Phoenix Good for Earnhardt Jr

DaleJr PIR 608

Earnhardt’s Jr.’s fifth-place finish was his seventh top-10 finish at the track in the last eight races, a streak that included a win last November. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. continued his string of good performances at Phoenix International Raceway in Sunday’s Good Sam 500.

Earnhardt’s Jr.’s fifth-place finish was his seventh top-10 finish at the track in the last eight races, a streak that included a win last November.

The weekend didn’t get off to a particularly good start for Earnhardt, Jr. with a poor qualifying effort that resulted in a 26th starting spot. But the team worked on the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 entry as the weekend went on and by race time Earnhardt Jr. had a fast car.

He moved through the field and led 34 laps on Sunday before finally getting shuffled back in the overtime finish to come home fifth.

“Yeah, I was surprised we finished as good as we did,” Earnhardt Jr. said of the last two laps. “I thought that was a good move to not pit. If a couple more guys don’t pit and we get another guy on the outside in the second row we was in good shape.”

Earnhardt did not pit for tires on the final caution of the afternoon that set up the overtime finish but agreed with the call from crew chief Greg Ives.

“I would have loved to have had the top, so I could get them guys on the bottom and hold them down, but I had the bottom and new tires on the outside of me a situation,” he said. “But, we finished really good. I don’t dislike the call to stay out.

“We had an awesome car and that’s three weeks in a row I’ve enjoyed the hell out of driving it. I had a fun day and we ran great; really, really good. I’m proud of my guys.”

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