Originally written on Fox Sports  |  Last updated 9/18/14

LAS VEGAS - DECEMBER 03: NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. speaks during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champions Week NMPA Myers Brothers Awards at the Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino on December 3, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
For drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., patience is definitely a virtue at this point in the season. Then again, there's a sense of urgency with the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship just two races away. Only three drivers are assured of being in the 12-car playoff - five-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth - but the outlook could be a lot clearer after Sunday night's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. While Earnhardt, ranked seventh in the points, is solidly positioned to maintain his spot in the playoff, he knows major problems at Atlanta and next weekend's race in Richmond could knock him out. ''We're just going to have to keep an eye on everybody around us,'' Earnhardt said. ''I feel pretty good. I love Atlanta. I love Richmond. Those are good tracks for us. We have a chance to be successful, so I feel pretty confident.'' Last season, the sport's most popular driver made the Chase but lost any hope of claiming his first series title when he sust...
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