Dale Earnhardt Jr. survives fiery night in Texas for runner up finish

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. may have been a bit frustrated early Sunday morning. NASCAR’s most popular driver stood on pit road wondering what could have been as nearby Kyle Busch celebrated his fourth consecutive NASCAR National Series touring race win in the last eight days.  Earnhardt had fought from a lap down thanks to a loose tire, missed a late race accident but only had a second place finish to show for it.

“We need a win,” Earnhardt said. “We’d love a win; I know our fans want a win really bad. Trust me man, we’re all working really hard and running great every week.”

Earnhardt and his Hendrick Motorsports crew have been running well in the early part of the season.  Sunday’s finish marked the second runner-up finish for Earnhardt in the first seven races of the season.   After a rain delay of two hours Saturday night, Earnhardt had worked his way from his  16th place starting spot to 13th when a NASCAR mandated caution flew on lap 29. The crew was able to get Earnhardt out in quick fashion and he was able to restart inside the top 10. After the restart, Earnhardt was soon inside the top five and as high as second at one point.

Trouble came on lap 204. While running third, Earnhardt reported a possible loose wheel.

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