Dale Earnhardt Jr. experienced a fiery car crash just 12 laps into the rain-delayed Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway after hitting the infield grass, blowing his left front tire, and careening across the track.
After emerging from his burning Chevrolet apparently unharmed, Earnhardt told Fox Sports, "I just didn't see the grass.
Didn't know the grass was down there. With the way the A-post is on these cars you can't really see that good to that angle. I just didn't have a good visual of where the apron and the grass was and got down in there pretty good. You can't run through there the way they have these cars on the ground like that. Just a mistake on my part. I just didn't know I was that close to the grass, and made a mistake."
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Earnhardt's Hendricks Motorsport teammate Jimmie Johnson sustained damage to his No. 48 car after mud and debris were kicked up by the crash, costing him three laps by the time he returned to the track after repairs.
Because of the rain, the race began with 10 caution laps to test the suitability for racing. Earnhardt crashed after just three laps under full green conditions.
The crash gave Earnhardt his first last-place finish in seven seasons, placing him in 43rd place. He had gone 222 races since his previous last-place finish at a 2007 race in Phoenix. So far this season he has four top-three finishes, including a win at Daytona.
After the incident, Earnhardt made a public statement via Twitter, apologizing to his fans and team.
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