Mid-Race Accident Ends Earnhardt's Night Early at Daytona

Tyler Overstreet | JR Motorsports | 7/1/2017

Dale Jr. Daytona NASCAR Nationwide News

Dale Jr. was collected in a multi-car accident at Lap 106 while running inside the top 10 and ended the night 32nd at Daytona International Speedway.

Race: Firecracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway
Track Specs: 2.5-mile superspeedway / 160 laps
Weather: Clear, 82 degrees
Race Winner: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 32nd

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s final NASCAR Cup Series start at Daytona International Speedway ended with a 32nd-place finish after the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet was collected in an accident at Lap 106. Through 17 races, Earnhardt now ranks 22nd in the series standings.

After winning his first pole of the season, Earnhardt led the field to the green flag in Saturday night’s Firecracker 400. He showcased his Chevrolet’s power throughout the opening 40-lap stage as he ran inside the top 10 and took the green-and-white checkered flag second behind Brad Keselowski.

Early in the second stage, Earnhardt ran into trouble as he made contact without the outside wall in turns one and two because of a flat right-front tire. The misfortune dropped the No. 88 team two laps down to the leaders on Lap 52. Crew chief Greg Ives oversaw repair efforts by the Nationwide crew and the team eventually received the free pass under a caution at Lap 71 and rejoined the lead lap by virtue of yet another caution early in the final stage at Lap 90.

Back on the lead lap, Earnhardt restarted 29th at Lap 95 and quickly worked his way into the top 10 again at seven laps later at Lap 102. The blue and white Nationwide Chevrolet was nestled into a spot inside the top seven as he drafted behind Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 car in the outside lane. As the field worked through turns one and two on Lap 106, Harvick’s car snapped loose directly in front of the No. 88 leaving Earnhardt nowhere to go. The damage suffered was enough to end Earnhardt’s night.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. claimed his second win of the season over Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard, Michael McDowell and Ryan Newman.