NASCAR at California: Dale Earnhardt Jr. forced to start from rear in Auto Club 400

Earnhardt's team has suffered another blow.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s rocky return to NASCAR continues.

Earnhardt will be forced to start from the back of the field in the Auto Club 400due to a cut on his right-front tire that was discovered earlySunday.

MORE: Starting lineup for the Auto Club 400

Earnhardt qualified 18th, but NASCAR requires alldrivers to start on the same tires they used for qualifying. If they have to replace damaged tires, then they're forced to start from the rear.Earnhardt isonly allowed to change the cut tire — not all four.

He won't be the only high-profile driver in the rear, however.Jimmie Johnson andJoey Loganowill join him after Johnson was involved in asingle-car incident during practiceand chose to sit out of qualifying.Logano wasunable to clear inspection and sat out, as well.

ForEarnhardt, though, this is another blow to an alreadypoor startto 2017. He has yet to have a top-10 finish, having finished37th, 30th, 16th, 14thin his five races, respectively.

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