Earnhardt Calls His Shot

Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service Saturday, Oct 11 1336

It worked for Denny Hamlin in the 2012 Chase race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Hamlin predicted victory for his No. 11 Toyota team—and delivered.

It was the NASCAR equivalent of Babe Ruth pointing to center field fence in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series and smacking a home run to that exact spot on the next pitch, if you believe the baseball lore.

And if Hamlin’s bravado produced results, why can’t it work for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who said on Friday he expects to win Saturday night’s race at Charlotte and restore his team to the Chase conversation after a disastrous 39th-place finish last Sunday at Kansas.

“We're going to win this race,” Earnhardt said between practices on his 40th birthday. “I really got a good feeling about it. This is what we've got to do anyway to try to get further points and try to win the championship. I just got a good feeling."

“The car's been great all weekend. Attitude's good. Everybody's excited. The team’s working well together. The car’s responding well. The car ran some good laps in practice and felt real good.”

It might be premature, however to hand Earnhardt the trophy before Saturday night. He was 11th fastest in both practice sessions, though his No. 88 Chevy was second only to Austin Dillon’s No. 3 in best average speed for 10 consecutive laps.