Junior: ‘There’s pride at stake’

Photo by Benjamin Palmer/TheRacingExperts.com
Dale Earnhardt Jr. stands with Greg Biffle pre-race at Phoenix International Raceway in March of 2014.

By Dominic Aragon
November 15, 2015

AVONDALE, Ariz.—24 points separate ninth to fourteenth in the Sprint Cup Series standings with two races left on the schedule, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. is focused on finishing the year within the top-ten.

Currently sitting ninth overall, Junior sits six points above eleventh place Ryan Newman.

Photo by Brian DeGruchy/TheRacingExperts.com

Dale Earnhardt Jr. practices at Phoenix International Raceway.

“I think there’s pride at stake to finish inside the top-ten for sure,” he said to The Racing Experts. “When you get knocked out of the Chase, you start setting new goals, so we set a goal to be able to get on stage at the banquet and get ourselves the opportunity to thank our team, thank our fans, thank all our sponsors.”

If Junior maintains a top-ten position in driver points this season, it will mark three consecutive seasons the Hendrick Motorsports driver has accomplished the feat, including his fourth in five seasons.

Earnhardt Jr., also a past winner at Phoenix International Raceway, will start the Quicken Loans Race for the Heroes 500 third. His teammate, Jimmie Johnson, won the pole position Friday.

Sitting at 75 career wins, a win Sunday ties Jimmie Johnson with Dale Earnhardt on the series’ all-time win list. Junior talked about what it would mean for his teammate to pick up his 76th win at Phoenix.

“Jeff did that here, and saluted my father, I hope Jimmie’s got an opportunity or an idea to salute him as well,” he said. “That makes me feel great when the current stars of the sport tip the cap to the old man.

“It really makes me feel good. I’m sure that Jimmie will feel awesome about matching his winning record.”
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