NASCAR

Earnhardt's place in Chase unsettled

Not There Yet
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is seventh in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points.
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Larry McReynolds

Larry McReynolds has more than 30 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, Daytona 500-winning crew chief and broadcaster. He earned 23 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, including two victories in the prestigious Daytona 500, as well as a pair of non-points victories in the annual all-star race. Follow him on Twitter.

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We all know that there are only two races left in the NASCAR Sprint Cup regular season before the Chase field is set. We are in Atlanta this weekend and then Richmond the following weekend.

Tensions are high for a lot of race teams with drivers just inside and just outside the top 10 in points.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is one of only two drivers currently in the top 10 who doesn’t have a win yet this season. He’s currently sitting in seventh spot. With only two races remaining, I promise you that all of Junior Nation is anxious.

The reason they are anxious is that before last Saturday night’s race at Bristol, the No. 88 car had little breathing room back to the guy in 11th spot.

IT ADDS UP

Where did your favorite driver finish in the 2013 final standings?

Thankfully for them, a 10th-place finish gave Dale Jr. a little bit wider cushion as he is now 33 points ahead of the 11th-place driver, who is now Brad Keselowski. So that’s good news. The other good news is we are headed to the last two races of the regular season, and Dale Jr. historically runs well at both Atlanta and Richmond.

Obviously none of us have a crystal ball and can say with any kind of certainty that Dale Jr. won’t have a tire go down or an engine let go or get caught up in someone else’s wreck in these next two races. So he is another one of those drivers who is sitting on that hot Chase stove for a couple more weeks.

I just know I would rather have the momentum of coming off a 10th-place finish, widening the spread between me and the 11th-place guy and heading to two tracks where I run well, than heading to two tracks I don’t.
 

Tagged: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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