Junior Battles for 11th-Place Finish at the Monster Mile

Tyler Overstreet | JR Motorsports | 6/4/2017

Dale Jr. Dover NASCAR Nationwide News

Dale Jr. finished 11th at Dover International Speedway after fighting a loose race car throughout the 400-lap NASCAR Cup Series event.

Race: AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway
Track Specs: 1-mile concrete oval / 400 laps
Weather: Sunny, 84 degrees
Race Winner: Jimmie Johnson
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 11th

Dale Earnhardt Jr. notched an 11th-place finish in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway. The result moves Earnhardt up a spot to 22nd in the points standings.

After starting 11th, Earnhardt quickly vaulted his way into the top 10 before a recurring loose condition reared itself, resulting in the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet slipping back to 12th before the first caution waved at lap 17. Throughout the opening stage, Earnhardt’s running position fluctuated between 12th and 20th as he wrestled his car around the one-mile concrete oval. By the end of Stage One, the No. 88 was scored 12th.

Earnhardt continued to provide similar feedback throughout Stage Two as crew chief Greg Ives and the Nationwide team made constant adjustments. By the end of the stage, the No. 88 was scored 16th.

During the final stage, Earnhardt slipped down the leaderboard to 19th in the midst of a long green flag run. Ives made a gutsy call to keep his driver on track during a sequence of green flag pit stops hoping for a fortuitous caution to provide the team with improved track position. The call was rewarded when a caution waved at lap 330 with Earnhardt scored eighth and only 10 cars on the lead lap.

The No. 88 lined up sixth for the ensuing restart at lap 339 and ran there until the No. 38 car brought out yet another caution at lap 397. Ives called Earnhardt to pit road for right-side tires only for the overtime restart. NASCAR deemed Earnhardt to have been too fast on pit road exiting his pit stall, forcing Earnhardt to restart from the tail end of the field.

Earnhardt restarted 16th and narrowly avoided a multi-car accident on the backstretch to take the yellow and checkered flag 11th.

Schedule

Standings

After Ford EcoBoost 400

Homestead-Miami Speedway | 11/19/2017
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Martin Truex Jr. (P)50400
2Kyle Busch (P)5035-5
3Kevin Harvick (P)5033-7
4Brad Keselowski (P)5030-10
5Chase Elliott2377-2663
6Denny Hamlin2353-2687
7Matt Kenseth2344-2696
8Kyle Larson2320-2720
9Ryan Blaney2305-2735
10Jimmie Johnson2260-2780
21Dale Earnhardt Jr.668-4372