Dale Earnhardt Jr. salvages decent day at Bristol to become championship contender

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished sixth Sunday at Bristol. (Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished sixth Sunday at Bristol. (Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished sixth Sunday at Bristol. (Getty Images)

It may be early in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season but Dale Earnhardt Jr. showed Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway why he may just be a legitimate contender for the 2013 Sprint Cup crown.

Earnhardt began the weekend in somewhat of a deep hole managing to qualify only 32nd on Friday. He would battle back from that poor starting spot after the green flag feel on Sunday.  He was inside top 20 by lap 50 and into the top 10 85 laps in to the 500-lap race. Earnhardt was able to make it into the top ten by the time first half of the race had ended, but suddenly seemed to stall.

Crew chief Steve Letarte started searching for the right adjustments to make Earnhardt Jr.’s Chevrolet a top-five contender and in the races final stages, Earnhardt made a total of five pit stops.  Suddenly Earnhardt was able to begin working his way forward.

“I have to give all the credit to Steve Letarte,” Earnhardt said. MORE>>>

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 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.