Most drivers dread going to Talladega Superspeedway when they're in need of a high finish. Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn't most drivers.
Earnhardt heads to the 2.66-mile behemoth for Sunday's CampingWorld.com 500 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup cutoff race (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) in a win-or-go-home situation. Too far down in the standings to realistically advance on points (11th out of 12, 31 points below the cutoff), he has to visit Victory Lane to move on to the eight-driver Eliminator Round.
"I wouldn't rather be going anywhere else than Talladega for the next race if we need a win," the 12-time Most Popular Driver said. "That is a good opportunity for us. Even over Daytona, I think we can go to Talladega and do the job."
Earnhardt is tied with Jeff Gordon for the active lead with six wins at the Alabama track and has won two of the three restrictor-plate races this season, including the May race at Talladega. In addition to his six victories, he owns 11 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes in 31 starts at the superspeedway.
Earnhardt is chasing history on Sunday as well. A visit to Victory Lane would make him the first driver to win three restrictor-plate races since his father Dale Earnhardt in 1990.
"At Talladega, you give more mentally than you do physically," Earnhardt said. "In a plate race, you need to make decisions with confidence and make them quickly. If you have any kind of hesitation, someone makes that decision for you and takes away that opportunity.
"We're taking the same car we won with earlier this year, so it's got great speed and we feel confident. It really helps when you have a great car."