Hendrick: Chase gremlins got the best of Earnhardt

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was poised to make a run at the Cup title when the Chase started. Then NASCAR's most popular driver faded into oblivion, writes David Newton.

Updated: November 18, 2008, 7:27 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

CONCORD, N.C. -- Rick Hendrick got on his radio prior to the first of the Sprint Cup's 10-race playoff and told Dale Earnhardt Jr. he had what it took to be holding the championship trophy after the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

One of Hendrick's drivers indeed held the trophy on Sunday in South Florida, but it was Jimmie Johnson.

Earnhardt? He finished last among the 12 drivers, meaning he won't make the trip to New York City for the season-ending ...

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