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Earnhardt can’t shake gremlins at Indy

His car was built from the ground up by crew chief Lance McGrew, and for most of Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevrolet was a top-ten contender — and that with Earnhardt still weak from a bout of stomach flu.

After a green-flag pit stop on lap 125, however, Earnhardt felt his engine go sour. As he approached the entrance to pit road on lap 127, it erupted in smoke, spewing oil on the asphalt. Earnhardt finished 36th and dropped one position to 22nd in the Sprint Cup standings.

Because the reliability of his Hendrick Motorsports engines is legend, Earnhardt said the failure was probably his fault.

“I have had no engine problems all year,” Earnhardt said. “Hendrick engines, we never have problems with them. I am assuming it was driver related, you know, driver error somewhere around the racetrack. It broke the valve train leaving the pit stall. Probably broke a couple of tips off the valve springs.

“They went down in the bottom and eventually tore the bottom of the engine out. I hate it for the engine guys because they build some great motors. We had a good run going. It is frustrating for my team. We seem to be getting better. We seem to be running better.”

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News



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Dale Earnhardt Jr [Pic credit: Getty for NASCAR]
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 2nd, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS finished 7th Saturday, April 12, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington South Carolina. Earnhardt Jr. is 4th, Gordon is 1st in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Teammate Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS won. (Photo Credit: HHP/Alan Marler for Chevrolet)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS finished 1st, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS finished 37th Saturday, April 12, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington South Carolina. Harvick  is 22nd, Kahne is 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Teammates Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 2nd and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS finished 3rd.(Photo Credit: HHP/Christa L. Thomas for Chevrolet)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS celebrates his win Saturday, April 12, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington South Carolina. Harvick is 22nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Teammates Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 2nd and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS finished 3rd. (Photo Credit: HHP/Tami Kelly-Pope for Chevrolet)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS celebrates his win Saturday, April 12, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington South Carolina. Harvick is 22nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Teammates Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 2nd and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS finished 3rd. (Photo Credit: HHP/Christa L. Thomas for Chevrolet)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, crashes early in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS races to a third-place finish Sunday, March 30, 2014 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia. Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Racing Chevrolet SS won the race and Jimmie Johnson driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS finished second. (Photo by HHP/Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
The Goodyear tyre being tested for use at the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo CreditL Chris Owens/Indianapolis Motor Speedway)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS qualified 15th Friday, March 21, 2014 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Earnhardt, Jr. is 2nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo Credit: HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevrolet)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS finished 8th and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 24th Sunday, March 16, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Kahne is 11th, Earnhardt, Jr. is 2nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo Credit: HHP/Christa L. Thomas for Chevrolet)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Mountain Dew Kickstart Chevrolet, leads Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 9, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Mountain Dew Kickstart Chevrolet, leads Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 9, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, races to the chequered flag to win the Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane with the the Harley J. Earl trophy after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory Sunday, February 23, 2014, winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)

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BigZipper

July 31, 2009 3:24 AM

The problem is Junior is not hungry. He has more money than he knows what to do with, smokes, doesn't work out, is that the life style of a dedicated race driver? You have to be on your game to win in Nascar or any other professional motor sport and that means being in top shape both metally and physically, Junior just doesn't have it. Like you say Lewis, it's always the equipment, never the driver. He needs to quit riding on Dale Senior's coat tails and earn his place in the sport.

Lewis - Unregistered

July 27, 2009 5:13 PM

Junior has gremlins everywhere he races, its like the movie "Top Gun" where Maverick loses his nerve and says, "Its no good, its no good!!!!" There is always something wrong with the car, never the driver. When Junior and the sponsors realize this, things should improve one way or another.



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