Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup series in points, but he won’t be adding any today at the Duck Commander 500 after his car set fire, leading to an early exit. Earnhardt rubbed the wall on turn one of lap 13, causing the car – running 200 mph with teammate Jimmy Johnson right behind him – to catch fire. Dale Jr. appeared to have misjudged his distance from the wall going into the turn on one of NASCAR’s faster tracks.
Earnhardt was able to exit the car safely and did not appear to be hurt as he got into the ambulance for the mandatory screening given to NASCAR drivers
Earnhardt told FOX Sports interviewers:
“I just ran in the grass on the apron…you can’t really see that good at that angle, so I just didn’t see where the grass was. Just a mistake on my part. I just didn’t know I was that close to the grass and just made a mistake.”
Jimmy Johnson and Kasey Mears’ cars withstood minor damage from flying pieces of Junior’s car, amusing Johnson to pit for repairs in the 19th lap.
The caution continued through lap 25. Jimmy Johnson will restart at the end of the pack due to a penalty for too many men over the wall in pit row.
Tony Stewart started the race at the pole position and has led every lap coming out of the caution. At the time of the restart, he is followed in the Duck Commander 500 by Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was officially listed as “out” by race officials during the 38th lap, according to NASCAR’s Live Leaderboard. Teammate Jimmy Johnson had to pit again the next lap after losing a tire, putting Johnson two laps down.
Harvick also left the race early due to a smoking engine. Harvick was in fourth place when his car experienced engine failure.
The Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is the first NASCAR event sponsored by Duck Commander, the duck call design and manufacturing company made famous by the A&E reality show Duck Dynasty. Duck Commander will sponsor a NASCAR event for the next three years. The duck call maker will also sponsor this year’s Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana.
The Duck Commander 500 is being run today because of a rain delay yesterday, when the race was initially scheduled. Although Dale Earnhardt Jr. is out, you can find links to watch the rest of your NASCAR favorites in the NASCAR Duck Commander 500 race in this related Inquisitr article.
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