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“Could Not Do Anything Different” –Dale Earnhardt Jr Forgives 13-YO Late Model Star Moments After Josh Dickens’ Spine Chilling Florence Wreck

Published 11/19/2023, 2:53 AM EST

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The future of NASCAR needs to be preserved and curated. As Kevin Harvick highlighted a couple of weeks ago, the younger generations of stock car racing have been diluted with temptation and speed. The latest CARS Tour race at the Florence Motor Speedway shows why. A conundrum has been unleashed in Florence as 16-year-old Josh Dickens found himself in one of the ugliest crashes in South Carolina 400 history. Dale Earnhardt Jr was a part of the wreck, too.

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A multi-car wreck followed the crash in the 77th lap of the race. Following the violent collision, Dickens’ No. 20 Late Model had to be towed away as it was not drivable. Dickens exited the car safely and might be taken to the medical center for further evaluation. Junior was the driver involved in initiating the wreck after coming into contact with 13-year-old driver Tristan Mckee.

Dale Earnhardt Jr says Tristan Mckee has to learn from this wreck


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Tristan Mckee has made waves at the grassroots level. The budding youngster became the youngest race winner in CARS Tour history after winning at Dillon Motor Speedway in June. With so much hype to his name, he has continued competing in the Late Model Stock Car competition.

Dale Earnhardt Jr received a chance to win in Florence for the third time this season. However, in the 77th lap, Junior in the N0.3 nudged the #7 Late Model of Mckee, which sent him into the NO.20 of Josh Dickens. Dickens’ car spun after the collision, and the visible damage to the car speaks volumes about the seriousness of the crash. A multi-car wreck followed as the debris and a wrecked vehicle obstructed the track. The incident triggered a red flag, and the race was immediately halted.


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Following the unfortunate race, Dale Earnhardt Jr spoke with the media and revealed that he wouldn’t change his approach if given a chance at it. He asked for a better show of racing from Mckee and said, “He’s 13 or something, right? I know who he is. I raced him here last year. Good kid. I just don’t know that I could do anything different.”

“We saw it. You couldn’t do anything else. It might be a lesson he has to learn from.” Junior added as he emphasized the need to do better in the upcoming career phase.

The racing in the CARS Tour has been risky lately. A fit of temper from Katie Hettinger at the Tri-County Speedway was a talking point in the community. Caden Kvapil and Hettinger were present at the race and had a better outing than Mckee and Dickens. The rising number of such instances has concerned the competition’s stakeholders, Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Kevin Harvick wants to improve the grassroots

Harvick has been a strong voice for change in NASCAR. He has addressed issues for the drivers and created a bridge between authorities and professionals for a long time. Colluding with Junior to give the CARS Tour a fresh breath of air was a great idea. Despite the risky business and threat to life for the young drivers, caution has been the top priority for the owners. Dale Earnhardt Jr has always been spontaneous with his ideas.

On the other hand, Harvick has a blueprint for his next steps. Speaking about his partner’s approach, the former Stewart-Haas Racing driver said, “When he talks about, ‘Just figure out, we’re going to go race.’ Well, that’s what we’ve always done. But that’s not what everybody else does. For a lot of these guys, it’s a business, or it’s something that they do after their job. So it has to make sense.”

“I had no idea before being involved in this what the options were for engines, what the tire compound was, how much it costs to race. And you listen to the team owners and the things they bring up, it’s the simple things.”


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Revealing the competition’s primary aim and what their targeted age group for racing is, the 47-year-old said, “We want to be able to help (the grassroots racers) understand what racing is all about at all levels, and give them a bigger platform to expose how great they are to the world. I think that part is fun, and I think it will get better.”


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Watch This Story: Dale Earnhardt Jr & Kevin Harvick Calls for Stricter Officiating From NASCAR

Kevin Harvick has often been ready to change the system through which young drivers learn more about racing as a career. While temperament and mentality come with experience, teaching them young is where it goes a long way.

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Written by:

Ansuman Abhisek


One take at a time

I instantly fell in love with the sport as I witnessed the cars' breakneck speeds and the robust nature of the sport and its drivers. As I had a deep-rooted interest in automobiles, the sport naturally piqued my interest in a jiffy. Kyle Busch and his cutthroat style of racing played an important role in getting me hooked to stock car racing as I hopped on streams to watch him win races.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta