It was a difficult day for Dale Earnhardt Jr. - on and off the track.
His uncle, Randy Earnhardt, died Sunday morning. Randy was important to Dale in his early racing days and played a role in Dale Earnhardt Inc., which was founded by Dale Sr. and his wife, Teresa, and existed from 1980 to 2009.
Dale Jr., who drove for DEI, respected Randy both for his work in racing and his dedication to the family.
''It is just very, very sad, but I am glad his suffering is over with,'' Dale Jr. said. ''He is going to be missed. He was awesome, such an awesome guy.''
Later, during the Brickyard 400, a loose wheel forced Dale Jr. into the pits on the 12th lap, and he fell back to last place before rallying to finish sixth. Crew chief Steve Letarte was disappointed that something simple made it unlikely that his driver would win.
''I would say looking at it right now, it just wasn't tight,'' Letarte said. ''We have a good group of guys. They do a great job. Stuff like this is unfortunate, but i...