Car graveyard claims Dale Jr.'s Sonoma No. 88

June 22, 2014, Staff report,

Best finish at California road course took its toll on his Chevy SS

Not only did Dale Earnhardt Jr. earn his first top-five finish at Sonoma Raceway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/SaveMart 350, he also got another car for his car graveyard in Mooresville, North Carolina.

"We'll cut this car; we'll cut the shell off of this thing, put it in the woods and go to Watkins Glen."

--Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Earlier this year, Earnhardt Jr. inducted into his graveyard his car from the Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. He also picked up the car carcasses of David Gilliland and Justin Allgaier from a wreck in the 5-Hour Energy 400 Benefiting Special Operations Warrior Foundation at Kansas Speedway.

Following on-track beating and banging worthy of a short track with Matt Kenseth, AJ Allmendinger and others, Earnhardt Jr. said, "We'll cut this car; we'll cut the shell off of this thing, put it in the woods and go to Watkins Glen."

The No. 88 Chevrolet SS, sporting Kelley Blue Book sponsorship, led TNT analyst Kyle Petty and's own @nascarcasm to joke about the value of Kenseth's No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry.

His first top-five finish at Sonoma was also his first top-10 finish at the track in 15 starts. As he said, he looks forward to Watkins Glen, where he has two top-five finishes and three top-10s in 14 starts.

"I really enjoy running at Watkins Glen, and I feel like that I understand what I need to do -- not whether I do it every lap, but what I need to do to get around there and what I'm looking for in the car to be competitive," Earnhardt Jr. said.

He recently told Dan Patrick a 1999 NASCAR Nationwide Series win at The Glen over road course ringer Ron Fellows was "a great feeling for me to be able to do that against one of the best."

In a Twitter chat last week, he said winning at Sonoma would "be nearly as high as winning the (Daytona) 500."

After Sunday's race, he said, "Well, aside from holding a trophy, this is like a win for us."

Earnhardt Jr. may not have gotten a trophy for his third-place finish on Sunday, but he did get a new piece for his Whisky River graveyard.