Earnhardt ends 4-year winless streak

Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrates his win in the Quicken Loans 400.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrates his win in the Quicken Loans 400. (JOHN HARRELSON / Getty Images)
Posted: June 19, 2012

BROOKLYN, Mich. - Dale Earnhardt Jr. raced to his first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory in four years, ending a 143-race winless streak Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.

The victory came almost exactly four years to the day after his last trip to Victory Lane in a Cup race. That also was in Michigan, on June 15, 2008. He led for 36 laps last weekend at Pocono but made a late stop for gas instead of trying to stretch the fuel to the end.

On Sunday, it wasn't even close. Earnhardt pulled away over the final 25 laps of the 400-mile race, and led by more than 5 seconds in the final laps before his black Chevrolet with the green No. 88 crossed the finish line well ahead of Tony Stewart.

"Those last 15 laps were the longest laps ever," Earnhardt said.

Earnhardt already had 11 top-10 finishes this season and was second in the points standings entering this race. But after another close run at Pocono, the questions kept coming about his dry spell.

"Dale had the fastest car all day," Stewart said. "It's not a national holiday, guys. This morning they were celebrating his fourth anniversary of his last win."

Earnhardt's 143 races between wins was the sixth-longest streak in Sprint Cup history. That's now over.

Like his last victory in Michigan, this one came on Father's Day - fitting for the driver whose father has been so revered around NASCAR circles. Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in a last-lap crash at the Daytona 500 in 2001.

Earnhardt moved past pole winner Marcos Ambrose on Lap 70 to take the lead, and although Stewart would lead for a bit, Earnhardt was in front again not long after the race's halfway point.

Audi triumphs at Le Mans

LE MANS, France - Defending champions Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer, and Benoit Treluyer overcame driving mistakes Sunday to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans and give Audi its 11th title.

Audi took possession of second place for most victories at the world's most famous endurance race, five shy of Porsche's record. Its main rival, Toyota, took the lead in the fifth hour but fell out of contention after its two cars retired.

The winning trio completed 378 laps in 24 hours, leading the Audi No. 2 driven by Rinaldo Capello, Tom Kristensen, and Allan McNish by one lap.

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