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Earnhardt Takes 5th in Texas Nationwide Race

By Tyler Overstreet, JR Motorsports | Race Report Published 4/5/2014
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Race 6 of 33: Texas 300 at Texas Motor Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile quad-oval / 200 laps
Weather: Clear, 63 degrees
Race Winner: Chase Elliott
Earnhardt Jr.’s Finish: 5th

Dale Earnhardt Jr. took home a fifth-place finish in Friday night’s Texas 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. The finish marked Earnhardt Jr.’s second top-five finish in only three NASCAR Nationwide Series starts this season and his fourth consecutive top-five in NNS competition on 1.5-mile tracks dating back to last season.

Earnhardt Jr., along with his JR Motorsports teammates, held a stranglehold on four of the top-seven positions early in the race with the No. 88 Ragu Chevrolet showing as high as second. After fluctuating between second and fifth while fighting an ill-handling car, Earnhardt Jr. began his climb to the top spot after the halfway point.

Earnhardt Jr. bypassed Chase Elliott for the race lead at lap 154 and cruised to a nearly three-second lead before the race’s final caution at lap 170 brought teams to pit road for the final time.

Earnhardt Jr. entered the pits as the leader but left in third for the final 23-lap stint to the checkered flag. On the ensuing restart, Kyle Busch found room under Earnhardt Jr.’s Chevrolet in turns one and two, forcing the No. 88 into the middle of a three-wide situation. The move resulted in Earnhardt Jr. dropping to fifth where he would finish the race.

Elliott raced to his first career NNS win in only his sixth career start followed by Busch, Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver No. 88 Ragu team
“We just got too tight there on that last run. I’m pretty disappointed we weren’t able to get up there and race with Chase and Kevin for the win. I’m really proud of Chase getting his first win and everybody from JR Motorsports. We unloaded four great race cars and really performed well tonight.”

Standings
After Ford EcoBoost 400
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 +3 Kevin Harvick 5043 0
2 +1 Ryan Newman 5042 -1
3 -2 Denny Hamlin 5037 -6
4 -2 Joey Logano 5028 -15
5 -- Brad Keselowski 2361 -2682
6 -- Jeff Gordon 2348 -2695
7 -- Matt Kenseth 2334 -2709
8 +2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2301 -2742
9 -- Carl Edwards 2288 -2755
10 -2 Kyle Busch 2285 -2758
11 +2 Jimmie Johnson 2274 -2769
12 +2 Kurt Busch 2263 -2780
Full Standings