Las Vegas NASCAR Notebook: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Learning To Love Adjustable Track Bar

(NASCAR Wire Service)

By Reid Spencer ~ NASCAR Wire Service

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Photo:  Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Photo: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)

LAS VEGAS, Nev.—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.”


As sick as AJ Allmendinger was on Saturday, it’s a minor miracle he was able to drive in Sunday’s race.

What’s more, after an IV treatment in the infield care center, the driver of the No. 47 JTG/Daugherty Chevrolet piloted the car to a sixth-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and
climbed three positions to fifth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings.

“I definitely wasn’t 100 percent today, but (on Saturday) I was awful,” Allmendinger said. “I’m usually, knock on wood, I’m not sick a lot, and just over the course of this week, kind of
started feeling not great. Friday night I wasn’t feeling really well. I thought I was just tired, and yesterday it turned bad.

“I was okay in the morning, and then all of a sudden everything on my body ached. I went to the infield care center, so I’ve got to thank them a lot because they gave me some stuff and
some recommendations to make me a whole lot better because if we had to race last night, I don’t know if I could have raced. I was in bed from 2:00 in the afternoon until I went to sleep,
barely just able to move.”

Allmendinger, however, was fully capable of making a move on Sunday. He drove to sixth from his 22nd-place starting position.


Joey Logano led 47 laps in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, including the first 27, but he was quick to take the blame for the No. 22 Ford’s 10th-place finish.

Under caution on Lap 187 of 267, Logano incurred a pit road speeding penalty that ruined any chance of a top-five finish, though the Daytona 500 winner rallied from 16th on the subsequent
Lap 193 restart to claim his third straight top 10 of the season.

“That was a poorly executed race on my behalf,” Logano said. “I didn’t do a good job. I did a good job of screwing up any time I could. The speeding on pit road – I found that. I put us in
a hole. Not that we were going to win the race either way, because we weren’t fast enough, but I maybe cost us two or three positions with what I did.

“I don’t know. We have some work to do. I have work to do with myself first, and then we have work to do with the car, too.”

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