In the end Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had the fastest car, but couldn’t quite get past his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson at the end of the AAA 400 from Dover International Speedway. He had to settle for second place, but gained points in the Chase.
“We had an awesome car. Two weeks in a row we’ve had two fantastic racecars. We’re proud of Steve and Ken, my engineer, all the guys for bringing such good cars to the racetrack. It certainly makes my job easier, gives us opportunities to win like this. Trying to look on the bright side. A little disappointed we didn’t pull off the win. Felt like we had the perfect strategy. Had maybe the best car, arguably the best car, today. With those four tires I thought we could get it done. We left everybody in the mirror. We were clicking off some laps, but just not fast enough to get to Jimmie,” Earnhardt told media members after the race.
There were different points in the race when pit road cost Earnhardt time. The first was missing pit road and then getting stuck behind Mark Martin as he came into the pits.
“If I had not given up that track position, had a smart enough race to keep the lead when it counted right at the end, we might have won the race. It would have been hard to get by us, just like it was to get by Jimmie. I think missing the commitment cone was a big factor in us not finishing one spot ahead of where we are. But the other pit stop wasn’t that big a deal. I came on pit road about as hard as I could. The 14, Mark, was running maybe 5, 10 miles an hour slow in the first couple segments. I don’t know that cost us a ton of time,” commented Earnhardt.
While some would celebrate his second place finish as an accomplishment, Eanrhardt disagrees. “I don’t feel like today was a highlight for us. I think this is how it’s supposed to be every week. I know that competition’s difficult and tough, Jimmie being one of the best drivers the sport has ever seen. Running at one of his better racetracks, it was going to be a challenge. But I felt like we had enough car and tires for sure to beat him.”
Next up is the Hollywood Casino 400 is next up from the Kansas Speedway for the Sprint Cup Series. The action gets underway Sunday, October 6th, at 2:00 PM EST and can be seen live on ESPN.