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California was microcosm of Junior's season

Originally Published: September 5, 2005
By Rupen Fofaria | Special to ESPN.com

Earnhardt Jr.

When his motor blew on lap 211 Sunday night, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was knocked out of the Sony HD 500 at California Speedway, as well as the Chase for the Nextel Cup.

But to perhaps the most popular driver on the circuit, his mathematical elimination was just a technicality. In his mind, his title hopes had long since expired.

"It's been over for at least 80 laps," he said, figuratively.

On Sunday night, it was the same complaints, and the same type of finish.

"Our ...

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