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NEWS | Oct. 6, 2011

Earnhardt finishes in 24th place after unexpected pit stop

By National Guard Bureau

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 24th in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del. after a loose wheel forced him down pit road for an unscheduled pit stop in the closing laps.

The Kannapolis, N.C., native now ranks 10th in the standings, 34 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.

Earnhardt lined up 21st for the third race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. In the opening laps of the 400-lap event, Earnhardt suffered a broken sway bar arm and was forced to make a pit stop during the Lap 6 caution. Earnhardt went a lap down while the crew made repairs but crew chief Steve Letarte knew the scheduled Lap 40 competition caution would be an opportunity to get back on the lead lap.

Earnhardt restarted 42nd on Lap 8 but raced his way into the Lucky Dog position when the caution flag waved on Lap 40. Earnhardt was back on the lead lap and running 37th when the field went back to green on Lap 45.

Earnhardt powered his way through the field and at the halfway point was shown 14th on the scoring pylon. A light rain shower brought out the caution flag on Lap 257 with Earnhardt running 19th. Letarte called his driver to pit road for right-side tires, a move that netted the team five positions on pit road.

Earnhardt restarted 14th on Lap 263 but shortly after Earnhardt reported a loose tire and would have to come back to pit road. The unscheduled pit stop put the team in 28th position, two laps down from the leaders.

The team spent the remainder of the race trying to fight its way back to the lead lap and contend for the win. Earnhardt picked up four positions and crossed the finish line 24th.

 

 

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