CONCORD, N.C. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. grew up one town away from Charlotte Motor Speedway, running wild with his friends through the infield as his daddy thrilled the hometown crowd.
He became NASCAR’s most popular driver, the only North Carolina native who drives full-time in a series whose origins lie in part in the souped-up cars bootleggers used to outrun police as they moved moonshine around the state.
Earnhardt won’t be at the track tonight. He will miss two races after a doctor benched him because of two concussions over the past six weeks. It marks the first time an Earnhardt won’t race at Charlotte since 1978 – and the first time an Earnhardt won’t run a Cup race since the 1979 Southern 500.
The show will go on without him, but it remains to be seen how many people come to watch. A week after Talladega’s announced attendance was its smallest since figures have been provided, CMS officials were faced with the task of selling tickets to an Earnhardt-less race.
The good news is we have not had a mass exodus of fans, or cancellations of tickets, track president Marcus Smith said Friday.
NATIONWIDE: You can call him the dominator.
Joey Logano buried the field in the final run of the Dollar General 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., and won his eighth Nationwide Series race of the season in 18 starts.
Logano beat Kevin Harvick to the finish line by 2.760 seconds to win for the first time at Charlotte and the 17th time in his career. Series leader Elliott Sadler ran third and extended his advantage to 13 points over Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who came home seventh.
Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin completed the top five.