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USA Today via Reuters

USA Today via Reuters

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  Debate

Debate

Is Dale Jr. right in saying Ryan Blaney could beat Max Verstappen? NASCAR vs. F1—who's better?

If there is anyone worthy of winning the ESPY “Driver of the Year” award, it’s Max Verstappen! This guy is on fire, winning three championships in a row and now seven out of twelve races in 2024! Which is why he gets the name “Mad Max” or “Super Max.” He is up against the top drivers, Ryan Blaney, Matt Hagan, and Alex Palou.

Be it NASCAR, F1, or any other motorsport, every driver either envies him, wants to achieve what he has, or supports him. One such supporter of Max is Dale Earnhardt Jr. He has been extremely candid about it too and has talked in interviews about him, but things seem to be changing!

Dale Earnhardt Jr shifts support from Max Verstappen

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Max Verstappen’s dominance is not unknown to the world; he is to racing what Michael Phelps was to swimming—undefeated. But in such a high-stakes sport, no one likes predictability. As such, most term the races “boring” because they are always the same winner, and in fact, F1 bosses themselves said that the race ratings have gone down.

But Dale Earnhardt Jr, when asked about the matter, flat-out supported Max Verstappen. He explained how such a feat of being the “unbeatable” one is to be celebrated, not booed. He said, “Why aren’t we amazed and just in awe of what he accomplished tonight? But instead, we thought ‘Oh man this is the worst. Gosh, I hope that never happens again.’ I thought that wasn’t the case 30/40/50 years ago. Somebody went out and did something truly unique and was quite a bit better than the rest of the competitors, we celebrated that for decades. That made that person an icon and somebody that we’ll remember forever.”

But recently, his support for Max Verstappen seems to be wavering. When Dale Earnhardt Jr was asked about who had the chance to win the ESPY “Driver of the Year” award, he flat out said, “It’s not gonna be Max!”  Well, one can say that this is because he is biased toward Ryan Blaney and that it can. But he gave another reason for not choosing Max. And according to him, Max Verstappen has been beatable recently, and that, for him, might dip the scales. He said at Dirty Mo Media, It’s not gonna be Max. I just don’t think so of course, so the last several weeks Max has been beatable.” 

via Reuters

Indeed, things seem to be changing for Max Verstappen, but that doesn’t take away the fact the fact that he is widely regarded as one of the most popular drivers in the world. And his streak with race wins is one of the rare ones! But that being said, this year, things are looking different for him. At the Austrian Grand Prix, George Russell took the win, and just last week, Lewis Hamilton, after what seemed to be a long time, clenched the win. But it’s crucial to note that he has won 7 out of 13 races—a big deal! And as compared to Ryan Blaney, who won just a single race, the difference has started. While Junior might not think Max Verstappen is the plausible winner of the award, he sure, given the stats, will be a favorite. 

Meanwhile, Dale Earnhardt Jr’s pick, Ryan Blaney, has found himself in the mix of an ongoing driver drama between Burton and Carson!

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At Nashville, a huge drama unfolded between Carson Hocevar and Burton. It all started after a caution was called after Keselowski crashed and made contact with Dillon. The entire field slowed down, except for Hocevar! He seemed least interested in lowering his speed, and he rammed behind Harrison Burton’s car. This was uncalled for, and Burton had to join the race from the back of the pack.

Ryan Blaney detested what ensued on track, and he openly bashed Hocevar for it. He said, “That’s something I’ve seen too many times out of that guy from different series. that’s not cool. Don’t do that. I think everyone made a big deal when Hocevar did that in the Cup race, and then they rightfully penalized him after the race. That’s the only way you’ll get that stuff to stop.”

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While Burton could only finish 28th, Hocevar managed to finish in 16th place. However, his happiness only lasted for so long as NASCAR plastered him with a $50,000 fine on Hocevar, and they even deducted 25 driver points from him. Right now, even the verdict on Bubba Wallace is yet to come on the incident that happened in Chicago, where he shoved the race winner while on the cool-down lap! He was essentially retaliating due to what happened on lap 25, but him doing the action while on cool-down could be dangerous for Bowman, who had his windows down and probably even his seat belts. And Bubba Wallace is already in a tight spot and hasn’t yet made it to the playoffs, so it remains to see what NASCAR decides. 

NASCAR has not been taking things lightly when it comes to safety, and it’s time drivers thread with caution. But who do you think will come out as the winner of the ESPY “Driver of the Year” award? Let us know, and maybe go vote!