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Earnhardt's Strong Run Ends Up 2nd at Texas

By Mike Hoag, JR Motorsports | Race Report Published 11/3/2013
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Race: AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile quad-oval
Weather: Clear, 65 deg.
Race Winner: Jimmie Johnson
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 2nd
Dale Jr.’s Chase Standing: 5th (-62)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. scored his third runner-up finish in the past six races in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The finish, Earnhardt’s fifth second-place finish of the season, boosts the No. 88 team to fifth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings.

From the outset, Earnhardt and the No. 88 AMP Energy Gold team established themselves as contenders spending much of the race inside the top five. Earnhardt and crew chief Steve Letarte worked early to help a loose condition that prevented Earnhardt from progressing higher than fourth. As the race unfolded and temperatures dropped as nightfall arrived at the 1.5-mile speedway, Earnhardt’s came to life on extended green-flag stints. Earnhardt patiently worked his way into the top five and through quick pit stops and trouble for other drivers, Earnhardt climbed to second after hitting pit road for a final time at lap 295.

Down the stretch, Earnhardt was able to hold off a hard-charging Joey Logano for second, but could never muster a challenge for Jimmie Johnson who dominated the race leading 255 laps en route to his sixth victory of the season.

Earnhardt now ranks fifth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings with only two races remaining on the 2013 season. The series heads to Phoenix Raceway next Sunday where Earnhardt finished fifth in March.

DALE JR. QUOTES
“We’re getting close (to winning). I’ve got to give Steve Letarte a lot of credit. I want to thank AMP Energy Gold, National Guard and all of our sponsors, Time Warner Cable. The team’s done a good job. We came here and tested so we thought we’d have a good chance of winning here. Obviously our teammate (Jimmie Johnson) was here testing too so it paid off for him. Congratulations to Jimmie. We’ve been working really hard and Steve’s done a great job. It’s paying off. We’re getting close.”

Texas Race Report
Start 7th
Finish 2nd
Laps Completed (Led) 334 of 334 (0)
Standings (from leader) 5th (-62)
Condition Running

 

Standings
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