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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Gets Behind Jimmie Johnson’s NASCAR Criticism, Wants Change as Soon as Possible

Gowtham Ramalingam

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Gets Behind Jimmie Johnson’s NASCAR Criticism, Wants Change as Soon as Possible

Legacy Motor Club co-owner and 7-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson had said last week in Texas that the current length of practice sessions before a race wasn’t sufficient enough. He reasoned that teams were unable to translate the data from their simulations to the real world in the given time and make meaningful changes to their cars. His opinion has garnered support from Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Speaking on the recent episode of his podcast, “Dale Jr. Download”, Dale Jr. expressed support for his former teammate and pitched for longer than 20 minutes of practice sessions. He said that drivers like Johnson, Carson Kvapil, and Shane van Gisbergen (SVG), who are at an obvious disadvantage as compared to the rest of the field can be given an opportunity to balance their acts through this.

He said, “Whether it is that veteran seven-time Cup champion coming back to compete with us, or it is these young drivers, or these Europeans or foreigners trying to come in and compete with us and be successful… There’s all these great stories that are being stifle by the lack of practice.”

Johnson had contended to the press in Texas that extending the length of the practice runs to somewhere between 40-45 minutes could do the trick. While Dale Jr. did not mention by what measure he’d like to see the runtime increased, he does staunchly believe that more practice can improve the performances of those not acclimated yet to the Next Gen car.

Dale Jr. reasons the need for more practice before NASCAR races

He continued that the drivers he categorized where being forced to run with one arm tied behind their backs by not being given enough time to practice. Appreciating their desire to get into unknown pastures and compete, he reiterated that he did not want such excuses blocking their efforts.

“I feel like he’s [Johnson] racing with one arm tied behind his back and I feel that way for Shane,” he said. “He gave up everything he had back in New Zealand and Australia – a successful career – to come out here. He wants this to work. And I don’t want any excuses why it didn’t. Those are two examples.”

He added that he also wanted more practice to help the causes of the rookies who were going through JR Motorsports such as Josh Berry and Carson Kvapil. Dale Jr. urged that he himself could do better with more practice in the sporadic Xfinity Series races that he runs.

The biggest reason NASCAR provides for not having longer practice runs is to keep costs lower for the financially-disadvantaged teams. However, it could very well be hurting the chances of these teams’ chances at success by doing this. It will have to be wait and seen if the voices of Johnson and Dale Jr. nudge the promotion from its seat.

About the author

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham is a NASCAR journalist at The SportsRush. Though his affinity for racing stems from Formula 1, he found himself drawn to NASCAR's unparalleled excitement over the years. As a result he has shared his insights and observations by authoring over 350 articles on the sport. An avid fiction writer, you can find him lost in imaginary worlds when he is not immersed in racing. He hopes to continue savoring the thrill of every lap and race together with his readers for as long as he can.

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