Earnhardt Jr. to start from the rear in Sunday’s finale

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HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to make his farewell Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start from the rear of the field after his Hendrick Motorsports team changed engines in his No. 88 Chevrolet.

Earnhardt’s car — adorned with a brilliant red paint scheme borrowed from early in his career — sputtered during opening practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He coasted back to the garage, telling his crew that something in the engine had broken.

Per the NASCAR Rule Book, Earnhardt is set to start at the back of the field in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM), the season-ending race. He indicated through Twitter that he would still make a qualifying run in Friday’s Coors Light Pole Qualifying session (6:15 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM).

Earnhardt had announced in April that this season would be his last as a full-time driver. He has said he still plans for a handful of races in the NASCAR XFINITY Series next year.

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