Mar 1, 2013, 10:35 AM EST
His last-lap efforts to win a second Daytona 500 may have fallen short, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. still got his season off on the right foot.
A second-place finish in the season-opening race has him, of course, second in the Sprint Cup standings at five markers behind Hendrick Motorsports teammate and Daytona winner Jimmie Johnson. With Sunday’s race at Phoenix International Raceway looming, he also won’t have to worry about the unappetizing prospect of starting the 2013 campaign with two bad races in a row.
“I think it’s important to get a good start points-wise,” Earnhardt Jr. said after the ‘500.’ “It’s important to put a good foundation of points together. If you get behind early, it seems like you’re still chasing that [Chase for the Sprint Cup] spot at Richmond. It’s good to get a good start, get a couple points on some guys.
“We’re a good team. Hopefully, we can keep the pressure on them and stay up in the top five in the points and win some races. I want to really try to win some more races this year. That’s our focus.”
Earnhardt Jr. has won twice at PIR in his career (2003 and 2004), but his fortunes in the Valley of the Sun have varied since then with him collecting just one top-10 finish in his last eight races at Phoenix.
That said, a solid result this weekend will have him sitting in a pretty good spot early on in the championship – and while the Earnhardt Nation would’ve loved to have seen their guy hoist the Harley J. Earl Trophy last weekend, you know they’ll gladly celebrate a Sprint Cup title for Driver #88 as well.
Dec 22, 2014, 6:02 PM EST
The big-name a cappella group will carry on one of the 500’s greatest traditions next May.
Dec 22, 2014, 5:22 PM EST
Sergio Marchionne: “I think 2015 is going to be a reconstitution year.”
Dec 22, 2014, 4:50 PM EST
Jimmie Johnson not only fell short of his seventh Sprint Cup championship in 2014, he also recorded the worst single-season finish in his Cup career.
Dec 22, 2014, 3:00 PM EST
1.33-mile concrete oval outside the Music City has not hosted major auto racing since 2011.
Dec 22, 2014, 2:00 PM EST
Truex’s first year with Furniture Row Racing was largely disappointing.
Dec 22, 2014, 1:00 PM EST
Ambrose narrowly missed clinching a Chase berth after his epic battle at the Glen with A.J. Allmendinger.
Dec 22, 2014, 12:30 PM EST
A quick roundup of who’s where at the moment in Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000.
Dec 22, 2014, 11:19 AM EST
IMSA’s Scot Elkins joins MRTI as race director.
Dec 22, 2014, 11:00 AM EST
The New Year’s Eve IndyCar is revealed.
Dec 22, 2014, 10:15 AM EST
In interview, Carl Edwards sets some high goals for himself in first year with JGR.
Dec 22, 2014, 9:29 AM EST
Bullins up to the Cup level as crew chief of Blaney’s No. 21.
Dec 21, 2014, 8:00 PM EST
Junior speaks highly, already, of new crew chief Greg Ives.
Dec 21, 2014, 6:30 PM EST
Ex-Sauber driver Adrian Sutil calls out F1 pay-driver situation, although it could just be a case of sour grapes.
Dec 21, 2014, 5:30 PM EST
A number of tweaks are coming for the global sports car racing series.
Dec 21, 2014, 4:58 PM EST
Going back to his dirt track roots, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished eighth in the fifth annual Great Clips Battle at the Center in DuQuoin, Ill., on Saturday.
Dec 21, 2014, 4:00 PM EST
The XFINITY Series driver for Richard Childress Racing marries girlfriend Haley Carey.
UPDATED — Highway to Hell(cat): Owner wrecks 707-hp Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat one hour after buying it
Dec 21, 2014, 2:54 PM EST
With just 40 less horsepower than a 2015 Sprint Cup car, the new Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is VERY powerful. One new Hellcat owner, who bought it just one hour earlier, found out the hard way about all that power.
Dec 21, 2014, 2:30 PM EST
The Outlaw takes on the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day.
Dec 21, 2014, 1:00 PM EST
Vickers made his full-time return to Sprint Cup action in 2014, which in itself was a victory.
Dec 21, 2014, 12:26 PM EST
Paul Menard had a decent season at times in 2014, but fell short of making the Chase in the final qualifying race.
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