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Jimmie Johnson “Racing With One Arm Tied Behind His Back,” Claims Dale Jr as He Trashes Chase Elliott’s Sufficient Practice Rant

Published 04/17/2024, 1:32 AM EDT

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If you look at Jimmie Johnson‘s record so far in the races this year, you would not really see a 7-time Cup Series champion. J.J. finished P28 at Daytona and P29 at Texas. But is that his fault? No doubt, Legacy Motor Club has had trouble being competitive, and Dale Earnhardt Jr believes that with the right machinery, Jimmie Johnson can do much better. Junior also spoke about the difficulty of having short practice sessions, contradicting Chase Elliott‘s words from a few days ago.

Earnhardt Jr. believes that NASCAR should give more practice time before races which will help drivers like Johnson. This was after Johnson also urged NASCAR to extend the practice session.

Dale Earnhardt Jr blames lack of practice for Jimmie Johnson’s misery

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Chase Elliot won the race at the Texas Motor Speedway, so Dale Earnhardt Jr said he would be more inclined to take his word for it as he is the one doing the racing on the track.

Dale Earnhardt Jr exclaimed, “He’s (Elliott) the driver that’s just won the race this past weekend…if he tells me that this is the way it is and this is good, I’m gonna probably take his word for it cause he is the one out there doing it. I am sitting at home watching from a distance and like I say all the time, we got a lot of opinions on here and we sometimes get it right and sometimes get it wrong. Maybe I am wrong about this one. But he pointed out NASCAR should give drivers like Jimmie Johnson more practice time.

“Maybe I am wrong about practice. I just know that I’d love to see Jimmie run better and if he thinks practice will help, I’d love to give him more practice cause I wanna see Jimmie Johnson be competitive. Cause I know he can be. I feel like he is racing with one arm tied behind his back,” Dale Earnhardt Jr claimed.

Maybe the shorter practice session played a part in Johnson not being able to compete too well. According to Dale Earnhardt Jr., the practice sessions in the NASCAR Cup Series are quite short and it leaves drivers no time to process the data and formulate how they can improve the car’s performance.

Ahead of the Texas Cup race, Johnson asked NASCAR to extend the practice session to give teams more time to better develop the cars. He said, “The practices are not long enough to make a meaningful change to the car. So, the bigger teams with more resources and, really resources far and wide, to unload on is where it’s at, and it affects the smaller teams that don’t have the access that they need that are trying to feed their pipeline and make good decisions.” However, Chase Elliot disagreed with this assessment and believes full-time Cup drivers are getting enough practice time.

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He said, “If Jimmie is not going to race every week and he’s going to run 5 races, Jimmie needs practice. I think we have enough practice. I certainly can understand their perspective on guys either running a part-time schedule or people that are running, maybe full-time in Xfinity and then running a few Cup races here and there.” But in his podcast, Earnhardt Jr. continued to advocate longer practice sessions and talked about his own experience.

Junior talks about his experience of short practice sessions

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Perhaps shorter sessions are more advantageous for teams like Hendrick Motorsports that have many things already figured out than some of the smaller teams, like Legacy Motor Club. Dale Earnhardt Jr spoke about his experience with a short practice session in the fall Xfinity Series race at Bristol last year, where he finished P30.

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Yes, more practice. I would love more practice. When I went to Bristol last year, was it enough? Yes. But it was barely enough. Right at the end of that practice, I started to feel like I was sort of gaining on it and everything happens so fast, Practice, 20 minutes, Qualifying, and you’re like…you’re just spun out. There’s no time to download and think and process and change what you are doing to make adjustments and improve but anyhow, Chase thinks it’s fine,” the NASCAR veteran added.

Whose side are you on in this debate? Are shorter practice sessions better, or should the drivers be afforded longer practice sessions to get their cars as fine-tuned as possible? Let us know what you think.

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Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh

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Nilavro Ghosh is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports, where he is known for his creative yet easy-to-read writing style. Before taking up his role as a sports journalist at ES, Nilavro has written for some of the top publishing houses, like The Telegraph. While most journalists stop at covering live events and taking the news to the readers, Nilavro goes the extra mile to give fans a platform for them to express their thoughts through his 'race reaction' pieces.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta