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Dale Earnhardt Jr. quickly goes from fastest car to backup after hitting wall

Dale Earnhardt Jr. had the fastest car in practice at Charlotte shortly before crashing into the wall and being forced into a backup.

Less than five minutes into Friday’s only Cup practice session, Dale Earnhardt Jr. went quickly to the top of the speed chart.

But seconds later, the No. 88 slammed into the wall and suffered heavy damage on the right side. The team went to a backup car.

Earnhardt claimed that the PJ1 substance applied to the high line of the track to enhance grip led to his wreck.

“I got up into that stuff they sprayed down and it just shot up into the wall,” Earnhardt told NBCSN. “We were out there running laps and got the rights (tires) into that stuff and the car just went into the fence, like it blew a right front tire.

“I think I’m fine. The car is junk and it was actually driving pretty good, but the backup will be just as good. Just disappointing, man. That stuff out there on the track, it ain’t good right now. I wouldn’t touch it.

“I don’t even know why they sprayed it down because we run this race in the daytime. It ain’t like we needed any help to get the top working in. That was more to help this place at night. If you can’t even run in it without plowing into the fence, what good is it.”

Brad Keselowski also made contact with the wall shortly after Earnhardt. Unlike Earnhardt, Keselowski didn’t need to go to a backup car.


Brad Keselowski hit the wall early in Cup practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 6, 2017. (Photo: Daniel McFadin)

Kyle Busch also got into the wall late in the session and suffered heavy damage, but the team was still evaluating whether it needed to go to a backup car.