Earnhardt continues to freefall

A new crew chief for the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. hasn't made much of an impact. But, maybe, interim crew chief Steve Hmiel has other things on his mind.

Dale Earnhardt Jr..
Photo by Bob Harmeyer.
This is Hmiel's second attempt at preventing the No. 8 car from circling the drain; however, he was faced with other issues this weekend. His son, Shane Hmiel was escorted out of the garage after failing a random drug test. Because Hmiel was tested post-Charlotte after speaking gibberish and appearing publicly wrecked when exited his race car, sources say more than likely Hmiel will be banned for life from NASCAR racing.

Having to deal with your drugged out kid and fix a failing race team is more than any man can shoulder.

That was pretty clear considering how lousy Earnhardt ran all day at Dover International Speedway. He started 15th but fell a lap down early in the event due to handling issues the team never seemed to resolve.

"Not much fun out there today," said Earnhardt. "We struggled with the car; never really could find out how to make it work through the corners. The last two runs were the worse it had been all day, and I thought for sure I was gonna be crashing. I'm not sure where we finished but I know it wasn't good."

Earnhardt finished 22nd.

The season has turned a bit embarrassing for the once dominating team. So far, they have only three top-fives and have led only five laps all season. This time last year Earnhardt had already scored three wins and led series points.

What a difference a year and three crew chiefs make.

"We've got to get better and we know it," said Earnhardt a former winner at Dover. "This is a track we've never really been consistent at. Sometimes we do good, sometimes we do bad. But we'll learn from this. We're going to test Michigan this week and then head to Pocono."

Earnhardt falls to 15th in standings 418 markers shy of leader Jimmie Johnson.