There are times when Dale Earnhardt Jr. is very much the reluctant face of NASCAR racing.
He doesn’t relish standing in front of the media as a spokesman for his sport.
Not so when it comes to expressing his opinion of the two-by-two racing that is now a major part of NASCAR events at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Speedway, however.
This past weekend’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona set Earnhardt off on a torrent of critical comments.
“I am really ticked off. It was a foolish ... race. I don’t know what to tell you,” he said. “I don’t like this kind of racing and you know it.”
Earnhardt said NASCAR must find a way to get back to real racing and not the kind of tandem racing that is now the rule at the two restrictor plate tracks.
He said there is no creativity to it.
“What kind of move can you make?” Earnhardt said. “What kind of freakin’ move can you make racing like this? There ain’t no move you can make.
“You just hold it on the mat and try not to wreck into each other, and you see how good we are at that.”
What Earnhardt wants is to be able to be in charge of his own fate during a race, something that is not possible under the current system.
“I’d rather have control of my own destiny and be able to go out there and race and just do my own work and worry about my own self,” he said. “Been growing up all these years racing for No. 1, looking out for No. 1, doing my job. Now you are doing it so different. It is just different and weird.”
MARTIN REJECTS OWNERSHIP PLANS
Mark Martin doesn’t know exactly what he will be doing after his contract to drive the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet runs out at the end of this season.
HNS has already inked Kasey Kahne to drive that car next season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series.
But Martin does know that he won’t become an owner of the Red Bull team once the energy drink giant pulls the plug on NASCAR.
The 52-year-old Martin told SPEED-TV’s Dave Despain that ownership is not on his agenda.
“There’s a lot of things I want to do in the sport still, including driving race cars, and outside of driving race cars,” he said. “But as an equity owner, I can’t see it happening anywhere. I’m not interested in doing that.”
Sunday marks the 25th anniversary of the first Honda Indy Toronto and it should be celebrated for all that it has done for motorsports in this country.
After countless battles with various city councils of the day, the race organizers finally got approval for that first “Roar by the Shore” in 1986 and it has been a boon to both the city and the province pretty much ever since.
The idea of a downtown street race featuring IndyCars spread from Toronto to across the country, first to Vancouver and for the past fours seasons to Edmonton.
Vancouver was a huge success but had to be mothballed to make room for the 2010 Winter Olympics. However that race has carried on in Edmonton where it too has been acclaimed an unqualified winner.
Without the dedication of the likes of the great, late John Bassett who fought tirelessly to make the original Molson Indy happen and the corporate support of Molson and now Honda, none of these events that bring countless millions of dollars in tourist revenue to those markets would have survived.
A toast is certainly in order.