Loss of trick rear suspension hurting Dale Jr.

We predicted that Dale Earnhardt Jr. would become a backmarker again once NASCAR took away the Hendrick teams trick rear suspension. The way it worked fit his driving style.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was disappointed but not surprised by his 13th-place finish Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Earnhardt wasn’t happy with his car all weekend in practice, started the race 14th and struggled all day.

NASCAR “I didn’t like the car in practice and didn’t really like it all weekend," he said following the Sylvania 300. “The thing just wouldn’t roll through the center (of the turns) very good. You’ve got to get through the middle and my car just never turned all weekend."

After two Chase for the Sprint Cup races, the Hendrick Motorsports driver remained seventh in the Chase standings, 26 points behind leader and teammate Jimmie Johnson. He isn’t out of the running for the title, but for a driver who has 18 top-10s in 28 races this year, his performance at New Hampshire was disappointing.

“We’ve got to get our stuff together to compete with these guys," Earnhardt said. “We’re not giving up by no means but we can’t run like this. This ain’t good enough."

The problems weren’t just limited to the car. Earnhardt overshot his pit stall on his first stop, costing him several positions.

“I came in a little deep," he said. “I might have sort of triggered a chain reaction of a couple of bad things happening. It starts with getting the car in the box right, and I take responsibility for that."

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