Engine Woes Spoil Strong Start for Junior in Pocono

Tyler Overstreet | JR Motorsports | 6/11/2017

Axalta Dale Jr. NASCAR News Pocono

Dale Jr. raced his way from the back of the field inside the top 15 before suffering an engine failure on lap 58 at Pocono Raceway.

Race: Pocono 400 presented by Axalta at Pocono Raceway
Track Specs: 2.5-mile tri-oval / 160 laps
Weather: Sunny, 85 degrees
Race Winner: Ryan Blaney
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 38th

After driving from the rear of the field to 17th in the opening stage, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s effort in the Pocono 400 presented by Axalta was cut short at lap 58 due to an engine failure. The misfortune left the No. 88 Axalta team with a 38th-place finish.

Earnhardt started from the back after suffering an engine failure during Friday’s opening practice. Without the aid of a caution, the two-time Pocono winner methodically worked his way into the top 20 and all the way up to 17th before the first green-checkered flag waved at lap 50.

The Axalta pit crew gained their driver an additional pair of positions under caution to allow Earnhardt to restart 15th at lap 57. As the field raced off turn three and down the front stretch the first lap after the restart, Earnhardt’s No. 88 car slowed and he immediately reported that the engine had expired in similar fashion to the Friday practice.

Dale Jr. limped the car back to the garage and ultimately ended his afternoon after just 58 laps.

Ryan Blaney fended off Kevin Harvick to score his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory. Erik Jones, Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski made up the remainder of the top five.