Dale Earnhardt Jr. reaffirmed his dislike for Sonoma's Infineon Raceway this week, and an early wreck in Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 won't do anything to change his mind.
Earnhardt Jr. was caught up in the Lap 38 wreck that was triggered when Tony Stewart nailed Brian Vickers at the entrance to Turn 11 – the long U-turn that slows cars dramatically.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver, who entered the race third in the Sprint Cup Series point standings, ran into another car when several drivers spun out in front of him. The resulting hole in the radiator drained the water, and the engine eventually blew.
Earnhardt Jr. finished 41st, only his second DNF result since the Kansas race in October 2009.
"I'm not a big fan of the place, but maybe one of these days," he said, standing in the Infineon garage as crewmen worked to prepare his damaged car for the journey home to North Carolina. "We were having a pretty good time of it out there. We got some really good speed."
While Earnhardt Jr. said the beating and banging was fun and said he wanted to "get up in the middle of it," he also noted "the car can't survive it."
"(The physical nature of the race) is just the way the road courses are," he said. "That's the way the race has been here for awhile, and you know what you sign up for when you show up on Friday."
Typically, Earnhardt Jr. would be excited about getting back on track at Daytona International Speedway – one of his favorite places to race – after two disappointing weeks.
But not this time, he said.
"I'm not looking forward to going to Daytona, not with the way the (two-car) drafting is there," he said. "But we'll just have to see if we can get lucky out there. What's after Daytona? I'll be glad to go there."