Dale, Jr. says two-by-two racing 'is a bunch of crap'

DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:28 PM ET

TALLADEGA, Ala. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in an ornery mood as he asked over and over again if he can break his 100-race winless streak Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.

It has been a long time — 1,036 days to be exact — since he last put the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet into Victory Lane at Michigan International Speedway in 2008.

The reason Earnhardt hates the question is that he thinks the new wave of two-by-two racing at NASCAR’s restrictor plate tracks — Daytona and Talladega — makes it near impossible for him to win.

Not because he doesn’t have the talent or the car to win, but simply because he so dislikes the two-car drafts that will rule the day on Sunday afternoon in the Aaron’s 499.

“I don’t really like the two-car stuff,” Earnhardt said. “It’s, I don’t know, just silly. I’m hoping this kind of racing goes away fast so we don’t have to talk about this any more.”

Silly or not, Earnhardt still managed to put his Chevrolet on the outside of the second row in qualifying on Saturday, just behind his Hendrick teammates Jeff Gordon, who won the pole on a lap of 178.248 m.p.h., Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin.

Earnhardt has five victories on his resume at Talladega in a Sprint Cup car, but that was back in the days when whole packs of cars — as many as 30 or more — hooked up around Talladega’s high banks nose to tail.

For Earnhardt that was his kind of racing.

“Give me that any day over this,” he said. “Over the long haul people will realize it and go ‘Yeah, ok.’ Once the novelty of this (two-car drafts) ... all this wears off, I think that people will start to see it’s a mess.

“It is not as good as 40 dudes in one pack racin’ like hell tryin’ to get to the front. It is nowhere near as good as that.”

Earnhardt said that even practices and qualifying sessions that used to be fun to watch are not anymore with the big restrictor plates NASCAR puts on the race cars to keep speeds under 200 m.p.h.

“Watch how fast these Cup cars qualify today,” he said. “We’ll be lucky to break 180 (m.p.h.)”

Earnhardt even blames the two-by-two racing for a drop off of fan support on the days leading up to the race.

“Fans that are here on a Thursday or a Friday, it (used to be) pretty interesting to them to watch guys out there practising,” he said. “How interesting was practice yesterday?”

The 36-year-old Earnhardt said that what makes him shudder is that there are folks in NASCAR who think the current style of racing is exciting.

“I mean everybody thinks it is cool now ’cause it’s new and it’s neat,” he said. “Everybody is getting a big kick out of it. Over the long haul, man, it’s not the best.”

In fact Earnhardt said he could sum up what he thinks of the Talladega two-step in one short sentence: “This is a bunch of crap.”

Of course, for all his angst about two-by-two racing Earnhardt said he hasn’t completely given up on notching his sixth win in Alabama.

He said that his No. 88 team is getting better every race this season, and while not in the same league yet as five-time champion Johnson, Earnhardt does give himself a passing grade with one-quarter of the season now behind him.

“I think it would be about a C-plus or a B-minus,” he said. “We’re doing better than we did last year and we’ve got a couple more gains to make on our finishing positions and I think across the board, could do just a little bit better, performance-wise.

“And we’re working hard and trying to keep up our momentum and trying to improve. I think we’ve got all the pieces of the puzzle and getting them in the right place.”

When asked if he still dreams about winning even after 100 consecutive losses Earnhardt said: “Yeah, I’ve daydreamed about that all my life.”


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