Maybe Earnhardt Jr. has turned the corner, maybe not

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had plenty of reasons to smile this season so far. (Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had plenty of reasons to smile this season so far. (Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had plenty of reasons to smile this season so far. (Getty Images)    Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had plenty of reasons to smile this season so far. (Getty Images)

The end may be in sight for Dale Earnhardt Jr. After 135 races without visiting victory lane, Earnhardt Jr. seems close to breaking the winless streak that has hung over him like a black cloud since Michigan in June 2008. Since that last win, Earnhardt has struggled and most of 2009, 2010 and 2011 seemed far from being a contender.  So far in 2012, however, the story seems to be changing. Earnhardt has been the leader at Hendrick Motorsports scoring three top five finishes in the first six races.

But has he officially turned the corner? Is the driver who sat on the sidelines while his teammates won races and championships ready to win some races? Perhaps the best indicator of that is looking at not only his recent performance, but last year’s record. After six races last season, Earnhardt had one top five finish. That came at Martinsville with a second place finish.  Earnhardt left Martinsville last season eighth in the points.  He finished the season with four top five and 12 top ten finishes. MORE>>>

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