By admin | October 13, 2008
By Richard Allen
It may have been nice for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his fans for him to be back in a familiar red paint scheme, but the results in the Bank of America 500 were certainly not what either would have hoped for.
Juniorâ€™s Amp Energy Chevrolet was decked out in red and white colors which somewhat resembled cars he had driven in the past.
No doubt, the fans of NASCARâ€™s most popular driver liked what they saw early in the race. Juniorâ€™s car looked like he might contend for the win. But, as has been the case on numerous occasions this season, the Hendrick Motorsports team was unable to maintain a strong early run for the duration of the race.
This time, it was a blown right front tire on lap 103 which turned Juniorâ€™s day sour. â€œUnbelievable, we were pitting in one more lap,â€ was the discouraged remark made over the teamâ€™s in car radio after the car had ground to a halt.
The old Richard Petty adage that running close to the wall will keep a car from hitting so hard when something goes wrong did not seem to hold true in this case. Junior was running his familiar high line as he exited turn 2 of the 1.5 mile Loweâ€™s Motor Speedway when the tire let go and the car suffered significant damage.
When asked whether or not he had any indication his tire was about to blow Junior said, â€œHell, no! If Iâ€™d have known the tire was gonna blow Iâ€™d have let off.â€
Juniorâ€™s hopes of winning a Chase for the Championship title effectively ended last week in Talladega. This race simply added to the recent misery.
Junior and his fans may have been seeing a happy shade red during the early parts of Saturdayâ€™s race, but after the race they were just seeing red. Junior finished 36th in the Bank of America 500 and is now in 10th place of the standings, 354 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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