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Earnhardt Jr. suffers setback at Texas
FORT WORTH, Texas
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was having a solid top-five run on Saturday night when his No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet developed electrical issues at Texas Motor Speedway.
“I think the battery is dead or something,” Earnhardt said on Lap 187 before pulling into the pits.
Crew chief Steve Letarte told his driver to check the second battery. After a lengthy stop and a new battery, Earnhardt made a lap and returned to the pits for further work on his car. Due to a speeding violation, Earnhardt was assessed a drive-through penalty, which he served on Lap 194.
“I didn’t even think about it,” Earnhardt said. “All the gauges were going haywire. It was hard to tell what was going on.”
Earnhardt cycled out to 35th, five laps down. Although he made up two laps over the final 135 laps because Earnhardt was off the pit cycle, a late stop cost him a circuit. He finished 29th, four laps off the pace.
Earnhardt entered the weekend third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup points standings. He dropped to sixth in the points standings, 35 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson, who finished sixth.
“We just need to manage it better just like everything else,” Letarte said over the radio. “It’s hard to prepare for those things. We’ll do a better job next time. Guys you prepared a good car. It was fast all week. Keep doing that and we’ll win some races. We just need to get all of this out of the way.”