Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the last man on the track with old tires for a restart with five laps to go in Sunday’s race.
That’s not the place he wanted to be.
“To start where we did, work as hard as we did, to not get tires there at the end to try to win the race I am a little disappointed,” Earnhardt Jr. said of the decision to stay out.
He was third behind Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin, who also stayed out, but fell back quickly once the racing resumed.
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He wound up fifth once the wild finish shook itself out.
“We need to start the race a little better than we did,” said Earnhardt Jr., who ran outside the top 10 for much of the first half of the race.
“I have to give it to (crew chief) Tony (Eury) Jr. and the guys for working so hard and dialing this car in.”
Earnhardt Jr. is now fifth in the Sprint Cup standings, 96 points behind leader KyleB Busch.