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Dale Earnhardt Jr Calls the 2024 Daytona ‘AI-Generated’ as His Frustration by “2×2 Nonsense” Rises

Published 02/21/2024, 3:31 PM EST

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The Daytona 500 delivered exactly what fans came for: a mix of thrills, spills, tight racing, and plenty of caution flags. While the chaos really kicked off at lap 192 with a jaw-dropping pile-up involving nearly 23 cars, the action started heating up as early as lap 6. That’s when Harrison Burton found himself on the receiving end of a nudge from John Hunter Nemechek, sparking a tangle out of Turn 4 that dragged rookie Carson Hocevar across the turf. At that moment, Burton was sandwiched in the middle, right next to Nemechek, amidst a three-wide scramble, which eventually led to the pack thinning down to mostly two-wide racing post-carnage.

Seeing this, Dale Earnhardt Jr and the gang weighed in with their take on the day’s events.

Dale Earnhardt Jr calls the first wreck at the Daytona 500 nostalgic

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The first wreck at the Daytona 500 was a throwback moment for Dale Jr, as it took him back to the classic Daytona crashes of yesteryear with all its bump drafting and shoving around. But after that early shake-up, things seemed to mellow out, with the cars dropping the three-wide hustle.

On the latest episode of his Dale Jr. Download podcast, the veteran said, “That first wreck was very nostalgic looking to me looked like a traditional Dayton 500 style crash, and then the race went into this 2×2 nonsense fuel saving all that. So the entire field for like 40 laps in stage one ran 2×2 and it was you know it was like if you said to you know AI. Hey, show me the Dayton 500 that would be what it looked like.”

He continued, “That was kind of disappointing um I know they’re saving fuel. How do you get the fuel saving out of the race? You can’t entirely you just don’t know when yellows are going to fall.”

But Dale’s disappointment wasn’t just with the Daytona 500. The truck race also left him wanting more. It sounds like he’s itching to roll up his sleeves and show the newbies a thing or two about racing.

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Dale talks about the technical realities behind the crash-laden Truck race

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‘Daytona Truck race was wreck-fest’ would be an understatement considering the havoc people saw on the track. The track was lit up with 52 caution laps and a dozen yellow flags waving in the wind.

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On his podcast, The Dale Jr Download, Dale got into the nitty-gritty with Corey LaJoie, who had his own take on why the race turned into a bumper car session.

LaJoie pointed out that handling the trucks was like wrestling a bear, with them darting and diving in the turbulent air, getting twitchy or stubborn depending on the draft. He noted that many of the young guns behind the wheel were diving into the deep end without a clue about the aerodynamic twists and turns they’d face.

Dale then weighed in, saying NASCAR’s greenhorns were being thrown into the lion’s den at Daytona, facing some of the trickiest conditions in the racing world. His idea of a fix? Take a leaf out of the ARCA Series book. There was a time when ARCA races were more about staying in line and less about jostling for position, making for a snooze fest, but keeping the cars intact.

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Dale suggested tweaking the trucks to make them less buddy-buddy on the track, cutting down on the side-by-side action but sparing them from turning into scrap metal.

Dale Earnhardt Jr Lends a Hand for “Young and Inexperienced” Drivers Wrecking Havoc in the Craftsman Truck Series

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Written by:

Neha Dwivedi

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Neha Dwivedi is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. As a journalist, she religiously believes in the power of research, which allows her readers to dive deep into her stories and experience the detailed nuances of the sport like never before. Being proficient with Core Sport and Live Event Coverage, she has written multiple copies on the top entities of Stock Car Racing, like Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, and Tony Stewart.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh