Aaron's 499

Track: Talladega Superspeedway
Date: 4/6/2003
Car No: 8
Sponsor: Budweiser
Organization: Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Dale Jr. won his record-setting fourth consecutive race at Talladega, but this victory was like none other. An engine change on race morning relegated the Bud team to the back for the start of the race. A multi-car crash on lap four gave the No. 8 Chevrolet damage to the front fender and quarter panels. Junior made 15 stops during the first 89 laps for repairs to his battered car, but somehow stayed on the lead lap and worked his way to the front for the first time on lap 107. He took the lead for the final time on the white-flag lap, soaring passed Kevin Harvick and Elliott Sadler to win his first race of 2003 and fourth top-five in the previous six races. The win also gave him a weekend sweep at Talladega, as he won the NASCAR Busch Series race the day before. "This is a big deal," he said. "It's a great victory for my career. In the past we've been the car to beat at this place, but today we had to fight and gouge and kick for every spot. We had to earn this one today."