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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 +1 Denny Hamlin 4112 0
2 -1 Joey Logano 4111 -1
3 -- Ryan Newman 4103 -9
4 +4 Kevin Harvick 4102 -10
5 -1 Jeff Gordon 4102 -10
6 -1 Matt Kenseth 4100 -12
7 -- Brad Keselowski 4095 -17
8 -2 Carl Edwards 4088 -24
8 +2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2301 -2742
9 -- Kyle Busch 2280 -1832
10 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2271 -1841
11 +1 AJ Allmendinger 2256 -1856
Full Standings