While Earnhardt gained fifth position after the incident, his advantage was short-lived. Although he had a top-10 car for most of the race, NASCAR assessed the No. 88 Chevrolet with a pit-road speeding penalty on Lap 480, which sent Earnhardt to the tail end of the field.
"I got busted for speeding on pit road," Earnhardt said. "I really hate that happened. I don't think I was; but I don't think any driver ever thinks he was speeding."
He restarted 14th for the final green-flag run, but with 17 laps remaining in the race, Earnhardt settled for 15th. The finish cost Earnhardt two spots in the points. He currently stands sixth.
"We had a good, fast car," he said. "We didn't have a good car here last year. We're improving. Things are looking up for our team, and we've been running strong this year. I expect more of it. We put cars like we did today on the racetrack, we'll get some shots at some wins."
As far as the incident with his teammate, Earnhardt still felt "responsible" after the race was over. But just like Gordon, Junior said it was just a racing incident.
"We were racing and having a good time, to be honest with you," Earnhardt said. "I put the pipes up against the left rear tire of his car, and knocked the side wall out of it. I hate ... I feel bad about that.
"I'm going to have to do some damage control this week. I know Jeff understands what was going on out there, but his boys work real hard on their car, and they had a good run going. They had a potential win, or good finish going, too; and they deserve it."