Dale Earnhardt Jr: How Can He Continue His Success After 2 Bad Races?
While Dale Earnhardt Jr is still in contention for the Sprint Cup, even with unexpected finishes in the last two races, some bad news still lurks.
Junior had started to struggle at this point last year as well (although, he wasn't sitting as good as he is now) in a season full of ups and downs. But how can he come back from two bad finishes that are unlike him this year and get back into serious Cup talk? Let's take a look.
No. 5: Set Ups
Over the last few weeks, there has been a bit of banter on the radio about car set ups.
It seems that Junior is either struggling over a loose car before they fix it and it turns too tight or vica-versa. If they can get the car to the "perfect" point (which is hard), they won't only be successful, they could be in Victory Lane.
No. 4: One Race at a Time
While Dale Junior is usually pretty good at focusing at the race and not the points picture, with a legitimate chance at the cup, he may forget this part.
Points are all fine and dandy and looking at the big picture is not a bad thing. But in order to get back in a groove, he needs to take it race by race instead of only point by point, at least for a while.
No. 3: Use Your Resources
While on the track, Dale Jr is virtually alone except for his crew. But if they are having any sort of issue with the car or Junior just needs advice on how to handle a certain part of the track in practice, go to those that can help. Sure, its a free for all on the tracks that you don't need teammates at, but in the garage your teammates are there for you and want the team to succeed.
In addition, they have the mastermind Chad Knaus on their side and in their garage both at home and at the track. If something is a struggle and can't be fixed by just the No. 88 crew, go to Knaus or one of the other crew chiefs.
This has most likely been done all season but really using those resources right now may keep Junior in the competitive mindset it takes to work out of the mole hole he's slipping into before it turns into a hole to China like the last few seasons.
No. 2: Be Aggressive
Being really aggressive seems to be a problem for Dale Jr. While he's done it a few times with great results, he needs to constantly drive that way. While being polite off the track is nice and being polite on the track does make you friends, pushing people out of the way to get to the front is sometimes needed.
Junior can be aggressive when he wants to be, the key is being aggressive whenever he needs to be, not just when he wants to be.
No. 1: Figure out the Fuel
This was an issue before the last two races and one that can't be totally fixed but it is a situation that should be looked over as it has cost them some really good finishes (granted, they still finished good but not as well as they would have).
These issues have come at fuel mileage tracks where most have had issues but this is something that could be looked at for future races to help Junior not only continue to successful but to get a win.