To your , Earnhardt claimed typically the most popular Driver Award to your 11th consecutive season, breaking Statement Elliott’s dating sites in Indiana checklist, who scored ten straight awards out-of 1991 so you’re able to 2000.
On Texas, he damaged on the Lap 13 and trapped unstoppable
The latest No. 88 group made headlines before the start of the season. When you look at the normal Daytona Cold temperatures try in the January, it had been announced you to definitely team master Steve Letarte do step down regarding the pit box following the year to become a complete-big date member of the fresh next NASCAR into NBC transmit party, close to Jeff Burton and you will Rick Allen. Earnhardt and you will Letarte confident that flow won’t interfere off them winning racing and fighting on title at season’s prevent.
Throughout the Daytona 500, Earnhardt become 9th. His car installed up to middle-pack for almost all of the earliest quarter of one’s battle. Once a half dozen-time and 22-time warning sign, Earnhardt’s auto arrived real time, taking the lead that have 70 laps left. The guy contributed 54 of last 70 laps and he held off Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski to help you win their 2nd Daytona 500, simply ten years immediately following 1st one to. Next week from the Phoenix, Earnhardt went on their energy, doing next to help you Kevin Harvick. From the Vegas, Earnhardt gambled towards the stamina about remaining forty laps, but he went out of gas when you are best on the last lap, completing second so you can ultimate race winner Brad Keselowski. Within Bristol, he had been good early, along with a chance to become the very first driver since the Richard Petty first off a season with four upright Most useful 2 ends, until tire troubles pressed your while making a keen unscheduled stop, making your to end 24th, five laps down.
Within Automobile Bar Speedway, Earnhardt been fifteenth. Although not, for the lap forty-two, their car missing a right side tire and you may hit the exterior wall consequently dos, bringing out an alert, making your one of many subjects regarding tire failures you to definitely plagued the newest competition. Shortly after are fixed and you may losing to the right back of your direct lap, Earnhardt produced numerous costs from profession to rescue a 12th-lay become, remaining him within next invest this new things. Next month at the Martinsville, Earnhardt struggled from inside the Top 5 non-stop, best twenty-five laps, and you can accomplished 3rd, providing your their fourth Top 3 find yourself of the season, and regained the fresh new issues lead. He finished last and you can dropped 5 ranks inside circumstances and you will decrease so you’re able to 30 factors about the brand new affairs chief Jeff Gordon. The following week at the Darlington, Earnhardt raced among the many Finest 5 all day, and is actually top for the an eco-friendly-white-checkered finish, prior to completing next so you’re able to Kevin Harvick.
In the Richmond, pursuing the Easter out of times, Earnhardt is actually strong in the race, rushing among the Greatest 3 late, and you will contributed 7 laps, however, an eco-friendly-white-checkered, and you can crappy brakes pressed Earnhardt so you’re able to a 7th-place end. Next times at Talladega, Earnhardt raced one of the package until the middle of your race, when he took top honors. The guy led getting twenty-six laps, however the past 29 laps saw the car simply take a conservative pace, and you may try never in a position to regain people track status, and you can completed 26th. At the Ohio, with the first night battle in the track, Earnhardt ran firmly throughout the Finest 5, even best a few laps, just before completing 5th.
On Dash Limitless, Earnhardt provided getting eight laps, in the past sector, contact with brose triggered him hitting the fresh wall surface subsequently step one, finishing 9th
With the Sprint Every-Superstar Race, Earnhardt become 6th, but struggled a tight vehicle all day, and you will was never ever a real contender. Earnhardt entered the conclusion range fourth. Another few days on Coca-Soda 600, he raced within the Most useful 5 for almost all of the evening, before you make an unscheduled pit prevent to have an engine vibrations. That it contributed to a nineteenth-lay find yourself, simply several laps down. The second day at Dover, Earnhardt raced into the Top 10 for hours on end, and is powering in the Best 5 late, however, a mistake into the pit road kept all of them with a beneficial 9th-set end.