Talladega, Ala – It now appears that unless Dale Earnhardt Jr. can turn things around over the next five races, then his last Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory will have come in November 2015 at the Phoenix Raceway.
Sunday, was supposed to be Earnhardt’s last real shot of ending his winless drought. While the chips were falling his way, he could only muster a seventh place finish in his No. 88 Chevrolet.
Earnhardt, even said so from the start of this weekend. You could definitely sense a little more urgency, pressure, from the third generation driver. He said on Friday that this was the first time all season that the end of the run for him was starting to hit him. He sensed that this weekend’s Alabama 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway would likely be his last chance to get a win for his fans this season, his 17th and final one.
He backed that up with a pole run on Saturday, his first career pole in 35 Talladega starts. He would also have a strong car in the race, battling through the field at least twice and leading seven laps in total.
He would zig zag and miss melees, even slightly getting into other cars in them, and still coming out unscathed.
It was his day to shine.
Plus, it was Oct. 15, 2017.
His dad’s last win?
At Talladega, on Oct. 15, 2000.
When there were just 14 cars running at the end, most of them badly damaged, Earnhardt’s was one of the few that weren’t.
Unfortunately, he didn’t have the drafting help in the end and would have to settle for his sixth top 10 of the season.
But, it was a great finish with how his day started.
On the first stop, Earnhardt hit pit road as a crash was occurring. The pit road would get closed in the process, but Earnhardt didn’t see it. They’d get hit with a penalty and have to go to the end of the field as a result. Then, on his second stop, he was hit with a pit road speeding penalty. Again, another trip to the back of the pack.
On Lap 153, he got into the back of Daniel Suarez when Trevor Bayne got in a single car crash ahead of them in Turn 3.
Still, he was able to come away with his second seventh place finish in the last three races.
Earnhardt finishes his career at Talladega with six wins. No one has more than his dad with 10.