Another weekend of disappointment occurred this weekend at Pocono Raceway for Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
The weekend started on the wrong foot for Earnhardt, Jr. in the opening practice session of the weekend. Earnhardt, Jr. had to start at the rear of the field due to an engine change before qualifying. The rev limiter on the engine turned 12,615 RPM. The engine rev limiter was supposed to run at 9,500 RPM.
On Saturday, Earnhardt Jr. and his team were not impressed with their practice speed According to Twitter, the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team sat down after practice and worked on some adjustments, but needed to make substantial gains.
On Lap 57 in the race, Earnhardt Jr. radioed to his team that the shifter was not natural to him this weekend.
“Just something in my motion, I mean there really isn’t anything different. The shifter is not different, the handle is not different, the location, everything is the same. I don’t know. It’s something about my motion that’s not... going in the wrong gear. I wish I could blame it on something else, because this is awful, it feels awful,” said a dejected Earnhardt Jr. “The car was fast. We drove up into the top 15 there running great lap times. Really, really happy with the car. Wasn’t really running that hard backing up the corners big time and just cruising forward, really happy. It’s just my fault.”
Missing the shifter raises some concerns for Earnhardt, Jr. because he has to return to Pocono and still has to deal with the road courses.
“This really concerns me coming back here and the road courses you know. But, we haven’t had any problems all year long, but at places where we do a lot of shifting I don’t know what is going on, what I’ve got to do or why this is really happening out of nowhere,” said Earnhardt, Jr.
“I don’t know… we don’t really have an answer to it other than me just having to pay more attention, but I mean I’ve been doing this all my life and this isn’t a common issue, but it has been this weekend.”
Earnhardt, Jr. finished the race in the 38th position.