Dale Earnhardt Jr. is running out of time and races in his quest to make the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs in his final season of full-time racing.
With seven races left before the playoffs begin, Earnhardt stands 21st in the Cup Series standings. He’ll likely need a win in one of those races to make the postseason count for him.
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His best chances likely would come at a track where he’s won before. Luckily for Earnhardt, who has 26 wins in his career, four of those seven races take place at a track where he’s done just that: Pocono, Michigan, Bristol and Richmond.
After missing the final 18 races last season due to concussion-related symptoms, Earnhardt is still seeking his first win since November 2015 at Phoenix. Earnhardt’s best finish this season is fifth, April 9 at Texas. He’s been in the top 10 five times in 19 races so far, the same number of times he failed to finish.
At this stage, Earnhardt and fans no doubt looks forward to every race, even at tracks where he’s never won.
In this video from his Twitter feed, Earnhardt reflected upon his visits to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, site of this week’s Brickyard 400.
“When you stand on pit road or you’re walking through the garage, you feel like you’re in a very special place,” Earnhardt said. “Visually, it looks like an incredible racetrack – with the pagoda and the long, long front straightaway and the cars coming by, just flying into Turn 1 – there’s really no place like it.”
WHERE THE WINLESS HAVE WON BEFORE
Like Earnhardt, the best chance for a win for other winless drivers is likely at a track where they’ve won before.
Here’s a cheat sheet, via NASCAR:
Indianapolis: Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard
Pocono: Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Chris Buescher
Watkins Glen: Kyle Busch, AJ Allmendinger
Michigan: Kyle Busch, Earnhardt Jr., Kenseth, Kahne
Bristol: Kyle Busch, Kenseth, Earnhardt Jr., Kahne
Darlington: Kyle Busch, Kenseth
Richmond: Kyle Busch, Kenseth, Clint Bowyer, Earnhardt Jr., Kahne
WHERE THEY ALL STAND
These drivers would make the playoffs if the season ended today, according to NASCAR: Martin Truex Jr. (three wins, 28 playoff points), Jimmie Johnson (three, 16), Kyle Larson (two, 13), Brad Keselowski (two, 13), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (two, 10), Kevin Harvick (one, eight), Ryan Blaney (one, eight), Denny Hamlin (one, seven), Kurt Busch (one, five), Ryan Newman (one, five), Austin Dillon (one, five), Kyle Busch (178 points above Joey Logano on the cutoff line, five playoff points), Chase Elliott (+115, two), Jamie McMurray (+100), Clint Bowyer (+54), Matt Kenseth (+42, two).
The first four drivers out would be: Logano (42 below Matt Kenseth on the cutoff line), Erik Jones (-97), Daniel Suarez (-120) and Trevor Bayne (-155).
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