Dale Earnhardt Jr.: "Darlington Not My Favorite Place"

David YeazellSenior Analyst IMay 8, 2010


The up and down season for Dale Earnhardt Jr. continued on the down side for the second week in a row at famed Darlington Raceway.

Just moments into the first practice, barely into his second circuit around the Lady in Black, Earnhardt Jr. hit the wall.

After some debate, the decision was made to pull out a backup car.

The backup car didn’t fare much better, as once again, Jr. hit the wall.

During a post practice press conference, Earnhardt Jr. made it perfectly clear he was just a driver and Darlington was the bane of his existence. He even went as far as saying the Lady in Black could be the end of his racing career.

This place will probably be the catalyst to my retirement one day. I will probably come here when I am 45, run a race and say the hell with it.”

Earnhardt Jr. didn’t stop there. He complained about the weather, the track surface and how uncomfortable he is in the car.

“It’s miserable hot here during Friday, it is a difficult track to drive around. Not one of my favorites.”

“It is slick. I mean, I got my car pretty comfortable. I liked my lap times. Wish I could get a little more comfort in the car.”

Earnhardt Jr.’s frustration could be a carry over from last year’s dismal performance at Darlington, or from last week at Richmond.

When asked why Kyle Busch was so dominate at Richmond, and why everyone else seemed to be out to lunch performance wise, Earnhardt Jr. made it clear when it comes to the car, he has one job and one job only.

I don’t know. I’m just the driver. Go in there and talk to Lance.”

Jr.’s complaints are not rare, and could be heard from just about any driver on the circuit. Each driver has their favorite track and their not so favorite track. Jr. seems to be adding more and more to the list of not so favorite.

He seems to be also adding more and more to his list of complaints and deflection of responsibilities. 

While his mood seemed to be as positive as the situation could warrant, Jr. gave the media a small glimpse of what could be expected the rest of the weekend.

We’re fine. I’ll probably hit it [the wall] a bunch more before the weekend is over with.

Darlington was always good to the elder Earnhardt, but Junior, except for when he ran the Busch series, has not found the magic his father did. 

Photo Credit: David Yeazell