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Race Report: Dale Earnhardt Jr. - Kentucky

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DALE EARNHARDT JR.

NO. 88 DIET MOUNTAIN DEW/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET

RACE REPORT

Date: June 30, 2012

Race: 17 of 36

Start: Seventh

Finish: Fourth

Points: Second

RECAPPING THE RACE:

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet, finished fourth on Saturday night in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway. Earnhardt now ranks second in the driver standings and trails leader Matt Kenseth by 11 points after the 17th race of the 2012 season.

Earnhardt took seventh during Friday's qualifying session. When the green flag waved on Saturday, Earnhardt steadily drove his way through the field, and by Lap 96, he was running fourth.

Earnhardt reported several times throughout the 400-mile event that he was encountering handling issues but overall, he was pleased with the No. 88 Chevrolet's speed. Through the course of six pit stops that night, crew chief Steve Letarte called for chassis adjustments that helped alleviate the car's handling issues. As the race approached Lap 201, Earnhardt was fourth.

The caution flag was waved on Lap 210, Earnhardt came in for fuel only. The driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet lined up on the third row for the Lap 220 restart with the advice from Letarte ringing in his ears – “Save fuel.” Earnhardt had a solid restart on the 1.5-mile racetrack. With 20 laps to go, he was running fourth and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates were running comfortably inside the top 10 as well.

When the checkered flag waved on Lap 267, Earnhardt crossed the start/finish line fourth. His Hendrick Motorsports teammates joined him inside the top six, marking the first time since April 2011 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway that all four teammates have finished inside the top 10.

QUOTING DALE EARNHARDT JR.:

EARNHARDT (ON HIS TOP-FIVE FINISH AT KENTUCKY.): "It was a good night. We were fast and good all weekend; just a good weekend for us. We would have loved to have had a better shot at the end. We had a good race car with the run before last. It was really fast. It got loose there at the end getting in the corner. I'm proud of the team. I want to thank Diet Mountain Dew, National Guard, Sprint -- I just hope we can keep it up. We're real proud of how we're doing so far, and we'd like to win another race."

*****

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

*****

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Official Site - www.dalejr.com


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