“We Wouldn’t Be Able To Produce Enough Tickets” – Dale Earnhardt Jr Comes to Nascar’s Defence Amid Short Track Controversy as He Highlights Next-Gen Developments in 2023

Published 05/24/2023, 3:45 PM EDT

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The North Wilkesboro Speedway made a historic return to NASCAR last Sunday. Unfortunately, it hasn’t quite had the effect it was supposed to. It is no secret how Dale Earnhardt Jr played a big role in reviving the track. However, the former Hendrick Motorsports driver recently came into the governing body’s defense while discussing the controversy surrounding short tracks.

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Without a doubt, there are very few drivers, who have remained as passionate about NASCAR as Dale Jr. With his primary agenda always being the betterment of the sport, he recently discussed how the Next-Gen cars have changed the game.

Dale Earnhardt Jr backs NASCAR and its Next-Gen car amid the ongoing short-track package debate

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It is no secret how the Next-Gen car has divided opinions ever since its introduction last year. While it has brought success in creating multiple winners, the type of racing witnessed has been questionable at times. More so at short tracks, where the event hasn’t turned out to be entertaining from the fan’s perspective.

After the All-Star race on Sunday, Dale Earnhardt Jr spoke on his podcast “The Dale Jr Download”. Therein, he discussed the criticism NASCAR’s short-track package has faced lately and how there is a need to get better at such tracks. He said, “There’s a lot of conversation around how to get better not just for Wilkesboro’s sake, [but] for short-track racing.”

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Junior then referred to a race at Martinsville before the Gen-7 car came into play. He said, “It is you know when we were going to Martinsville with the old car, the car that we ran before the next-gen. Every time we left that racetrack I was thinking to myself if this is what NASCAR could deliver every single week, we wouldn’t be able to print enough tickets.”

Further, he explained what was happening then. The 2x Daytona 500 winner said, “You had [Joey] Logano pushing [Martin] Truex [Jr] around, you had Denny [Hamlin] pushing Chase [Elliott] around, you had [Alex] Bowman pushing Denny around every time we went to that racetrack, we had drama, we had frustration, we had sound bites, we had all kinds of frustrations that you couldn’t sustain that every single week.”

However, while he appreciates the positive change the Next-Gen car has brought in, he certainly fears the future of short tracks. Dale Jr said, “It certainly would be nice to have that popping off every other week or two or three weeks in the season, once or twice a month. But our short tracks are dwindling away and now we’re calling tracks that aren’t even short tracks, short tracks, just so to say we still got a few.”

It is not the first time the 48-year-old has highlighted his worry about the short tracks. In fact, he explained how the perception of the Next-Gen cars has to change to help in this regard.

Dale Earnhardt Jr demands prompt actions to ensure the sustainability of short tracks following the race at North Wilkesboro Speedway

There is no doubt how Dale Earnhardt Jr has always wished the best for the sport. In fact, after a very long time, he looked worried while discussing the future of short tracks. In the same episode of his podcast, he explains how the way Next-Gen cars are looked at has to change for the betterment of NASCAR.

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Dale Jr said, “I’m terrified Mike that if we don’t get this right, If we don’t turn it around, change the direction or change the perception of everybody’s opinion of this Next-Gen car going to short tracks. I’m afraid that we are going to continue to lose opportunities at short tracks.”

Further, he adds, “How many times can we go… North Wilkesboro got brought back? It’s right there in front of us, It’s ready to rock. It’s ready to be an asset to this industry. But if we can’t get the racing right there, if we can’t get the tires, and the cars right. How long can that place hang on?”

WATCH THIS STORY: Tony Stewart Drops “Astronomical” Revelation About Joe Gibbs as He Admits NASCAR Teams Rallied for the Controversial Next Gen Car

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Certainly, Junior has a point there. It is an uphill task for NASCAR and only a collective effort from everyone can help here. What do you think can help in this case? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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Written by:

Priyank Mithani

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Priyank Mithani is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports with a passion for motorsports that began in his childhood. Over the years, he has been following the sport meticulously, and his insights are highly respected within the NASCAR community. Priyank is a devoted fan of Kyle Busch and has closely followed his career for years.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal

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