Dale Earnhardt Jr fears complacency ahead of NASCAR Cup retirement

Hendrick Motorsports' Dale Earnhardt Jr fears it would be easy for him to get complacent in his last NASCAR Cup races before retiring as he is not in the playoffs

Dale Earnhardt Jr fears complacency ahead of NASCAR Cup retirement

Earnhardt has had a difficult final season in NASCAR, having failed to win a race or make it into the title shootout. His best result this season was fifth at Texas.

Missing the playoff cut led Earnhardt to apologise to his fans, and change his aim to winning a race before retirement.

He admitted that without the motivation of going for the championship, it would be easy to get complacent in his final races.

"There is a concern, I guess, that you could get sort of complacent and go through these races and maybe some of the urgency or importance falls away a little bit because there is no ultimate carrot about there like that championship trophy," he said.

"So I think we will consciously all kind of remind each other as a team to keep pushing hard and to keep working hard.

"I'm done at the end of the year, but they go on."

Earnhardt is keen finish the season on a high so that Hendrick goes into 2018 on the right foot with his replacement Alex Bowman.

"That off-season is a few months, but how you end the season definitely affects how you begin the next one," Earnhardt said.

"If you sort of tail off and you don't put all your effort into that ending you sort of start flat the next year and it takes you a while to get things sorted out."

Earnhardt had hoped to at least get into the top 20 in the standings before the end of the season as he was keen "to put little goals out there for ourselves that are personal achievements to push ourselves to keep working".

But being caught up in a crash at New Hampshire last weekend has made that aim more difficult, as he is now 22nd in the championship and 142 points off his target with eight races to go.

The 42-year-old last took a Cup race win at Phoenix at the end of 2015.

shares
comments
Danica Patrick won't look outside NASCAR Cup for 2018 opportunities

Previous article

Danica Patrick won't look outside NASCAR Cup for 2018 opportunities

Next article

Dover NASCAR: Kyle Busch denies Chase Elliott first win late on

Dover NASCAR: Kyle Busch denies Chase Elliott first win late on
Load comments
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Plus

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organisation - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR
Aug 31, 2021
The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin Plus

The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin

A multiple F3000 race winner, Marc Goossens was on the precipice of making Formula 1 in the 1990s - but a lack of budget left him without a path to the promised land. Turning to an illustrious racing career in sportscars, Goossens left the endurance circuit to try his hand at racing stock cars - and now calls the NASCAR Euro Series home

NASCAR
Jul 1, 2021
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

NASCAR
Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

NASCAR
Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

NASCAR
Feb 12, 2021
How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career Plus

How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a shot at redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith

NASCAR
Feb 11, 2021
Autosport's top 5 NASCAR machines Plus

Autosport's top 5 NASCAR machines

The American stock car scene is more famous for its close racing and occasional punch-ups, but there have been some fantastic machines too. As part of Autosport's 70th anniversary celebrations in 2020, we picked out five of its best

NASCAR
Jan 3, 2021
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Plus

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future

NASCAR
Nov 17, 2020