NASCAR: Dale Earnhardt Jr. not giving up on Chase

With two races in the books, and being 62-points behind leader, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he and his team haven’t given up on his Sprint Cup title quest.

“Well, just going to have to work hard,” said Earnhardt who finished sixth in New Hampshire on Sunday. “Our chances aren’t looking that great because the guys ahead of us are winning races.  They’ve had a pretty strong couple weeks to chase off.

“But don’t give up, keep working.  If we can win a couple races, no matter what happens in the championship, that will improve the results of our season and give us a lot to be happy about.

“So it would be great to go ahead and go to Dover and get that done.  But we’re trying every week.  I thought we were pretty aggressive this weekend trying to get ourselves in position to win.

“Ended up with a pretty good result.  Couple things go a little bit different, and I think we get a shot at Matt and give ourselves a better opportunity to get the win.”

Earnhardt had been put in a hole by an engine issue at the opening race at Chicagoland.

Then in New Hampshire after falling back to 36th, at NHMS due to problems in pit stops, he rebounded to a satisfactory finish all things considered.

“It’s good to be able to look back on Sunday and feel like we had potential,” said NASCAR’s most popular driver.

“If we can be as aggressive as we were this past Sunday on pit strategy and many different things, just going after the set‑up of the car and working real hard on Saturday trying to prepare the car for the race, I think we can put ourselves in position more often with just a few races left.”

The only problem is that, despite that comeback he has to hope that Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson, each have a couple of bad races in order to get within striking distance.

Even wins won’t change the standings very much if those three don’t have bad races.

He analyzed the situation “… in the Chase, you know, obviously you want to win all the races like Matt’s doing. But if you just run smart and run as hard as you can, obviously, and try to finish as good as you can, like Kyle (Busch), for example. He’s hanging around, and that’s going to pay off.

“If Matt makes a mistake or has trouble similar to the way me and the 22 (Joey Logano) had in Chicago, Kyle’s consistency and Jimmie’s as well will bode well for them and that will put them in position to take advantage of Matt’s bad luck.”

And if he can’t capitalize on that, Earnhardt will just drive hard and take what he can.

“So you want to be consistent if you can, but if you start off like we did, you just kind of throw it all out the window and try to get a trophy or two before the season’s out.”

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