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Junior Gains In Chase Standings With 8th at Kansas

By Mike Davis, JR Motorsports | Race Report Published 10/6/2013
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Race: Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile tri-oval
Weather: Overcast, 58 degrees
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 8th
Dale Jr.’s Chase Standing: 8th (-54)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. continued his climb in the Chase standings Sunday afternoon after scoring an eighth-place finish in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

After four races, Earnhardt is eighth in the standings, 54 points behind leader Matt Kenseth and 19 points out of fifth. Three races ago he was in 13th place after an inauspicious start to his 2013 title run when an engine failure at Chicagoland Speedway relegated him to a 35th-place finish. Since then, he has scored three consecutive top-10 finishes.

Earnhardt led 10 laps on Sunday, marking the fourth consecutive race in which he has paced the field. He started sixth and promptly moved forward, taking his first lead when the No. 88 Time-Warner Cable team wisely stayed on the track during pit sequencing with a keen sense of a pending yellow. The caution flew on lap 87 – the third of 13 yellow flags on the day.

Earnhardt made his final stop on lap 229 – a two-tire call by Steve Letarte – and restarted 12th on lap 232. From there he climbed back into the top 10 with relative ease, and took over 8th with a passes of Clint Bowyer and Marcos Ambrose. He was on the bumper of Paul Menard when the checkered flag flew.

The finish was Earnhardt’s 17th top-10 of the season. He returns to action this Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the fifth race of the 2013 Chase.

DALE JR. QUOTES
“Man, fast car, but I don’t know, we needed some longer green-flag runs. Our car was really fast once the tires were warm and we got some green-flag laps, but the track was real slick on this new tire and it didn’t seem like we could get very far before the yellows started flying. I’m definitely tired. Sawing on the wheel trying to keep the tires clean for 13 cautions was actually a bigger workout than green-flag racing. But I’m proud of what our team has done in these past three races. We’ve climbed nicely out of the cellar and working our way up. We need to keep doing that and we’ll see where it all shakes out.”

Kansas Race Report
Start 6th
Finish 8th
Laps Completed (Led) 267 of 267 (10)
Standings (from leader) 8th (-54)
Condition Running

 

Standings
After Ford EcoBoost 400
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 +3 Kevin Harvick 5043 0
2 +1 Ryan Newman 5042 -1
3 -2 Denny Hamlin 5037 -6
4 -2 Joey Logano 5028 -15
5 -- Brad Keselowski 2361 -2682
6 -- Jeff Gordon 2348 -2695
7 -- Matt Kenseth 2334 -2709
8 +2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2301 -2742
9 -- Carl Edwards 2288 -2755
10 -2 Kyle Busch 2285 -2758
11 +2 Jimmie Johnson 2274 -2769
12 +2 Kurt Busch 2263 -2780
Full Standings