SPARTA, Ky. – Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s recent numbers look remarkably like those of teammate Jimmie Johnson.
Over the last nine races, Earnhardt has recorded an average finish of 20.78, with his only top 10 coming at Pocono, where he ran second to Kurt Busch. At Talladega in May, Earnhardt crashed out after 63 laps and finished dead last (40th). At Michigan in mid-June, he was 39th.
The only race winner from 2015 who has not yet been to Victory Lane this season, Earnhardt has fallen to 13th in the series standings, with little margin for error if he hopes to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on points.
The recent struggles have prompted fans and pundits alike to question the chemistry and communication between Earnhardt and crew chief Greg Ives. Outwardly, though, Earnhardt has reasserted the solidarity of his team.
“It’s been a bit frustrating every now and then,” Earnhardt said. “But I’m still enjoying it. I’m still having fun. And I still believe in the group we’ve got and love being part of the crew I’m with, and I know that we can do it because we’ve done it before.
“So I’m anxious to get back to running how we should, and I know, I think, we’ll do that before the end of this season.”