- Associated Press - Saturday, October 11, 2014

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) - Chase contender Dale Earnhardt Jr. has dropped off the pace because of a broken gear shift Saturday night in the Sprint Cup race at Charlotte.

The issue has Earnhardt dropped from ninth to 23rd place about midway through the race.

Earnhardt was in need of a good finish after finishing 39th last week at Kansas. He is 11th out of 12 drivers in the point standings.

Earnhardt pitted three times following a caution on lap 137, but his crew was unable to fix the problem. Earnhardt is working with only fourth gear, but elected to return to the track rather than fall a lap down.

Jimmie Johnson had a similar issue earlier this year at Michigan when his gear shift broke off in his hand.

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