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It is extremely early in the 2013 Sprint Cup season. Five races are complete, and 31 remain undecided. No driver has even won multiple races yet. However, Earnhardt Jr. is demonstrating that he is a serious contender for this season's Sprint Cup championship.
He has spent more time on the lead lap than any other driver, per Auto Racing Daily. That means he is consistently running in the front of the field and in a position to stay high in the standings and be in a position to win races.
Sunday’s race at Fontana speaks to how Earnhardt Jr. is performing this season. The No. 88 team was able to overcome a bad pit stop that lasted over 20 seconds and cost him more than 10 positions.
Earnhardt Jr. is overcoming adversity in positions where he normally would not. His success at Fontana speaks to that.
Fontana is normally one of Earnhardt’s worst tracks. His average finish there is 20th, according to DriverAverages.com. Despite that, he and his team overcame hurdles and finished with their second second-place finish of the Cup season.
Dale Jr. has yet to win a race this season, but with Sunday’s results, NASCAR’s most popular driver might see Victory Lane very soon.