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Dale Earnhardt Jr Lumps NASCAR With F1 to Reveal Motorsport’s Constant Struggle: “We All Fight the Same Thing”

Published 04/11/2024, 5:27 PM EDT

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Motorsports fans exist all across the globe. You will hear the roar of engines on NASCAR racetracks and also across the Ocean on F1 racing circuits. But there are huge differences between the two motorsport series. Ranging from car build to track type, Americans and Europeans have unique tastes in races.

Yet NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr believes a common thread sews both sports’ fortunes together. Similar challenges block the paths of motorsport drivers, hence Dale Jr thinks NASCAR should learn from Formula One.

Dale Earnhardt Jr calls for more NASCAR-F1 unity

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26-time Cup winner Dale Earnhardt Jr hung up his helmet in 2018. But he has not stopped religiously following the sport, even across American borders. Dale Jr is a Formula One fan, Max Verstappen being one of his favorites. At the US Grand Prix held in COTA last year, Dale Jr criticized the F1 authorities for handing Max Verstappen an unfair penalty.

Recently, former World Champion racer turned TV and web host Justin Bell sat down with Dale Jr. Bell asked him about the commonality between their disciplines, and the NASCAR veteran responded in his usual wise tone. Firstly, he heaped praises on all that Formula One does right in terms of infrastructure and team functionality.

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“I know that F1 is always aware of trying to make sure that they don’t fall into a rut, and giving the teams the ability to create, and be able to set themselves apart. It drives a lot of excitement around certain manufacturers and certain teams and so forth.”

Then with a touch of humility, Dale Earnhardt Jr emphasized that his sport could benefit from emulating F1. “NASCAR is competitive towards other forms of motorsport, but we also pay attention to what they’re doing right, and what we think we can learn from it. So that’s probably why I might pay attention to F1, sportscar, or IndyCar, is to try to see what NASCAR can learn or apply to be better.”

 

Finally, he put the cherry on top by looking at the bigger picture that unites all drivers. “The approach may look different, but we all fight the same thing economically with engine and supply and parts. Where do we wanna go, where are we gonna be in 5 or 10 years as an industry? We all are gonna face the same obstacles and challenges. Some have already faced them and overcome them.”

Besides Dale Earnhardt Jr building bridges between NASCAR and Formula One, a common sponsor also links both sports.

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Cross-border drivers fancy the same energy drink

Even if you start different types of engines, you may prefer the same beverage. Celsius Energy drink sponsors racers in both NASCAR and F1, entering the latter recently in 2023. However, the brand did not have plans to join the American series. Kyle Watson, executive VP of marketing for Celsius, said, “For us, there was not this like ‘set on’ intention to go and sponsor NASCAR specifically.”

One reason was Celsius is a healthier alternative to traditional brands like Monster Energy, a long-time sponsor for NASCAR. But then drivers like Corey Lajoie and AJ Allmendinger approached Celsius and changed the game. “They felt this alignment that they had with the product,” Watson said. “How it fits into their daily journey just through their performance and really even mentally like living fit mentally, not just physically.

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Even though Dale Jr and Celsius act as links, essential differences between NASCAR and Formula One may not be dissolved soon. So, each should learn from the other. 

Read More: Dale Jr’s Rolex 24 Winner Reveals Dropping F1 Dream for NASCAR After Lacking ‘Billions of Dollars’

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Written by:

Sumedha Mukherjee

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Sumedha Mukherjee is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports who is known for her in-depth track analysis as well as her lifestyle coverage of Cup drivers like Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. Inspired by the Kiwi's journey so far, Sumedha has also written pieces on Shane Van Gisbergen, predicting how the Supercars Champion would do in the new and unfamiliar American setting. Pairing her research skills with her vast experience as a writer, Sumedha creates stories her readers can easily get lost in.
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Edited by:

Shreya Singh