Dale Jr. wrecks at Bristol: "That ain’t no way to run anywhere"

It was another bad finish – exactly what Dale Earnhardt Jr. did not need.

Dale Jr. wrecks at Bristol: "That ain’t no way to run anywhere"
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Despite practicing well on Saturday, Earnhardt was struggling to get through the field early in Monday’s rain-delayed Food City 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

On his last pit stop on Lap 215, Earnhardt’s pit crew noticed his No. 88 Chevrolet had left oil in his pit stall and while he was lined up for a restart on Lap 218, he noticed some smoke from his car and thought he had a tire rub.

It was much worse.

Entering Turn 1, Earnhardt’s No. 88 hit the wall with oil all over his tires.

His race was done and he was credited with a 38th place finish.

“We broke something in the oil system under caution. The guys said there was oil in the pit stall after the pit stop,” he said. “We came in the garage area and they’re working on finding the hole in the system.

“It’s unfortunate. We weren’t running that great but we were working on our car and trying to find a way to get it to run better. But we’re going to have another bad finish and we’ve had a lot of them this year.

“It’s going to be tough.”

Rough start to 2017 season

Earnhardt now has four finishes of 30th or worse in the first eight races. His only Top-10 was a fifth two weeks ago at Texas Motor Speedway. Entering Monday’s race, he was 20th in the series standings.

Earnhardt said he was surprised he has as much difficulty early in the race as he did considering how well practice went for his Hendrick Motorsports team on Saturday. He was fifth-fastest in Saturday’s first practice and 10th in the final practice.

“We ran into some issues in the last practice with the car and they were still there today. I don’t know what in our set-up is creating that,” Earnhardt said. “It’s not like I was feeling something that I wasn’t familiar with.

“We did have some good practices and I felt pretty confident. But apparently whatever got into the car late in the last practice, we didn’t turn it back out. We were real, real tight in the center and tight in the throttle and guys were beating me real bad back to the gas.

“That ain’t no way to run anywhere, really.”

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