NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. believes his good start to 2013 is due in part to controversies elsewhere deflecting attention from him.
Earnhardt sits just ahead of reigning champion Brad Keselowski in the standings.
Yet the media spotlight has generally been aimed elsewhere, with the likes of Danica Patrick, the feud between Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano, and Hamlin's recent accident dominating the headlines.
Despite having won the series' Most Popular Driver award for 10 years in a row, Earnhardt says that he has welcomed not being the center of attention, although he acknowledges that the peace may be short-lived if he wins a race. His current best finishes this year are second-places at Daytona and Fontana.
"I feel like [not being in the spotlight] gives us the opportunity to keep focusing on what we need to do," he said. "We're not winning races, and I don't expect to get much attention until we can win races.
"I guess the way we've run doesn't really reflect well on our finishes, meaning that I think we should run better. We've finished well, but I think that there are a lot of areas that we can improve, and we get to focus on that while being out of the scope and out of the spotlight. We can pay more attention to how we get better as a team."
The Cup series resumes at Martinsville this weekend after its Easter break.