Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he’s not planning to retaliate against Carl Edwards for their contact in last weekend’s Bank of America 500 because he needs to focus on the remaining two races in the second round of the Chase.
Earnhardt is 19 points behind Brad Keselowski for the eighth and final transfer spot to the third round after placing 28th at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Contact with Edwards early in the race sent Earnhardt’s car into the wall. Earnhardt later hit the wall when he ran through oil.
Earnhardt explained what happened with Edwards:
“Carl had a run on me the lap or two before that, and I blocked him real bad,’’ Earnhardt said. “He’s a Chase spot, and I’m racing hard for that position, and I didn’t want to give it to him, so I blocked him pretty good. He got a real good run on me off of Turn 4 all the way down that front straightway and came up on us real fast going into Turn 1. He went to the inside, and I went to block him again, and we kind of came together.
“From inside the car, I felt like he drove it in there and I was coming down. I knew he had that run. He looked to the inside before the corner, and I went in there and turned left anyways. I thought we were going to hit, but I didn’t know we were going to hit that hard.’’
Earnhardt said his day “spiraled out of control from there.’’
He said he has to be focused on winning one of the two races left in the second round or gaining enough points to transfer, instead of worrying about Edwards.
“A lot of people want me to go wreck Carl,’’ Earnhardt said. “I’m not going to do that because if I’m trying to wreck Carl, I’m not winning Kansas, I’m not winning Talladega. You can’t go chase after a guy, put him out of the race and accomplish what your goals are. Our goals are to go to them races and win. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re not going to worry about Carl or start some (expletive) show between me and him. It’s over and done. Move on, try to go to Kansas and try to win the race there. I think we can run great. I love the high line there.
“You got to think about the position we’re in. We’re on the outside looking in. We’re not one of those guys that are just on the inside and in a position to protect and be careful. We can be aggressive, we can run hard, just like we did at Dover. That’s the way I want to run, that’s the way I like to run.
“We can go to Talladega without worrying about protecting ourselves or protecting our position in the Chase. We can go there and be aggressive. I promise you all these guys that are sitting there in the top 10 in this Chase, you watch how they race at Talladega, they’re not going to be very aggressive. That’s going to leave opportunities for guys like me.’’