You can count Dale Earnhardt Jr. as a big fan of NASCAR’s new low-downforce aerodynamic package.
Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, Earnhardt came from the 26th starting spot to finish a strong fifth in the Good Sam 500. It was the third consecutive top-10 for the Hendrick Motorsports driver and his second top five in that time.
Earnhardt was running second to race-winner Kevin Harvick when a caution flew on Lap 308 of the scheduled 312-lap distance. The two leaders and Austin Dillon stayed out, while everyone else pitted for fresh tires.
That wound costing Earnhardt three spots, but he said it was the right call from crew chief Greg Ives.
"Yeah, I was surprised we finished as good as we did," said Earnhardt. "I thought that was a good move to not pit. If a couple more guys don’t pit and we get another guy on the outside in the second row we was in good shape."
And despite dropping a couple of spots at the end, Earnhardt was all smiles.
"We finished really good," he said. "I don’t dislike the call to stay out. We had an awesome car and that’s three weeks in a row I’ve enjoyed the hell out of driving it. I had a fun day and we ran great; really, really good. I’m proud of my guys."
Great 1st race with @AxaltaRacing. Great car by @Ives_Greg and the guys. What a blast the racing was! So much passing, slipping and sliding!