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Earnhardt Continues Strong Start With Top 10 at Texas

By Tyler Overstreet, JR Motorsports | Race Report Published 4/14/2012
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Race: Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile quad-oval / 334 laps
Weather: Partly Cloudy/Windy, 75 degrees
Race Winner: Greg Biffle
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 10th

On a night when winds gusted upwards of 30 miles-per-hour and the race’s final run spanned 234 laps, Dale Earnhardt Jr. continued his strong start to 2012 with a 10th place finish in Saturday night’s Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Current Sprint Cup Series points’ leader Greg Biffle nabbed his first victory of the season after passing Earnhardt’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson late in the race.

Starting 16th, Earnhardt quickly moved into the top ten before the race’s first caution at lap 67 for debris. Earnhardt and crew chief Steve Letarte were never able to hit on the perfect setup combination, but premium track position and speedy pit work by the No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard team allowed Earnhardt to race amongst the top ten throughout the 334-lap race that was slowed only twice by cautions.

Earnhardt’s 10th place finish marks his fifth top-ten finish in seven starts this season and fourth top-ten finish in the last five Sprint Cup Series races at Texas Motor Speedway. Earnhardt is now third in points heading into next Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway, trailing Biffle by 19 points.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Quotes
“We were just a little bit off. We had the car going pretty good in the middle part of the race, running around there. I thought Jeff (Gordon) was a really fast car and we had some pretty good speed with him there at one point. We just worked on the car all night. We couldn’t really nail it down. Right at the end it was a little bit too tight to put pressure on the No. 99 (Carl Edwards) and the No. 29 (Kevin Harvick); they were saving gas.

“And I needed to put a little pressure on them to keep them short on gas, but I couldn’t do it. We just had enough speed tonight to finish in the top 10, but I thought we had a little bit better car than that in the middle part of the race. I’m really happy; my Mountain Dew guys and National Guard team did a good job.”

Texas Race Report
Start 16th
Finish 10th
Laps Completed (Led) 334 of 334 (0)
Standings (from leader) 3rd (-19)
Pitstops Laps 46, 68, 96, 144, 187, 231 and 281
Condition Running

 

Standings
After Bojangles Southern 500
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 -- Jeff Gordon 297 0
2 -- Matt Kenseth 296 -1
3 -- Carl Edwards 278 -19
4 +2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 271 -26
5 +2 Jimmie Johnson 270 -27
6 -1 Kyle Busch 269 -28
7 +1 Brad Keselowski 246 -51
8 -4 Joey Logano 245 -52
9 +2 Ryan Newman 236 -61
10 +2 Austin Dillon # 235 -62
11 +5 Greg Biffle 227 -70
12 +2 Tony Stewart 224 -73
Full Standings