Chicagoland NASCAR: Dale Earnhardt Jr back to put of field for Chase opener

Dale Earnhardt Jr will have to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase from the rear of the field at Chicagoland on Sunday, following an unscheduled engine change

Chicagoland NASCAR: Dale Earnhardt Jr back to put of field for Chase opener

The Hendrick Motorsports driver had qualified fourth for the first race of the play-off but accidentally over-revved the engine of his #88 Chevrolet just after finishing his flying lap on Saturday afternoon.

As Earnhardt was putting his car in neutral in order to let it roll back to the pits it slipped into third briefly, causing a bent valve which required fitting a new unit for Sunday's 400-miler.

"Yes, we have to change the engine and go to the back of the field," said Earnhardt's crew chief Steve Letarte. "I don't think we are super concerned.

"We had a great car in practice and qualified really well so we showed we have good speed. Fortunately, this is a racetrack where there are multiple pit strategies and it's not a really simple straightforward pit strategy to call.

"I think there will be a lot of opportunities to use our good pitstops and place on pit road to get back towards the front."

Earnhardt's Hendrick team-mate Jimmie Johnson will start Sunday's Chase opener from pole position, while Kasey Kahne will effectively move up from sixth to fourth in the starting order.

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Series NASCAR
Author Diego Mejía
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