Earnhardt’s Lousy Season Continues at Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. — If Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn’t have bad luck, he wouldn’t have any luck. Sunday at Richmond International Raceway was a microcosm of his abysmal final season to date.

Going into Richmond, Earnhardt’s season has included being taken out of the Daytona 500, while leading, in a multi-car wreck, finishing 30th at Atlanta, 16th at Las Vegas, 14th at Phoenix, 16th at Fontana, taken out in a late-race multi-car wreck at Martinsville, a fifth-place finish at Texas and wrecking out at Bristol.

Starting 12th, Earnhardt was running eighth at lap 72 when, under the second caution of the Toyota Owners 400, he was busted for speeding on pit road and restarted 26th.

He made it to second in the running order, thanks to a cycle of green flag pit stops as he had yet to pit, with 57 laps to go when teammate Jimmie Johnson, who was exiting pit road, slammed into him exiting Turn 2.

“He (Johnson) said he didn’t see us,” Earnhardt said. “He had pitted and got tires and we were out there running around the top and weren’t ready to pit yet. He said he didn’t get any notice that he had a car outside. He was coming to pass me. I was running the top right against the fence and really wasn’t watching the mirror, so I didn’t know he was there or anybody was coming. TJ (Majors, spotter) was giving me pretty good warning about guys getting on my inside, but otherwise when you are running the top you don’t have to worry about it everybody kind of takes care of you, but Jimmie (Johnson) didn’t know we were there. Came off the corner and didn’t know the car was there. It was an explosion, but the car held up pretty well.”

Eight laps after the ensuing restart, the left-rear tire on Earnhardt’s car gave out and he spun out in Turn 3. He brought his car home to a 30th-place finish. It’s his fifth finish of 30th or worse in nine races, amounting to a 24.4 finishing average on the season. He avoided his fourth DNF of the season running two laps down at the finish.

He leaves Richmond 24th in points, 257 behind points leader Kyle Larson.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

Tucker White
Tucker White
I've followed NASCAR for well over 20 years of my life, both as a fan and now as a member of the media. As of 2023, I'm on my eighth season as a traveling NASCAR beat writer. For all its flaws and dumb moments, NASCAR at its best produces some of the best action you'll ever see in the sport of auto racing. Case in point: Kyle Larson's threading the needle pass at Darlington Raceway on May 9, 2021. On used-up tires, racing on a worn surface and an aero package that put his car on the razor's edge of control, Larson demonstrated why he's a generational talent. Those are the stories I want to capture and break down. In addition to NASCAR, I also follow IndyCar and Formula 1. As a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I'm a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan (especially in regards to Tennessee football). If covering NASCAR doesn't kill me, down the road, watching Tennessee football will. I'm also a diehard fan of the Atlanta Braves, and I lived long enough to see them win a World Series for the first time since 1995 (when I was just a year old). I've also sworn my fan allegiance to the Nashville Predators, though that's not paid out as much as the Braves. Furthermore, as a massive sports dork, I follow the NFL on a weekly basis. Though it's more out of an obligation than genuine passion (for sports dorks, following the NFL is basically an unwritten rule). Outside of sports, I'm a major cinema buff and a weeb. My favorite film is "Your Name" and my favorite anime is "Black Lagoon."


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