Dale Earnhardt Jr Reveals How This Hendrick Motorsports Driver Could Have Prevented Larson-Elliott Fallout at Watkins Glen

Published 08/26/2022, 4:05 PM EDT
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – JANUARY 12: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, speaks to the Media during the NASCAR Next Gen Test at Daytona International Speedway on January 12, 2022 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Currently, the Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott squabble is the talk of the town in NASCAR. Although both drivers may soon bury the hatchet, it is still a hot topic to dissect.

Recently, former Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr spoke about the matter and gave his thoughts.

According to him, the whole situation could have been avoided if there was one key difference.


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He said, “I think if AJ’s not there, certainly if Byron is in that position instead of AJ. Larson definitely doesn’t go down in there over his head and sliding tires.”

“He’s going to feel way more protected with a teammate behind him. The whole thing changes.”

“But with AJ being AJ, he’s one of the best road racers in the field, no question. Maybe the best. So he’s aggressive, he’s there to win, nothing else.”


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What did Dale Earnhardt Jr. mean by that statement?

According to him, Larson and Elliott would have probably felt safer with a teammate behind them. This is because they knew that Byron would know better than try to attack for the lead. Especially when all three of them, and their other teammate, Alex Bowman, have all qualified for the Playoffs. So in all, none of them would have had anything to lose.


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LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 05: Kyle Larson (#5 Hendrick Motorsports HendrickCars.com Chevrolet) looks at Chase Elliott (#9 Hendrick Motorsports NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet) as he answers a question for a media press conference during the Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum NASCAR Cup Series race on February 05, 2022, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

However, for Larson and Elliott, it is a matter of personal pride at stake. With AJ Allmendinger hunting them down, the danger was there because he is under no obligation to hold station. The Kaulig Racing driver is there to just do one thing, and that is gun for the win. At least William Byron could have acted as a rear gunner, so Kyle Larson would ease up on the aggression.

Since there was Allmendinger instead, Kyle Larson knew that his position would be under threat, unless he got a move on. So desperate times called for desperate measures. The #5 driver fully sent it down the inside and forced his teammate off the track.


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WATCH THIS STORY: “Each Time, It Gets Tougher” – Dale Earnhardt Jr Hints at Stopping His Fan-Favorite NASCAR Tradition

Naturally, Chase came off as the big loser and ended the race in 4th place, losing places to Allmendinger and Joey Logano.



Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a senior Motorsports author for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

Edited By: Ranvijay Singh