Saturday, July 16, 2011
NASCAR notebook: Earnhardt Jr. staying positive amid struggles
Driver Kyle Busch gets ready for practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Friday. Busch goes for his 100th career NASCAR victory in today's Nationwide race.
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LOUDON, N.H. -- Four consecutive poor finishes have dropped Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the points and put him closer to the cutoff for the Chase field, but Earnhardt remains confident.
That confidence has yo-yoed at times in his career, but he says he remains in a good frame of mind even after falling from third to eighth in the past four races. He's dropped that much because he has not finished better than 19th in his past four races.
"I think the best thing we can just do is stay positive," Earnhardt said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway before he qualified 27th. "We've run good at New Hampshire. We've been kind of eyeing this weekend and looking forward to it. We want to come into here with a lot of confidence that we belong in the Chase, we belong up front in the top five or top 10, and try to make that happen this weekend."
It's not his confidence level that has changed but his frustration level during the past four races.
"It's just been really frustrating," he said. "Running poorly is not what you want to be doing. You've just got to keep going to the race track. We've got good cars, we've got a really, really good team, and we should be running better than we have been in the last couple of weeks and we know it, and we're just going to try to work really hard to get back to where we were earlier in the season. It shouldn't be that difficult."
Teamwork pays off
Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart earned the first two starting spots for Sunday's race at New Hampshire.
Newman won the pole with a track record lap of 135.233 mph, breaking the former mark of 133.572 mph set by Brad Keselowski last September.
The top 12 qualifiers broke the track record. Drivers credited Goodyear for the type of tires brought this weekend.
Stewart qualified at 135.064 mph. He was followed by David Reutimann (134.763 mph), Kurt Busch (134.340) and Keselowski (134.150).
Busch takes aim at No. 100
Kyle Busch goes for his 100th career NASCAR victory in today's Nationwide race at New Hampshire. Busch has 22 Cup victories, 48 Nationwide wins and 29 in the Camping World Truck Series.
"It's just my own milestone," Busch said. "It's something that I said I wanted to accomplish for Kyle Busch, not something that I wanted to accomplish in order to beat David Pearson or Richard Petty or anybody else out there. ''
Dierks Bentley will play at Richmond International Raceway's amphitheater on Sept. 8 to benefit the Cullather Brain Tumor and Quality of Life Center at Bon Secours St. Mary's Hospital.
Tickets will be $55 for reserved seats and $35 for general admission seats.
Tickets went on sale Friday.