Dale Earnhardt Jr will start from the rear of the field in the Daytona 500 after he wrecked his primary car in a practice crash with Martin Truex Jr. Truex, however, will not start from the tail of the field because he has not officially qualified for the race, as the Gatorade Duel qualifying race has not been run.
Earnhardt Jr was running with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, when Johnson slowed as he came up on a slower pack of cars. Earnhardt made contact with Johnson, getting Johnson loose. Johnson was able to recover, but Truex got into the back of Jr, and both slid through the grass into the inside SAFER barrier. Both are going to backup cars.
Because Earnhardt Jr had the pole, and his starting position was locked in, he will have to go to the back of the pack for the start of the 500. Truex, however, will not have to go to the back, as he will run his qualifying race in the backup car, meaning his starting spot, as determined by his finish in the race, will stand.
After the wreck, Earnhardt Jr said (according to a tweet by Marty Smith, of ESPN):
I’m disappointed in myself. Didnt feel good bout practicing. Didn’t thk I needed to be out there prac. I just had a bad feeling about it.