RACEDAY: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Seeking First Martinsville Clock

@DaleJr scored the biggest win of his career at Daytona International Speedway in February, yet he’s still craving more wins. This weekend at Martinsville Speedway, he will be aiming to score his first victory at the exciting short track.

“This is a track I’ve been trying to get a win at for a long time.” Earnhardt Jr. explained in the media center on Friday. “I grew up in a house full of clocks so it’s been pretty elusive. We have had some good cars here that I’ve felt like could have won races and we just weren’t able to get the job done for whatever reason, somebody was faster or whatever.”

Currently sitting second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver standings, he has witnessed his Hendrick Motorsports teammates, @JeffGordonWeb and @JimmieJohnson, dominate ‘The Paperclip’ for the past decade.

“Obviously Jimmie (Johnson) has had a lot of success here, but he seems to be very consistent in how he drives and deliberate in how he drives this track. They (Jeff Gordon and Johnson) are definitely two guys that have had a lot of success here so you sort of tune in to what they are doing, how they are setting up their cars and what their comments are about their cars,” said Earnhardt.

Last season, the driver of the No. 88 finished eighth and 24th at Martinsville after starting outside the top 10 in both races. His career-best showing was second in 2006 and 2008, but he’s still determined to get his first grandfather clock.

This season, we’ve seen Earnhardt be more aggressive and crew chief Steve Letarte take more gambles. These gambles were taken due to NASCAR’s new Chase system that focuses on winning. This weekend, considering he’s almost guaranteed himself a Chase spot, driver and crew chief can be more aggressive with strategy to help get their first Martinsville victory.

“Yeah we (No. 88 team) have (been more aggressive) in the last couple of years regardless how the points system is stacked up, we have had guys pushing each other around here quite on a regular basis so I assume if there is anyone within reach on that last lap of the leader then the he is going to have his hands full.” Earnhardt expressed about being more aggressive. “I can tell you though as far as being offensive, defensive, you are only as offensive as your car will allow you to be.”

This weekend marks Earnhardt Jr.’s 29th trip to Martinsville. It seems with the confidence and swagger he has that NASCAR’s favorite driver could capture the checkered flag on Sunday.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com


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