A clearly disappointed Dale Earnhardt Jr. looks on after Sunday's race at Talladega Superspeedway.
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If anyone had reason to be upset with the finish to Sunday’s Chase-elimination race at Talladega Superspeedway, it was Dale Earnhardt Jr. — NASCAR’s 12-time most popular driver.
Earnhardt, who had to win the race to advance to the next Chase round, was battling Joey Logano for the lead and the victory when the caution flag waved for the final time, freezing the field on the heels of a multi-car wreck near the start/finish line.
After taking several minutes to review replays, NASCAR ruled that Logano was the leader at the time of the caution, and scored Earnhardt with a second-place finish.
The controversial decision cost Junior a spot in the Chase Eliminator Round and the opportunity to continue his quest for his first Sprint Cup title, sparking outrage from his legions of supporters who promptly threw debris on the track as Logano performed a celebratory burnout.
The driver of the No. 88 Chevy took the disappointment on the chin, however, refusing to question or criticize NASCAR’s decision and taking the blame for his precarious points position which forced him to have to win to keep his championship hopes alive.
Appropriately, the NASCAR community — media members, fellow drivers, fans — was quick to praise the Hendrick Motorsports driver for the classy manner in which he handled such a tough situation.