Dale Earnhardt Jr. finishes 13th, fails to make NASCAR playoff field

With one race remaining before the playoff begins and six spots still up for grabs, next week's Chicagoland 300 is going to be an intense atmosphere as drivers look to secure their chance at competing for a championship over the final two months of the season. He has finished in the top-5 in five others.

"We all know someone who has been impacted by natural disasters, so it is our duty to rally support from our NASCAR community to help the American Red Cross's efforts", said Richmond President Dennis Bickmeier. I have seen this situation in the past and teams that I've even been in fall apart and it just goes worse and spirals out of control. We would have come out of pit road after the stop in first or second and that might have set us up good for a run to the finish. "I am excited about the challenge, and hopefully we can make it work out". We had a long summer.

From the start of the weekend, tension was up, as a must-win scenario to make the playoffs was in store for Earnhardt.

Despite finishing fifth overall, Sadler got good news on this night.

Once again, though, closing out became a hard task for Busch on this night after Keselowski grabbed the lead with less than 15 laps to go and didn't relinquish it until the race ended.

Earnhardt had said Friday he hadn't allowed himself to think much about a fairy-tale ending to the season.

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"It's on us. We can't really put it on anybody else".

"That's all we could do to try and win", he said.

That leaves some of the sport's biggest names are in trouble to be relevant in the final 10 races of the season.

Earnhardt spent much of the night in the top 10 at Richmond Raceway and was out front for 13 laps (his most in a race all year, Laps 335-347) as part of a strategy play to stay out as long as possible and hold the lead. Greg Ives, the regular crew chief for the No. 88 team, was suspended for one race due to a safety violation for missing lug nuts following a post-race check last weekend at Darlington Raceway.

"You come to all these race tracks with an urgency to win, just like we did at the Daytona 500", Bowyer said. Keselowski has competed in eight Xfinity races this year, winning just one of them.

Earnhardt was without his regular crew chief for Richmond. Auto chief Travis Mack served as interim crew chief on Saturday.

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