It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster year for Dale Earnhardt Jr., from the early season heights of a pair of second-place finishes and the NASCAR Sprint Cup points lead to the depths of three finishes outside the top 20.
Through the season’s first 14 races, however, Earnhardt has maintained an attitude of optimism.
“We have been carrying momentum for a good solid year now,” he said following a third-place finish in Sunday’s event at PoconoRaceway. “We are all right. We know what we need to do. Confidence is there.”
Earnhardt should be confident as the series moves to Michigan International Speedway where, last June, Junior broke a four-year, 143-race winless streak. He finished fourth in the track’s second race – making 2012 his best year in terms of average finish in the Irish Hills.
Both Pocono and Michigan were repaved before the 2012 season. Those conditions suited Earnhardt’s No. 88 Chevrolet team then and – if last weekend’s Pocono race is any indication – his success should carry over into Michigan. Earnhardt’s Pocono performance was the driver’s first top five since Auto Club Speedway’s race in late March. It also moved Earnhardt back to fourth in series points.