Dale Earnhardt Jr. critical of Talladega Superspeedway racing UPDATE
Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn’t necessarily retract what he said about the current state of restrictor-plate racing but did regret he let his frustration and anger seep into his comments following Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.
|Dale Jr. was among those taken out by the NASCAR insanity. Now it sounds like he may have had a little 'talkin' to' by NASCAR officials|
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After being involved in a last-lap wreck with two dozen other competitors that relegated him to a 20th-place finish, Earnhardt said he wouldn’t want to compete in that style of a race every week and said if fans liked seeing that type of racing, that was a bloodthirsty attitude to have.
The sport’s most popular driver, whose father was killed on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, expressed regret Tuesday for those comments in an interview with SBNation.com.
He said with a new car in 2013, the style of racing could be totally different and he has a more positive outlook.
"It was a bit heat of the moment, and I kind of regret getting that emotional about it,” he told SBNation. “But I was just really upset about how that all went down.
“We'd run so good. I was really, really happy with my car in that race, and I thought we should have been able to finish really good."
Earnhardt said he was not injured from the accident, just frustrated.10/09/12 Can you imagine the Sprint Cup Series without Dale Earnhardt Jr.? "If this is what we did every week, I wouldn't be doing it, I will just put it to you like that," Earnhardt said after Sunday’s Good Sam 500 at Talladega Speedway. "If this is how we raced every week, I would find another job."
Yes, it was in the heat of the moment. Yes, it was after a valiant comeback from outside of the top 20 and off the lead lap. And yes, it was after Junior watched his championship hopes dashed after leading the points nine races ago but now falling to being mired in 11th place, 51 points behind Brad Keselowski.
Earnhardt, who turns 38 on Wednesday, is known for his restrictor-plate prowess — particularly at Talladega where he claims five career wins. However, none of Earnhardt’s victories on the 2.66-mile track have been earned since NASCAR's Car of Tomorrow was introduced in 2007. And that year, the Talladega event resembled more of a parade not a race.
In the past three Chase races at Talladega, Earnhardt's average finish is 28th. No wonder NASCAR's Most Popular Driver quipped after the race Sunday, "I don't even want to go to Daytona and Talladega next year, but I have no choice."
Sure, Earnhardt had better results at Daytona this year. He finished second in the Daytona 500 and survived with a 15th-place showing in July. However, he’s wrecked there twice in the last seven races and hasn’t won on the 2.5-mile track since the 2004 Daytona 500. Fortunately for Earnhardt, and the other 10 Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers that were caught up in the "Big One," the multicar crash that marred the final lap at Talladega on Sunday, the old car will go away at the end of the season. That's OK with Junior, who feels that with the current rules package, "The way we are going ain’t the right direction."
"There are plenty of engineers out there, I'm just a driver," Earnhardt said. "There are plenty of smart people out there that can figure something out where when one guy gets in trouble we don’t have 30 cars tore up at the expense of it.
"It's awesome, in a word, and everybody can get on the chip about it and get excited about all that which just happened, but for the longevity of the sport that ain't healthy. I don't care what anybody says for the good of the sport, I mean it's good for the here and now and it will get people talking today, but for the long run that is not going to help the sport the way that race ended and the way the racing is. It’s not going to be productive for years to come." FOX Sports