Earnhardt closing in on a win, maybe at Talladega

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“There’s too many variables going into races at Talladega,” he said, “whether you feel confident winning or not.”

But, the key is that Earnhardt is confident right now and with good reason. Hendrick Motorsports and crew chief Steve Letarte are giving him good cars, and Earnhardt has seven top-10 finishes in nine races this season. His worst finish was 15th at Bristol, and he’s got a pair of second-place finishes and a pair of third-place finishes.

He’s feeling so good that he recently said he thinks he is the best driver at Hendrick, an organization that boasts five-time champion Johnson, four-time champion Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne, who like Earnhardt does not have a Cup title.

He’s not backing down from that idea, mainly because he has to believe that way to win again.

“All the drivers in the garage feel like they are the best individually, and they should. That is kind of the way you have to approach it,” he said. “I learned a long time ago that if you don’t have confidence in your car that can be problematic for you. If you don’t have confidence in your crew chief, then that can be problematic for you, and if you don’t have the same confidence in yourself, it’s not conducive to being successful.

“You have to feel like you’re here and you’re the best and that is the way you should feel. In any profession, you have to have that kind of confidence.”

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