Ready for the Chase

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet, talks with Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, during a rain delay during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 8, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images for NASCAR)

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet, talks with Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, during a rain delay during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 8, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images for NASCAR)

RICHMOND, Va. — If you didn’t pay much attention to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s performance last Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, you weren’t alone. Earnhardt struggled early and wasn’t a factor in the outcome of the race.

However, to crew chief Steve Letarte, the performance of the No. 88 team — from the driver to the crew on pit road — had enormous significance.

“We got down early, we were running in the 20s, and we came back to finish seventh,” Letarte told the NASCAR Wire Service on Saturday. “We proved last week that this team is ready for the Chase. No one is going to have 10 great races in the Chase, so it’s what you do with the days that aren’t great that makes the difference.”

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.