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Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s race at Bristol ends early with mechanical failure

Junior has four finishes of 30th or worse in the first eight races of 2017. (Getty)

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Monday at Bristol was a frustrating one.

Junior was stuck mid-pack for most of the day until his car careened into the wall on lap 217. The field had just taken the green flag and as soon as Junior’s car headed towards turn 1 it simply didn’t turn left.

“I don’t know we broke something in the oil system under caution,” Junior said. “The guys said there was some oil in the pit stall after our pit stop. I noticed when I was getting lined up double file for the restart the car was smoking. I just thought maybe we had a tire rub for some reason, but I couldn’t remember what might have caused that. And went into Turn 1 on the restart and the car went straight into the wall with oil all over the tires.”

Junior drove his car back to the garage but had to head to the infield care center because of NASCAR’s new rules. As he walked to the care center and prepped to do an interview with Fox, a fan tried to take a selfie with Junior. It didn’t work out too well.


Don’t worry, however. Junior tweeted the fan got his selfie after Junior was checked and cleared from the care center.

The crash meant Junior finished 38th, his fourth finish of 30th or worse in the first eight races of 2017. It’s been a rough start in Junior’s first season after missing half of 2016 because of a midsummer concussion.

“Yeah, [the impact] wasn’t that bad,” Junior said. “I feel pretty good. Obviously, it wasn’t a real hard lick.  I got the car slowed down a little bit and it really didn’t damage the car too badly. Had we not had something terminal with the oil system we would have slapped tires on it and kept going.”

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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