Earnhardt Jr. posts hot-but-solid fifth-place run at Texas

FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 09: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Axalta Chevrolet, leads Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

FORTH WORTH, Tex. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. finally had a car he could enjoy—but a balky cooling unit took some of fun out of his fifth-place run in Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

The driver of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet was a fixture in the top-10 for most of the afternoon, with a car that could run with the machines that have dominated the action in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series thus far this season.

“It was warm,” a red-faced Earnhardt said after climbing from his car. “I thought the car was pretty warm all weekend, but our air conditioner wasn’t doing a very good job today. We’ve just got to relocate the outlet or the inlet to give it a better opportunity to get some air. But with the wind, as windy as it is here, you’ve got to put that thing in a more opportune place.

“It’s kind of like a vacuum. It’s pulling air out of the helmet… I just ran with the visor up the whole day. I was happy to see that caution late to get us some Gatorade and cool off a little bit. It was hot.”

At least the result was satisfying for Earnhardt, who posted his first top five—and top 10—of the 2017 campaign.

“I figured we would get one sooner or later, but it’s nice,” Earnhardt said. “I know our fans are really pulling for us. Could have finished a little better, but we’ll take top five.”

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.