Crash Brings Out Backups

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Dale Earnhardt Jr., along with others, will be forced to a backup car in Sunday's AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway after Junior's No. 88 Chevrolet had a right-rear tire explode during the final practice.

The incident happened in Turn 4 eight minutes into the session, Friday afternoon. The explosion shredded off the back of Earnhardt's car, sending debris into oncoming traffic.

"It is unfortunate," Earnhardt Jr. said. "There are a lot of man hours that go in to the primary. That was our Shootout car, the car that is the backup was our 500 car so we still have a good race car for the race. We really aren’t any further behind than we were when we unloaded today.

"If you are going to have that kind of a day, this is the race track to have it."

The incident came after the No. 88 team changed engines in the first practice session.

“We had an issue in the first motor that caused some blow-by in the cylinder head and it filled the crankcase up with oil and the pressure was blowing out the oil tank itself," Earnhardt Jr. said. "It just ran out of oil so we were going to have to replace it and we did."

The final practice accident caught up David Gilliland, Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer and David Reutimann.

Many of the drivers, including Earnhardt, Kahne and Bowyer were able to get back on track in their backups with less than five minutes to go.

Along with Earnhardt, Gilliland's No. 38 suffered extensive damage, as he was the car trailing Earnhardt at the time.

"It was wild," said Gilliland, who will drive a backup Ford on Sunday. "It just blew up. It all happened so fast. I had no where to go."

Bowyer almost avoided the incident, but Reutimann's No. 44 Toyota got into the back of his No. 07 Chevrolet.

"I saw it and checked up," Bowyer said. "Apparently the 44 didn’t see it and ran into the back of us. The good thing about this new car is there's not much discrepancy between the two of them."

Bowyer is seventh in the standings.

Earnhardt Jr. is currently 190 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson in eighth. He's a five-time winner at Talladega.

Stewart's crew chief Greg Zipadelli opted to fix the damage on the primary car.

"I don’t know exactly what it is about this one that he likes better than the other one, but obviously there’s something," Stewart said. "It was decent, but I don’t know what it’s going to be like now.

"We have some of the best body guys in the business and this is when their talent shines -- when they have to fix things under less than ideal conditions."

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