Cautiously conservative

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, looks on in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on June 1, 2012 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, looks on in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on June 1, 2012 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

DOVER, Del. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn’t ready to call himself a contender, but he knows he’s close. Currently fourth in the Sprint Cup standings, 18 points behind leader Greg Biffle, Earnhardt is the only driver to have finished on the lead lap in each of the 12 Cup races this season.

“We’re trying to put ourselves into the Chase, and we’re going to try to be one of the strongest teams when that time comes,” Earnhardt said. “I wouldn’t call ourselves a contender, (but) we’ve got a chance to be one this year the way we’re doing it.”

To solidify his credentials, though, Earnhardt must break a winless streak that reached 141 races last Sunday at Charlotte, where he finished sixth.

Earnhardt will start 17th Sunday.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.