The second Nextel Cup race of the season wasn't quite the mess that the opener was, but some of the bad luck from the Daytona 500 did seem to carry over. At least it seemed that way for owners of Dale Earnhardt Jr., as after two races, Junior is 41st in the standings, with only 110 points.
Junior wrecked at Daytona and seemed poised for a better finish at Fontana after earning the fifth starting spot. But car trouble put him out of the race on lap 64, and he did not return until lap 114. Seven laps later, his engine blew out, along with the hopes of his fantasy owners for the second consecutive race. With a week off before the next race at Las Vegas, fantasy owners who have leaned on Junior so far have two weeks to contemplate their low spots in their league standings.
Desperation to get out of the doldrums could conceivably push Junior to a good finish at Vegas, but his history at the track suggests you take a wait-and-see approach with him and keep him out of your lineup for another race. He has two DNFs in his past three races at the site, a bad trend that should make you steer clear of him in two weeks. Deactivate him or substitute for him if you can, and look for clear signs of a rebound before you consider putting him in your lineup again. Junior has only one top-five finish and two top 10s in seven career Vegas races.