Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn't have much of a reaction to his 16th-place finish at the Brickyard 400 on Sunday. Why? Because he didn't know what he or his team could have done to get a different result.
"We played it out, and that was the result we got," he said. "I don't know – if I was to be angry about it – what to be angry about."
Earnhardt Jr.'s finish dropped him one spot to 10th in the Chase standings, but he actually gained ground on the 11th-place car. NASCAR's most popular driver entered Indianapolis with only a seven-point buffer between himself and a position outside the Chase, but is now 19 points clear of Denny Hamlin.
"We did OK," Earnhardt Jr. said. "We had a pretty good car. Track position was everything, like I thought it would be. You couldn't pass. You could run in fast as the guys in front of you, and that was it."
As he said before the race, Earnhardt Jr. and the other drivers were mostly unable to get around the car in front of them if they were only slightly faster.
Earnhardt Jr. said it was like "an invisible wall keeping you back from getting there."
"Even if I had new tires or better tires, I couldn't pass people," he said. "I was going to finish behind whoever was in front of me – as long as he had enough gas."
The Hendrick Motorsports driver said it was "pretty crazy" to see Paul Menard win the Brickyard 400, but Earnhardt Jr. had plenty of praise for the Indy champion.
"I mean, he's been running great all year long," Earnhardt Jr. said. "He's a good talent, and he's got a really, really good crew chief in Slugger (Labbe). It was a matter of time. He'd been doing well."
Earnhardt Jr. said he'll continue to be optimistic about the Chase situation and "won't really worry about" his points position. His team is going testing this week, and there are still six races left until the postseason cutoff.
"I'll focus on the next track and try not to let that overwhelm us or consume us, you know?" he said.
Though Earnhardt Jr. said he wasn't exactly happy with his day at Indianapolis, he did find one positive in the performance.
"We got to the checkered, at least," he said. "I haven't done too well the last couple times I've been here."