Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished seventh at Dover, which was his best finish since coming in sixth at Sonoma in July. Though he didn't win the race and can't contend for a title, he expressed optimism heading into the final seven races of his full-time NASCAR career.
Earnhardt had one of his best races of the season at Dover, and he said he told Ryan Blaney before the race that he'd be satisfied with a top-10 finish after the rough season he's had in 2017.
It was only his fifth top-10 of the season, but he's hoping his performance will lead to even better ones down the stretch.
"It feels good," Earnhardt said. "This team is really a good team and we have just had a lot of odd misfortune and we have ill-prepared ourselves at times," he said. "When the car is good, it seems like we have some bad luck. Then there are weekends where we just can't get the car right.
"It's been a pretty down year but hopefully this weekend is the start of some more good runs. I think we'll end this thing strong and I'm excited."
Earnhardt finished 10th at Charlotte earlier this season, but the track hasn't necessarily been kind to him in the past. But there are a few tracks left, such as Talladega and Phoenix, where Earnhardt has had success in previous seasons.
He said he feels more confident in his car and team moving forward, and he's hoping to give his fans something to cheer about as his career comes to a close.
Hendrick Motorsports had a great weekend overall as Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson both finished in the top 3. The team has struggled at times this year, but it appears as if they are trending in the right direction as the seasons winds down.