Earnhardt Jr. hit the rain-drenched grass suddenly while following Aric Almirola on the frontstretch on the 12th lap, resulting in the left-front tire in his #88 National Guard Chevrolet to blow out. His Chevrolet careened into the outside wall, and his car caught fire, Earnhardt Jr. turned to the bottom of the track going into Turn 2 where he quickly rushed out of the car as flames trailed behind the car.
“I just didn’t see the grass, didn’t know the grass was there that close,” Earnhardt Jr. said after being released from the care center. The way the A post is in these cars, you can’t really see that good to that angle. I didn’t have a good visual where the grass is. That’s all.”
“You can’t run through (the grass) the way we’ve got these cars on the ground. Just a mistake on my part.”
As Earnhardt Jr. made a sharp turn toward the outside wall, Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson in the #48 Lowes Chevrolet was behind him receiving damage to his windshield and the front left of the car from the mud and debris that came from the #88.
Johnson made several pit-stops to repair the damage resulting in going down 3 laps, possibly ended his race for the victory at Texas.