An engine failure ended Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s bid to win his first NASCAR race since last June. He lost a cylinder and then, shortly thereafter, his engine expired altogether in a ball of smoke. This is just one of many issues that have prevented Hendrick Motorsports from winning races that historically it has dominated.
First Jeff Gordon’s wreck just six laps in, followed by Kasey Kahne crashing out of the lead just before Earnhardt’s engine went sour, and capped off by Jimmie Johnson hitting the wall while running second with two laps remaining. This was the first time since 2005 that Hendrick failed to have a car finish in the top 10.
However, during post-race interviews Earnhardt Jr. only had praise for his race team, and seemed to be remaining positive even in the face of his missed opportunity.