Earnhardt Jr. Ready for Next Win

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

"I love running here and love coming here, and I feel like the car should be plenty good enough as long as I can do everything right in the race.” (Photo: Getty Images)

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Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s first Sprint Cup Series win in four years has the Hendrick Motorsports driver anxious for another trip to Victory Lane.

After Earnhardt won at Michigan on Father’s Day weekend he says it created even more of a desire to savor victory as soon as possible.

"You know when you are winning consistently you feel like all eight cylinders are hitting," said Earnhardt. “You feel like that everything is working the way it’s supposed to. You feel like you are accomplishing what you are supposed to do. You’re going out doing the job that you get up in the morning to do. You’re celebrating and there’s a lot of great things happening, a lot of smiling and happy people.

“You just feel like things are what they are supposed to be. When you go 20 races, and 30 races, then 50, 70 and 100 races, you feel like there’s something not quite right, or a missing piece. There’s a broken cog in the wheel somewhere that’s keeping you out of victory lane. You get impatient, and you want to get frustrated. You can’t do that because you’ve got to keep a good attitude for the people around you.

There was a time in Earnhardt’s career when winning came on a much more consistent basis. During parts of both his Sprint Cup as well as Nationwide tenures, Earnhardt has enjoyed success and multiple wins.

Having experienced that kind of accomplishment makes going through a drought like the one he finally ended last month even more intolerable.

“I remember back a couple of years in the Cup Series and in the Nationwide Series when we were winning, and in the Nationwide Series we were winning quite a bit, back then it felt like it was all a dream we were winning so much,” said Earnhardt. “I didn’t expect to win that many races in the first two years of that series. Then we came into Cup and won and then I got into the series after four of five years and had a couple of good years where we would string a few together. You just felt like you were the best team in the garage and everything was going like it was supposed to be.

“That’s what you want to be when you show up. Every week you think you’re the best and you want to be the best. When you are not winning, you wonder what piece is missing.”

Earnhardt enters Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona second in the point standings and enjoying one of the best first half seasons in recent memory.

Always a proficient restrictor plate racer, Earnhardt likes his chances under the lights on Saturday even if the style of racing is a bit of a crap shoot.

“You don’t really practice a whole lot for these races,” said Earnhardt. “We know we’ve got a couple of things and don’t feel like we are as strong as we want to be. So, we’re definitely going to do some things and try to make sure we don’t leave any stone unturned in practice today.

“But, I feel good. I’m looking forward to the race. I love running here and love coming here, and I feel like the car should be plenty good enough as long as I can do everything right in the race.”

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