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Earnhardt Rebounds With 6th-Place Finish at Loudon

By Mike Hoag, JR Motorsports | Race Report Published 9/22/2013
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Race: Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Track Specs: 1.058-mile oval
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 70 degrees
Race Winner: Matt Kenseth
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 6th
Dale Jr.’s Chase Standing: 11th (-62)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. raced to a sixth-place finish in the second race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The finish moves Earnhardt and his No. 88 Time Warner Cable team up two positions to 11th in the series standings.

From the drop of the green flag, Earnhardt moved forward quickly. Having set the fastest time in final practice on Saturday, the No. 88 Chevrolet did not disappoint as Earnhardt moved to 14th by the first caution at lap 29. Unfortunately for Earnhardt, a loose lug nut forced him to make a return trip to pit road under the caution, dropping him outside the top 30.

Crew chief Steve Letarte crafted an alternative pit strategy to help his driver regain the lost track position and had Earnhardt in the lead at lap 114. The No. 88 led the race for 17 laps on the day.

In the second half of the race, Earnhardt took right-side tires only on several occasions to maintain a running position inside the top 10. On the race’s final restart, Earnhardt darted to second, but was forced to settle for a sixth-place finish after losing rear grip in the late laps.

Earnhardt improved two positions in the Chase standings to 11th place and now trails race winner and championship leader Matt Kenseth by 62 points with eight races remaining.

DALE JR. QUOTES
“I ran out of rear tires trying to hold him (Jamie McMurray, fifth) off. Couldn’t get the power down just off the corner and he was a pretty fast car to begin with. I knew it was going to be difficult to hold him off, but we had a good car yesterday. Almost as good as it was today. Just real happy to be able to rebound from earlier on pit road and get a good finish. The car was fast as heck yesterday, one of the top three cars I thought. Glad we were able to get a decent finish out of it. Just want to win one, I’m trying hard.”

Loudon Race Report
Start 17th
Finish 6th
Laps Completed (Led) 300 of 300 (17)
Standings (from leader) 11th (-62)
Condition Running

 

Standings
After Pure Michigan 400
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 +1 Jeff Gordon 816 0
2 -1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 813 -3
3 +1 Brad Keselowski 733 -83
4 +1 Joey Logano 714 -102
5 -2 Matt Kenseth 709 -107
6 +2 Kevin Harvick 687 -129
7 -- Jimmie Johnson 686 -130
8 -2 Carl Edwards 679 -137
9 -- Ryan Newman 679 -137
10 +1 Clint Bowyer 672 -144
11 +1 Greg Biffle 660 -156
12 +1 Kasey Kahne 651 -165
Full Standings