When discussing how his perspective as a broadcaster is different than his perspective as as NASCAR driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. highlighted one specific incident.
In addition to continuing to compete in one Xfinity Series race per year for JR Motorsports, the team he owns, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been an analyst in the NBC broadcast booth for NASCAR Cup Series races ever since stepping away from full-time competition after the 2017 season.
He admitted that his new role within the sport he knows and loves has changed his perspective and many his opinions on the issues, especially having now served in this role for three seasons.
The 15-time Most Popular Driver Award winner, who recently announced an exciting new partnership with Nicorette in which he is aiming to encourage smokers to quit smoking like he was able to do several years ago, went into detail about one incident that happened toward the end of his career in October of 2017, which he viewed differently as a driver than he would have as a broadcaster.
Battling for the lead and a Championship 4 spot late at Martinsville Speedway in a round of 8 playoff race three seasons ago, Denny Hamlin wrecked the sport’s new Most Popular Driver, Chase Elliott, thus ruining his chances to win.
Hamlin didn’t end up winning either, but this incident stole all the headlines not only throughout the ensuing week but throughout the remainder of the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.
Here’s what Earnhardt had to say about that clash when illustrating what has changed from his point of view since retiring and moving up to the booth.
“I guess something as simple as this,” Earnhardt told Beyond the Flag. “A couple years ago, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin got into a crash, Denny ran over Chase at Martinsville. If that had happened while I was a driver, every time I saw that highlight, I’d want to turn the channel — even if it wasn’t me, even if it was Chase and Denny in that little dust-up, and the highlight runs all week long on every racing show and every media member talks about it.
“And then we come to the next race and it’s in the pre-race over and over and over. You see that highlight; every time I would see it, I’d want to turn it off. I’d be like ‘Man, who cares about that? What do they gotta keep showing that? That’s annoying they keep showing that! Let’s move on!’
“If I was one of the drivers involved, it was tenfold being annoyed over it. I didn’t want to be in the middle of that. But as a broadcaster, you get it. You understand why they need to keep promoting that action. ‘Hey, this is what happened last week, if you tune in this week, you might see this, you might see these two drivers going at it! This is the action that our sport can provide you if you’re a fan and you’re wanting to be an observer of the sport!’
“So just something so silly and trivial as that, my mind turned 180 degrees on how I would view it, and so a lot of the things that got on my nerves as a driver, I do now in the booth.”