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“We Really Weren’t Confident” – Dale Earnhardt Jr Admits His Nerve Racking Mistake After A Decent Finish in South Carolina 400

Published 11/20/2023, 6:31 AM EST

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On his quest to breathe new life into short tracks like Florence Motor Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr returned to the racing scene for the second time yesterday since last year. The 2017 retiree, Dale Jr, seemed to grapple with some challenges, possibly due to the car’s handling. Despite a modest start, qualifying 26th, he managed to claw his way into the top-10.

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However, a minor oversight in balancing the car differently and not securing a better qualifying position may have been a setback for him. But, true to his form, Dale Earnhardt Jr. navigated through these hurdles and impressively finished in 8th place, showcasing his enduring skill on the track.

Dale Earnhardt Jr believes he had a good car that could have finished anywhere in the top


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Dale Earnhardt Jr openly expressed his disappointment at qualifying 26th, especially after intense practice sessions aimed at tailoring their setup for Florence’s track. “I tried not to let it bother me, but it’s hard not to let it bother you,” he admitted. He pondered over his lap time, comparing his performance to fellow JR Motorsports Late Model driver Carson Kvapil and questioning his own approach.

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However, Dale Jr. didn’t let his starting position hold him back. He steadily climbed up from 26th, showing his mettle and making it to 10th by the mid-race break. Post-break, with everyone on fresh tires, he judiciously managed his own, biding his time for a final push in the last 50 laps. His aggression shone through, especially on restarts. One notable moment was when Late Model Stock competitor Brenden “Butterbean” Queen approached him post-race to laud his bold move into Turn 1 in the final laps.

Earnhardt acknowledged that his less-than-ideal qualifying performance could have jeopardized the whole race if not for his car’s impressive speed. He mused, “I got to qualify better. I came here during the Darlington week and we ended up qualifying really good. We raced okay, but I thought it needed to be tighter in the race. So we came here with a little bit different balance. […] I got to figure out how to get a little more speed out of car and qualifying, so I don’t have to work so hard on the race. But a great race car. I think you could have dropped this anywhere in the top, you know, 10 there and we’d have finished there.”

He added, “We struggled in practice yesterday, we struggled all day today, just trying to figure out where we needed to be, we really weren’t confident in everything we were doing and what we had for the race tonight.”

While Dale Jr was pleased with his recovery from a poor qualifying position, finishing 8th wasn’t quite the result he’d envisioned, leaving a hint of ‘what could have been.’



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Dale Jr reflects on his race finish with mixed emotions

For Dale Earnhardt Jr, racing isn’t a regular gig these days, and it takes a toll. After the grueling four-hour race, he was visibly spent but still managed to say, “That was fun. Good job.” Despite the fatigue, the thrill of the race was evident in his words.

While he relished being back on the track after a break, Dale Jr wasn’t exactly over the moon about finishing in eighth place, particularly when his teammate nabbed a spot on the podium. Carson Kvapil’s third-place finish, trailing behind winner Kade Brown and runner-up Kaden Honeycutt, only accentuated his feelings.


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Dale Earnhardt Jr Pens Down a Heartfelt Throwback After His Final Race of the Season

Post-race, Dale Jr was his usual affable self, joking around with team members, chatting with friends, and engaging with a few special guests. He didn’t shy away from signing autographs and snapping photos with fans. And it was clear, especially after enjoying a beer, that he was in his element despite not being completely satisfied with his race result.

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Written by:

Neha Dwivedi


One take at a time

Controversies, gossip, and breakneck speeds? Count me in! While F1 has its charm, NASCAR helps me relive those "Roadrash" gaming days. My favorite among the drivers has to be Tyler Reddick. The 23XI Racing pilot is not only likable but also a complete beast when he is on track, more specifically, road courses.
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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath