After lining up ninth on the final restart with 36 laps to go and falling back to 13th by the finish of Sunday's Toyota Owners 400, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fine with putting Richmond International Raceway in his rear-view mirror.
"We got tight at the end. ... We couldn't keep our track positon," Earnhardt said after the finish, which left him seventh in the Sprint Cup points standings heading into next Sunday's race at Talladega, where he is defending champion. "The car wasn't turning in the middle. I didn't like restarting on the bottom and that hurt me a little bit, but we just couldn't get the car to turn at the end."
Speaking of the end of the race, Earnhardt made it very clear that he had no problem with Carl Edwards executing a perfect bump-and-run on Kyle Busch on the final turn of the final lap to secure the Sprint Cup win, Edwards' second in a row.
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Not only did he have no problem with it, but Earnhardt actually applauded the move heartily.
"It was awesome," Earnhardt said. "I know Kyle (Busch) was probably disappointed, but it's short-track racing, man. The fans come to see something like that."
Earnhardt said Edwards did exactly what any driver with a chance to win on the final turn of the final lap should do, given the chance. He nudged Busch out of the way without wrecking him.
In my book it's ok to lean on a guy for a W. Not ok to put them in the fence. Lean on em, but don't ruin their day. https://t.co/cl3HAJbekE— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) April 25, 2016
"If you can reach them, if you can get to them on the last lap you better be leaning on them a little bit," Earnhardt said. "He didn't wreck him."
Earnhard insisted that's acceptable "as long as you don't put a guy in the fence. I think the fans really enjoy it and that has always been good for the sport for 50 years. Hopefully, we have more exciting races come up in the next several weeks."
The Richmond weekend wasn't a total disappointment for Earnhardt in terms of his own performance. He won Saturday's XFINITY Series race at RIR, the first time he's taken one of his own JR Motorsports cars to Victory Lane.
Owning the winning car in that event certainly tempered Earnhardt's approach to the traditional post-race celebration, as he related in an entertaining Twitter exchange with retired driver Mark Martin afterward on Twitter.