Dale Earnhardt Jr., continued his winless streak Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.
It’s now been 117 races since Earnhardt has visited victory lane in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series. Despite some strong runs early in the season, since Kansas in June, Earnhardt has not finished inside the top five.
Saturday night was another disappointing race for Earnhardt. After starting 22nd, he was never in contention. He lost a lap that he was able to make up but was never able to climb up in the field and finished 16th.
“We struggled all night, really, trying to get a good car,” Earnhardt said. “Trying to get a good car; trying to get the car to drive. We just couldn’t really get a good balance all night. The balance was decent on the car, but we were just slow, we didn’t have enough grip. Just sliding around a whole lot. Thankful to finish where we finished.”
Despite his less than stellar season and lack of wins, Earnhardt has been able to remain in the top 10 in points giving him a shot to be in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. If he is able to hold on, Earnhardt would be in the Chase for the first time since 2008.
Earnhardt however doesn’t care if he makes the Chase or not.
“I don’t really know how much it matters to me.,” Earnhardt said Friday.”Making the Chase is just an afterthought. I really want to win the championship, you know. Making the Chase is great and all, but as a person, you want to be the champion. Making the Chase doesn’t really make you feel better at the end of the season if you don’t win a championship, you are really disappointed. I don’t really think about, I need to make the Chase, personally, those aren’t my thoughts. I think more about what could we have done last week?”
What he has not done however is win this season and the early season performance that seems to give so many so much hope has slipped away. Even though Earnhardt was able to maintain his ninth spot in the standings after his poor finish at Bristol with two races to go before the field for the final ten races is set, Earnhardt will have to step up his game if he hopes to be part of the final Chase contenders. However making the Chase isn’t what dominates Earnhardt’s thoughts.
“I’m thinking more about the particular day-to-day stuff and I want to win a race. How can we put ourselves in position to do that? Things like that,” he said. “The Chase stuff, the points and everything sort of takes care of itself. You try to do the best you can throughout the year to put yourself in the best position there, but, (if) I miss the Chase, I’ll probably catch a lot of sh*t about it. It will save me a lot of sh*t if I make the Chase so that is probably the only thing personally that I have to worry about.”
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