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Dale Jr. Finishes 14th at New Hampshire

By Mike Davis, JR Motorsports | Race Report Published 7/14/2013
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Race: Camping World RV Sales 301
Track Specs: 1.058-mile oval / 301 Laps
Weather: Clear
Race Winner: Brian Vickers
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 14th

The No. 88 National Guard team couldn’t capitalize on its second-best starting position of the year, as Dale Earnhardt Jr. started third and finished 14th in Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Earnhardt Jr. remains fifth in points but his deficit to sixth-place Matt Kenseth is now two points. He has a 57-point lead over 11th-place Martin Truex Jr., who is the first driver outside the Chase bubble.

Earnhardt Jr. raced in the top six through the first 155 laps, battling tightness in the short turns but maintaining his pace with the leaders. The fifth of 12 cautions flew on lap 155, and the No. 88 team elected to take four tires when others took two, offering up a variance of strategies that would play out until the end of the race. But for the No. 88 team, it never could regain the track position it relinquished during the fifth caution.

The team elected for a quick gas-only stop on lap 219, putting it within its fuel window for the duration while others opted for a riskier path. The end result was several cars running out of fuel on the final lap, but it proved to be little solace for Earnhardt. With worn tires and a chattering right-front, he was never able to regain the track position he once maintained in the first half of the race.

Brian Vickers won the race in the No. 55, beating Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart on a green-white-checkered restart and stretching his fuel mileage to the checkered flag. It is Vickers’ first win since 2009, and it marked the 11th different race winner in the past 11 Sprint Cup races at New Hampshire.

The Sprint Cup Series will enjoy its final open weekend of the 2013 schedule this week before returning to action next week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

DALE JR. QUOTES
“It was just a battle all day. Not sure what else to say about it. I’m disappointed we didn’t run better. Our car chattered the right front all weekend, and it was really hard to pass in the race. The strategy didn’t really work out in our favor, but that happens. Congratulations to Brian Vickers. It’s pretty cool to see him get that win. He’s overcome a lot, and it’s a great story for our sport to see him fight his way back.”

Loudon Race Report
Start 3rd
Finish 14th
Laps Completed (Led) 302 of 302 (0)
Standings (from leader) 5th (-118)
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