Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. To Start At Rear Of Field After Practice Troubles

If Dale Earnhardt Jr. is to duplicate his feat of winning at the Michigan International Speedway in June or Jimmie Johnson is to get his first-ever victory at the 2-mile oval, they will have to do so after starting from the rear of the field in Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 due to issues in practice that befell the Hendrick Motorsports pair.

Johnson's team changed engines in his No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet early on in the opening practice session. NASCAR rules dictate that teams use only one engine during a race weekend. The penalty for swapping out a motor for any reason once the car is presented for initial inspection is going to the back of the field. Johnson, the Sprint Cup point leader, had qualified third.

In a final practice that saw Johnson turn the second-fastest lap, it was Earnhardt who wound up having problems of his own. With fewer than 10 minutes remaining in the session, he got out of the groove in turn two, spun, and backed the same car he won with in June into the wall. The car sustained significant left-rear damage that forced his National Guard-sponsored team to unload its backup car. With so little time left at the time of the accident, Earnhardt obviously didn't get back onto the track. Therefore, when he takes the green flag tomorrow, he'll be turning his first laps in that car.

Greg Biffle led the session, but he had issues of his own with a vibration. His team changed the drive shaft in his Ford, rectifying the problem.

Trending Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SB Nation Atlanta

You must be a member of SB Nation Atlanta to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Atlanta. You should read them.

Join SB Nation Atlanta

You must be a member of SB Nation Atlanta to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Atlanta. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.