Found January 23, 2013 on Fox Sports:
Nascar_preseason_thunder_5a30
For Dale Earnhardt Jr., January 11th is a day he won't soon forget. Less than an hour into the drafting session of Preseason Thunder, Junior tagged the back of Marcos Ambrose's Ford in an attempt to bump draft with the new Generation 6 car and wiped out two-thirds of the field. Junior learned a valuable lesson from his outing. "Our cars don't line up quite as good as they used to," Earnhardt said. "We sent some people home early from the test. That's probably -- I thought long and hard and that was probably the most embarrassed I'd ever been in a long time, as long as I can remember." Earnhardt didn't feel the need to apologize because he felt that it was clear the incident was simply a mistake. But NASCAR's most popular driver was still contrite on Wednesday due to the attention and focus that was placed on the new car. "Everyone was excited to see how they drafted and how things went," Earnhardt said. "After that accident, no one wanted any more drafting. A lot of teams went home. I realized that it's a new car. Everybody is there to learn new things and uncover specifics about the new car and a lot of that was taken away from those teams because of the mistake and the accident. It was like I short-handed a bunch of guys at that test." Crew chief Steve Letarte said the best medicine for Earnhardt after the "big one" was to "just put him back in the race car." "If you have a quarterback that throws an interception, the best thing he can do is complete a pass - same thing with him (Earnhardt)," Letarte said. "I understand where he's coming from. He respects the work that everyone is doing. He respects what we have going on as a sport. I can work with a guy that respects that a whole lot easier. Mistakes like that happen. That's why we go test. "I'm sure here in three or four more weeks there will be a whole lot bigger crashes and we won't even remember the testing crash anymore." Earnhardt agrees. It's tough to recall the last time a restrictor plate race went green to the finish. "You look at the last lap of all the plate races and I can't remember one that finished without an accident," Earnhardt said. "Regardless of how the cars draft, how the drafting technique is, the potential for that accident at the end of these races is way high. It ramps way up beyond what we will see in the majority of the race." Earnhardt doesn't feel the need to proselytize to his competitors about being over aggressive in the race. It's up to each competitor to "learn how the draft works" and "what the limitations of the cars are" on their own. If there was an upside to the accident, Earnhardt says it was having a better understanding of how the bumpers of cars are going to react -- "if at all." Still, in the time Earnhardt spent on the track he was able to develop what he believes will be a comfortable feel in the car. "The draft really reminds me a lot of how we had the cars probably in '06,' 07 and the cars pull up well and you can work with other people even though the bumpers don't particularly line up exactly the way they used to in the past couple of years," Earnhardt said. "The way you help people is going to lend itself more to how you did it six or seven years ago. "I think the racing will be a lot more of a success as a product with that happening. I'm really excited about that and look forward to sort of getting back to that older style of plate racing and I think it will provide a really good Daytona 500."
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Earnhardt Jr. needs sponsorship for 13 races

NASCAR’s most popular driver is in need of sponsorship for 13 races in 2013. Team owner Rick Hendrick is not concerned that the No. 88 car is currently bare for some events. “We’ve got a lot of good opportunities,” Hendrick said during Wednesday’s stop of the Sprint Media Tour. “The way we’re positioned, the car is covered until the end of the summer. I don’t have...

Dale Jr. optimistic about sponsorships

Dale Earnhardt Jr. remains bullish on NASCAR. Although the sport's most popular driver still has inventory for sale on the No. 88 Chevrolet, Earnhardt believes "things are on the upswing." "We have a unique, limited amount of races to fill, and those packages aren't the most exciting propositions for corporate America to come in and do an eight-race deal...

NASCAR's two biggest names team up

It's a marketer's dream. NASCAR's two biggest names -- Earnhardt and Petty -- are partnering to promote Goody's Headache Powders. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was named NASCAR's Most Popular Driver for the 10th consecutive season, hopes to unite the sport's younger fan base with the core traditional supporters of seven-time champion Richard Petty. The King has...

Behind the scenes at Hendrick Motorsports

CHARLOTTE Tucked away in an off-limits-to-the-public building on the sprawling Hendrick Motorsports campus which could best be described as Rick Hendricks man cave, Dale Earnhardt Jr. set up in his seat. NASCARs 10-time winner of the Most Popular Driver Award fastened the second button on a white shirt adorned with the HMS logo on one side and sponsor National Guard on the other...
NASCAR News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.