Traffic jam knocks Earnhardt out of top 12 at Sonoma

SONOMA, CA - JUNE 21: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 21, 2014 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
SONOMA, CA - JUNE 21:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 21, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
SONOMA, CA – JUNE 21: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 21, 2014 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)

SONOMA, Calif.—Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a strong qualifying lap in the works on Saturday morning at Sonoma Raceway until he ran up behind a slower car in the racing groove.

With his progress impeded, Earnhardt failed to advance to the final round of the first knockout qualifying session on a road course and had to settle for the 17th starting spot for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350, the 16th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season.

“We had a good lap going, but the No. 66 (Tomy Drissi) ran in the racing groove on his get up (to speed) lap and didn’t get out of the way,” said Earnhardt, who had been fast in both of Friday’s practice sessions. “We missed the top 12.  We would have made it.

“We ran about a tenth slower than our best lap going around him on the outside of Turn 9. That’s real disappointing, but the car has been great. Hopefully, we’ll be able to have a good run Sunday starting kind of mid-pack. It’s going to be a little busy where we are going to be, but hopefully we can move forward.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.