Earnhardt Will Make the Chase

So the back half of the week hasn’t seen much of a letup in the whole Earnhardt needs to fire Tony Jr. story line. It’s enough of an issue that Rick Hendrick got together with all and sundry and cleared the air, yet again. The long and the short of it is, no changes are imminent.

While I’d love to institute my own personal blackout on any additional stories on this subject, that would be fairly stupid — primarily because I think Jr. makes the Chase and I will enjoy writing at least 13 I told you so items. All the gloom and doom and hand-wringing conveniently ignores the fact that the No. 88 has improved 16 spots over the last three races.

And consider this: Martinsville. Earnhardt has finished sixth-or-better in four of his last six races at the track. If he equals his career-best second, which he managed last fall, and some of those above him in the standings falter — hello, David Reutimann, paging David Reutimann? — it’s conceivable he could jump as many as five spots in the standings, within shouting distance of the all-important top 12.

For the last time — even after Sunday, we’re still only six races into the season.