“I do have some questions…”: Dale Earnhardt Jr. points criticism sees disconnect between NASCAR, fans

“I do have some questions…”: Dale Earnhardt Jr. points criticism sees disconnect between NASCAR, fans

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and several viewers were perplexed by NASCAR’s decision to stop the race at New Hampshire with only 82 laps remaining.

Yes, light rain had began to fall, but NASCAR had brought Goodyear wet weather tires to New Hampshire anticipating that the weather would most certainly be a factor. Instead of running laps on wet weather tires, NASCAR waited until additional severe rain passed before returning to racing.

Earnhardt, speaking on the “Dale Jr. Download” this week, criticized NASCAR for not getting several laps in due to light precipitation. However, he believes that their subsequent handling of the race was flawless.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. evaluates NASCAR’s handling of race at New Hampshire

“There eventually did come a very heavy rain that they expected,” according to Earnhardt. “… If you knew the rain was coming, would it preferable to sit there for 30 minutes and wait for it to come? Alternatively, we may have been pacing around the track. And maybe run a few green flag laps to see if the rain missed us or something? I am not sure. I believe we might have had several vehicles on the track during the half-hour wait for the heavy rain to arrive.

“But from that point on, I believed NASCAR handled everything flawlessly. I have a few questions about why they allowed everyone to fuel their autos. I was interested about that. Because, as Denny Hamlin pointed out on his podcast, NASCAR bailed out a lot of guys in a difficult, tough situation by allowing everyone to fuel their vehicles on pit road. NASCAR most likely made this move for safety reasons. I believe they should obviously emphasize safety. But it stunk if you had an advantage in terms of fuel. While others faced a disadvantage in front of you.”

The green flag finally fell after a two-hour and 15-minute delay and with the field using the wet weather tires. Earnhardt believes NASCAR needs to a better job explaining to its fanbase what the tire is used for.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. sees disconnect between NASCAR, fans

“The tires — there’s a little bit of a disconnect I believe between what NASCAR knows about the tire and it’s capabilities and what the fan at home knows about the tire and its capabilities,” Earnhardt said. “NASCAR, I think — I don’t wanna say could do a better job. Because that’s not really the truth. Or what I wanna convey. But before this race starts, maybe it would be good to have like a clear understanding of why the tires are there, what it will be used exactly for and not used for.

“That is consistent with fans’ desire for NASCAR to continue to enjoy racing in inclement weather or rainy circumstances. Everyone, including the fans and NASCAR, is pushing in this direction to get to the point where we can finally leave everything in the hands of the teams. The race is about to commence; if it rains, you’re on your own. That’s where we want to be. NASCAR will admit that that is where it wants to be. They don’t enjoy having to control the race in such a way. They want to hand it on to the teams.

“And I think there’s just some hesitation on that part because we can have a disaster. If they turn it over to the teams and it goes bad, everybody’s gonna blame NASCAR, not the teams. ‘What’d you do that for NASCAR? They should’ve known better, they should’ve seen that coming.’ We all are perfectly experts in hindsight. So, while I’m sitting there watching the race, I’m not at the racetrack. I don’t see umbrellas during the interviews, drivers are out in the pits getting interviewed during this break. We had 30 minutes of what I thought was relatively clear weather, dry weather. The track is wet. But I thought they could’ve had cars out there pacing to get it to a point where they could drop the green flag with the wet weather tire.”

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