NASCAR

Earnhardt Jr. Tops Sprint Cup Standings

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Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, looks on dueing pre-race ceremonies during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 29, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

INDIANAPOLIS (CBS SPORTS) - For the first time since 2004, Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the Sprint Cup Series point standings.

Earnhardt’s fourth place finish in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 coupled with Matt Kenseth’s misfortune added up to the Hendrick Motorsports driver taking over the top spot of the standings.

“I’m proud of that because it says a lot about our body of work,” said Earnhardt. “All season of long we’ve been working hard and finishing well. That is symbolic of how well we’ve done. I’m proud of that. I have felt that way about our position in points all season long.”

Earnhardt’s run Sunday was his best in a last decade of Indianapolis starts and added to his confidence level working with crew chief Steve Letarte.

Although he was still disappointed by not winning the race, Earnhardt was still pleased at his performance as well as watching teammate Jimmie Johnson go to victory lane.

However Earnhardt reiterated that in order to win the title, he’ll need to add more victories to the one he scored at Michigan last June. “We need to win more races,” said Earnhardt. “If we want to win the championship, we have to.”

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