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NASCAR Drivers Share One-Of-A-Kind Stories About Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Cameron EittreimMarch 31, 2021

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4: The Week Of Wrecks

Earnhardt Jr. was having a series of bad weeks in February 2009. He explained to the Bleacher Report what was going on “After a long week of constant criticism, Dale Jr. sat down with Darrell Waltrip, and got to the bottom of the “Big One,” once and for all, after DW said, “I don’t care what your name is, you don’t hit someone like that,” following the crash at Daytona.

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The interview started with Waltrip asking Jr., “So uh, how has your week been?” Jr. responds with, “There have been a lot of wrecks at Daytona and Talladega, and none have been scrutinized as much as this one. It was not a good day, but I have had worse.” Waltrip then goes into mentioning the pit road incident, when Jr. passed and claimed he couldn’t recognize his bit board. He responded with, “Yeah, I was just coming up with an excuse to cover my butt.” Guess even the best drivers have the worst days, but it’s interesting to see how everyone rallied around him.

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3: Practicing Pit Stops

After his horrible string of crashes in 2009, Tony Eury Jr. told Earnhardt Jr. he was going to do pitstop runs until he got it together. Earnhardt told the Bleacher Report how it went down “Jr. then goes into mention how he used to practice pit stops with his team all the time, but hasn’t in about three years. This winter, Eury Jr. (Jr.’s crew chief), called him up and told him to come practice pit stops with the team. Jr. then said that was the end of that, ’cause you can “obviously” see why. DW talks about Jr.’s penalty of being over the pit line. He then says that after that he could see the “raging bull” in Jr.”

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Pit stops are more important than you might realize, and in the sport of driving it can make the difference between a win and a loss. Likewise, you want to make sure that you are scoring the right way and getting those pit stops in on time.

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2: Feud With Brian Vickers

Part of his awful 2009 season was due to the ongoing feud that he had with driver Brian Vickers. In an interview with the Bleacher Report, he explained how it went down Jr. asked Waltrip, “First off, what’s wrong with that?” Waltrip says nothing and that he likes that, but it was out of character for Jr. Jr. agrees and goes into how he felt he had the car to win and just needed to dig them out of the hole.

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He mentions how they need to go, I mean, after all, this is the Daytona 500. Then we get to Vickers and the “Big One.” Jr. says that he had a good run on Vickers, so he slowly went underneath to let Vickers know he is coming. Vickers came down and hit the right front fender of Jr., and pushed him below the yellow line. Jr. continues, “I saw grass and turned up back onto the race track. The first half of the wreck was his doing, the second half was my doing.” Almost feels like something you’d see at a professional wrestling show.

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1: Worst Wreck Of 2009

Naturally, Earnhardt takes a lot of responsibility for the type of season that they had as well. Things weren’t going smoothly for him as he explained to Bleacher Report. He said that he felt bad for about 80 percent of the cars in the wreck, and the other 20 percent he couldn’t care less about. Jr. also goes into how he feels that most of the new guys don’t understand his driving style. A lot of the new guys don’t understand when the popularity and the results don’t match up.

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Waltrip asked what would Jr. do if car owner Rick Hendrick, told him to forget about Whiskey River, his buddies, and his ranch and just focus on racing for the year. Jr. says, “You should take a week off, hang out with me every day of that week and you would be surprised where my mind is on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. It’s pretty close to that.” From that point on, Earnhardt turned things around and continued to maintain his dominance.

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