After being collected in a crash that collected twenty-five of the thirty-six cars still running on the track on the last lap, many drivers took their media time to complain about NASCAR’s current setup and rules for restrictor plate races. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the most opinionated and vocal of drivers who were no pleased.
Oct 7, 2012; Talladega, AL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) drives back to the garage area after picking up teammate Jimmie Johnson (48) after a crash on the final lap during the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE
This is what Earnhardt had to say after the race in his press conference:
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THAT RACE IT WAS JUST CRAZY AT THE END?
“If this is what we did every week I wouldn’t be doing it I will just put it to you like that. If this is how we raced every week I would find another job.”
WHAT WAS THAT LAST LAP LIKE? NORMALLY YOU GUYS ARE THREE-WIDE BUT THIS TIME YOU WERE FOUR AND FIVE WIDE?
“That is what the package is doing. It’s really not racing. I don’t know it’s a little disappointing how that all went down. That cost a lot of money right there. If this is how we are going to race and that is how we are going to continue to race and nothing is going to change I think NASCAR should build the cars. It would save us a lot of money.”
YOU’VE RACED A LOT OF CRAZY TALLADEGA’S WHAT MAKES THIS ONE DIFFERENT? YOU USED TO LOVE RACING HERE:
“You just can’t get away from each other that good.
MEDIA: “I know it sucks for you guys but for the fans it’s awesome to watch.”
DALE EARNHARDT JR.: “Really? It’s not safe. Wrecking like that is ridiculous. It’s blood-thirsty if that is what people want. It’s ridiculous.”
WHAT CHANGES WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE?
“The way we are going ain’t the right direction. There are plenty of engineers out there I’m just a driver. There are plenty of smart people out there that can figure something out where when one guy gets in trouble we don’t have 30 cars tore up at the expense of it. I mean it’s awesome in a word and everybody can get on the chip about it and get excited about all that which just happened, but for the longevity of the sport that aint healthy. I don’t care what anybody says for the good of the sport I mean it’s good for the here and now and it will get people talking today, but for the long run that is not going to help the sport the way that race ended and the way the racing is. It’s not going to be productive for years to come. I don’t even want to go to Daytona or Talladega next year, but I ain’t got much choice.”
For Dale Earnhardt Jr. he could be getting his way. With a new car comes new packages. Before this weekend’s race, drivers and teams hit the track early to gather drafting data for the new 2013 car. The question is can NASCAR find a package that gives the fans the pack racing they love, and the racing that is safe for the drivers.
Another reason Earnhardt has been so vocal about the package after the accident is that he actually suffered some aches and bruises from the accident. He was seen holding his neck up after that race and told his crew chief Steve Letarte that he was in a bit of pain after taking several big hits.