After announcing earlier this week that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. would more than likely complete all the laps in the Pennsylvania 500, Team 8 removed Earnhardt from his Chevy at lap 53. Earnhardt was running at the rear of the field, one lap down, when...
After announcing earlier this week that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. would more than likely complete all the laps in the Pennsylvania 500, Team 8 removed Earnhardt from his Chevy at lap 53. Earnhardt was running at the rear of the field, one lap down, when he decided to jump out of the car and let relief driver, John Andretti, take over driving duties.
"The car wasn't running to well," said Earnhardt. "And I thought if we was gonna make a change, we should make it then. I could have run the rest of the way, but the car was so bad there really wasn't any use of me being in there wasting my time.
"I figured I should be out of the car trying to get better. I think I'll be able to go to next week's race without any problem."
The stop lasted almost two minutes as jackman Jeff Clark pulled Earnhardt from the car, and Andretti was strapped in. The team also made a four-tire stop and got fuel service before Andretti pulled out of the pit stall. Unfortunately, Andretti forgot his gloves and had to come back down pit road to retrieve them a second time.
Andretti rejoined the pack one-lap down in 35th position. Earnhardt was placed in a lawn chair on pit road, where he was obviously in excruciating pain from his leg cramping and falling asleep.
"We had a terrible race car today, so there wasn't any use in my being in there flying around in it. I felt fine. The bumps hurt a little bit but my foot was going to sleep. I haven't been using it a lot - I haven't been standing on it much and it just goes to sleep and cramps real easy.
"I'm just disappointed that things are going like they're going. I wish that this would heal up a little faster, but it just takes time, I guess."
Troubles continued for the No. 8 team as Andretti took over the car with a broken sway-bar bolt, causing the car to be extremely loose. The conditions of the car forced them below the minimum speed mandated by NASCAR.
At lap 78, NASCAR black-flagged the Andretti for going to slow, sending the 8 car another lap into the rears. Andretti continued to free-fall through the field, eventually falling seven laps down.
He finished 25th.
The poor finish drops Earnhardt from second to third in championship standings. He now trails leader Jimmie Johnson by 267 points.