Nationwide Win in No. 3 Car

2/16/2002

Making only his second Nationwide Series appearance since his championship-winning campaigns of 1998 and 1999, Dale Jr. came back in a big way. Of his three Nationwide Series races in 2002, he won two of them, starting with the season-opening EAS/GNC Live Well 300 at Daytona. Junior led nearly half the total laps (59 of 120) in his No. 3 Oreo Chevrolet, a car fielded through joint partnership between Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Richard Childress Racing. Junior's stiffest competition was Jimmy Spencer, who led 24 laps of his own, but Spencer encountered engine troubles with 21 laps to go. That left Junior to battle DEI teammate Michael Waltrip and longtime rival Matt Kenseth for the win. The Nationwide Series victory was Junior's 14th, but he would later win the 2002 Funai 250 at Richmond International Raceway in a No. 8 Warner Brothers Chevrolet fielded by DEI. On that night he started on the pole and led 190 of 250 laps to capture Nationwide Series victory No. 15.