Dale Earnhardt Jr.: ‘We’ll be alright’
By Dominic Aragon
March 23, 2017
Entering this weekend’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is riding the longest streak of consecutive races without a top-10 finish in seven seasons and his lowest point standings ranking in nine seasons.
Four races into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. sits 23rd in driver’s standings, having yet to score a top-ten finish.
The lowest he has ranked in points after four races since 2009, Dale Junior is one of 11 drivers to have started every race this year without posting a finish inside the top-10.
Yet, the 42-year-old driver does not seem to be worried about his start to the 2017 season.
“We’ll be alright,” he said to The Racing Experts. “I figured when we’d come back from being out of the car for so long, there’d be some growing pains.
“We’re seeing some speed in the car and the potential that we have as the team, but it’s going to take us a little bit to get back to it.”
Dating back to last season, Dale Junior has not finished inside the top-ten in eight consecutive races. His last top-10 was a second-place effort at Pocono Raceway in June of 2016.
Dale Junior was sidelined for the final 18 races of 2016 because of concussion-like symptoms.
The streak is the longest for Dale Junior since 2010.*
Currently, Dale Junior sits 23 points behind the Chase cutline.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver said he is having a good time being back behind-the-wheel in NASCAR’s premiere series.
“I’m having more fun, now that I know what I know, I learned quite a bit being out of the car,” Dale Junior said. “You can’t really let this stuff rub you wrong. We’d certainly like to finish better, but it don’t do you any good to get all upset about it.”
“I guess it’s easier to keep things in perspective after what we went through last year.”
Dale Junior finished outside the top-ten in eight consecutive Cup races in 2010 (July Chicagoland race to Richmond in September).
The longest streak of consecutive races without a top-10 finish in Dale Junior’s career came in 2000, where he finished outside the top 10 in each of the final 21 races of that year.
Daniel Courson/The Racing Experts