Dale Earnhardt Jr. Crashes Out of CampingWorld.com 500by Kyle Pokrefky March 15, 2015 0 comments
Photo credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
AVONDALE, Ariz. — Dale Earnhardt Jr’s hot start to the 2015 season had a fire blanket thrown on it after the driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet crashed out of the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
The two-time Phoenix winner had a right rear tire go down off of Turn 2 on Lap 179, sending his car backwards into the outside wall, destroying the rear end of the No. 88 car.
Officially being scored as out of the race, Earnhardt Jr. will be credited with his first DNF since August 2014 at the conclusion of today’s 312-lap race.
Earnhardt Jr. entered today’s CampingWorld.com 500 third in points off of the strength of three straight top-four finishes to open up his 2015 campaign.
When discussing what led to his retirement on Lap 179, Earnhardt Jr. explains that he wore out his right rear tire with how the balance of his car was set up.
“The car was really, really loose today and just wore the right rear tire out, and blew the tire,” Earnhardt Jr. said.
Earlier in the race, Sam Hornish Jr’s No. 9 Ford went for a spin off of Turn 2 with the culprit for his spin being identified as a melted bead on his right rear tire. In a tweet posted on his personal Twitter account following his run today, Earnhardt Jr. tweeted that tire manufacturer Goodyear is not to blame for the issues that impacted his team today.
@DaleJr: This is not a @GoodyearRacing tire issue. We will address it and put into place improvements to correct it.
Earnhardt Jr. and his No. 88 crew will now look ahead to the final race of NASCAR’s west coast swing, the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.
In 22 career starts at Auto Club Speedway, Earnhardt Jr. has five top-five and six top-10 finishes to his credit with an average finish of 19.5.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Earnhardt Jr. was officially scored in the 43rd position.
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky