Dale Earnhardt Jr. kissed his girlfriend in front of thousands of fans on Sunday, and he had good reason to celebrate.
Earnhardt Jr.’s win of the Sprint Cup finally marked the end of one of the longest stretches between wins in the race’s history.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. had gone 143 races without winning prior to Sunday’s race.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s last victory came in 2008 when he beat Tony Stewart by 5.393 seconds.
Since then, Earnhardt Jr. said he knew it was only a matter of time until he was victorious again.
"I feel like we are getting stronger," Earnhardt said after the race. "This year, we have gotten faster throughout the year. We started off pretty quick and we have gotten quicker, and quicker, especially these last couple weeks. So that's been a thrill for me."
Earnhardt Jr. is now positioned to be a contender as a winner of the overall series, but now the pressure is on for him to perform better than ever.
"We have a conference meeting on Tuesday with all of the drivers and crew chiefs and that will be a thrill since we won," Earnhardt said. "But we have got to start talking about the next race. We need to keep our eye on the goal and, like I said, we'll enjoy this, but we are ready for the next opportunity to win one, because this is fun."
Sunday marked Dave Earnhardt Jr.'s 19th Cup victory and his second in 159 starts for Hendrick Motorsports. He had 17 victories in 291 races for Dale Earnhardt Inc.
The day of his win, Father’s Day, seemed fitting for Earnhardt Jr., as his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr. was an avid race car driver. Earnhardt Sr. died during a final lap crash at 2001’s Daytona 500, and he is now remembered as one of the greatest NASCAR drivers of all-time.