Heading into the first off week of the season after the March 24th race at Fontana, all was good in the NASCAR world.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was a top of the standings after the first five races of the season and coming off of the best start of his career. Earnhardt started the year off with a second, fifth, seventh, sixth and second place finish respectively to start the year off and was closer and closer to victory lane.
The series was heading to Martinsville and Texas the first two races after the off week which are two very good tracks for Earnhardt. Everyone anticipated for him to extend his points lead and possibly land in victory lane in one of those races.
Instead, he’s free falling down the standings as he’s gone from first to sixth heading to the next race at Kansas Speedway.
Last weekend, Earnhardt finished a dismal 24th at Martinsville after having a very rough day. Saturday night at Texas he was looking like a real threat to win until a costly mistake he made on Lap 187 of the 333 Lap NRA 500. Earnhardt brought his No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet down pit road for an unscheduled pit stop while running third.
His car lost all power and he thought he had an engine issue. Earnhardt said he gauges were going haywire. While on pit road the crew saw it was a dead battery and did what Earnhardt could have done on track and switch to the backup. He said after the race they wouldn’t have lost anything if he would have switched to the backup battery on track and could have finished upfront easily.
He settled for a 29th place finish his worst of the season and now sits 35 points behind his teammate Jimmie Johnson heading to next week.
To put into perspective how bad it’s been since the off week, Danica Patrick has finished ahead of him in both races since the off week. If he wants to win his first Cup championship, things need to turn around soon.
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