“What’s His Name?” – Dale Earnhardt Jr. Butchers Michael Jordan’s Special Guest

Published 08/09/2023, 8:44 AM EDT

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Following the monumental success of NASCAR’s first-ever street race at Downtown Chicago, the organization and NASCAR nation are strapping their boots as the Cup Series action heads to the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway next week.

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As fans are awaiting the epic showdown at the coveted track, the arrival of international names just adds to the already star-studded driver line-up. While racing fans are locked and loaded for the Indy road race, NASCAR veteran and popular NBC commentator Dale Earnhardt Jr. jumps the gun, dragging Michael Jordan’s special guest and 23XI Racing‘s #67 driver, Kamui Kobayashi into the picture, butchering his name in the process.

Dale Jr. butchers Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin’s new entry’s name

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IndyCar is certain to draw a lot of attention with its larger-than-life driver lineup. Project 91 of Trackhouse Racing had its success with the Kiwi Supercar sensation, Shane Van Gisbergen, etching his name in the history books by claiming the win at the inaugural Street race in the Windy City.

Now, as the Cup Series schedule reaches the gates of the Indianapolis course next week, Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin’s 23 XI Racing have brought in a consummate professional from the World of Endurance Racing. Railroad City will feature Shane Van Gisbergen, Jenson Button, and Kamui Kobayashi. Kobayashi will start a Cup Series race for the first time in 20 years as a Japanese driver. Kobayashi, a 36-year-old former Formula One racer with KCMG, has impressed a number of NASCAR icons since making the switch to other motorsports events after leaving F1.

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While it’s an interesting proposition for racing fans across the world, Dale Jr. bit his tongue as he dragged the poor guy’s name through the mud, essentially butchering it when he said, “Kimi, Kimu his last name is? It’s Kobayashi.”

Though the veteran JR Motorsports co-owner gave credit to the drivers for taking on a different ball game—NASCAR—he couldn’t pronounce it accurately, saying, “I was right, Jesus. I just love how on these guys are, they got so much s**t in front of them, screens and fu**ing google search and every fu**ing tool in the book, man they just crank it out.”

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. highlights the 23XI’s No. 67’s attribute

For ardent fans of racing, Kamui Kobayashi is not a new name. He has been part of the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning Toyota team, and now he has his eyes set on NASCAR as he looks to put on his helmet, becoming the first-ever Japanese driver to drive for Toyota in NASCAR at Indy.

While the race is certainly hyping up fans with the level of competition in the Verizon 300 at the Brickyard, later in the same podcast, the veteran makes up for his mistake, mispronouncing the TRD driver’s name and giving him the deserved credit.

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“Kobayashi, we’ve seen him, he’s ridiculous and ends up at the 24 hours of Daytona, and every car that he drives in, it’s like he’s lights out faster than everybody else, and it’s a bit talked about but it’s also, I’ve seen him on his broadcast and there’s sort of like unspoken like, okay yeah this guy’s way better than everyone else, we don’t really dive, you know you don’t want to dive into that during the live broadcast because you don’t push the rest of the guys down,” said the veteran.

WATCH THIS STORY: Denny Hamlin Approves of Let Down Tyler Reddick’s 4-F Abuse Against Michael Jordan’s $150 Million NASCAR Outfit

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Written by:

Kishore R

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Kishore is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. With a degree in engineering, Kishore's love for automobiles, particularly the roaring naturally-aspirated V8s, naturally led him to NASCAR. Kishore's writing is characterized by his intense passion for the sport, as well as his ability to conduct in-depth research and analysis.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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