Earnhardt hits wall, Hendrick's struggles continue

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Chase driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. hit the wall on lap 70 at Charlotte on Sunday, leaving him one lap behind the field in the opening race of the second round of NASCAR's playoffs.

Earnhardt was running in the top 10 when Carl Edwards tapped his rear bumper, forcing him into the wall. Earnhardt remained on the track for five laps before his right front tire went down, bringing out the caution and causing him to pit.

He was 35th on the restart.

It's been a struggle so far for Hendrick Motorsports.

Kasey Kahne hit the wall on lap 58 and went behind the wall. Jeff Gordon was the only Chase driver running outside of the top 15 before Earnhardt's wreck. Jimmie Johnson was knocked out of the Chase last week.