KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. was a little bit closer to tasting victory last weekend at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway before running out of fuel and coasting to a seventh-place finish. This weekend, the driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet hopes to carry that momentum into Kansas Speedway for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup event.
“I think that we came close to winning that race, and we’ve done that a couple times this year,” Earnhardt said. “That makes me feel more confident in us having that opportunity again more often throughout the season. I feel like that if we just keep doing that, then the luck is going to fall our way, and we’ll get to Victory Lane one way or another.”
In his 10 previous Cup starts at Kansas, Earnhardt has recorded one pole position and four top-10 finishes. The Hendrick Motorsports driver collected his sixth top-10 finish of the 2011 season last weekend. He remains fourth in the championship standings as he heads to the 1.5-mile Midwestern racetrack.
“Kansas is a tough track, but I enjoy running there,” Earnhardt said. “It is getting slick down in (Turns) 3 and 4 and off of Turn 2. Just trying to get good forward bit out of the corner without getting the car too tight in the middle – that is the key.”
Crew chief Steve Letarte will be pulling notes from similar tracks that the team raced earlier this season to prepare for the 400-mile event.
“Kansas is the first of the lower-banked, mile-and-a-half tracks,” Letarte said. “Kansas is hard to prepare for based on where we’ve run so far this year. It’s a little like (Las) Vegas. It’s a little like Texas. It’s a little like California. It’s not completely like any of the three. Kansas will prepare you for Michigan and Chicago. It’s not like any where we’ve been so far, but I think you will find that the cars that were fast at Charlotte and Texas will be fast there.”
Watch Earnhardt and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates compete in the 400-mile Cup event Sunday on FOX at 1 p.m. ET.