This can’t be how Dale Earnhardt Jr. planned to end his career.
The NASCAR legend hasn’t won a race this season, and he is 22nd in the points heading into his last four races. Unless he can find a way to win one of the next four races, Earnhardt won’t qualify for the postseason.
Earnhardt is understandably frustrated and pessimistic about his performances this season, and he said his car lacks the speed of competitors such as Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr.
“It ain’t like we’re going to show up and just drive around them guys. They’re a half-second faster than us every week,” Earnhardt said via ESPN. “We’ve got some work to do before the end of the year if we want to feel like we can legitimately contend for a win.”
Earnhardt failed to finish for the seventh time this season on Sunday, and he’s running out of opportunities to make the playoffs.
“You have good years, you have bad years — we just didn’t draw the right cards,” Earnhardt said. “Just a lot of circumstances have led to the performance of our car this year. … We haven’t really developed any speed during the season.
“As we progressed through this year, we have sort of not found anything additional to what we had at the start of the year. A lot of teams have, and we’re sort of playing catch-up right now.”
Earnhardt didn’t point the blame at any one person, but it’s clear he doesn’t feel like he has a good chance to win a race this season.
Earnhardt has had success at Michigan in the past, including a win at the track in 2012 that ended a winless drought and another win in 2008.
The chances are slim, but all Earnhardt needs is one great race to make the postseason.