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Junior Takes 8th in Martinsville Slugfest

By Tyler Overstreet, JR Motorsports | Race Report Published 10/27/2013

Race: Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway
Track: .526-mile oval
Weather: Sunny, 64 degrees
Race Winner: Jeff Gordon
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 8th
Dale Jr.’s Chase Standing: 7th (-56)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. continued his strong effort in the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup with an eighth-place finish in Sunday’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway. The finish marks Earnhardt’s fifth top-10 finish in the past six races and leaves him seventh with three races remaining on the season.

From the drop of the green flag, Earnhardt and his No. 88 National Guard team faced an uphill battle restarting in the drastically unfavorable outside lane on restarts. Earnhardt methodically worked his way inside the top five in the first half of the race before differing pit strategies shuffled the running order inside the top 20 for much of the second half of the race.

In a race slowed by caution 17 times, Earnhardt’s car, which appeared to be at its best on long green-flag runs, was never able to fully show its potential. Earnhardt sustained right-front damage as he narrowly avoided an accident with Martin Truex Jr. and David Reutimann at lap 229.

Earnhardt’s entered pit road for the final time at lap 414 and a fast top by his No. 88 pit crew gained one spot. Unfortunately for Earnhardt, the improvement left him in the outside lane for the final restart with 77 laps to go. He dropped to 10th before settling in line and beginning his late charge. In the end, Earnhardt improved two positions for an eighth-place finish.

Earnhardt now ranks seventh in the Sprint Cup Series standings trailing co-leaders Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth by 56 points with only three races remaining.

“This place is a blast. I saw a lot of good racing out there and was involved in a lot of good racing. We had a pretty good car. We think we improved the car from the last race here for sure. We learned a little bit more about this tire and had a lot more speed. We’ve still got to make a couple gains. We talked about that during the race on what we can do to improve the car coming back. We might have had a fifth-place car, but probably no better than that. We finished eighth so we’ll go home and work on it a little bit. I feel like we learned a lot.”

Martinsville Race Report
Start 12th
Finish 8th
Laps Completed (Led) 500 of 500 (0)
Standings (from leader) 7th (-56)
Condition Running


After GEICO 500
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 -- Joey Logano 3121 0
2 +1 Kevin Harvick 3117 -4
3 +1 Ryan Newman 3117 -4
4 +3 Denny Hamlin 3100 -21
5 +4 Matt Kenseth 3099 -22
6 -1 Carl Edwards 3099 -22
7 -1 Jeff Gordon 3093 -28
8 -- Kasey Kahne 3090 -31
9 -7 Kyle Busch 3086 -35
10 -- Brad Keselowski 3085 -36
11 -- Jimmie Johnson 3053 -68
12 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3045 -76
Full Standings