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Tough luck at Kentucky doesn’t have Dale Jr. bummed

Jun 30, 2013, 9:00 PM EDT

Quaker State 400 - Qualifying Getty Images

Early damage to the front end of his car kept Dale Earnhardt Jr. from having a chance to convert a Kentucky pole into his first victory of 2013, but NASCAR’s most popular driver tried to stayed upbeat after finishing 12th in today’s Quaker State 400.

“It’s good to drive fast cars, and eventually things are going to work themselves out,” said Earnhardt, who was leading at Lap 38 when he hit a tire carcass that came from Denny Hamlin‘s car and had moved onto the track.

The collision caused grille and splitter damage to Earnhardt’s No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, which led to multiple stops on pit road to have his crew try and fix the damage. But Earnhardt could only do so much with the car afterwards, which suffered from a tight condition as he battled to get out of mid-pack.

“It’s good to be fast, can’t do anything about what’s happened to us,” said Earnhardt, who has suffered three straight finishes outside of the Top 10 going into the Sprint Cup Series’ return to Daytona International Speedway next weekend.

“I’m disappointed in our luck. You can’t let that take away from how well the cars have been running; we have been doing everything right.”

Earnhardt instead hailed his crew for doing as much as they could with his wounded Chevy.

“The guys did a good job on pit road all day long working on it and trying to fix everything,” he said. “I’m not sure we got everything back where it is supposed to be, but we did well-enough to get a decent finish out it. Just proud of how hard the team worked.

“…They worked hard on it to get it right, and get it good enough where we could run well, so they deserve a lot of credit today.”

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