Dale Jr. continues solid post-season with runner-up

Leave a comment

When Dale Earnhardt Jr. had his engine blow up on him during the Chase for the Sprint Cup opener at Chicagoland Speedway in September, the focus for himself and his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team shifted from battling for a championship to gunning for race wins after coming up empty in the regular season.

Since that time, things have come around nicely for NASCAR’s most popular driver. While he hasn’t been able to get that elusive win, Earnhardt was able to log his third runner-up finish in the last six races (along with his sixth Top-10 finish in the last seven) at today’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

“The Chicago deal is regrettable – we’d love to go back and do that over again,” Earnhardt said in post-race. “But as soon as that happened, we really changed our approach and it was more about trying to win a race. Winning a race would really lift all the team’s spirits.

“You work all season long not to go winless and not to getting to Victory Lane. So I know how much the guys want the win on the team. So that’s what we’re working for now.”

Earnhardt credited today’s result to his team’s test late last month as Texas, as well as the adjustments made during the race by crew chief Steve Letarte. Additionally, Earnhardt noted that track conditions toward the end of the race were similar to what he and HMS had encountered during the test.

Still, neither he nor anybody else could mount a challenge to race winner and new Chase for the Sprint Cup leader Jimmie Johnson.

“We gambled a little bit in the late stages of this race short-pitting and getting a lot of track position, and we had a fast enough car to keep it, but the 48 [Johnson] was in another class and nobody had anything for him,” Earnhardt admitted.

“He was just super good all through practice and in the race. I think about that a little bit. But there isn’t much you can do about it. I’ve got two races to go and we’d love to get a win in one of them and continue to have a good run here in the Chase.”

Gasly’s USGP no-show in vain as Super Formula finale is cancelled

Red Bull Content Pool
Leave a comment

Red Bull junior and Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver Pierre Gasly’s absence from the United States Grand Prix was in vain after the Super Formula season finale was canceled due to a typhoon.

2016 GP2 champion Gasly was placed in Super Formula by Red Bull for 2017, only to be drafted in at Toro Rosso for the Malaysian Grand Prix earlier this month.

Gasly was supposed to see out the F1 season, but a joint call by Red Bull and Honda saw the Frenchman stick to his prior commitments and skip this weekend’s USGP in order to fight for the Super Formula title at Suzuka.

Entering the final race weekend half a point back from series leader Hiroaki Ishiura, Gasly stood a chance of becoming the first rookie Super Formula champion in over 20 years.

However, with heavy rain in the area affecting qualifying, officials at Suzuka announced the remainder of the meeting would be canceled due to a typhoon in the area, declaring Ishiura the 2017 champion.

Gasly’s absence from the USGP has paved the way for Porsche factory driver Brendon Hartley to make his surprise F1 debut with Toro Rosso in Austin, with the New Zealander set to qualify today.

Gasly is due to return to Toro Rosso for the final three races of the F1 season, starting with next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.