There was a time when no one looked forward to racing at Daytona more than Dale Earnhardt Jr. Not anymore.
Earnhardt Jr., who still is frustrated with NASCAR’s restrictor-plate rules, admits he is more anxious to get to Phoenix or Bristol or other unrestricted tracks than he is racing in Saturday’s Budweiser Shootout and the Daytona 500 next week.
“Daytona, this is probably the worst odds for me all year because of the way the racing is here,” Earnhardt Jr. said at NASCAR Media Day Thursday. “This is going to be a fun experience, but I’m looking forward to getting to Phoenix and the rest of the tracks to start getting control of my destiny and trying to make some things happen for me and win some races.
“This is race is going to be fun and this weekend will be enjoyable, but I am looking forward to going to Phoenix because I know I have better odds there. I look forward to going to tracks where I’m driving the car and I can make a difference.”
NASCAR has been trying to eliminate or reduce the two-car draft, which became prevalent in the restrictor-plate races in recent years. It tried a bevy of new rules during preseason testing at Daytona and finally settled on a package that includes a smaller spoiler, softer rear springs, smaller restrictor-plate holes and changes to the radiators and cooling systems to cause the cars to overheat quicker.
Earnhardt Jr. credits NASCAR for working hard on the changes, but says he still has no idea what to expect.
“I don’t know what is going to happen in the Daytona 500 and I don’t even have a clue what the racing is going to be like right now, and that’s kind of frustrating but that’s just the way it is,” he said.
“Right now, I have no knowledge and it is frustrating as a driver to go into a situation like that. Everything we are going to have to learn we are going to have to learn really fast in just a few hours of practice.” scenedaily.com
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