Earnhardt Jr. has the look of a NASCAR Sprint Cup champion

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished fourth Sunday at New Hampshire. (Getty Images)

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished fourth Sunday at New Hampshire. (Getty Images)

For the first time in many years NASCAR’s most popular driver is a legitimate contender. After breaking his winless streak at Michigan in June, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has rattled off two top five finishes in the last four races. While in the other two Earnhardt finished outside the top 20 and 15th, they marked the only real low point in a season that has Earnhardt second in the points. Earnhardt finished fourth Sunday at New Hampshire and instead of being satisfied as in years past, Earnhardt was somewhat disappointed and is looking for more.

“We were just about a tenth off all weekend,” Earnhardt said. “We tire tested here, and were quick and real happy with the car, so not sure where it went. Steve (Letarte, crew chief) and my guys worked really hard on the car during the race, we just could get any better than we were. Happy with another top-five, but need to get some better and win some more races.”

The last time Earnhardt was second in points after the first race at New Hampshire was in 2004 when he was second behind Jimmie Johnson.  He would finish the season fifth in points despite winning a career high six races.  Fast forward to 2012; Earnhardt is second in points and under NASCAR’s new point system he’s only 16 markers out of the lead.  Earnhardt will be in this year’s Chase and said Sunday he’s looking forward to returning to New Hampshire when the Chase is underway. 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.