Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Watkins Glen: ‘You call that a fuel mileage race?’
Even though he ran out of fuel on the last lap of Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen, Dale Earnhardt Jr. continued his quest to improve as a road course driver.
Earnhardt finished 11th for the second consecutive year at Watkins Glen, adding to his finishes of third and seventh at Sonoma the last two years.
“I think that is the best I’ve ran here comparable to the leaders’ speed, maybe, in my career,” Earnhardt said. “We’ve had some good cars here, but I don’t know. We came here in ’08 and led (33 laps) and did well, but that was a good car. I had the leaders right in front of me all day.”
Even though back-to-back 11th-place finishes are competitive, Earnhardt’s best career finishes at The Glen came in 2003 (finished third), 2004 (fifth) and 2005 (10th).
“We ran out of gas off the last corner,” Earnhardt said of Sunday’s race. “We had a fast car. Eleventh is not a great finish, but considering we were kind of not in a good position there on strategy.
“We didn’t get the cautions. We just didn’t get them. Usually you expect to get that late caution inside 20 (laps) to go. That would have made it good and we could have run hard, maybe run in the top 10.”
Yet, even though he and several other drivers ran out of fuel, Earnhardt objected to the outcome being dictated by fuel mileage.
“You call that a fuel mileage race?” Earnhardt said. “The No. 22 (Joey Logano) won; he wasn’t using fuel mileage to win.
“I wouldn’t call this a fuel mileage race. This was a road course and you call these races backwards. Your guys are going to get aggressive on the fuel.
“That is the way it was going to be. Everybody knew that coming in. We just didn’t get the cautions we always get. We still ended up with a good run.”