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Dale Earnhardt Jr. went from fighting for the win to fighting to get out of his car in his NASCAR return Friday night at Bristol.
The NASCAR legend returned to the track for his annual one-off race at the Coliseum Friday night, and was damn good. He led a ton of laps, and was a real contender for the win as the laps ticked down,
Then, just like that, it was all up in flames — literally.
Earnhardt Jr., running fourth, ducked down to pit road with 30 laps to go while challenging for the lead when his No. 88 Chevy evidently caught fire.
Earnhardt could be heard telling his team “on fire” before coming to a stop on pit road and being pulled from the car.
NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. goes up in flames
“How cool was it that I got to battle with the boss-man, Dale Jr.,” eventual race-winner Justin Allgaier said after the race.
Allgaier, who races for Junior’s Xfinity team, eventually won the race, while his owner finished in the garage after leading 47 laps.
Not to worry, though. Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s OG Most Popular driver, is slated to race again at Homestead later this fall.
“I got a hole in my pants,” he said after the race. “I saw some smoke in the car .. smelled it. (Thought) hopefully it’s not me. That last lap I saw a big fireball in the car.”