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Pressure’s Off Dale Earnhardt Jr. After Coveted Return to Talladega Victory Lane

Most races at Talladega Superspeedway end with a collective sigh. Not Sunday. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s victory in the GEICO 500 touched off a celebration. The North Carolinian might as well be a favorite son of Alabama. The love was about as unconditional as it can get at a stock car race. No one really made much of a run at Earnhardt Jr., which was fine for a crowd that was near capacity. An overwhelming number got what they came for. Ten races into the season, Earnhardt Jr. has his first victory with a new crew chief, Greg Ives, and seems ready to make a bold bid for what would be his first Sprint Cup championship. “I don’t think people really appreciate the pressure that’s on these teams to make the Chase and get th...

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