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Junior Stays Hot With Top-Five at Phoenix

By Mike Hoag, JR Motorsports | Race Report Published 11/10/2013
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Race: AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway
Track Specs: 1-Mile Oval / 312 Laps
Weather: Sunny, 75 degrees
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 4th
Dale Jr.'s Chase Standing: 5th (-63)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. posted his third top-five finish in the past four races with a fourth-place run in Sunday’s AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Earnhardt remains fifth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings with one race remaining.

Earnhardt charged to fifth before the race’s first caution at lap 49. After an early pit stop, Earnhardt reported having a loose wheel and found himself one lap down after having to make an unscheduled green-flag pit stop at lap 64. Earnhardt was unable to rejoin the lead lap until the race’s third caution at lap 132 provided him that opportunity via the free pass.

Earnhardt raced his way to as high as fourth by lap 190 when various pit strategies scrambled the leaderboard as team’s prepared their strategies for the final stretch run to the finish. Earnhardt ran inside the top 10 cycled through green flag pit stops in the late laps. The No. 88 team made their final pit stop with 40 laps remaining and cycled back to seventh when a final caution flew at lap 283 for debris.

Earnhardt moved into the top five after the final restart and raced there until leader Carl Edwards ran out of fuel coming to the white flag. Edwards’ misfortune allowed Earnhardt to move up to fourth at the checkered flag behind race winner Kevin Harvick and Earnhardt’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson.

With one race remaining for the Sprint Cup Series, Earnhardt ranks fifth in the standings trailing Johnson by 63 points. Earnhardt is only six points behind third-place Kyle Busch and holds a 17-point advantage over sixth-place Jeff Gordon.

DALE JR. QUOTES
“It was a good car, we knew it in practice. Since this Chase has started, we have been quick. If we don’t win Homestead, hopefully we have that speed when we show up in Daytona. I have to give credit to the team. They are working hard and just because we aren’t in the title hunt doesn’t mean they have given up. They work just as hard as anyone out there.”

Phoenix Race Report
Start 11th
Finish 4th
Laps Completed (Led) 312 of 312 (2)
Standings (from leader) 5th (-63)
Condition Running

 

Standings
After Oral-B USA 500
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 -- Jeff Gordon 872 0
2 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. 851 -21
3 +2 Matt Kenseth 794 -78
4 -- Joey Logano 791 -81
5 -2 Brad Keselowski 782 -90
6 -- Jimmie Johnson 766 -106
7 +1 Carl Edwards 755 -117
8 -1 Kevin Harvick 748 -124
9 -- Ryan Newman 747 -125
10 +1 Greg Biffle 728 -144
11 +2 Kasey Kahne 708 -164
12 -2 Clint Bowyer 705 -167
Full Standings