Dale Earnhardt Jr. has maintained a prominent presence around NASCAR since heading into retirement. Earnhardt Jr. has fully embraced his elevated platform by bringing more discussions concerning the sport’s future to the forefront. The Hall of Fame driver recently shed light on what he remains confounded about concerning NASCAR.
NASCAR begins testing wet weather tires
Last week, NASCAR made the move to test out wet weather tires on their stock cars.
Cup driver Kyle Larson was part of the trial as he drove on a wet Martinsville Speedway course with Goodyear tires on Thursday. Following the experience, Larson spoke quite positively about the situation via Twitter.
“We tested some damp conditions with some different tires, and that was fun; I don’t really have much wet weather experience,” Larson said.. “So, that was cool to try to figure that out, and honestly, (it) didn’t drive way different.
“Could still slow down good, turn good, drive off was easy to spin your tires, but other than that, it was kind of fun to chase the grip throughout the portions when it would start drying. It was pretty fun, and I think they’ve got a good product that we could honestly start racing with right away if we needed to on these short tracks.”
Larson’s comments shed tremendous insight into how a current driver would feel about participating in those conditions. However, it’s a past prominent figure in the sport that is most vocal about it all.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. vents frustration with NASCAR’s slow approach to longtime problem
Since stepping into retirement, Dale Earnhart Jr. has become increasingly vocal concerning the future of the sport.
One of the areas he remains baffled at is NASCAR’s lack of races in wet conditions. During the latest Ask Jr. portion of the Dale Jr. Download podcast on Tuesday, he voiced his frustrations with the matter.
“I feel like we should have already incorporated this into the sport: racing in the rain on ovals,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “Drivers love high horsepower and low downforce. Well if you get a wet race track you basically have too much power and no grip.
“So that’s what drivers want is more challenging condition and a wet or damp track would provide that.”
He also added that drivers hold tremendous pride in managing their tires. The wet course conditions would give them another way of proving they are the best at that aspect of the job.
Earnhardt Jr. also pointed out that the oval tracks have banking, which will allow the water to not pile up in any location. The 46-year-old aired that he’s open to getting a clear explanation as to why NASCAR didn’t move forward with this game plan sooner.
“It’s my understanding we have the most elite stock drivers in the world,” Earnhardt said. “We have the best strategist, engineers, and crew chiefs in the world. They will figure this out. You give them a good tire and reasonable conditions and they’ll figure it out.”
NASCAR’s future ahead includes wet track races?
The recent developments with NASCAR running wet weather tires are certainly a promising step forward.
There will likely be several more tests ahead to gather more data concerning the effectiveness of the tires. The initial run with Kyle Larson came away with some encouraging results, but much work is left ahead.
If NASCAR can conduct races in those weather conditions, it could allow the sport to avoid delays in those such situations. Until then, it’s an avenue that they will further evaluate if they can move forward safely.