While Dale Earnhardt Jr. has driven his No. 88 car a few times since last December, Sunday was the first time he had done so with stakes since July.
Earnhardt qualified second for the Daytona 500 and will start the race next to his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Chase Elliott.
Thursday’s Can-Am Duel will be his first NASCAR Cup Series points event since a concussion forced him to miss the last 18 races of 2016. Earnahrdt spoke with Nate Ryan after qualifying.
“That’s the funny thing about racing, you realize being out of the car how much you took it for granted,” Earnhardt said. “Then you just want to get back in, then when you get back in you just want to win, then when you get close you’re disappointed. But in the grand scheme of things, this is awesome. To be back in the car, to be running well. To have such a good day, to see the 24 car do so well, it means a lot.”
It’s no secret that Jimmie Johnson is off to a slow start in 2017.
The defending and seven-time NASCAR Cup champion has a starting average of 21.8 and a finishing average of 18.8 in the first five races of this season.
He has just one top-10 finish (ninth at Phoenix), along with 34th at Daytona, 19th at Atlanta, 11th at Las Vegas and 21st Sunday at Fontana.
And let’s not forget he’s 17th in the NASCAR Cup standings heading to one of his strongest tracks, Martinsville Speedway, this Sunday.
On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, we discussed this: After such a slow start to the season, is there a cause for concern over Johnson’s performance?
On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin shared his experience of racing in his home state of Arkansas, as well as the excitement he feels watching Kyle Larson compete in the Cup series.
Kyle Larson‘s spectacular weekend at Auto Club Speedway — winning both Saturday’s Xfinity Series race and Sunday’s Auto Club 400 NASCAR Cup event — left him feeling good.
But shortly upon exiting the facility, Larson and several others were involved in a fender-bender right outside the Speedway. Larson was a passenger, not the driver.
No one was injured, Larson tweeted.
But somehow, isn’t that strange fate?
Kyle Larson finally broke his streak of three straight runner-up finishes with his win in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.
On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, the crew discussed his win as well as his maturation as a driver.