Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s run of bad luck continued Monday at Bristol Motor Speedway as he hit the wall on a restart on lap 218 of the Food City 500 and his day ended early.
The accident appeared to have been caused by the oil cooler breaking loose in the engine of Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 Chevrolet, Fox Sports reported.
DaleJr brings out the caution. He is going to the pit stall. ... Oil cooler is busted. They're done for the day. #nascar— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) April 24, 2017
“We came out of the pits and there was some oil in the pit stall,” Earnhardt said. “I noticed when I was getting lined up double file (for the restart), it started smoking. I don’t know why.
“But we got oil all over the engine compartment. And when we got to the corner, it went straight into the wall. I don’t know what’s broken, but I think that’s the end of the day.”
To say Earnhardt’s bid to win the race was undone by the wreck probably is a mischaracterization — he started 20th in the field and was in 20th position when the accident took him out of the race.
His car wouldn’t even run, so Dale Jr. helped push it back to the hauler.
Dale Jr. was told to drive the car back to the hauler, but it wouldn't run, so he said, "I'll help you." He is helping push the car now.— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) April 24, 2017
Any crash by Earnhardt Jr. is enough to make his legions of fans nervous, but he said he felt fine after the incident and was released after a short visit to the infield care center.
Bristol marks the third time this season Earnhardt Jr. crashed out of a Cup race. He has just one top 10 in eight starts this year and will be hoping for better fortune when the series heads to Richmond for Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400.