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“Bored Dale Earnhardt Jr Stands Behind NASCAR To Spice-Up Road Course Regulations

Published 08/23/2023, 2:19 PM EDT

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At the beginning of this season, NASCAR announced a major change in the way its road course races would play out. Since 2017, the officials fragmented every race into three stages with mandatory caution breaks. However, come 2023, NASCAR decided to award stage points without any break in the racing. While NASCAR altered the rule in order to give fans the maximum number of green flag laps, many NASCAR veterans like Dale Earnhardt Jr have a problem with it.

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Needless to say, this change in the regulations has affected the races at COTA, Sonoma, Chicago street course, Indianapolis road course, and Charlotte. And the most recent prey to this was Watkins Glen International.

Earnhardt Jr fine with stage cautions coming back


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Taking away caution from the stages might have brought down the duration and the risk factor of the game, but is it really what the fans want? Fewer cautions mean fewer restarts and fewer restarts mean fewer complexities in the strategies. The course of the game becomes extremely straightforward.

In his podcast, Dale Junior said, “You gotta run the race backward; you gonna pit, you gonna run the stage if you can get your stage points and come right to pit road and then you’re gonna do the same thing in stage 2.”


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As soon as the drivers close into the final laps of the races, they pit their cars, and refuel or change tires if needed. Then they steer forth for the last run till the checkered flag. This has been the case since NASCAR lifted the stage cautions from its street races.

“But with the stage cautions, there was an extra set of strategies to try,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr., “So without the stage caution, there’s like one and a half strategies. With stage cautions, you get about three different routes to take. And you know the person who stays out to get that stage point is at a disadvantage to the person who threw it away and pitted before.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. found these complexities quite interesting. Before the dawn of the next-gen cars, speed was not the sole deciding factor behind winning a race. Junior exclaimed, “You had a lot of cars that were, maybe, not very fast… they would jumble up and make things exciting, hit somebody… fight their way through…”

Watch this story: Dale Earnhardt Jr Admits His Former Associates, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin, Shattered Their Image as He Fails to Justify Their Behavior

“If NASCAR turned around a day and said we’re going back to stage cautions at road courses, I would be fine with it,” he admitted solemnly.

Dale Earnhardt Jr finds support

Currently, NASCAR flaunts a net worth of over $100 million. Do we need to say more about how coveted this sport is in America? Besides being a sport, NASCAR is also a full-fledged entertainment business. And how will a business run if the fans are not happy with it?

Talking to SiriusXM’s John Roberts, reporter Chris Knight expressed disappointment at the nature of Sunday’s Go Bowling at The Glen. He said, “That’s the first time I ever left Watkins Glen during the daylight.


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Chris said that he left Watkins Glen with an unfulfilled desire. He admitted, “Yes, I am a journalist and I report on the races, but I am also a race fan. To your credit, I listened to SiriusXM NASCAR radio on Sunday night and the race fans felt like they are watching a Formula 1 race.”

If stock car races become on par with F1 races, they are most likely to lose interest in it. According to Knight, bringing back the stage cautions is crucial to the momentum of the sport. In his words, “I would much rather bring the stage cautions back and stack up the field.”


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Bringing back the stage cautions will probably increase a few minutes into the race, but for Chris Knight and as we know, for Dale Earnhardt Jr too, long races are not a problem. Knight concluded by saying, “If it’s giving the fans and giving the sport some electricity, then I think the extra 20 minutes was worth it.”

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Written by:

Soumyadeep Saha


One take at a time

Soumyadeep is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. He has done his Master's in English Literature and is a semi-professional bodybuilder. He has, in recent years, channelized his love and commitment for motorsports into a building career path.
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