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Dale Jr. Scores Top-10 Finish at Dover

By Mike Hoag, JR Motorsports | Race Report Published 6/2/2013
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Race: FedEx Autism Speaks 400
Track Specs: 1-mile concrete oval / 400 Laps
Weather: Sunny to Start/Partly Cloudy at finish, 85 deg.
Race Winner: Tony Stewart
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 10th

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his No. 88 National Guard team notched their eighth top-10 finish in 12 races this season Sunday at Dover International Speedway. The 10th-place finish was a solid rebound after an engine failure last weekend in Charlotte.

Earnhardt Jr., like many other drivers, struggled to find adequate grip on a hot, slick track in Dover. Crew chief Steve Letarte called for track bar and air pressure adjustments to remedy the No. 88 car’s tight condition but the car remained mired between 10th and 15th-poisitions for much of the race. Hoping to give his driver improved track position, Letarte called for a two-tire change with less than 100 laps to go, propelling Earnhardt Jr. to a race-high seventh-position. Earnhardt Jr. found himself racing in the bottom-half of the top 10 until a caution with 21 laps to go brought teams to pit road for a final time.

Letarte elected to give Earnhardt Jr. four fresh tires for the final run to the checkered flag. Restarting ninth, and in the unfavorable inside line, Earnhardt Jr. slipped to 10th on the restart and was unable to move up in the race’s final laps.

Earnhardt Jr. remains sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings trailing Jimmie Johnson by 75 points and only a single point out of fourth position heading to Pocono.

DALE JR. QUOTES
On His Run:
“Yeah, it was real hot, but we knew that going into the race. We made our car better. I felt like we had a real strong car the last half of the race. We just couldn’t get track position, couldn’t pass. We were faster than the guys in front of us at the end, but just couldn’t pass.”

Dover Race Report
Start 12th
Finish 10th
Laps Completed (Led) 400 of 400 (0)
Standings (from leader) 6th (-75)
Condition Running

 

Standings
After IRWIN Tools Night Race
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 -- Jeff Gordon 845 0
2 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. 818 -27
3 -- Brad Keselowski 776 -69
4 -- Joey Logano 761 -84
5 -- Matt Kenseth 751 -94
6 +1 Jimmie Johnson 726 -119
7 -1 Kevin Harvick 721 -124
8 -- Carl Edwards 716 -129
9 -- Ryan Newman 710 -135
10 -- Clint Bowyer 699 -146
11 -- Greg Biffle 694 -151
12 +2 Kyle Larson # 668 -177
Full Standings