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Darlington Recap: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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DATE: May 8, 2010
START: 19th
FINISH: 18th
POINTS POSITION: 12th

RECAPPING THE RACE:

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, finished 18th in Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

Earnhardt improves one spot to the 12th position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship standings. He trails leader Kevin Harvick by 304 points, but is within 39 points of teammate Mark Martin in 10th place.

Earnhardt lined up 19th on Saturday for the 61st running of the Southern 500 and focused his attention on claiming his first win at the track considered "Too Tough to Tame." After 34 laps, Earnhardt reported a tight-handling condition on his green-and-white Chevrolet, but continued to make forward progress. When the first caution flag of the race was displayed on Lap 46, Earnhardt was running in 12th place

As the field visited pit road under caution, crew chief Lance McGrew called for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Quick work by the crew netted Earnhardt one position on pit road, and he lined up 11th for the Lap 50 restart.

Despite the adjustments, Earnhardt continued to struggle with the handling of the Chevy and was running 20th on Lap 83. On Lap 130, the 35-year-old driver notified the crew that he had a tire going flat and needed to make an unscheduled pit stop for four fresh tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Fortunately, green-flag pit stops were scheduled just 10 laps later and once the field cycled through on Lap 150, Earnhardt was running 12th.

During the middle stages of the race, the team continued to fine-tune the handling of the No. 88 Chevy. Earnhardt raced as high as the sixth position.

The evening's eighth caution flag waved on Lap 227, with Earnhardt shown 16th on the leader board. McGrew called for right-side tires, fuel and chassis adjustment in an attempt to free up the handling. The two-tire pit stop gained the team six spots on pit road, and Earnhardt went back to green-flag racing in the 10th position.

During the closing laps, Earnhardt noted that he continued to experience a tight-handling condition. He eventually took the checkered flag 18th.

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Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports.
Media Relations | No. 88 AMP Energy / National Guard Racing

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