CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. candidly declared two weeks ago that he has too good of a race team to be worried about making NASCAR’s playoffs.

Since then, he has produced underwhelming finishes at Daytona and Kentucky and slipped to 13th in the Sprint Cup standings. Earnhardt hasn’t scored a top-10 finish in a month and, yes, he is indeed in danger of missing the championship Chase.

With eight races remaining to complete the 16-driver field, Earnhardt ranks third among drivers who have yet to secure a win this season but are ranked high enough to make the Chase. It’s not a safe position by any means: Earnhardt has slipped from seventh in the standings since May and has led only four laps since mid-March.

He’s not the only driver in a precarious position. Because 11 drivers have so far won races this season, any first-time winners in the next two months will claim the remaining five Chase berths. Among those looking for automatic berths in the Chase are two of Earnhardt’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates – Chase Elliott and Kasey Kahne – as well as 2015 qualifier Jamie McMurray.

Ryan Newman, who has made the Chase the last two years without a win, is on the bubble. Austin Dillon, rookie Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson are all eyeing wildcard spots but they could solidify a berth with their first career Cup wins.

NASCAR’s most popular driver, Earnhardt, is probably the most puzzling performer this season.

After winning seven races the past two years, this is the deepest he has gone into a season without a victory since his 2013 winless campaign. Earnhardt’s numbers are down across the board. He’s got only five top-five finishes, six top-10s and 53 laps led.

He told reporters after Saturday night’s 13th-place finish at Kentucky that he is not nervous about his positioning for the Chase.

“What am I going to do?” he asked. “We’re running as good as we can. It’s either going to be good enough or won’t be enough. I’m not really going to lose any sleep over it, at least at this moment. When we miss the Chase, it’ll be frustrating and disappointing, but we’re going to plan on not doing that. We’re going to plan on making it.”

In the coming month, Earnhardt could gain some traction at Pocono, where he has two career victories, finished second in June and has seven consecutive finishes of 11th or better.

He has also won at Bristol, Michigan and Richmond, where the Chase field will be finalized Sept. 10.

Even if he doesn’t get a win, mediocre results at his strong tracks should be enough to get Earnhardt into the Chase.