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Earnhardt Jr. seeks more speed

Dale Earnhardt Jr. had the 11th-fastest time on Sunday.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. had the 11th-fastest time on Sunday.

DAYTONA BEACH — Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified 11th for the Daytona 500 Sunday, but was unimpressed with his run.

Just as he wasn't impressed or satisfied with his eighth-place finish in the Sprint Unlimited Saturday night.

It seems Earnhardt is looking for a bit more speed in his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

"Oh, it was all right. We just held it on the mat, pretty much," Earnhardt said of his qualifying run, according to Sporting News. "That's all you can do. I wish it would have been a little bit faster, obviously, but we still surely have some things to learn about the car to get some speed in the car.

"We'll work on that in the next couple of days. I'm sure we'll have a good car for the 500. It's got a lot of speed in it."

It's finding that speed that seems to be the trouble. Earnhardt was not happy with his car in the Sprint Unlimited and has not sounded overly confident yet about the Daytona 500.

Teammate Jeff Gordon qualified on the front row for the Daytona 500 and teammate Kasey Kahne was sixth. With Danica Patrick earning the pole and her Stewart-Haas teammates taking three of the top five spots — also using Hendrick engines — Earnhardt seems to be lagging behind the other Chevy teams.

"You just want to find a little more speed and take advantage of practice and maybe do a lot of single-car runs, too, to see if you can find some things to improve the speed on the car," he said. "To gain another tenth or two would be awesome on the car's speed alone. That carries over in the drafting when you can improve on the speed of the car by itself."

Big track becomes small: The 21/2-mile Daytona International Speedway played host to the first of two days worth of short-track style racing, using a fraction of the facility's size.

The inaugural "Battle at the Beach" began Monday with the Whelan All-American series, running on a 0.4-mile short track set up on the backstretch of the superspeedway.

Tonight the track hosts the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and K&N Pro series races; The distance for Monday's race and both of tonight's races is 150 laps (60 miles).

Earnhardt Jr. seeks more speed 02/18/13 [Last modified: Monday, February 18, 2013 10:05pm]

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