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Earnhardt Overcomes Damage for 12th at Kentucky

By Mike Hoag, JR Motorsports | Race Report Published 6/30/2013
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Race: Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile tri-oval
Weather: Sunny; 75 degrees
Race Winner: Matt Kenseth
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 12th

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 12 in the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway after overcoming damage suffered when his No. 88 National Guard Youth Foundation Chevrolet collided with the tire carcass from a competitor’s car while leading at lap 38.

Earnhardt Jr. quickly assumed a running position in the top two over the race’s opening 30 laps after starting from the pole for the first time this season. A quick two-tire pit stop under a competition caution propelled Earnhardt Jr. to the lead.

Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 car suffered a flat right-front tire shortly after the restart. As Hamlin limped around the track, the casing from the tire rolled from the inside access road in turn three up on to the race track just as Earnhardt Jr. and the other leaders raced by. Unable to avoid contact with the tire, Earnhardt Jr.’s Chevrolet suffered damage to the grille and splitter. Earnhardt Jr. made numerous pit stops to allow the No. 88 team the opportunity to make damage repairs.

The damage to the splitter caused Earnhardt Jr. to fight a tight race car for much of the afternoon as he was mired in traffic throughout the event.

Earnhardt Jr. capitalized on the race’s final restart to jump from 17th to as high as 10th in the final 20 laps. Down the stretch, Earnhardt Jr. slipped to 12th to salvage a respectful finish.

Earnhardt Jr. is now 98 points behind Jimmie Johnson in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings after 17 races. He holds a 34-point advantage over 11th-place Kasey Kahne.

DALE JR. QUOTES
On the damage to the car...

“We hit the tire wide open, I was in the corner loaded up, I can’t drive it left to right. It’s good to drive fast cars, and eventually things are going to work themselves out. It’s good to be fast, can’t do anything about what’s happened to us, I’m disappointed in our luck. You can’t let that take away from how well the cars have been running; we have been doing everything right.”

Kentucky Race Report
Start 1st
Finish 12th
Laps Completed (Led) 267 of 267 (10)
Standings (from leader) 6th (-94)
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