Skip to content

Explosive engine failure puts Dale Jr. in early Chase hole (VIDEO)

Sep 16, 2013, 3:00 PM EDT

Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s hopes of becoming a Sprint Cup champion took a major hit out of the gate last night at Chicagoland Speedway, where things turned bad for him and then got much worse.

Earnhardt was plugging along in 12th when the caution came out on Lap 167 for debris. He subsequently came down to pit road under yellow, but congestion on pit road created a stack-up in which Earnhardt run into the back of Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne.

The damage left behind effectively ruined the competitiveness of Earnhardt’s car, and he was logging laps in mid-pack when on Lap 225, the engine blew in dramatic fashion.

Earnhardt was able to get out of the car once it came to a stop, but, like Joey Logano (who also had his own engine failure), he’ll now have to continue on in the Chase with no margin for error if he wants to truly contend for the title.

“I don’t know what was going on on pit road there, but we knocked the front end off of it on pit road,” Earnhardt said about his night. “Those guys all stopped on pit road in front of us. We were trying to get that fixed. We still had a chance to get that fixed and get the downforce back in the front. We cut the grill all up and the downforce was gone and we lost a lap there.

“We were going to get that patched up and maybe be able to make something out of it, but something broke there in the motor. It’s tough. It’s going to be really hard to win a championship this far behind.”

Earnhardt now finds himself dead last in the 13-driver Chase field at 53 points behind leader and Chicagoland winner Matt Kenseth.

Latest Posts
  1. Ricciardo’s first podium in ages comes, like Bourdais’ at Toronto, with a trophy drop

    Jul 27, 2015, 4:51 PM EDT

    RIChunpodium Getty Images

    Good news, Ricciardo made the podium. Bad news, his trophy didn’t survive it.

  2. INDYCAR rescinds minor penalty against Jakes issued at Iowa

    Jul 27, 2015, 4:09 PM EDT

    JakesIowa Getty Images

    Jakes kept his visor down after all on a pit stop in Iowa.

  3. Gabby Chaves’ Honda/HPD Midget adventure (VIDEO)

    Jul 27, 2015, 3:13 PM EDT

    GabbyHeadshot Getty Images

    A quick look back at Chaves’ short track debut.

  4. Fiancee battle: Graham Rahal vs. Courtney Force in a Sonoma skills challenge (VIDEO)

    Jul 27, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    GRcf Getty Images

    Rahal and Force compete against each other in a series of fun challenges at Sonoma.

  5. For Dixon, it’s likely Mid-Ohio or bust in terms of 2015 IndyCar title hopes

    Jul 27, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio - Day 3 Getty Images

    If another Dixon Mid-Ohio win happens, it will save his championship chances.

  6. After blowing his chance to cut the gap to Hamilton, Rosberg must now avoid the mistakes of last summer

    Jul 27, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's German driver Nico Rosberg walks down the pits during the third practice session at the Hungaroring circuit near Budapest on July 25, 2015, ahead of the  Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Luke Smith considers the fall-out of a dramatic Hungarian Grand Prix that saw both Mercedes drivers miss an opportunity to seize control of the drivers’ championship.

  7. Booth proud of Manor for honoring Bianchi in Hungary

    Jul 27, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Manor Marussia F1 team driver Great Britain's Will Stevens has "#JB17" written on his car in tribute to late French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi who died nine months after his crash in the Japan Grand Prix, as he competes during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit  near Budapest on July 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Manor makes it through a difficult weekend by getting both of its cars to the finish in Hungary.

  8. Race Recap: Vettel draws level with Senna on all-time win list with victory in Hungary

    Jul 27, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 26:  Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari celebrates with the trophy after winning the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Vettel storms to his 41st career victory in Hungary as both Mercedes drivers hit trouble.

  9. NHRA Mile-High Nationals winners: Torrence, Beckman, Morgan, Krawiec

    Jul 26, 2015, 11:09 PM EDT

    (Photo courtesy NHRA) (Photo courtesy NHRA)

    Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Larry Morgan (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) won in Sunday’s NHRA Mopar Mile-High Nationals.

  10. F1 grid unites to pay tribute to Jules Bianchi (VIDEO)

    Jul 26, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Getty Images

    The F1 grid comes together ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix to pay its respects to Jules Bianchi.

  11. WATCH LIVE: Second of two Red Bull GRC races from Detroit, 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC

    Jul 26, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    GRCDaytona Getty Images

    The Red Bull Global Rallycross doubleheader in Detroit concludes with today’s Round 6.

  12. F1 Paddock Pass: Hungarian GP post-race (VIDEO)

    Jul 26, 2015, 3:40 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Getty Images

    Ferrari caps off an emotional weekend with victory at the Hungaroring as Mercedes came unstuck.

  13. Verstappen “unbelievably happy” with fourth in Hungary

    Jul 26, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Getty Images

    Verstappen claims his first top five finish in F1 in Hungary, capping off an impressive first half-season in the sport.

  14. Alonso charges to fifth in Hungary, sending McLaren into summer break on a high

    Jul 26, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    McLaren Honda's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso competes during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit  near Budapest on July 26, 2015.  AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Alonso claims McLaren-Honda first top five finish of the season in Hungary, with Jenson Button also scoring points in P9.

  15. Williams disappointed to leave Hungary without points

    Jul 26, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Technical staff prepare to change the broken wheel of the car of Williams Martini Racing's Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas  in the pit lane during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit  near Budapest on July 26, 2015. 
 AFP PHOTO / POOL / RONALD ZAK        (Photo credit should read RONALD ZAK/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    A penalty for Massa and a puncture for Bottas leaves both Williams drivers outside of the points in Hungary.

  16. Rosberg: “Awful feeling” to lose podium and chance to cut gap to Hamilton in Hungary

    Jul 26, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Getty Images

    At one stage, Rosberg had been poised to take the lead of the championship into the summer break, only to lose yet more ground on Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

  17. Hamilton escapes one of his “worst races” to extend championship lead in Hungary

    Jul 26, 2015, 12:59 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Getty Images

    A poor start, off-track excursion, collision with Ricciardo and drive-through penalty can’t stop Hamilton from finishing sixth and extending his championship lead.

  18. Hamilton among five drivers handed sanctions following Hungarian GP

    Jul 26, 2015, 12:02 PM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton (L) and Williams Martini Racing's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa compete during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit  near Budapest on July 26, 2015.  AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The stewards were kept very busy in Hungary on Sunday.