Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn't ready to call himself a contender, but he knows he's close. Currently fourth in the Sprint Cup standings, 18 points behind leader Greg Biffle, Earnhardt is the only driver to have finished on the lead lap in each of the 12 Cup races this season.
"We're trying to put ourselves into the Chase, and we're going to try to be one of the strongest teams when that time comes," Earnhardt said. "I wouldn't call ourselves a contender, (but) we've got a chance to be one this year the way we're doing it."
To solidify his credentials, though, Earnhardt must break a winless streak that reached 141 races last Sunday at Charlotte, where he finished sixth.