Bizarre day for No. 8 team at Talladega

Earlier this week Dale Earnhardt, Jr. said he didn't mind the superstition that Talladega Superspeedway was haunted because 'the spirits seemed to like him'. He may want to consult with his psychic on that after his Sunday at the 2.66-mile ...

Earlier this week Dale Earnhardt, Jr. said he didn't mind the superstition that Talladega Superspeedway was haunted because 'the spirits seemed to like him'. He may want to consult with his psychic on that after his Sunday at the 2.66-mile restrictor plate track.

"I had a good car and I did my part," said Earnhardt. "My team did great and we had a great car. I would not be smiling if we ran bad and nobody wanted to talk to us."

He may have been smiling looking at his wrecked race car get its restrictor plate removed in the garage after the race but it was a wacky weekend for Earnhardt. After NASCAR mandated that teams switch to a smaller restrictor plate after practice speeds topped 198-mph, Earnhardt was miffed.

He was even more irate when he toured the speedway in time trials with a slow speed forcing him to start the UAW-Ford 500 mid-pack. He tried to cajole a practice out of NASCAR officials but lost that battle.

Once the race began, as is the fashion for Dale Earnhardt Incorporated Chevrolet's - he quickly sailed to the front. He was running in the top-10 on lap 104 when he cut a tire which forced him to pit under green.

He lost a lap and restarted at the rear of the pack. A caution some 20 laps later allowed him that lap back under the "lucky dog" rule and he dug back to the front. During his ascent to the lead NASCAR warned him that he was bump-drafting too aggressively in the corner of the tri-oval and to cease doing it.

"I pushed Jeff Gordon into the lead five times," explained Earnhardt. "I do that, he complains that I am bump-drafting him in the corners, blah, blah, blah. So I'm just not going to push him anymore. Besides, every time I help him out, he never gives it back in return. That's why he don't have too many friends out there. I was trying to be his only friend, besides his teammates are kind of paid to draft with him."

Earnhardt was poised to pull the No. 8 Chevy into Victory Lane for the sixth time at Talladega when a last lap crash ended his day in a cloud of dust. Earnhardt, Jimmie Johnson and Brian Vickers were running 1-2-3 on the last lap coming through turn three when Johnson tried to pull out and go for the lead.

Vickers misjudged his bump-drafting nailing his teammate careening into the No. 8 Chevrolet. Earnhardt and Johnson wrecked, Vickers went on to win.

"He didn't wreck anybody on purpose," commented Earnhardt. "I think he was just trying to push the No. 48. He didn't think, oh here's my chance to knock them both out. He just got excited trying to push the No. 48. I don't think he should lose any points or anything. He was just racing hard there."

Earnhardt finished 23rd. Luckily, so many other Chase racers had a bad day that he moves up one spot in points to sixth. He trails leader Jeff Burton by 106 points.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson , Brian Vickers
Teams Dale Earnhardt Incorporated