Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 8/19/12
Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn't earn a repeat win Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. But NASCAR's most popular driver salvaged what could have been another disastrous weekend after finishing 32nd and 28th, respectively at Pocono and Watkins Glen in recent Sprint Cup races. Earnhardt finished fourth at MIS and learned a lot about team building in the process -- just not with his Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon. Earnhardt started at the back of the Pure Michigan 400 field after wrecking his car in the closing minutes of Happy Hour on Saturday. The team quickly unloaded a backup car and Earnhardt was forced to start from scratch, shaking down the car in the opening laps of the race and deciding on a direction to take the vehicle. "I feel like I was under pressure to just not make any more mistakes," Earnhardt said. "I spun out twice in the last two weeks on my own and that's something I try not to have happen and try not to have that kind of reputation. "I felt real bad last night about wrecking the car and all the work the guys had to do to get this car ready for today. They just poured through so many documents and notes on that car to try to put it on the start grid this morning." Earnhardt moved up to 32nd on the first lap. An early caution on Lap 6 allowed the crew to make adjustments, and crew chief Steve Letarte continued to dial the car in during the first 100 laps. Despite a difference of opinion between Earnhardt and Gordon, who questioned the No. 88's decision to take the field four wide on the Lap 81 restart, the day was fairly uneventful. "The (expletive) 88 can thank me later for not wrecking him," Gordon said over the radio. "I don't know what I did," Earnhardt replied after asking his spotter to speak with Gordon's. "But I'm sorry if I did something." Team owner Rick Hendrick then came over the radio and told Earnhardt, "You didn't do anything, just drive that thing to the front." Junior replied, "I'm trying." Earnhardt credited his team and "great strategy" for the quick turnaround. "First off, my team put together a great race car last night and this morning that was comfortable and competitive," Earnhardt said. "We didn't have any laps on the racetrack so a lot of credit goes to the guys on the car. Steve did a great job on strategy, getting us a lot of track position. We were able to maintain most of it. We lost a little bit there at the end. I think that last set of tires didn't agree with us quite as much as it was in the middle part of the race." That's when Earnhardt's car appeared reminiscent of his winning June run. Earnhardt took the lead for the first time on Lap 114 and led 10 circuits. He moved to the point again on Lap 138 before teammate Jimmie Johnson passed him 15 laps later. Still, Earnhardt remained in striking distance throughout the second half of the race. "They did an awesome job," Earnhardt said. "So, thanks to my crew and I give all those guys all the credit for today. Steve did a good job getting us some track position with his pit strategy in giving us an opportunity to get a good run. We may not have quite enough to win, but a good finish position." Earnhardt moved up to third in the point standings. He trails Kenseth by two points and leader Greg Biffle by 22.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Magic Johnson guarantees World Series title for Dodgers

Aaron Donald officially a holdout from Rams camp

Three-team trade could involve Irving, Wiggins, Love, Carmelo

Roethlisberger mentions CTE study, continues retirement talk

LaVar Ball has ref removed from game after technical

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Which NFL futility droughts could be quenched in 2017?

Jones: 'No domestic violence involved' with Elliott's NFL case

Harden spent so much in strip club they retired his jersey?

Bob Bradley returning to roots, and Los Angeles FC fans should be excited

Reports: David Price heading back to DL with elbow injury

Padres reportedly latest team in on Sonny Gray sweepstakes

The 'Dash Cam won't be turned off anytime soon' quiz

The MLB managerial hot seat index: Who's next to go?

Box Score 7/28: Cooperstown here we come

The most memorable moments from the class of 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees

The 'Old Tom Brady is still the Ol' Tom Brady' quiz

BIG3 Week 6: Should we begin the MVP discussion as we head to Dallas?

Three Up, Three Down: Adrian Beltre is a national treasure

The 10 craziest NFL offseason stories

Box Score 7/27: USMNT brings home the Gold Cup

The 'Cooperstown: The New Class' quiz

For the revitalized Pirates, trade deadline has newfound meaning

Every MLB team's best and worst deadline trade from the last 25 years

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The MLB managerial hot seat index: Who's next to go?

The 'Dash Cam won't be turned off anytime soon' quiz

BIG3 Week 6: Should we begin the MVP discussion as we head to Dallas?

The 'Old Tom Brady is still the Ol' Tom Brady' quiz

The 10 craziest NFL offseason stories

For the revitalized Pirates, trade deadline has newfound meaning

The 'Cooperstown: The New Class' quiz

The 'Kyrie revolts against the King' quiz

BIG3 Ref Hotline Bling: James White slams the phone down

The 'When George Brett went completely batty' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker