Preview: Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Indianapolis

first_imgRELATED: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s complete history at IndianapolisFor his final full-time season as a driver, NASCAR.com will offer an analytical preview on Dale Earnhardt Jr. ahead of every remaining Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.Race: Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400Date: Sunday, July 23, 2:30 p.m. ET (NBC, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)Previous five results at Indianapolis: 22nd, ninth, sixth, fourth, 16thNotable: Dale Earnhardt Jr. hasn’t raced at the famed Indiana track since 2015, as he stepped away for a concussion following the 2016 race at Kentucky Speedway on July 9, 2016. Five-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon wheeled the No. 88 at the 2.5-mile track last season, his first fill-in start for Junior. Prior to that, Earnhardt had an average finish of 10.25 at Indianapolis since 2012. While he doesn’t have any Indianapolis wins on his resume, 14 of Earnhardt’s 26 career wins in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series have come at tracks 2 miles in length and longer.Memorable: Earnhardt Jr.’s career-best finish at Indianapolis came in 2012; the Hendrick Motorsports driver lined up his No. 88 Chevrolet 20th for the 400-mile event, finishing fourth behind race-winner and teammate Jimmie Johnson. The fourth-place finish was good enough to temporarily move second-ranked Earnhardt to No. 1 in the premier series standings.Quotable:  “We have to win, so we have to gamble when we can,” Earnhardt said in a team release. “That (last weekend’s race at New Hampshire) is not the last time you’re going to see that kind of gamble from us before the playoffs. We’re going to Indy this weekend and that’s what we’re working on in the simulator this week. This is not a long-run sport anymore, so you have to have that early speed to be able to get anything done and get up through the field. You’re not going to get those long green-flag runs to take advantage of a long-run car.”last_img read more