Posted By Pete Pistone
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Dale Earnhardt Jr. is trying to write a storybook fable this "Speedweeks" and win the Daytona 500 on the tenth anniversary of his father's death in 2001.
A new chapter was added on Wednesday.
Earnhardt was involved in a crash during the day's rain-delayed opening Sprint Cup Series practice session and will be forced to a back-up car for Sunday's Daytona 500.
Earnhardt and Martin Truex Jr. made contact when they drafted up on Jimmie Johnson during the session and both cars suffered significant damage in the incident.
Since Earnhardt will have to move to a back-up car he will relinquish his number one starting position in the Daytona 500 and will also need to start at the rear of the field in Thursday's Gatorade Duel qualifying race.
"I didn't think I needed to be out there practicing," said Earnhardt. "I had a bad feeling."
Up until the incident Earnhardt had turned the fastest time in the practice session at 199.526 mph.
"You've got to pay attention out there. If you want to come out here and race you have to pay attention," Earnhardt said as he walked back to his garage area to climb into the back-up No. 88 AMP Energy Chevrolet.
"It was just a dicey time," said Johnson. "They kept creeping their way toward the top. I lifted and I got turned sideways from behind and there was a second pack behind us and they got into Junior. You have got to be smart....and not use up too much road."
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