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‘Terrifying’ Last-Lap Wreck Gives Perspective to Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Daytona Win

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was masterful, leading 96 of 161 laps to win the rain-delayed Coke Zero 400 at just shy of 3 a.m. ET on Monday, and the 25th Sprint Cup victory of Earnhardt’s career left him “on the verge of tears,” he said in the winner’s media conference. They weren’t tears of joy. They were tears of fright. Earnhardt, who has won consecutive races at NASCAR’s “plate tracks,” expertly defended his advantage against Hendrick Motorsports teammate and six-time champion Jimmie Johnson, but the lingering memory of the Daytona International Speedway summertime classic won’t be the victory by the sport’s most popular driver. It won’t be the rain that delayed the start to 11:42...

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