Dale Earnhardt Jr., his team and Junior Nation could celebrate his 0.159-second victory over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 Sunday afternoon, his sixth Sprint Cup win here.
It all but assures Earnhardt a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship for a fifth consecutive year.
Earnhardt led 67 of the 188 laps, then wove his way into Victory Circle, where he gushed nearly as dramatically as the geyser spewing from an engine that began overheating because of debris on the grille.
Unlike many Talladega races, the final two dozen laps were essentially run in a single-file parade, first with a 10-car string, then ultimately caught up by a line of another 20 cars.
Jimmie Johnson was second, Paul Menard was third, Ryan Blaney fourth and Martin Truex Jr. fifth. Points’ leader Kevin Harvick, racing with a mangled hood after an early accident, was eighth.