MARTINSVILLE, Va.— Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been close — to the tune of 10 top fives, including two runner-up finishes, at Martinsville Speedway.
Earnhardt’s late father, seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt, won six times at the venerable short track and each time earned a grandfather clock trophy for his efforts. There are few things Earnhardt Jr. would enjoy more than following his father’s example.
“This is a track where I’ve been trying to get a win for a long time,” Earnhardt said Friday before opening Sprint Cup practice. “I grew up in a house full of clocks, so it’s been pretty elusive. We’ve had some good cars in the past here that I’ve felt like could have won races, and we just weren’t able to get the job done for whatever reason — somebody was faster or whatever.
“Looking forward to having another opportunity. Every time we come here, we’re excited. I love short-track racing. I love this track. I love the history of this place, what it represents. It’s a joy to run here and a lot of fun to race. It can be frustrating, and you’ve got to battle all day to maintain your track position, but it’s a good challenge, a fun challenge.”