“They’ve all been close,” he said. “In none of those races did I have a situation where I went, ‘I let it slip by. I messed up right there.’ Most of the time, we run our guts out and come to the finish line and we just never had a chance to make a move on the guy leading the race.
“When you make that move or have a chance and you don’t do the right thing and you lose, that’s difficult to swallow. Haven’t been in that situation even though we’ve run second.”
Recalling how those unfolded, Earnhardt already knows where he wants to be on the final lap Sunday - up front.
“As far as trying to win one of these races - or not run second again - I think we need to be up front,” Earnhardt said. “We’re not far enough toward the front. When we’ve run second, we’ve come from third or fourth or fifth or sixth those last few laps.
“You’re not going to win the race from back there. You might run second, but you aren’t going to win. You need to be leading the race. I would much rather be leading the Daytona 500 inside of five laps to go than be anywhere else.”
And if he in that position, he just might wind up in Daytona’s Victory Lane again.
“You never forget exactly what that day is like,” he said. “It all floods back to you as soon as you come back for Speedweeks each season. It’s very fresh, and you’re constantly reminded I think by just what goes on during Speedweeks how important that victory is and how much you would like to get it again. It’s definitely fresh.”