Mid-Race Accident Derails Dale Jr.'s Day in Bristol

Tyler Overstreet | JR Motorsports | 4/24/2017

Bristol Dale Jr. NASCAR Nationwide News

Dale Jr.'s day ended after just 218 laps in Bristol when an oil cooler issue caused the No. 88 car to hit the outside wall.

Race: Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway
Track Specs: .533-mile concrete oval / 500 laps
Weather: Cloudy, 64 degrees
Race Winner: Jimmie Johnson
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 38th

A mid-race oil cooler issue ended Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s afternoon early at Bristol Motor Speedway, resulting in a 38th-place finish. The result drops the No. 88 team to 24th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings.

Rain washed out any opportunity to race the 500-lap race Sunday. When the green flag waved on Monday afternoon, Earnhardt’s No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet started 20th. Early in the going, the No. 88 was mired between 18th and 21st as Earnhardt reported a persistently tight condition with his Chevrolet. Crew chief Greg Ives threw a myriad of adjustments at the car, including spring rubbers in the right rear, wedge in and out, and eventually a packer change in the right front. Earnhardt continued to report the tight condition, particularly noting that it felt as though rubber was building up on the splitter.

Earnhardt ended the first stage 19th and started the second stage 21st. After a lap-210 caution, he reported that his car was smoking as the field bunched up for the ensuing restart on lap 218. As Earnhardt entered turn one, the smoke intensified and the No. 88 Chevrolet skated up the track and made significant contact.

The damage was enough to bring Earnhardt behind the wall for repairs and ended the No. 88 team’s day. Earnhardt was credited with a 38th-place finish.

Jimmie Johnson captured his second consecutive victory over Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano.