“If Kyle Larson…” – Dale Earnhardt Jr Reveals “Major” Pet Peeve Concerning NASCAR Teams

Published 02/24/2023, 7:59 AM EST

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The Daytona 500 is one of the most anticipated races on the Cup Series calendar. However, superspeedways like these pose a unique challenge to drivers. One of the key aspects of racing here revolves around drafting. If one is not in the draft, they are likely to keep falling back.

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But in order to execute a perfect draft, younger drivers need the practice to gain an advantage or at least be on equal footing with more experienced drivers. But practice for drafting does not come easy.

One has to rely on actual races to understand the complex nature of executing a perfect draft. This is what Dale Earnhardt Jr recently spoke about on his podcast. He spoke about one of his major pet peeves in these circumstances, giving the example of Kyle Larson.

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What is the pet peeve Dale Earnhardt Jr talked about?

Earnhardt Jr mentioned that he was at the Daytona Duel this year and was scanning the radios of several cars. That is when he heard someone say, “just stay alive and well, take care of our equipment. Let’s not wreck this car. It’s our car for Sunday.” Junior apparently fumed at this statement, calling it to be his “pet peeve.”

He said, “My pet peeve are these teams that, I’m not ignorant to the financial implications if he wrecks that race car, but if we’re so close, we can’t wreck a race car at the duels, then what are we doing? Why are we even going down there?

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“My pet peeve is that if Kyle Larson, the front row guy is zigging and zagging and dueling and doing everything he can. He’s not doing that, in my opinion, to finish better. He’s doing that because it’s like, ‘Man, I’m not very good at this.'”

Junior’s opposition to NASCAR practice sessions

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During the same podcast, Junior then explained that the only way for these younger drivers to get better was by practicing. However, he also mentioned how the regular practice sessions currently held by NASCAR were a “joke.” Therefore, he argued that the only real practice one would be able to get is either during the race restarts or during the Daytona duels.

USA Today via Reuters

Junior concluded his argument by saying, “So my pet peeve is these teams that don’t allow their young drivers to go make a huge mistake on Thursday. Because it’s the only time you’re alone. You can make one and not cost points.”

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As per his argument, teams should allow more freedom for younger drivers to experiment and practice during non-point-scoring races. Though he acknowledges the financial concerns of the teams, he questions their strategy.

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Written by:

Srijan Mandal

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Srijan Mandal is a NASCAR author at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his Master’s in Journalism and has been writing for his own blog as well, covering NASCAR, F1, F2, W Series, MotoGP, DTM, IndyCar, WRC, and WEC. Following motorsports for more than a decade, he has become a devout supporter of McLaren Racing, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Bubba Wallace, Sir Lewis Hamilton, and Ayrton Senna.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal

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