NASCAR: Here’s a place where Dale Earnhardt Jr. is finding a reason for optimism – Charlotte Observer

NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. appears pleased with the results of his No. 88 team’s work in the Chevrolet Simulator.

Earnhardt qualified 11th for Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive for Austism, the NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway (1 p.m., Fox Sports 1). Earnhardt gave some credit to his work in the simulator for his solid run.

“It’s been bearing some fruit and helping us out and making us feel more confident going into the race weekends,” Earnhardt told reporters Friday. “We went to the simulator, picked a few things we liked, threw out some stuff that didn’t work.”

The simulator makes that process more efficient, he said.

“We know what not to mess with that is going to waste a lot of practice time, and we can just hit the things that we thought we liked in the sim,” Earnhardt said.

Earnhardt was pleased with how the process played out in Friday’s practice and qualifying.

“They correlated really well today (in Friday’s practice). We got the car better in race trim. We only made one change and then swapped over really quick (to qualifying trim). Then for qualifying, we improved the car each run … I’m really happy.”

Earnhardt’s tweets on Friday and Saturday expressed optimism about qualifying and practice for Sunday’s race.

Earnhardt is known as a fan and player in online racing simulation. During his recover from a concussion last season, the driver hit the simulators for practice before he was cleared to return to the track. Earnhardt missed the final 18 races of the 2016 season.

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