With his fourth finish of 30th or worse in the first eight races of the 2017 season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. dropped to 24th in the Cup points standings.
The 14-time most popular driver finished 38th in Monday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, crashing on a Lap 218 restart after an apparent problem with his oil cooler under caution. He lost four spots in the rankings and is 50 points behind the current cutoff for qualiyfing for the 16-driver playoff on points.
Earnhardt had finished a season-best fifth two weeks ago at Texas Motor Speedway before the off week, his best finish in 10 months. He returned to the No. 88 Chevrolet this season after missing the last 18 races of 2o16 while recovering from concussion symptoms. He is in the final year of his contract at Hendrick Motorsports.