In the world of NASCAR there are good weeks and there are bad weeks. Good weeks often end in wins or strong performances where as bad weeks can include wrecks and DNF’s. For Dale Earnhardt Jr. the Duck Commander 500 was a bad, if not terrible week. 12 laps into the event Earnhardt skimmed the grass which sent his car into the wall causing it to burst into flames. The wreck knocked Earnhardt out of the race; a race that he waited 21 hours to compete in thanks to it being postponed for rain.
After the race was over (a race won by Joey Logano) Team Chevy released a transcript of Earnhardt giving his account of what happened on the track.
Just didn’t see the grass. Didn’t know the grass was down there. With the way the A-post is on these cars you can’t really see that good to that angle. I just didn’t have a good visual of where the apron and the grass was and got down in there pretty good. You can’t run through there they way they have these cars on the ground like that. Just a mistake on my part. I just didn’t know I was that close to the grass, and made a mistake
Earnhardt then continues to explain what was happening around him.
I drove the car down there. I didn’t know we were that close the grass and was following the #43 (Aric Almirola). I thought I was taking a decent line through the dogleg. We were going low around the No. 42 (Kyle Larson) so I was lower than normal and just misjudged it. It tears the car up pretty good when you run through the grass.
The race began under a yellow and green flag because of the track condition. With all of the water that was on the track NASCAR decided to use the 43 car field to give the track one last drying. The caution laps were also used for drivers to voice whether they felt it was ready to race on. Earnhardt was asked whether or not he felt the wet track or possible wet conditions were a factor in his wreck.
It was no factor. I just made a mistake.
Earnhardt’s wreck also ruined the day of teammate Jimmie Johnson. Debris that was kicked up from the No. 88 car damaged Johnson’s No. 48 machine and forced him to pit road. Johnson would end up finishing the day in the 25th position. Although this week was bad, Earnhardt can take solace in the fact that he already has a win this season. That is something that no other Hendrick Motorsports driver has.