Hendrick stands by Earnhardt

Team owner Rick Hendrick has come out in support of Dale Earnhardt Jr and his team after a troubled start to their Sprint Cup series campaign this year

Hendrick stands by Earnhardt

Earnhardt Jr is currently ranked 19th in the points with a 10th place at Las Vegas his best result so far. He caused a multi-car crash in the season-opener at Daytona and then retired at Fontana with an engine failure.

Last weekend at Bristol, while all of his team-mates were able to finish in the top 10, Earnhardt could only manage 14th place after starting from the back of the field following a transmission change.

The most popular driver in NASCAR was expected to kick off his second season with Hendrick Motorsports in top form, but instead has had one of his most difficult starts to a season, which has brought strong criticism against his crew chief - also his cousin - Tony Eury Jr.

However, Hendrick remains faithful to Earnhardt and his crew chief, and just as he didn't make any changes to Jeff Gordon's team following criticism of Steve Letarte last year, he doesn't foresee making any changes on Earnhardt's side.

"What I want to say is that I am 100 per cent behind this group," Hendrick said. "I have no intentions of making any changes. I have all intentions of making it better. And these guys are working their butts off no different than [crew chief] Steve [Letarte] and Jeff [Gordon] did.

"I've got to believe in the next few weeks that we are going to see some real success out of that crowd. You can shuffle the deck and start all over, but when you see little things, a tenth here, a tenth there, with the people in the team, the preparation, I think it's going to pay us some huge dividends."

Hendrick believes there's nothing fundamentally wrong with Earnhardt's team and, for him, their recent struggles are just part of the cycle of the sport. He expects results to come their way soon and acknowledges the effort they are putting on turning their season around.

"I see a lot of effort from everybody on the team and that's what it takes to make it work," Hendrick added. "There's just no way that these guys are going to sit in a meeting for three hours today and not come out of here with a plan that's going to make them better.

"You know I go back to this. [Last year] we won the Busch Clash or the shootout. We won the (Gatorade Duel) 150. We were stout in the first races. We could have won Richmond and so forth last year.

"I mean, we ran so good out of the box, it kind of spoils you that it's going to be that way every week. But even with Jimmie Johnson who is three [titles] in a row, there are going to be peaks and valleys and you've just got to work through them."

Despite a dream start with Hendrick Motorsports last year, when he won on his first two non-championship outings for the team at Daytona, Earnhardt Jr has only won one points-paying race since joining NASCAR's top squad.

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