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Junior a joker about road-race prowess

Updated: June 19, 2010, 4:42 PM ET
By David Newton

SONOMA, Calif. -- Several reporters are standing at the back of the No. 88 hauler at Infineon Raceway late Friday afternoon as Dale Earnhardt Jr. explains that his fiery crash here in a 2004 sports car race has nothing do with his struggles at the road course.

"I've been running that way since I got here," NASCAR's most popular driver says. "Hopefully, we can improve from mediocre to subpar."

Um, Earnhardt quickly is told, mediocre to subpar isn't an improvement.

"What's ...

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