Dale Earnhardt Jr. expresses frustration over recent performance

Earnhardt candidly shared his thoughts on how the No. 88 car has ran recently.

A trying few weeks prompted Dale Earnhardt Jr. to vent his frustration while appearing on his weekly podcast, The Dale Jr. Download.

“We’ve got a problem, Houston,” Earnhardt said. “It’s time to start understanding how severe this situation is and really get to owning it — try to figure something out.

“I’m clearly disappointed.”

Earnhardt is in amidst of a four-race stretch where he’s finished no better than 13th and includes crashing out of the May 1 event at Talladega Superspeedway and May 15 at Dover International Speedway. He currently ranks 11th in the Sprint Cup standings, his lowest position through 12 races since 2010 when he sat 16th overall.

During his appearance on the podcast, Earnhardt expressed confidence in crew chief Greg Ives and his Hendrick Motorsports team, expressing faith they would collectively resolve the issues that have slowed the No. 88 Chevrolet recently. Before the disappointing last four races, Earnhardt finished second in consecutive weeks at Texas Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway.

“We know we can do it,” Earnhardt said. “I believe in all my guys. I believe in Greg. They believe in me and we’ll figure it out. We’ve been down before, but it’s time to own it. It’s time to get after it.

“We’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror and really get to it here, figure out what’s going on and what we need to be doing, start really trying to find some speed and some answers.”

One main issue hampering the No. 88 team this season is qualifying on non- restrictor-plate tracks. Only once has he started inside the top 10, which occurred when rain canceled time trials at Dover. Because Earnhardt had posted the second-fastest speed in practice, he lined up on the outside of the front row.

But when the race began Earnhardt slid backwards due to a lack of front grip, spending the majority of the afternoon running around 10th before getting swept into a late wreck.

“That wasn’t worth a s—,” Earnhardt said. “We didn’t have a good weekend, I ain’t going to sugarcoat it.”

Coinciding with Earnhardt’s sluggish performance as of late is the ascension of Joe Gibbs Racing, which has seen its four drivers win a combined seven of 12 races this season and six of the past seven. That dominance hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“It’s obvious to us who’s doing good and who’s not,” Earnhardt said. “We understand that we’ve lost a little bit of something. These last four or five weeks have been really miserable. We haven’t had a fast car at any of the races.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Earnhardt easily earned a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup playoff each of the past two years. He won four times in 2014 and three last season. This season he’s led laps in all of two races.

“We definitely aren’t the team we were the last few years,” Earnhardt said on. “We have got to figure out what’s going on, how we’re getting beat. I see a few things on our cars and on other cars that are out of our control.

“I’m disappointed. [The] team is mad. I’m mad. The fans are mad. We can’t sit here and b**** about it. We’re going to go to work.”

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