With four races left in his Cup career, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is coming off the best four races of his season yet.
Earnhardt enters Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN) following earning three top 10s in the last four events. He finished seventh at Dover, Talladega and Kansas.
That brings his season total for top 10s to … seven. That tops his total of six from last season when he missed the last 18 races due to a concussion.
With a 12th-place finish at Charlotte, his average finish for those four races was a season-best 8.25.
The uptick in Earnhardt’s performance as his full-time career comes to a close is after the No. 88 Chevrolet only finished in the top 10 in consecutive races once previously, at Michigan and Sonoma.
Earnhardt didn’t finish in the top 15 until he placed fifth at Texas, the seventh race of the year. In the first 22 races, Earnhardt failed to finish seven times.
In the 10 races since an engine problem ended his day at Watkins Glen after 22 laps, Earnhardt has finished worse than 30th once (New Hampshire, 34th).
Now the 14-time most popular drive will try to extend his season-best streak – and possible earn his last Cup win – at one of his best tracks.
Earnhardt earned his only Martinsville win in 34 starts in the fall 2014 race. But he has 18 top 10s and 13 top fives. Though one would think Earnhardt has led his most laps at Daytona or Talladega, Martinsville is the track he’s been out front the most at, leading 972 laps.
Talladega follows with 967 laps led.