By admin | April 29, 2011
By Richard Allen
Unless you’ve been held captive in silence for almost three years you probably know that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has gone his last 101 NASCAR Sprint Cup starts without a victory. Saturday night in Richmond he has what may be his best opportunity in those three years to put an end to his winless streak.
In Friday’s first practice session at the Richmond International Raceway, Junior posted the fastest speed overall. He somewhat disappointingly followed that up by qualifying 24th in the afternoon.
After a crash induced 24th place finish in the Daytona 500, Junior has placed in the top-12 each of the next seven races. According to crew chief Steve Letarte, those results could have been even more impressive had the team’s performance in qualifying been better. Aside from the restrictor plate tracks of Daytona and Talladega, the #88 car has not started higher than 22nd so far in 2011. That not only causes them to spend much of their day or night working through the field but also hurts the all important pit stall selection.
Although Junior and team once again had a poor qualifying result, the car is obviously fast.
Often times, Junior is thought of as a big track driver, and he has scored seven of his eighteen career wins on the two plate tracks. However, Richmond is actually this driver’s second most productive venue in terms of number of wins. He has taken three checkered flags on the ¾ mile track in Sprint Cup competition.
400 laps is a long time and much can happen throughout the evening. But, if Junior is to finally provide that much wanted win for his many fans, the Richmond track provides a golden opportunity to do so.
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