By admin | June 14, 2010
By Richard Allen
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. turned in a pretty good run on Sunday in the Heluva Good! 400 at the Michigan International Speedway. His 7th place effort was his first top-10 since seven races ago in Texas. The finish boosted Junior up two places to 14th in the overall Sprint Cup standings.
Soon after the race ended the TNT broadcast crew reported that Junior had moved up to 14th and that he was solidly in Chase for the Championship contention. That is the last thing Junior and his crew need to be worried about.
What the #88 team needs to focus on is running well at Sonoma this coming weekend. Then, they need to focus on carrying momentum to New Hampshire, then Daytona, etc…
Just because Junior finished well in one race after a string of less than stellar runs does not mean he is a championship contender. It will only be after this Hendrick Motorsports team proves they can have these sort of finishes on a regular basis that they need to start positioning themselves for the Chase.
After all, if they are not consistently strong then what difference would qualifying for the Chase make?
Tony Stewart commented after the race that there were other people on the Chase bubble who were far more concerned with their position in the standings than he himself was. He was more focused on the fact that his team had finally put together two solid runs. That is good advice coming from the only driver to have won a championship under both the old system and the new.
Stewart currently sits 11th in the standings with eleven races remaining before the playoff is set.
Junior had one good, solid run in which he was a fixture within the top-10 for most of the day. That is what it needs to be counted as, not a sign that he is ready to win a title. So don’t get excited TNT crew or anyone else. Where the #88 team goes from here is the key.
If Junior scores a few more top-10s then the team should begin thinking about the Chase. If he does not then they have other concerns.
Follow @RacingWithRich on twitter.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
Topics: Articles |