Worlds Greatest Race: Day 7

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Today’s Race: RacingOne 500
Track: 1-mile paved oval in Tupelo, Miss. (just south of Threepelo, Miss.)
Race Length: 500 miles
Today’s Highlights: Laps 301-350

TUPELO, Miss. – Running with the greatest drivers in the history of the sport, nobody really expected young Dale Earnhardt Jr. to lead a lap in the World’s Greatest Race… but he’s certainly done that and more.

Little E – which he hates being called – took the lead from three-time champion Cale Yarborough after the midway point in the event, and by Lap 300 was pulling away.

Junior – which he hates being called – began lapping cars at Lap 310, and by Lap 315 had lapped the entire field.

By Lap 330, Little E Junior – which he’s never been called – lapped the entire field a second time.

Coming off a win at Daytona – where everyone but his team, NASCAR and a few journalists saw that his car was doing things none had ever done legally in a restrictor-plate race – it didn’t take long for everyone but his team, NASCAR and a few journalists to start questioning what suddenly got into Dale Little Junior’s Chevy to make it so much better than everyone else’s car.

“Not since Richard Petty won his 200th race while the president happened to be in attendance have we seen such utter disregard for fair play,” said NBC broadcaster Allen “I’m the” Bestwick. “Wait a minute, did I just say something that could be taken as negative towards the sport? Quick, switch to one of our pit reporter dudes in their cute little uniforms before someone actually mistakes me for a real journalist!!!”

Luckily for Little Dale E Junior, NASCAR and wanna-be journalists (or should we call them licensees) everywhere, focus was taken off of E Little Dale Junior’s dominance when two star drivers were called to the pits on Lap 335.

First to report to the pits was Dale Jarrett, who quickly saw his worst nightmare parked on pit lane and ready for action… the big brown truck.

Figuring his season was bad enough in the UPS car that it wouldn’t make any difference, car (and truck) owner Robert Yates demanded DJ leap from his Ford and hop into the package-lugging truck.

Jarrett, obviously upset about the switch, pulled a 7-iron from the golf bag in his car (have you heard he’s a good golfer, or are you still living in that cave?) and started chasing Yates around pit road.

NASCAR, realizing Yates was over the pit wall without a helmet – and that big-paying sponsor UPS would be unhappy that Jarrett wasn’t wearing ugly brown shorts and cute little tan socks – immediately disqualified the team from the event.

“The truck we could deal with by utilizing rule 1520-C of our rule book, and really the no-helmet thing is just for show anyway,” said NASCAR official Bunky Bederson. “But UPS is a fairly new sponsor in this sport – which we have a definite lack of these days – so not doing exactly what they ask of us or a team is inexcusable.”

While Jarrett was chasing Yates around pit road – and UPS was chasing Jarrett with little tan socks – Jarrett’s father, Ned, pulled his car off the track and tried to play peacemaker.

Before you knew it, he had forfeited his place in the race and was helping to tackle his son in his pit box.

“Take it easy son, you’ll have success someday as an announcer, I promise,” said the older Jarrett. “Please come to the motor home with me and have some pie. We can even play the “mustache or no mustache” game again if you want.”

Another recent former champion, Bobby Labonte, would have some trouble with his car owner at this time also.

Joe Gibbs, apparently realizing he was late for a Washington Redskins Christmas party, called Labonte to the garage area.

“As Bobby is now the second-best driver on our team, I figured it only right that he drive me and Tony Stewart to the party in our team limo,” said Gibbs.

Little Dale E Junior Earnhardt continued to dominate while former champions fell out one by one, and by Lap 347 he was four laps ahead of second-place Davey Allison.

“NASCAR inspected our car just like everybody else during that mandatory pit stop, so I don’t wanna hear anything about a fix,” said E Junior Dale’s crew chief. “In fact, that fella was poking his white cane all over our Chevy more than ever before.”

The race had stayed green for longer than any point in the event, but on Lap 350, caution would wave as two cars went spinning into the outside retaining wall.

The first car to meet concrete on that lap was Neil Bonnett’s Ford. Seconds later, Sterling Marlin also spun his way out of the event.

“Somehow, Sterling’s toupee fell out of his helmet, flew in my car window and landed square on my face,” Bonnett said. “I couldn’t see a darn thing and just lost control.”

Marlin, to embarrassed to come to the media center for interviews without his piece, said in a written statement: “I almost wrecked because my helmet lost traction and slipped over my eyes when the hair flew away, but it was more a case of not wanting to be seen by the in-car camera that forced me to take a right instead of continuing.”

We’ll pick up the race tomorrow as the teams enter the pits on Lap 351.

Current Running Order (Lap 350)

1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2. Davey Allison
3. Richard Petty
4. Jeff Gordon
5. Dale Earnhardt
6. Cale Yarborough
7. Alan Kulwicki
8. David Pearson
9. Tim Richmond
10. Buddy Baker
11. Bobby Allison
12. Bill Elliott
13. Terry Labonte
14. Curtis Turner
15. Darrell Waltrip
16. Sterling Marlin (out)
17. Neil Bonnett (out)
18. Bobby Labonte (out)
19. Ned Jarrett (out)
20. Dale Jarrett (out)
21. Rusty Wallace (out)
22. Ricky Rudd (out)
23. A.J. Foyt (out)
24. Fireball Roberts (out)
25. Lee Petty (out)
26. Jeff Burton (out)
27. Fred Lorenzen (out)
28. Harry Gant (out)
29. Buck Baker (out)
30. Dave Marcis (out)
31. LeeRoy Yarbrough (out)
32. Jimmy Spencer (out)
33. Tom Pistone (out)
34. Kyle Petty (out)
35. Benny Parsons (out)
36. Mark Martin (out)
37. Bobby Isaac (out)
38. Herb Thomas (out)
39. Junior Johnson (out)
40. Tony Stewart (out)
41. Ernie Irvan (out)
42. Speedy Thompson (out)
43. Joe Weatherly (out)
44. Tim Flock (out)
45. Bill Rexford (out)
46. Red Byron (out)
47. Rex White (out)
48. Wendell Scott (out)
49. Jim Paschal (out)
50. Tiny Lund (out)


How to Vote: It’s easy. All you have to do is send an e-mail to greatestrace@racingone.com and list the five drivers you’d most like to see fall out of the event (feel free to tell us why/how they bit the dust). Then, check back tomorrow, see what happens in the race and find out if enough voters agreed with you. Then vote again!!!

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