Dale Earnhardt Jr.: ‘We’ve got to take risks … We’ve got a lot of work to do’

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There’s no way around it — if Dale Earnhardt Jr. hopes to make the playoffs in his final season racing full-time in the NASCAR Cup series, he’s going to have to start taking more chances.

Earnhardt said it’s a matter of risk vs. reward, as he finished 18th in Sunday’s Overton’s 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and is 21st in the Cup driver standings.

“It wasn’t very good,” Earnhardt said of his day. “We were 13th and 18th in practice, didn’t have good speed all weekend. The best we were going to run is 10th, probably, and ended up 18th. That’s the risk we’ve got to take.

“We’ve got to take risks, but hopefully we’ve got a faster car and we’re doing it and it might give us a little better shot at doing it.”

But such would not be the case Sunday. Now it’s time to look head to next weekend’s race at Indianapolis.

“When we’re running 10th as hard as we can run all day long, it’s hard to gamble,” Earnhardt said. “When those guys are a tenth or two faster than you all day and three or four tenths faster than you in practice all weekend, it’s just ridiculous how fast some of those guys were.

“We shouldn’t have finished 18th. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

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