NASCAR Talladega Notebook: Rough Day For Dale Earnhardt Jr.; Carl Edwards Streak Ends

(NASCAR Wire Service)

Reid Spencer ~ NASCAR Wire Service

Dale Earnhardt Jr. following a crash during the Sprint Cup GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway Sunday (Photo: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. following a crash during the Sprint Cup GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway Sunday (Photo: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Long before Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway ended with Brad Keselowski in Victory Lane, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was ready to go home.

Earnhardt started the race from the third position, but by Lap 9, the No. 88 Chevrolet had fallen back into the middle of the 40-car field.

“It’s too tight—tight off (the corner)!” Earnhardt said on his radio as the first fuel run continued.

After adjustments to the car on his first green-flag pit stop on Lap 39, the No. 88 was too loose, and in heavy traffic on Lap 50, Earnhardt lost control off Turn 2 and clipped both teammate Kasey Kahne and Matt DiBenedetto in the process.

“We had a real bad problem at the first run,” Earnhardt said. “The splitter was on the ground real bad. I was really tight and couldn’t run anywhere but up against the wall. We made some adjustments to help the car and the splitter was still on the ground really bad.

“I got in a bad area with the wind and the air and it just got loose and spun out, the same thing that happened at Daytona to us. We just got to look at what we are doing on our adjustments and try not to do that.”

But Earnhardt’s woes were just beginning. After extensive repairs in the garage, Earnhardt brought the No. 88 back on track, only to be knocked into the Turn 1 wall when Carl Edwards’ damaged No. 19 Toyota blew a right front tire and shot up the race track.

That wreck ended Earnhardt’s race on lap 110 with his favorite superspeedway chassis, nicknamed “Amelia,” damaged beyond repair.

“I was just riding around there at the back of the draft, and I think something broke on Carl’s car,” Earnhardt said. “He just flew up the track into us.

“Hell, I’m going home. I’m done. We need to park the car for a while, too.”


Kyle Busch can put away the Carl Edwards voodoo doll for the time being.

A week after executing a textbook bump-and-run on Busch in the final corner at Richmond and scoring his second straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate’s expense, Edwards had a day he’d like to forget at Talladega Superspeedway.

Edwards, who hadn’t a heart-to-heart talk with Busch after the incident, caught a piece of a seven-car wreck on the backstretch on Lap 96 of Sunday’s GEICO 500.

On Lap 100, Edwards blew a right front tire and collected the damaged car of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was logging laps after wrecking on Lap 50. The accident knocked both vehicles out of the race.

“Yeah, the biggest thing is something just let go there, and you hate to collect anybody, so definitely sorry to the 88 (Earnhardt) guys for getting their car involved in that.

“We had something torn up there, drove down into Turn 1, and I just felt the right front fall down and that was it. You’re kind of just along for the ride.”

The winner of the two previous Cup races, Edwards finished 35th on Sunday. Earnhardt, who completed 63 of the 188 laps, was 40th.


If there weren’t already a television show called “The Amazing Race,” that name would be an apt description of Austin Dillon’s afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway.

Consider that Dillon was involved in three wrecks, starting with minor contact during Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s spin on Lap 50. Subsequently, Dillon’s No. 3 Chevy made hard contact with the outside backstretch wall in a four-wide melee on Lap 96.

Dillon lost a lap after that wreck but regained it with a free pass under caution on Lap 113. And on Lap 161, his No. 3 car was collateral damage in a 21-car free-for-all in Turn 1.

Nevertheless, at the end of the race, there was Dillon, holding third place when caution froze the field for the final time with race winner Brad Keselowski a few yards short of the finish line.

Afterwards, Dillon had nothing but praise for the perseverance of his team.

“I’m just proud of my guys,” Dillon said. “They worked their butts off. They had 15 (pit) stops. They fixed the damage, never panicked. That’s something we struggled with this year, kind of panicking when something goes wrong. We’ve been meeting about it the last couple weeks. We can’t lose our minds, because sometimes it’s just not your day.

“When you think back, halfway through this race, you’re not thinking it’s your day. All of a sudden, when it comes down to it, we kept our minds in it, kept working on the car, came home with a third-place finish. Amazing to be part of a group of guys that work their tails off for me. I’m so proud of them. Man, fun day!”

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing