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Earnhardt Scores Top-Five at Pocono

By Mike Hoag, JR Motorsports | Race Report Published 8/4/2013
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Race: GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway
Track Specs: 2-mile tri-oval
Weather: Clear, 70 degrees
Race Winner: Kasey Kahne
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 5th

Dale Earnhardt Jr. posted a fifth-place finish in Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway. The top-five finish backs up Earnhardt Jr.’s third-place finish at Pocono earlier this season and marks the No. 88 team’s third top-10 finish in the past four races.

Earnhardt Jr. capitalized on pit strategy to obtain track position Sunday after qualifying 25th. Steve Letarte elected to bring the No. 88 National Guard Youth Foundation Chevrolet to pit road under an early caution at lap 15 to get the team on a different pit cycle than many of the leaders. The strategy worked to near perfection as Earnhardt Jr. made his way into the top 10 and eventually the top five with his fellow Hendrick Motorsports teammates.

In the final 11 laps, Earnhardt Jr. endured a pair of restarts to score his fifth top-five season of the season and first since Pocono eight weeks ago.

The finish keeps Earnhardt Jr. fifth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings. He now holds a 62-point lead over 11th-place Tony Stewart with five races remaining until the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

DALE JR. QUOTES
“The crew did a good job getting us a car on the starting line today that was competitive and had a good strategy to get us to the front because we qualified so poorly. I just didn’t have the edge we needed. I felt good coming in here and thought we might win the race but we came up a little short. I thought it was a good race. I really love coming here. I would just like to win here.”

Pocono Race Report
Start 25th
Finish 5th
Laps Completed (Led) 160 of 160 (2)
Standings (from leader) 5th (-116)
Condition Running

 

Standings
After AAA 400
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 -- Brad Keselowski 2140 0
2 -- Joey Logano 2136 -4
3 -- Kevin Harvick 2123 -17
4 -- Jimmie Johnson 2121 -19
5 +2 Jeff Gordon 2117 -23
6 -1 Kyle Busch 2111 -29
7 -1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2104 -36
8 -- Matt Kenseth 2097 -43
9 +3 Ryan Newman 2091 -49
10 -1 Carl Edwards 2091 -49
11 +2 Denny Hamlin 2081 -59
12 -1 Kasey Kahne 2079 -61
Full Standings