After a strong start to the 2011 season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. may find that a return to Michigan International Speedway might also mean a return to Gatorade Victory Lane.
For those that don’t remember, his last NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win was at MIS in June 2008, 107 races ago.
Earnhardt Jr. has been very consistent the past several weeks, climbing to third in the points standings. This consistency is what is giving Earnhardt Jr. confidence for a win, which could come at MIS this weekend during the Father’s Day Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 on Sunday.
After the Kansas race two weeks ago, Earnhardt Jr. felt confident in himself and his car.
“We shouldn’t have run second today,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “We’ve got a fast car, so we can be fast.”
After consecutive second place finishes the previous two weeks, Earnhardt Jr. finished sixth at Pocono. His top-10 finish at Pocono capped off a great weekend for Hendrick Motorsports, which saw Jeff Gordon take the checkered flag and Jimmie Johnson finishing fourth.
Earnhardt Jr. has eight top-10 finishes in 14 races this year. He had a total of eight top-10 showings all of last season. With the Irish Hills looming, he also has five top-10 finishes in the last nine races at MIS.
“I’m really happy to be running well and being up front,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “It’s surely a difference from the last couple of years, so I feel fortunate and feel lucky to be able to compete.”
Earnhardt Jr. is doing more than just competing, he’s racing well. After an impressive start and the feel that a victory is on the horizon, perhaps he will finally break the streak in the Irish Hills of Michigan.