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Dale Jr. Takes 5th in Nationwide Race at Chicago

By Mike Hoag, JR Motorsports | Race Report Published 9/14/2013

Race: Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile tri-oval
Weather: Sunny and Clear, 70 degrees
Race Winner: Kyle Busch
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 5th

Dale Earnhardt Jr raced to a fifth-place finish in his final NASCAR Nationwide Series race of 2013 at Chicagoland Speedway. The finish marks Earnhardt’s third top-five finish in only four starts this season.

Earnhardt and his No. 88 Great Clips team opened the race sixth but slipped to ninth on the opening 25-lap run. Steve Letarte called for a two-tire stop to give the No. 88 the lead. The ensuing green-flag run was unkind to the two-tire strategy as Earnhardt dropped outside the top 10. With temperatures warmer than Friday’s practice session, Earnhardt radioed the team that his car was tight and not turning as well as he’d like.

Just past halfway, the race’s second caution flew and gave Letarte the opportunity to make major adjustments with both wedge and track bar changes. Earnhardt immediately approved of the adjustments, particularly in turns three and four as he climbed his way into the top five as the laps wound down.

In the final 14 lap run the finish, Earnhardt charged forward with a daring three-wide pass to grab fifth position and a solid finish for the No. 88 team.

On the two-tire pit stop...

“That was a learning experience for sure; it didn’t really pay off the way we had hoped. The last half of the race was good for us, the Great Clips Chevrolet had great speed, we were able to crawl back up there and pass some guys. We had a lot of fun; the car had been real quick all weekend and proud of my team.”

After Ford EcoBoost 400
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 +1 Denny Hamlin 4112 0
2 -1 Joey Logano 4111 -1
3 -- Ryan Newman 4103 -9
4 +4 Kevin Harvick 4102 -10
5 -1 Jeff Gordon 4102 -10
6 -1 Matt Kenseth 4100 -12
7 -- Brad Keselowski 4095 -17
8 -2 Carl Edwards 4088 -24
8 +2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2301 -2742
9 -- Kyle Busch 2280 -1832
10 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2271 -1841
11 +1 AJ Allmendinger 2256 -1856
Full Standings