Junior Finishes the Night 12th at Kentucky

Tyler Overstreet | JR Motorsports | 7/8/2017

Dale Jr. Kentucky NASCAR Nationwide News

Dale Jr. raced inside the top 15 for much of the night en route to a 12th-place finish at Kentucky Speedway.

Race: Kentucky 400 at Kentucky Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile tri-oval / 267 laps
Weather: Clear, 86 degrees
Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr.
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 12th

Dale Earnhardt Jr. posted a 12th-place finish in Saturday night’s 400-mile NASCAR Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway. The finish moves Earnhardt up a position to 21st in the series standings at the official halfway mark of the 36-race season.

After recording a 13th-place qualifying effort Friday afternoon, Earnhardt raced inside the the top 15 for the majority of the 267-lap event. Early on, the specially-designed No. 88 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Chevrolet was presenting Earnhardt with a tight handling condition on the newly-repaved Kentucky Speedway. Despite the handling issue, which was a bear to deal with for much of the night, the No. 88 maintained the 13th position at the end of the opening 80-lap stage.

Stage 2 featured several multi-car accidents, which forced Earnhardt to take evasive action, but did not derail his steadfast effort to improve his Chevrolet’s handling and the No. 88’s track position. At one point, Earnhardt raced his way up to seventh during the second stage, but ultimately slipped just outside the top 10 to 12th by the close of Stage 2.

The final stage ran green for nearly its entirety. After taking the lap-167 restart in 18th, Earnhardt climbed back into the top 15 and remained there as the laps ticked away. The No. 88 was sitting 13th when trouble for Kurt Busch brought out an extremely late caution with just two laps remaining in regulation. The caution extended the race to overtime where Earnhardt restarted 15th and made up three spots to end the race 12th.

Martin Truex Jr. captured his third victory of 2017 over Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.