Junior Finishes 17th at Chicagoland

Tyler Overstreet | JR Motorsports | 9/17/2017

Axalta Chicago Dale Jr. NASCAR News

Dale Jr. finished 17th in his final NASCAR Cup Series start at Chicagoland Speedway.

Race: Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile tri-oval / 267 laps
Weather: Cloudy, 85 degrees
Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr.
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 17th

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 17th in Sunday’s Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Earnhardt maintains the 22nd position in the NASCAR Cup Series standings through the season’s 27th race.

For much of the 267-lap race, Earnhardt wrestled a loose Axalta Chevrolet around the 1.5-mile track. After starting 20th, the former Chicagoland winner ascended a few positions in the opening laps before ultimately settling back in 20th at the end of the first 80-lap stage.

Crew chief Greg Ives and the 88 team continued to make adjustments each time Earnhardt visited pit road in hopes of improving the car’s handling. During the opening stage, Earnhardt dropped off the lead lap, so Ives and company opted to keep him on track through a sequence of green-flag pit stops for the leaders. The strategy play was in an effort to catch a caution and regain the lost lap, but unfortunately the caution did not wave and Earnhardt was forced to pit at Lap 148. When the stage ended 12 laps later at Lap 160, the No. 88 was scored two laps down in 28th, but the team’s plan was to take the wave around to return to their previous position only one lap down.

Despite taking the wave around when many others hit pit road, Earnhardt was able to get fresh tires when the caution waved almost immediately after the restart on Lap 168.

Earnhardt restarted 20th at Lap 173 as one of five cars one lap down. He was able to move up one spot to 19th by the time the caution waved again at Lap 210. Over the race’s final stretch, Earnhardt improved two positions to finish the afternoon 17th.

Martin Truex Jr. claimed his fifth win of the season over Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson rounding out the top five.