- Dale Earnhardt Jr. found himself in danger during a race at Bristol on Friday
- He escaped unscathed but was disappointed not to finish the race.
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Dale Earnhardt Jr. was forced from his car mid-race Friday night when the NASCAR legend’s vehicle caught fire.
The 48-year-old was racing in the Xfinity Series (NASCAR’s second tier) at Bristol – and at one point was leading the field – before a vehicle malfunction forced him to retire early.
Video of the race shows Earnhardt Jr. telling his crew that there was a fire in his car and that smoke could also be seen coming from the car.
The driver then stopped the car before being helped by crew members from another team.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. had to be helped out of his car by crew members from another team
Earnhardt Jr. is just an occasional racer in the second-tier Xfinity Series
“We have a hole in my pants,” he said then said.
“Somehow the shifter tunnel caught fire. I saw smoke in the car and I smelled it, and I thought “I hope it’s not me.” But that last lap, I saw a big ball of fire in the car tunnel, and I obviously felt it, my uniform was burning. And I said to myself, “I can’t continue. I must stop.
And usually when you stop, the fires get bigger, so I stopped by the stand, and some of them were pretty alert and they helped me.
‘I hate that. We were going to finish in the top 10, maybe top five, we had a chance to win if the car worked well at the end. But try not to ruin anyone’s night at the same time, so that was difficult. But I had fun.
Earnhardt Jr. last raced in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2017.