Sonoma Raceway and Dale Earnhardt Jr. go together about as well as peanut butter and mayonnaise. In 14 career starts at the track Earnhardt Jr. has led a total of nine laps and has never finished inside of the top-10. To say that road courses are not the favorite track of Earnhardt Jr. might be considered an understatement. However, that hasn’t stopped Earnhardt Jr. from putting together a solid game plane for this weekend’s race.
Earnhardt Jr. recently spoke with Sporting News and it was during this time that he talked about the track, not testing there in 2014 and his strategy for Sunday’s race.
We usually test once or twice for road courses, but this year I think we are just going to wing it.
Sonoma, it’s embarrassing, man, I haven’t finished in the top 10 there ever. We just decided not to work that hard and just go there without a test and wing it, and we got teammates to test it and we’ll see what they did and liked.
We don’t have to dig and gouge for every single position and we don’t have to worry if it’s a total disaster or if it doesn’t work out, if we get spun out on the last lap. We can just go have fun.
One of the main reasons that “winging it” is okay is because Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 88 team have their early success in 2014 to fall back on. With two wins already in the back and a berth in the 2014 chase secured, there is zero pressure on the No. 88 team this weekend. In previous years Earnhardt has entered this race looking for his first win of the season, that pressure has not helped the situation any. This year Earnhardt Jr. will enter this race with no weight on his shoulder.
Win, lose, crash or whatever the case may be it doesn’t seem like Earnhardt Jr. is overly concerned about the outcome of this road course. With that in mind I think that Earnhardt Jr. is going to have a solid run at Sonoma and will get his first top-10.
Source: Sporting News