Dale Jr. battling stomach bug, has no backup plans

Dale Earnhardt Jr. continues to recover from a stomach virus that “popped up” late Thursday evening.

“I was throwing up until 5 o’clock yesterday,” Earnhardt said. “(Friday), I had a couple of IVs in the afternoon. Broke the fever last night, but it came back again. That stomach virus was the worst thing I ever experienced in my life.”

Despite feeling puny on Friday, Earnhardt still posted the sixth fastest lap in the Lance McGrew-prepared car. During time trials on Saturday, Earnhardt posted a lap of 180.567 mph, faster than the 179.702 mph fast lap he had in practice.

There was talk Saturday that Brad Keselowski, Earnhardt Jr’s Nationwide Series driver, would run a few practice laps Saturday and be on standby Sunday, but Earnhardt said after qualifying that Keselowski would not be able to make it for practice and that “we’re just going to have to man up and not have a backup plan.”

Earnhardt, who is currently 21st in points, said a win this weekend would be the best way to turn the year around.

“We need to run up front,” Earnhardt said. “We need to run in the top five. I was just miserable yesterday. We should’ve put on another set of tires. Wasn’t tough enough I guess. I was about gassed out any ways.”