With the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup a mere two weeks away, Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn’t find the impetus he was looking for during qualifying for Sunday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 (7 p.m. ET on NBC).
Earnhardt failed to advance past the first round of knockout time trials on Saturday and earned the 26th starting position for the prestigious Labor Day weekend race. Even that result showed better speed than the No. 88 car had when it rolled out of the hauler.
“Yeah, we were awful when we showed up,” Earnhardt acknowledged. “We didn’t really get the car reasonable until the end of practice (on Friday). We were just way off. The car was plowing. I don’t think anybody liked the way their cars drove, but we were just slow—no speed.
“The car was way too tight. We never really got it figured out. We got a little bit of a direction at the end of practice and started to run some decent laps. We just need another two-hour practice.”
That, of course, was wishful thinking. There is no Sprint Cup practice scheduled between the end of qualifying and the start of the race.