With a win at Michigan—snapping a four-year drought—and a solid 16 top-10s in 24 starts, Earnhardt Jr. became one of four drivers to clinch a spot in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup on Saturday night at Bristol. He did so alongside some solid company: points leader Greg Biffle, teammate Jimmie Johnson and Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth.
In other words, Earnhardt Jr. should be viewed as a definite force to be reckoned with in this year's playoffs.
But a single race victory a champion does not make (unless you're Kenseth in 2003, which is the entire reason why the Chase exists in the first place). To win it all, Earnhardt Jr. will have to maintain the momentum that has gotten him this far, and find ways to build upon that and take his performances to the next level. With that in mind, here are the keys to adding another trophy to the family mantle.