

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course | 6/5/2021
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Austin Cindric5580
2AJ Allmendinger462-96
3Daniel Hemric437-121
4Harrison Burton437-121
5Jeb Burton419-139
6Justin Haley401-157
7Justin Allgaier395-163
10Michael Annett326-232
11Noah Gragson324-234
16Josh Berry #256-302