Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been outspoken on the intentional tire blowout issue recently, and he responded to a question at New Hampshire with a rant on the topic.
Here’s a video of his comments, which are transcribed below:
What is your feeling about the burnouts after the race for post-race celebrations where it can blow out tires and damage quarterpanels? If you win, what is your burnout going to be like?
Well that would be like all the other burnouts. I have never blown out a tire on purpose. But we have been doing burnouts for 30 years it seems like. It just seems like the Gen 6 car, once everybody started figuring out how to trick the underbody and things like that, everybody blows the tires out.
It is just hard for me to see the logic in suspending a crew chief, car chief for some tape flapping on the spoiler when the winner drives into Victory Lane with the rear of the car tore all to hell. I don’t see how that doesn’t come across anybody’s conscious or common sense. I don’t understand.
It doesn’t make any sense to me. And it never has. I have been kind of waiting all this time for NASCAR to eventually say, “Look, we would just rather you guys not blow the tires out.” They talk about not wanting to be the “fun police” — being the “fun police” is not on the radar of their damn problems. That is a cop out in my opinion.
But I think you can do burnouts without blowing the tires out. That happened for years. I don’t remember it too much with the COT, but can anybody tell me who the last guy is who didn’t blow his tires out?
(Several media members responded by saying Ryan Blaney.)
The first Pocono race. I mean, will they blow them out at the end of every race during the playoffs? Is that just the new norm? It didn’t really bother me until I thought about it and I’m like, “The 24 is going to get suspended — crew chief, car chief — for this tape mess and the winner of the race is riding into victory lane with the damn rear of the car tore all to hell.” You can’t even tech it.
And I love Martin (Truex Jr.) and it’s not about Martin. I mean every guy out there has done it. I don’t know that will be a very popular opinion about it, but that is how I feel.
Why is it a cop out?
I just feel like that they should step up. They’re the governing body. It’s obvious it’s done intentionally. It’s not unintentional. And you cannot tech the race car. They have to jack it up and put tires on it. If you’re watching the video of these crewmen trying to fix that tape on that spoiler of the 24 car, imagine what the hell’s going on with the car that gets to jack it up and put tires on it before it can go across the (laser platform).
We could go on and on about it. It’s something I don’t really got to worry about no more after the end of this season. But I’ve been feeling this way about the blowouts for a long time. It’s like, “Damn, why don’t they just tell them to stop?” You can do a damn burnout without blowing the tires out. Look at pretty much every win from 2000 all the way through the COT, you know?
There are a lot of burnouts. You have to deliberately do that. It’s not like, “Oh, my bad. Blew my tire.” I mean, it’s deliberate. So it tells me there’s some purpose behind it. I don’t know why it’s so hard for NASCAR to say, “Look, man, do some donuts. You can do donuts without blowing the tires out. But you don’t have to blow the tires.”
But until they tell them not to do it, it’s fair game. It just upset me with what happened to Chase (Elliott) and how they sort of got zeroed-in on when all this is sort of going on right under everybody’s nose. It doesn’t make sense.