Dale Earnhardt Jr may only have 5 top-10’s on the year but two of them have come in the last three races. With a seventh place at Michigan, an eleventh at Infineon and a solid eighth at New Hampshire the driver of car #88 is putting himself in position to make the chase.
Let us not forget Earnhardt Jr also finished second in February’s running of the Daytona 500 and has 2 career wins at the track in addition to 12 top-10’s in 21 career starts.
In terms of confidence entering Saturday nights event that of car 88 has to rank at the top. Perhaps only Jimmie Johnson may be higher and even he doesn’t have the career numbers that Earnhardt Jr has at Daytona.
If there’s one thing working against Earnhardt Jr it’s the practice results. The results at practice may not have been what team Hendrick was hoping for with Earnhardt Jr ranking 30th and 29th. But at Daytona it’s often not how well you are getting around the track but who you are getting around it with.
Consider that Robby Gordon, Marcos Ambrose, A.J. Allmendinger, David Ragan and Paul Menard were all in the top-10 during second practice and you can often see why those results are disregarded for a Daytona weekend.