Dale Earnhardt Jr. ready to go all ‘hard and crazy’ at Charlotte Saturday night

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 10: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 10, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 10:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 10, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC – OCTOBER 10: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 10, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in trouble.  NASCAR’s most popular driver has had a great season; he won the season opening Daytona 500 and added two more wins this year, his best season since 2004 and without a doubt his best since joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2008. He entered NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, the sport’s version of a championship playoff, as one of the top seeds.  But now, four races into the 10 race Chase, Earnhardt is facing the very real possibility that he will be eliminated and miss out on his first opportunity to secure a NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.

It seems that the magic Earnhardt and his Hendrick Motorsports team led by crew chief Steve Letarte had found this season has worn off.   Earnhardt’s best finish inside the Chase was a 9th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  Beyond that he’s had finishes of 11th and 17th. Last week was another disappointing outing. While leading at Kansas Speedway, a tire blew on Earnhardt’s Chevy sending him into the wall, to the garage and leaving him with a 39th place finish.

Earnhardt comes into Charlotte Motor Speedway needing a near miracle to advance to the next round of NASCAR’s new championship format. Instead of being down though, Earnhardt is looking forward to Saturday night’s Bank of America 500.

“I’m really excited actually,” Earnhardt said prior to qualifying at Charlotte Friday. 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.