At Talladega, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will throw caution to the wind

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 5, 2012 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

TALLADEGA, Ala. — As far as Dale Earnhardt Jr. is concerned, Sunday’s Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 at Talladega Superspeedway won’t be a race for the faint of heart.

Seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, 39 points behind leader Brad Keselowski, Earnhardt has an aggressive mind-set toward Sunday’s race, even though there are seven races left in the Chase.

“I feel pretty good, I guess because I have nothing to lose,” Earnhardt told reporters Friday at Talladega. “And that fits right into how you race this racetrack. It’s kind of a no-holds-barred, lay-it-out-there kind of thing.

“Anytime you’re cautious, you tend to get yourself in trouble, and the guys that are a lot more aggressive seem to find themselves toward the front of the mess when it all goes down and end up being the ones that, for some reason, will finish. But we’re just going to throw it all out there, man.”

Accordingly, a conservative run, trying to maintain contact with the series leaders, isn’t part of the No. 88 team’s plan.

“We’re in a position where it really doesn’t matter,” Earnhardt said. “We can’t be conservative at all. We’ve really got to take a lot of risks. With just a few races left, and as good as everybody is running, like Brad and second-place Jimmie (Johnson) and the No. 11 (third-place Denny Hamlin), we really have to get pretty aggressive, and that should play right into this race track’s hands.

“It’s a place that really kind of asks for that, and you’ve got to really take some risks and be pretty daring out there to make some things happen.”

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