Driver: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Car: No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet
Track: Atlanta Motor Speedway (Oct. 28, 2007)
Bio: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had some success at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Pep Boys Auto 500 on Oct. 28, 2007 is not listed among those races at which that success occurred.
Running with the leaders with just two laps left in the 329-lap event, Earnhardt Jr. dived deep into Turns 1 and 2 on the 1.54-mile oval only to have the left rear tire exit the vehicle. The loss of a quarter of his mechanical grip sent the familiar red Chevy into a looping spin toward the outside wall, collecting Jamie McMurray’s machine before smacking the waiting concrete. The impact destroyed three of the four corners of the car and put him 25th in the final running order.
Just before the final restart, Earnhardt Jr. had radioed his crew to say that it felt like something was broken in the rear of the car.
It had not been a stellar day for Earnhardt Jr. to begin with. He was forced to use the free pass at lap 164 to get back on the lead lap, and despite running behind eventual winner Jimmie Johnson and runner-up Carl Edwards, he was not in the mix for the victory that day. Indeed, he was not part of the Chase at that point, having missed the cutoff at Richmond by a fairly large margin.
The car was eventually hauled out to Dirty Mo Acres to take up residence in the Racecar Graveyard, where it serves with distinction. It is the only resident of the Graveyard to have its own two-legged occupant…a zombie! You can see the figure of the “undead” passenger in the accompanying photos.