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Earnhardt Earns Seventh-Place Finish at Michigan

By Tyler Overstreet, JR Motorsports | Race Report Published 6/15/2014

Race: Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway
Track Specs: 2-mile D-shaped oval
Weather: Sunny, 81 degrees
Race Winner: Jimmie Johnson
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 7th

Dale Earnhardt Jr. recorded his 10th top-10 finish of the season with a seventh-place result in Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway. The No. 88 team moves to third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings behind Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson.

In the early going, Earnhardt Jr. battled to keep his top-five track position despite lining up in the inside lane for early restarts as his No. 88 National Guard / Superman Hall of Heroes Chevrolet drifted to seventh before the team’s first pit stop at lap 42. A series of positive adjustments from crew chief Steve Letarte provided Earnhardt Jr. the comfort he needed to drive back inside the top five by the race’s midway point.

The final 100 laps became a poker game up and down pit road with teams utilizing various pit strategies looking to gain track position. Under a lap-121 caution, Letarte called Earnhardt Jr. to pit road twice; once for right-side tires and a second time to take left sides. The move dropped Earnhardt Jr. to a race-low 20th position, but allowed the No. 88 team to remain on track and leapfrog themselves back to fourth when many leaders hit pit road under the race’s next caution at lap 146.

Earnhardt Jr. maintained fourth position until making his final green-flag pit stop at lap 167 for two tires and fuel. After returning to the track, Earnhardt Jr. settled in seventh as the race ran green to the checkered flag.

Johnson went on to earn his first career victory at the two-mile track followed by Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard and Kasey Kahne. Gordon finished sixth to give Hendrick Motorsports four finishers inside the top seven.

Michigan Race Report
Start 3rd
Finish 7th
Laps Completed (Led) 200 of 200 (1)
Standings (From Leader) 3rd (-23)
Condition Running


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