What's a Dale Earnhardt Jr Fan to Do with a 31st Finish at PIR

Amanda BradeenCorrespondent IApril 19, 2009

AVONDALE, AZ - APRIL 18: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on April 18, 2009 in Avondale, AZ.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, started off a good race for Dale Earnhardt Jr., but as we all have come to know, what happens at the beginning of the race means nothing for what happens at the end of the race.

The night started off bad when on lap 56, Junior had to go in to the pits twice due to a loose lug nut.

How many times has this happened so far this year? This is a big part of Junior not being able to finish good every race.

By lap 172, Junior had worked himself up all they way to lead. Junior's fans everywhere jumped out of their seats for this.

By lap 185, Dale Earnhardt Jr's lead over Kyle Busch was 3.62 seconds.

Lap 216, Jr's car started to get loose which allowed Tony Stewart to catch the lead. Junior lead again at lap 247.  Fans were still on their feet for this race. By lap 266 Earnhardt Jr had dropped all the way to eighth.

Lap 300, Dale Earnhardt Jr. spins out hitting the wall. Casey Mears got into Junior and caused a little tiff.

Junior continued to drop until he finished in 31st position.

I am a Junior fan and am definitely not putting him down by writing this but this is getting a little depressing. I can only imagine how him and his team feel.

Talledaga is coming up and we all Junior can driver there, let's hope it shows when it comes time to race. It would be great for him to redeem himself at a track like Talledaga.

19th in points is not a great spot at this point in the season.

If luck and good communication can be on Dale Earnhardt Jr's side in the races to come, then he could make it into the chase, which Junior Nation hopes happens.