Dale Earnhardt Jr. faces elimination after Kansas

KANSAS CITY, KS - OCTOBER 18: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Halo 5: Master Chief Chevrolet, sits in his car prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 18, 2015 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, KS – OCTOBER 18: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Halo 5: Master Chief Chevrolet, sits in his car prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 18, 2015 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

NASCAR’s most popular driver had a Sunday he’d rather forget.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. knew he would need to step up his game during Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Hollywood 400 at Kansas Speedway. However, not having won a race at a 1.5-mile track in over a decade, the chances were slim.  The Hendrick Motorsports driver was optimistic after qualifying Friday securing a 15th place starting spot.

Earnhardt was biding his time but was struggling to move forward.  He was mired outside the top 20, but after pit stops and adjustments, Earnhardt was starting to find some speed and made a brief appearance inside the top 10.  On lap 165 though, he reported a vibration from a possible loose wheel and was forced to pit under green. He rejoined the field 27th, one lap down.

“We had a lot of wheels shaking, tires shaking because of the wheels spinning inside the tire,” he said later. MORE>>>

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