Forget everything Dale Earnhardt Jr. said in the last two weeks about the driver-adjustable track bar in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars.
Earnhardt used the new wrinkle to his advantage in finishing fourth in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“I used my adjustable track bar a ton today,” Earnhardt said in a post to his Twitter account after the race. “I retract my negative opinions about it. It saved my ass on a few runs today.”
In fact, a major adjustment to the track bar helped Earnhardt remain in the top five in the closing laps after the handling of his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet deteriorated.
“I got really loose,” Earnhardt said. “I had a real bad vibration on that last run, and I was really, really loose. We'd been running the track bar pretty much even the whole race, and at the end there I had it down three inches on right side trying to save my butt.
“Maybe it was worn-out lefts (left-side tires), I don't know. The left side (Goodyear tires are) new and a little softer compound. Maybe we just took it a little bit too far.”
Earnhardt didn’t regret a late-race two-tire call that briefly put him ahead of race winner Kevin Harvick but left him vulnerable to handling issues as the final green-flag run progressed.
“I like to gamble,” Earnhardt said. “I liked the call. I love being aggressive. We weren’t going to drive up there and pass that No. 4 Harvick). So, we had to take a chance. Second, fifth, fourth—whatever. It really don’t matter if you don’t win.”