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Why is Dale Earnhardt Jr. Always Complaining About Modern Race Tracks?

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What’s Happening?

On the most recent episode of the Dale Jr. Download, Dale Earnhardt Jr. expressed one of his biggest pet peeves, which is concrete race tracks. It’s not the first time he’s made this complaint, but why would he dislike concrete tracks so much?

  • While most NASCAR Cup Series tracks are asphalt, Bristol, Dover, and Nashville are 100% concrete race tracks. These tracks were built with concrete or resurfaced in the 1990s or early 2000s. Martinsville and the Chicago Street Race are both partially concrete.
  • Dale Jr. is very much an advocate of asphalt instead of concrete. He primarily looks back at when all tracks were asphalt, and he wonders whether or not asphalt produced the best version of the tracks.
  • Fans generally don’t have much of an opinion on concrete versus asphalt. Some have opinions, but it’s generally not an issue amongst fans.

What Dale Jr. Has to Say

The discussion first popped up in the wake of the Bristol Motor Speedway race in March, when tires wore out. Dale Jr. was directly asked whether or not he preferred asphalt to concrete, and he was vehemently against concrete. Here is what he had to say.

I hate concrete. I don’t think concrete should be surface on any of the race tracks. I would dig up every concrete track right now, even the corners of Martinsville and pave them. No question, no hesitation. Concrete is poured in sections, so they have to cut concrete because as it go goes through a season of change in temperature, it has to change, and it swells and contracts…If you ever drive down the interstate, on an old concrete interstate, the car starts hopping and bouncing…When I would run at Dover, my tires would get hot. and they would build air pressure and they would feel like basketballs. They were literally bouncing across those joints…they felt like they were literally leaving the surface of the racetrack as they were jumping these joints. I Don’t Love the Way Concrete feels in a race car. I don’t love the way it reacts to the tire. I don’t love the way that it’s unpredictable in terms of the groove.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

It’s worth noting that Dale Jr. won only two Cup Series races on concrete in his career, winning at Dover in 2001 and Bristol in 2004. He clearly does not love how it feels in the race car, and he didn’t have a ton of success on concrete as well.

When discussing concrete tracks in the most recent episode of Dale Jr. Download, he discussed the same principle. This time, he specifically noted Bristol and Dover.

I hated that they took those two racetracks that were super incredible magical racetracks and put concrete down, and they’ve never been the same ever since. When you pave a racetrack or a strip of road or anything, it’s consistently smooth. There may be some bumps and imperfections, but it’s one strip. It’s one ribbon of asphalt all the way around. When you concrete anything, you have to cut these cracks in it to allow it to expand and contract in temperature…I think concrete just isn’t as good. I can go to Nashville, and I can go to Bristol and I can see an amazing race there today. We’ll see great races at those racetracks, but I know what the I know where the potential is if they were asphalt.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Overall, he does not love how it feels, and he wishes that these concrete tracks would switch to asphalt if they could. However, he does admit that concrete tracks can put on good races. Nashville, Dover, and Bristol have put on entertaining races throughout their time on the Cup Series schedule. In March, Bristol may have produced the best short track race in the Next-Gen era.

Frankly, it comes down to personal preference, and Dale Jr. simply does not like concrete. Is he right or wrong? It depends on who you ask.

Concrete has many benefits for race tracks. The big one is that it’s far more durable than asphalt, meaning tracks need to be repaved less often. For example, Dover’s concrete surface has not seen a full resurface since 1995, when the concrete was first laid down. The durability is why Martinsville has concrete corners.

Do you agree with Dale Jr.’s take on concrete? Let us know on Discord or X what your take is, and don’t forget you can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube.

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