Hendrick mum on Earnhardt crew chief
Team could see changes at Dover

CONCORD, N.C. - After months of firmly backing Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief, car owner Rick Hendrick was noncommittal about Tony Eury Jr.'s future Tuesday.

Although Hendrick said no personnel changes have been made on Earnhardt's No. 88 Chevrolet, he declined to give Eury a vote of confidence a day after NASCAR's most popular driver was 40th in the Coca-Cola 600, his worst finish of the season.

Hendrick left open the possibility that Earnhardt could have a new crew chief this weekend in Dover, Del.

'Could it change?' Hendrick said following the sport's "town hall' meeting. 'We're talking about things. We're meeting. We're going to make decisions as the days go by. But we haven't made any decision as of right now.'

Earnhardt ran near the back of the pack Monday and was two laps down in the rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600, his worst showing since last season's finale in Homestead, Fla.

Earnhardt wasn't involved in a wreck and didn't have mechanical problems at Lowe's Motor Speedway. His car handled poorly all afternoon.

When the race was over, Earnhardt was left with his third consecutive finish outside the top 25. He's also been 20th or worse five times in the last six Sprint Cup events.

'We just missed a setup,' Hendrick said. 'I can't explain why because basically we're the same, all four cars. They all fought a lot of the same problems early on. Probably as a group, we were off. We've been better at Charlotte than we were yesterday. I was disappointed; our teams were disappointed. We've got to go back and look at what we did.

'We just never could get (Earnhardt's) car adjusted back.'

His teammates did.

Jimmie Johnson ran up front all day, but wound up 13th because of the final red-flag situation. Jeff Gordon finished 14th in what he called a 'horrendous' car, and Mark Martin was three spots back after falling way behind because of a pit-road violation.

Earnhardt, who was testing on the road course at Virginia International Raceway on Tuesday and unavailable for comment, was way back all day. He's been in that position often in the last 11 months.

SideBar: NASCAR Top 10

Top 10 drivers in Nextel Cup Series points standings

· 1, Jeff Gordon, 1,722

· 2, Tony Stewart, 1,678

· 3, Kurt Busch, 1,607

· 4, Jimmie Johnson, 1,594

· 5, Denny Hamlin, 1,575

· 6, Kyle Busch, 1,540

· 7, Ryan Newman, 1,538

· 8, Jeff Burton, 1,472

· 9, Matt Kenseth, 1,460

· 10, Greg Biffle, 1,448