Dale Earnhardt Jr.s day came to a sudden and abrupt end, when for the second time in three days, he missed a shift and broke the motor in his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
After completing Stage 1 of the Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway, Earnhardt began Stage 2, and when he did, he missed a shift on the 3,740-foot-long frontstretch. Earnhardt attempted to shift from third to fourth gear, but instead got second gear.
It was dj vu all over again, because the same thing happened earlier in practice on Friday, and when it did, Earnhardts engine went past 12,000 rpms and broke. The same thing happened this time, knocking Earnhardt out of the race.
After climbing from his car, Earnhardt was understandably frustrated.
There really isnt anything different, he said. The shifters not different, the handles not different, the location everythings the same. I dont know. Its something about my motion going in the wrong gear. I cant I wish I could blame it on something else, because this is awful. Feels awful.
Earnhardt, in his final season of racing, finished 38th in the 39-car field.