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Earnhardt Ends Up 15th at Charlotte

By Tyler Overstreet, JR Motorsports | Race Report Published 10/12/2013
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Race: Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile quad-oval
Weather: Cloudy, 66 degrees
Race Winner: Brad Keselowski
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 15th
Dale Jr.’s Chase Standing: 9th (-66)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. led 19 laps early in Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway but was forced to settle for a 15th-place finish at night’s end. The finish drops Earnhardt one position in the series standings to ninth as the Chase for the Sprint Cup reaches its midway point.

Earnhardt’s race started off strong as he moved his way to the lead at lap 31 and spent much of the opening half of the event racing inside the top five with his fellow Hendrick Motorsports teammates. An extended green-flag stretch following a lap-178 restart saw Earnhardt’s already-tight race car become progressively worse as laps clicked away. Earnhardt faded from a fifth-place position to one-lap down in 14th by the night’s final caution. Being off the lead lap, Earnhardt was unable to advance his position on late 23-lap stint to the checkered flag and ended the night 15th.

The finish ends the No. 88 team’s streak of consecutive top-10 finishes at three and drops Earnhardt to ninth in the Chase standings with five races remaining.

DALE JR. QUOTES
“The car just got really, really tight. Something in the setup moved. The car was real quick at the start of the race and I was real happy with the speed. The 5 (Kasey Kahne) was really good and the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) got really good, but I still thought we had a top-five car. We lost a rubber out of the right-rear spring, or something like that, but it just would not turn at all that last half of the race pretty much. We’re just trying to figure out what’s going on. We’ll get it back and figure it out when we get back to the shop on Monday. It was still a good effort by all the guys on the Time Warner Cable Chevrolet. We’re having some pretty good cars; something happened tonight. We aren’t quite sure what it was. We’ll find something, I’m sure. The car just don’t get that tight from running that good without any adjustments. We were freeing it up; moving the track bar, taking wedge out and it was just kept getting tighter and tighter.”

Charlotte Race Report
Start 6th
Finish 15th
Laps Completed (Led) 333 of 334 (19)
Standings (from leader) 9th (-66)
Condition Running

 

Standings
After Bojangles Southern 500
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 -- Jeff Gordon 297 0
2 -- Matt Kenseth 296 -1
3 -- Carl Edwards 278 -19
4 +2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 271 -26
5 +2 Jimmie Johnson 270 -27
6 -1 Kyle Busch 269 -28
7 +1 Brad Keselowski 246 -51
8 -4 Joey Logano 245 -52
9 +2 Ryan Newman 236 -61
10 +2 Austin Dillon # 235 -62
11 +5 Greg Biffle 227 -70
12 +2 Tony Stewart 224 -73
Full Standings