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Dale Jr. Takes 4th in Las Vegas NNS Race

By Tyler Overstreet, JR Motorsports | Race Report Published 3/8/2014
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Race 3 of 33: Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile tri-oval / 200 laps
Weather: Sunny, 75 degrees
Race Winner: Brad Keselowski
Earnhardt Jr.’s Finish: 4th

Dale Earnhardt Jr. led JR Motorsports’ trio of top-10 finishers with a fourth-place effort in the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. For Earnhardt Jr., the finish marks his third consecutive top-five finish in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition on 1.5-mile tracks dating back to last season.

From the third starting position, Earnhardt Jr. established himself as a threat early on despite battling a loose race car on a warm afternoon in Las Vegas. The No. 88 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet spent the duration of the 200-lap event battling inside the top five, only dropping outside of the front five during green-flag pit stops.

In the late going, Earnhardt Jr. raced as high as third at lap 153, but could not muster a challenge for Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch’s dominant cars. Earnhardt Jr. lined up fourth behind 18-year-old JR Motorsports driver Chase Elliott for the race’s final restart at lap 168. The 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion, Keselowski, utilized his veteran experience to jump to the lead leaving Earnhardt Jr. and Elliott to deal with Busch and Kyle Larson.

Keselowski cruised to the victory after leading a race-high 144 laps. Busch and Larson ended the day ahead of JRM teammates Earnhardt Jr. and Elliott.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver No. 88 TaxSlayer.com team
“We ran alright. I’m happy for TaxSlayer. We got a good finish there, but we had a lot better car yesterday (Friday). We just laid on the race track getting into (turn) three all day. We couldn’t really fix it bouncing on the race track there, but Ernie (Cope) and the guys did a good job. Man, it’s fun driving this thing. It was flying yesterday. I had a lot of fun out there today. We over-adjusted a little bit. I made a couple calls there at the end on freeing it up that we didn’t need to have and I just didn’t want to be too tight at the end of the race like we usually are. We’re getting close though. The cars are getting better. Chase (Elliott) did an awesome job staying clean. He’s going to be something else. We’ll get all three of them running that good shortly, I’m sure.”

Standings
After Brickyard 400
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 -- Jeff Gordon 717 0
2 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. 693 -24
3 -- Brad Keselowski 666 -51
4 -- Matt Kenseth 661 -56
5 -- Jimmie Johnson 628 -89
6 +2 Kyle Busch 609 -108
7 -- Ryan Newman 606 -111
8 -2 Carl Edwards 603 -114
9 -- Joey Logano 591 -126
10 -- Clint Bowyer 577 -140
11 +1 Denny Hamlin 572 -145
12 +1 Kevin Harvick 565 -152
Full Standings