Dale Earnhardt Jr. is now officially a NASCAR championship contender

LONG POND, PA - JUNE 08: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, poses in Victory Lane with the winner's trophy after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 8, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
LONG POND, PA - JUNE 08:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, poses in Victory Lane with the winner's trophy after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 8, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
LONG POND, PA – JUNE 08: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, poses in Victory Lane with the winner’s trophy after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 8, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

He’s been there before. Five times in fact. Five times NASCAR’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., has been part of the season ending playoffs to decide a champion otherwise known as the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

The best he’s ever finished in the season point standings was fifth, three times.

The last time he finished fifth came in 2013. However, that season he went winless.

This year is different. MORE>>>

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.