Solid Day for Earnhardt Jr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr

“Track position was what we needed at the end, we didn't have it.” (Photo: Getty mages)

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. turned in an impressive performance in Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway coming from the back of the field to score a fourth-place finish at the one-mile oval.

It marked the second straight race at New Hampshire that Earnhardt began the day deep in the field only to charge to the front and post a top-10 finish.

Earnhardt knew he had a good car when the weekend opened up at New Hampshire but a poor qualifying effort got things off to a bad start.

“We unloaded a great car, they did a good job preparing it at the shop,” he said. “We worked on it all weekend. It was pretty good in practice and we approved on it a little bit. We had an eighth place finish last time and felt like we were really fast and competitive all day long.

“We can't qualify very good here, but once we get in race trim, we just kind of go to the front or get near the front.”

Earnhardt’s charge to the front didn’t come without its challenges including an issue on pit road.

"It felt like we had a top-10 car and we had the jack-stop break and had to go to the back and then a miscommunication with the No. 78 (Regan Smith) on pit that cost us a half of a lap under green, just battling back from that stuff,” Earnhardt said. “Track position was what we needed at the end, we didn't have it.”

But despite not having the preferred position, Earnhardt’s car was strong enough to power him to the front and finish as the top Hendrick Motorsports entry of the day.

"We were able to start on the outside and gain some spots on some guys that were a little bit slower than us and get back to where we needed to be,” Earnhardt said. “I think if we had the track position, we were as fast as the No. 14 (Tony Stewart) at times and the No. 1 (Jamie McMurray) and all those guys that were up there battling for it at the end.

“We just needed the track position. The No. 33 (Clint Bowyer) had everybody covered. I don't know if anybody would have been able to hold him off. He was pretty fast all day."

Earnhardt now hopes to build some momentum after the New Hampshire finish as the Sprint Cup Series heads to Dover International Speedway for Sunday’s AAA 400. Although he won the race in 2001 with DEI, Earnhardt has yet to score a top 10 in five starts while a member of the Hendrick stable.

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