The Intimidator started 14th and drove to an eighth-place finish in Sunday's Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway, recording his fourth-straight top-10 finish in the process and cutting his deficit to 81 points behind Tony Stewart, who is sixth in the Winston Cup points standings.
Jeff Burton inherited the lead with two laps remaining after both John Andretti and Tony Stewart ran out of fuel to earn his third straight Jiffy Lube 300 title and ninth career victory. Burton joins Jeff Gordon as the only three-time winners at the "Magic Mile."
Kenny Wallace posted a career-best second place finish, followed by Gordon, Winston Cup points leader Dale Jarrett and Bill Elliott.
Earhardt was running in the top five with 98 laps remaining when Bobby Labonte's No. 18 Pontiac went into a spin ahead of him. Earnhardt turned down the track to avoid Labonte, and went into a spin of his own.
He was forced to pit twice for tires and fender work, dropping him all the way to 19th, but the upside was that he was able to take on enough fuel to make it to the finish under green. Over the final 80 laps, Earnhardt picked up spots as those ahead of him were forced to pit, finally crossing the line eighth.
Earnhardt is 515 points behind Jarrett in the standings with 16 races remaining on the schedule.
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