(Eds: With AP Photos.) By HANK KURZ Jr. AP Sports Writer Two weeks ago, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was sailing along looking like a lock to make it into NASCAR's Chase for the championship, standing fifth in points in one of the most consistent seasons of his career.
Then he finished 30th at Watkins Glen, and 36th at Michigan.
Suddenly the most popular driver in the Sprint Cup Series is feeling some heat.
''The confidence is there, but the stress is there, too,'' he said during a pause from testing Wednesday at Richmond International Raceway, where all four Hendrick Motorsports teams are spending two days.
Earnhardt has fallen to seventh in the standings, just 20 points ahead of teammate Kasey Kahne, who is 11th with three races remaining before the field is set in the regular season finale at Richmond.
The top 10 in points automatically qualify, along with two wild card selections that place a premium on victories. Kahne has two, leading everyone outside the top si...