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Originally published Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 6:48 PM

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Earnhardt moves into overall Sprint Cup lead

So far this season, Junior has been a closer.

The Associated Press

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FONTANA, Calif. —

So far this season, Junior has been a closer.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. moved into the Sprint Cup points lead after his second-place finish at Fontana.

Earnhardt logged his fifth consecutive top-seven finish Sunday, avoiding the trouble between Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin on the final lap for his best result since coming in second at Daytona. Although Earnhardt briefly dropped back to 22nd late in the race after an extra-long pit stop, he shrugged off the mistake and drove his Chevrolet back into contention.

"We just stick together," Earnhardt said. "We're pretty good at closing races, something I never really was good at for years, and now we're doing it as good as anybody. Just riding the wave. Just real happy with how things are going for our team."

With just his sixth top-10 finish in 21 races at Fontana, Earnhardt took an 11-point lead in the standings over Brad Keselowski. Earnhardt also weighed in on the aging Fontana asphalt, which has been praised and reviled by drivers.

"I think it's great, (but) do everybody a favor, whoever owns this place, and pave the back straightaway," Earnhardt said. "There's some real bad bumps. We all watched it on TV in the Nationwide race, and I'm sure you saw it today. ... It probably doesn't cost much to pave the two lanes that we race in, and that would really cure any complaints that I've got. I think the corners are perfect. This is the age of asphalt that I think tracks strive for."

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