Dale Earnhardt Jr Uses Past Experiences to Give Crucial Advice to Bubba Wallace Ahead of 2021 NASCAR Season

Published 11/21/2020, 9:45 AM EST
FORT WORTH, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 02: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 Covert Auto Group Chevrolet, walks on the grid during the Salute to Veterans Qualifying Day Fueled by The Texas Lottery for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Ever since Bubba Wallace joined Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin’s NASCAR Cup Series team 23XI Racing, the talk has been about whether Wallace can win right away. The expectations are quite high from a talented driver who will receive better equipment from now on. However, NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt Jr. has an interesting suggestion for Wallace.


Article continues below this ad

Eanrhardt Jr. drew on his own experience and feels Wallace should learn from that. In this case, Earnhardt Jr. believes Wallace’s Crew Chief will play a very crucial role. The former driver looked back on his form around 2009-10 and said he was in a very bad phase of his career.

I saw no way out, no way forward, no way back to performing and being successful,” Earnhardt Jr. said of the situation.


Article continues below this ad

Steve Letarte, Earnhardt Jr’s Crew Chief, then decided to guide his team’s driver. Letarte thought that Earnhardt Jr would benefit from not putting too much pressure on himself. They then set small goals for themselves, starting with becoming a top-15 car after a season where they dropped out of the top-20.

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) races for position along side driver Bubba Wallace (43) during the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

How Dale Earnhardt Jr. recovered from a terrible situation

He said let’s just try and become a top-15 car and we did. We didn’t try harder, we didn’t strive for more, we just focused on trying to get to that point,” Earnhardt Jr. explained.

Once they achieved that level, Letarte pushed the driver towards bigger goals.

“He said, ‘Let’s move that goal forward to becoming a top-10 car’. Eventually, we moved into becoming a top-5 car.”

The string of successes pushed the star driver to achieve even greater heights and soon, they were contending for the top spots. He was even doing well on tracks where he traditionally struggled. Soon thereafter, they entered the playoffs and were considered favorites to win the title.

“Something I never thought might be possible for me was showing up at the race track and expecting to finish in the top-5. And we did. We got to where we were leading the points, in the top-2, top-3 in the points throughout the season…Racing and doing well everywhere.”

“I was extremely taken aback and surprised by the turnaround. It was just a very methodical thing,” he said further.

The key for Bubba Wallace going forward


Article continues below this ad

This is the approach Wallace and Crew Chief Mike Wheeler should take up, believes Dale Jr. He is confident they can be contenders sooner than later by following that method.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – JULY 05: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, stands by his car during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 5, 2018 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Let’s just start here and build upon this. Let’s keep stacking blocks as we go. Until, eventually, one day we can be a team that can go to the race track and say – top-5 is where we should finish. Make that a reality, go out there and do that,” Earnhardt Jr. concluded.


Article continues below this ad

Wallace will also highly benefit from the advice of Hamlin, who is one of the best drivers right now. Wallace and Wheeler will have a huge job at their hands and such useful advice from Earnhardt Jr. would definitely help.


“Brutal Environment”– Bubba Wallace Throws Light on Challenges of ‘Taxing’ NASCAR Racing

10 months ago



Aayush Majumdar

1006 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.