Michigan Tire Makes Earnhardt Jr. Nervous

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“This tire always makes me nervous. Every time I’m on this tire, I’m just real nervous and don’t trust what’s going on with it. We were looking at our temps (Saturday) and felt comfortable with what we were doing.’’ (Photo: Getty Images)

BROOKLYN, Mich. - Dale Earnhardt Jr. feels good about making the Chase, but he doesn’t feel good about the tire Goodyear had at Michigan.

Earnhardt had a right front tire go down and slammed the wall during Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. He was running seventh. He finished 36th.

“It’s Russian Roulette out there,’’ Earnhardt said. “If you get a right front tire that doesn’t want to last, I guess that’s the way it goes.’’

He drops to seventh in the season standings and is only 20 points from falling out of the top 10 and losing an automatic Chase spot.

Earnhardt said he isn’t worried about his position in the points.

“I’ve been in tighter situations,’’ he said. “I think if we just run as good as we can, we will be fine. We are not an 11th-place team. There are guys in worst position than us.

“We’re a top-five team. We’re more consistent than most. We’ve just got to shake this luck, whatever is going on. It’s something different every time. We’ve got good speed, and we’ve just got to keep our head up and keep working hard and things will be all right.’’

He didn’t feel as good about the tire. Goodyear reported on Twitter that Earnhardt’s team was among those that had high tire temperatures earlier in the race.

This is the same tire used at Kansas - a tire Earnhardt blames for his crash there last year in testing where he suffered a concussion and eventually missed two races after suffering a second concussion shortly after that.

This tire also has been used at the previous two races at Michigan, including in June when Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne each suffered blown right front tires.

“This tire always makes me nervous,’’ Earnhardt said. “Every time I’m on this tire, I’m just real nervous and don’t trust what’s going on with it. We were looking at our temps (Saturday) and felt comfortable with what we were doing.’’

He said Hendrick Motorsports was careful with the tire after the problems it suffered at this track in June.

“We did everything we thought we could do to assure that this kind of thing wouldn’t happen,’’ he said.

Asked if he would talk to Goodyear about the tire, Earnhardt said: “I won’t. They’ve got a problem. They’ll fix it.’’

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