Dale Earnhardt Jr Critical of “Too Dang Far” NASCAR Test in Phoenix

Published 01/25/2023, 3:37 AM EST

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Throughout his career, Dale Earnhardt Jr proved himself to be a formidable competitor on the track. Winning countless races in the NASCAR Cup Series, including his four historic wins at the prestigious Daytona 500. However, it has been quite some time since his retirement in 2017 that he has had the feel of driving on a Cup Series track.

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Junior recently tweeted how he missed being a NASCAR driver. But strikingly, he marked one such memory to not be something he enjoyed all that much. In his tweet, Junior mentioned, “There are a lot of things I miss about being a Nascar Cup driver but a late January 2-day test at Phoenix is definitely not one of them.”

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Soon fans began asking Junior why he loathed the test. Apparently, he did have multiple valid reasons related to the location of the test. When a fan asked him if he did not like the Phoenix Raceway, Junior replied that it was not the track but the physical location of the venue. It’s a bit far for a test, he responded.

Later on, over another comment, the hall of Famer suggested that NASCAR should, “Do it on the east coast.” Despite the criticism from Junior, the test in Phoenix went fairly well for some. In fact, it also marked a major day for a seven-time champion making a comeback.

Jimmie Johson runs his first laps during the Phoenix test

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The returning record holder Jimmie Johnson finally got into a Cup car once again. Johnson, along with several other drivers, got the taste of the car to be used by his crew in the 2023 season. The test took place at the Phoenix Raceway, the same track that Junior was critical about earlier.

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Following the test, Johnson told the media that these cars felt, “dramatically different.” This observation was in comparison to the last time he raced in the Cup Series. Since then, NASCAR has moved onto the Next Gen car, introduced last year. No wonder, it felt quite different for the seven-time champion.

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He also mentioned how he was unable to drive these cars sideways, unlike with previous generations. However, it is certain that Johnson surely enjoyed his time out on track. Especially since this marked the first time he sat in a Cup Series car since his retirement in 2020. Earlier, it was announced that Johnson would be joining Petty GMS as a minority stakeholder and a part-time driver. All eyes are currently on him to see how he performs during the season opener at Daytona.

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Written by:

Srijan Mandal

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Srijan Mandal is a NASCAR author at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his Master’s in Journalism and has been writing for his own blog as well, covering NASCAR, F1, F2, W Series, MotoGP, DTM, IndyCar, WRC, and WEC. Following motorsports for more than a decade, he has become a devout supporter of McLaren Racing, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Bubba Wallace, Sir Lewis Hamilton, and Ayrton Senna.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal

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