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Dale Jr. Finishes 21st on Wild Day in Phoenix

By Tyler Overstreet, JR Motorsports | Race Report Published 11/11/2012
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Race: AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway
Track Specs: 1-mile tri-oval / 312 laps
Weather: Sunny, 62 degrees
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 21st

With mayhem unfolding all around him, Dale Earnhardt Jr. spent most of the day battling an ill-handling car at Phoenix International Raceway. Earnhardt started 23rd and found himself fighting an uphill battle throughout the day with a car that was uncooperative for driver and team en route to a 21st-place finish.

From the drop of the green flag, Dale Jr. continually reported a mix of loose early and tight later in the run as the handling characteristics of his No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet. Crew chief Steve Letarte made adjustments at each opportunity but a long green flag run during the race’s middle stages saw the No. 88 car fall a lap behind the leaders. In the race’s second half, Earnhardt made his way to pit road during a green flag run because of a loose wheel, losing two additional laps. By taking the wave-around, Dale Jr. regained one lap but could never rejoin the lead lap for the duration of the AdvoCare 500. In the race’s waning laps, Earnhardt moved from 26th to 21st as a pair of multi-car pileups spoiled the day for several drivers.

Sunday’s race proved to be turning point in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship as Earnhardt’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate suffered a blown right-front tire, sending his No. 48 Chevrolet into the turn four wall and giving Brad Keselowsi a 20-point lead heading to the season finale next Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Earnhardt is now 12th in the series standings.

Phoenix Race Report
Start 23rd
Finish 21st
Laps Completed (Led) 317 of 319 (0)
Standings (from leader) 12th (-160)
Condition Running

 

Standings
After GEICO 500
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 -- Joey Logano 3121 0
2 +1 Kevin Harvick 3117 -4
3 +1 Ryan Newman 3117 -4
4 +3 Denny Hamlin 3100 -21
5 +4 Matt Kenseth 3099 -22
6 -1 Carl Edwards 3099 -22
7 -1 Jeff Gordon 3093 -28
8 -- Kasey Kahne 3090 -31
9 -7 Kyle Busch 3086 -35
10 -- Brad Keselowski 3085 -36
11 -- Jimmie Johnson 3053 -68
12 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3045 -76
Full Standings