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Dale Earnhardt Jr. out of Watkins Glen Cup race early after mechanical problem

In his final appearance at Watkins Glen, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was forced to head into the garage due to a valvetrain issue that couldn't be fixed.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s final Cup start at Watkins Glen International ended with the No. 88 Chevrolet going to the garage on Lap 22.

Earnhardt’s day ended due to a valve train issue. The Hendrick Motorsports driver will finish last out of 37 cars in the I Love New York 355.

It is Earnhardt’s seventh DNF through 22 races this year.

“We can’t fix it,” Earnhardt told NBCSN. “It’s been a really difficult week. We’ve been way down on speed. We had a pretty good car at Sonoma so I was kind of looking forward to coming here. The guys worked really hard, we changed this car inside and out twice this weekend. ... I think we had a shot maybe at a top 20 at best. We showed up and we were about four seconds off.”

This will be Earnhardt’s ninth finish of 30th or worse in 22 races this season. He’s finished 30th or worse in 40.9 percent of the races this year.

Earnhardt has only four races left to qualify for the playoffs.