During his NASCAR Cup Series career, Dale Earnhardt Jr. never had time to compete in the Indianapolis 500.
When Earnhardt retired after the 2017 season, his schedule opened up. In the spring of 2019, the NASCAR legend traveled to Indianapolis Motor Speedway and had an interesting observation while watching the race on NBC.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. wanted the Indianapolis 500 to learn from NASCAR’s mistakes
NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. participated in the 2019 Indianapolis 500 Chris Graythen / Getty Images
Dale Earnhardt Jr. liked what he saw at the 2019 Indianapolis 500.
Earnhardt Jr., who attended the event in person and worked for NBC, watched Bump Day and the drama of the 500 mile race. Always an observer and a devout racing fanatic, after experience he had no shortage of opinions.
In an interview with NBCSports.com, Earnhardt said he believed IndyCar should stick to its traditions and not guarantee drivers seats. Conversely, he criticized how NASCAR created a system to ensure that certain teams get places, a process that “changed” the excitement for qualifying.
“If I was in control of things, I wouldn’t be pulling these levers to have guaranteed jobs. The thrill of Bump Day and the battle for the last row added Sunday’s value and crowd for Sunday. It taught people about other drivers and teams. We don’t learn these things unless you see them go through this struggle and experience. “
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
For the record, 5.4 million people watched the 2019 Indy 500, up from 4.9 million in 2018. Simon Pagenaud won the race, leading 116 of the event’s 200 laps.
NASCAR has seen some controversial changes and events in the past few years
Some racing fans might be upset if NASCAR ever listened to Earnhardt and adopted some of the changes to the Indianapolis 500.
On the other hand, NASCAR continues to frustrate drivers and fans alike. The league held a dirt race earlier this year for the first time in 50 years. Joey Logano held Ricky Stenhouse and Denny Hamlin back in the Food City Dirt Race on March 29th.
However, there were numerous accidents in this dirt road race. The Texas Grand Prix was originally scheduled for 68 laps, but only ran 54 laps due to heavy rain. Similar to the field track race, there were numerous accidents at the Texas Grand Prix due to the conditions.
What should racing fans know about the 2021 Indianapolis 500?
Earnhardt Jr. won’t be racing in the 2021 Indianapolis 500, but racing fans will still have reasons to pay attention.
NBC will air the race on Sunday, May 30th. Earnhardt will participate in the studio coverage of the station with Danica Patrick and Mike Tirico, among others. Patrick, a former IndyCar driver before taking part in the Cup series, will drive the pace car before the race.
May 2021, DraftKings listed Scott Dixon as the odds favorite to win at +350 (a $ 100 stake to win $ 450). Colton Herta is directly behind Dixon with +700. Patricio O’Ward and Alex Palou as well as Josef Newgarden round off the top 5.
Betting odds courtesy of DraftKings on May 27, 2021. How to get help: In the United States, contact the National Council on Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700.
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