Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been waiting nearly four years for another victory… (Brian Czobat / Autostock/Associated…)
If Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s nearly four-year winless streak is ever going to end, it might just happen Sunday at NASCAR's longest, fastest track.
The Sprint Cup Series will be at the 2.66-mile Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, where Earnhardt -- an expert on such high-banked tracks where the cars race in freight-train packs -- is a five-time winner.
More importantly, his Hendrick Motorsports team led by crew chief Steve Letarte has been preparing exceptional race cars for the popular driver this season, and Earnhardt has been about as close to winning as possible without doing so.
Last weekend he finished second to Kyle Busch at Richmond, Va., and Earnhardt through nine races overall this season has seven top-10 finishes and four top-five finishes.
"The team is confident, we're feeling good," Earnhardt said after the Richmond race. "Really close to winning a race."
But Earnhardt, who has gone 138 races since his last victory at Michigan in June 2008, also is a realist. He knows Talladega is fraught with potential problems, namely multicar crashes and the challenge of finding fast drafting partners.
"There's too many variables going into races at Talladega," he said, "whether you feel confident winning or not."
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