Earnhardt Jr. Attempts to Join “The King” in the Record Books this Weekend at Bristol

Driver of the No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr., has had an impressive start to the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with a win at Daytona International Speedway and two second place finishes at Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Earnhardt Jr. is one of only five drivers in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history to start the season with three consecutive top-two finishes.  He joins Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Dale Jarrett, and Jimmie Johnson in this honor.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ most popular driver, Earnhardt Jr., is looking to make more history this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.    Another top-two finish this weekend would make Earnhardt Jr. and Richard Petty the only two drivers in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history to have four straight top-two finishes.

When asked by members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway, on Friday, what it would mean to him to join Petty as the only two drivers to have four straight top-two finishes, Earnhardt Jr. replied, “Anytime—you know, I’m going to sound cliché—but anytime you’ve done anything that Richard has done and you put yourself in the conversation with him to do with any statistic, it’s you know, a pretty awesome accomplishment because of everything that he has ever done winning as many races as he has and running as many races as he has.  He’s been such a fixture in the sport still today.  Yeah, that would be awesome.  Just something else we can hang our hat on and we’ve got a shot at it, man.  We really run good here.  I like coming here…We can go for it and be aggressive, so that will be interesting to see if we can be in a situation to do that and try to capitalize and get another win or another top three or top two or whatever we need to join Richard in that statistic.  We’ll be going for it.”

With Earnhardt Jr.’s early season success, many are crediting him with the growing attention of the sport.  When asked if he is starting to notice the attention growing and picking up on NASCAR, he said, “It’s hard for me to kind of have my finger on the pulse and know exactly how much the needle is moving.  They say we can’t really look at Daytona because of the rain out.  The network broadcasts are about the same, if not a little bit, a percentage point one way or the other.  I guess my fans have been tuning in all along.  We just enjoy what we do.  I try not to really worry about—I can’t concern myself with how much I move the needle.  I think that goes outside of my comfort zone and what I feel is and what I think you need to concern yourself with if you’re as an individual.  I just don’t think it’s something—it’s relevant to me of course but not important to me.  I want the sport to be healthy.  And I want to do things that help the sport and make an impact on the sport.”

Tune in to the Food City 500 on Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway as Earnhardt Jr. continues his quest to join Richard Petty as the only two drivers to have four straight top-two finishes.

About Kala Perkins-Holtsclaw 29 Articles
Kala is an aspiring NASCAR writer, photographer, and Assistant Director of Institutional Assessment at Virginia Tech University. She lives in the Northeast Tennessee area just minutes away from the "World's Fastest Half-Mile." She is an avid lover of short track racing, including local and regional touring series. Follow her on Twitter @kalaperkins11.

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