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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 Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 +6 Jeff Gordon 4044 0
2 +1 Ryan Newman 4041 -3
3 -2 Joey Logano 4040 -4
4 +1 Matt Kenseth 4039 -5
5 -1 Denny Hamlin 4037 -7
6 -- Carl Edwards 4024 -20
7 +1 Brad Keselowski 4013 -31
8 -6 Kevin Harvick 4011 -33
9 -- Kyle Busch 2230 -1814
10 +2 AJ Allmendinger 2198 -1846
11 +2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2196 -1848
12 -2 Jimmie Johnson 2186 -1858
Full Standings