Dale Earnhardt Jr Exposes NASCAR’s Ignorance With a Worrying Jimmie Johnson Revelation

Published 11/14/2023, 5:01 AM EST

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According to a 2022 census, NASCAR races had three million views per race, the most they had in four years. However, statistics show that the 2021 Formula 1 season had 70 million viewers per race. Why is there such a huge discrepancy between the number of viewers between these two racing federations when both had almost similar beginnings? Perhaps it all comes down to how NASCAR portrays its drivers to the mainstream media.

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On that note, Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr recently revealed how NASCAR had kept the more interesting side of 7X Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson’s character from the fans. Had teams like Hendrick Motorsports illuminated the more sellable aspect of the drivers, perhaps the drivers would have had more stardom than they already do.

Dale Earnhardt Jr agreed with Kenny Wallace, exposing NASCAR in the process

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As the recent episode of The Kenny Conversation kicked off, Wallace made a point saying that NASCAR must do a better job of promoting their drivers. He cited the example of Kyle Larson when the #5 HMS star won the championship in 2021. People had asked Larson what had changed in his life after the title win, to which Larson admitted that it was all the same.

The very fact that working up to the grind and winning the championship made no impact on Larson’s life shocked Wallace. He exclaimed, “I said NASCAR and everybody’s got to start promoting these drivers, and Steve O’Donnell (Chief Operating Officer at NASCAR) liked that on my Instagram. And I thought, Oh Boy!”

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However, Wallace wanted to know Dale Earnhardt Jr’s opinion. He wondered if NASCAR had the right drivers where people can and should know them. Junior said, “Absolutely!” He then proceeded to bring out the unpopular side of his friend, the legendary Jimmie Johnson, and how NASCAR has sidelined his cooler side.

Jimmie Johnson, according to Junior, is one of the most interesting and fun guys that he has ever met. However, the fans have always known him as a driver who drives for Hendrick Motorsports and is sponsored by Lowe’s. “I knew him as this really kick-a** fun guy that I really love to hang out and drink beer with,” said Junior. “That person that I knew never really became that well known to the rest of the world. They only knew him as Jimmie, the seven-time champion that drives for Hendrick Motorsports sponsored by Lowe’s.”

“All our drivers are fun, bada** people and I feel like, it is NASCAR’s responsibility to take advantage of their avenues and the things that they are connected to and the access that they have,” he added.

Watch this story: NASCAR’s Future: A Power Struggle Brewing?

Luckily enough for Dale Earnhardt Jr, he never had this issue as a famous beer company had his back when he was driving the famous #8 car.

Budweiser plays a big role in the stardom that Dale Earnhardt Jr has today

Dale Earnhardt Jr ushered into a full-time Cup scene in 2000 as he reserved the seat of his red Budweiser Chevy. From his first career win at Texas Motor Speedway to winning the emotional Daytona 500 in 2001 just after his father’s death, the beer company has always been by his side.

Even when Junior retired, Budweiser put up a video tribute to one of Junior’s favorite songs, Lord Huton’s “The Night We Met,” playing in the background. Needless to say, Dale Earnhardt Jr was emotional.

According to CBS Sports, Junior said, “Budweiser will always have a special place in my heart. They took a chance on me early on, sponsored my first Cup ride, and paved the way to many great opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I’m deeply honored in what they’ve done to commemorate my final race. It was unexpected and humbling.”

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Fast forward to today, Junior said that all the exposure that he had received was Budweiser’s power. He told Wallace, “Budweiser probably had more access and ability to shoot us into the stratosphere more than any other brand and they did.” Junior admitted that it wasn’t the “Earnhardt” last name that took him to boxing matches and even to an MTV Music Awards show. Instead, it was Budweiser.

“The corporate sponsors are really the ones that have the most leverage to be able to get a driver into a certain space that they can’t get to. And they have the most to gain from it,” he added.

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Do you agree with Junior? Is NASCAR to blame for not promoting their drivers the best way?

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Written by:

Soumyadeep Saha

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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh

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