Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins the 56th annual Daytona 500 - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins the 56th annual Daytona 500

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Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet, held off a late charge over the final two laps to win a thrilling Daytona 500. After a late race caution, he immediately took the lead for good with two laps remaining as the field went three wide to jockey for the victory. It marked the second career Daytona 500 win for Earnhardt Jr., and the first since 2004 for NASCAR's 11-time most popular driver. After being the runner-up three of the last four years in the Daytona 500, Earnhardt Jr. took the time to let it soak in with a long, reverse-lap drive down the frontstretch of the 2.5-mile tri-oval, showing his appreciation for the win and for the fans.

"To win this race is the greatest feeling you can feel in this sport, aside from accepting the trophy for the championship," said Earnhardt Jr. after climbing out of the car in Victory Lane. "I didn't know if I'd ever get a chance to feel this again and it feels just as good, if not better than the first (win) because of how hard we tried year after year after year, running second all of those years.."

Earnhardt Jr. last won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway when he finished first during the Quicken Loans 400 in 2012.

The NASCAR Sprint Series comes to Michigan International Speedway for the Quicken Loans 400 on Sunday, June 15 and the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday, August 17. Tickets are on sale at http://www.MISpeedway.com or by phone at 800-354-1010.

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2014 Michigan International Speedway Schedule

Saturday, May 10             Michigan Wine and Beer Fest presented by Experience Jackson

Friday, June 13                  ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards and Sprint Cup Qualifying
Saturday, June 14            NASCAR Nationwide Series
Sunday, June 15               NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400

Friday, Aug. 15                  NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice and Qualifying
Saturday, Aug. 16             NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Sunday, Aug. 17                NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400