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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Says Relax, People
This last pass through Talladega saw 83 percent of the field crash in at least one wreck. It was the most Darwinian race we’ve seen in some time.
It made people ask the question: How much is too much?
Ask Dale Earnhardt Jr. and he’ll tell you, in not so many words, to put your big-boy pants on and settle down.
“Everybody needs to chill,” he said Wednesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s The Morning Drive (h/t Pete Pistone of MRN.com). “There’s no reason for a knee-jerk reaction. See how it plays out the rest of the year.”
He went on to say, as drivers, they shoulder much of the responsibility too.
I was one of the guys who spun out by themselves and I wasn’t out there for the rest of the stuff so I have to hold my opinions a little closer to my chest. It’s hard for me to point the finger at anyone. We tried to engineer the plate package in the past and it’s not had good results, so I don’t know if we need to keep changing without knowing what we’re changing and why we’re changing it.
No. Nothing needs to change. Maybe drivers need to relax and not get swept up by the moment, but for anyone who has competed at a high level (or driven on Route 1 in New Jersey) that’s next to impossible.
Let’s not forget, this same track back in the fall had the longest green-flag run of the season.
Though this past Sunday’s race was excessive in terms of pure carnage, it was an anomaly that seemed to feed on itself throughout the day.
So water-cooler Dale is right. Those of us who need to chill should do just that.
Is the Feud Over?
By all accounts, the feud between Kenseth and Logano is decidedly not over.
If you ask Logano, he’ll say it is. But after Logano kicked Kenseth around at Talladega, Kenseth said, “I thought we were done with that, but maybe we aren’t.”
And now we return to the track that started it all for these two. Logano, intent on passing Kenseth in the final laps at Kansas last fall, spun Kenseth out when Kenseth thought he had his Eliminator Round passport punched. He never recovered and failed to advance.
You know the rest, so I won’t beat that to death. Google it.
“I don’t think he ran me off,” Kenseth said in Mike Hembree’s USA Today story. “He did run me off. He ran me so far down I couldn’t really lift. I couldn’t get back up the track. It looked like there was no penalty, and we kept racing.”
NASCAR will keep its eagle eye and its evil eye—that’s two eyes—on these two this race.
As it stands, both drivers are winless, and Kenseth in particular is in no position for a war. He’s the only JGR driver without a win, so his focus needs to be on that regardless of what he thinks the No. 22 is up to.
To Kansas Goes the Veterans
In Kansas Speedway’s relatively short stint in the Cup Series, the only driver who has won that you’d consider “young” is Logano, who won in the fall of 2014 and the fall of 2015.
Every other driver is what you’d consider tenured. We’re dealing with Hall of Famers: Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski.
Big, big names.
Many of the younger, fresher drivers, post-MTV drivers have been making serious waves this year. Rookies Elliott and Blaney, as well as Austin Dillon and Trevor Bayne are driving well.
But Kansas won’t spring a first-time winner. It will go to a veteran—someone with crow’s feet and maybe a varicose vein or two.