When it comes to driver safety, there may not be a greater advocate than Dale Earnhardt Jr. One of NASCAR’s most popular figures recently spoke about some of the major concerns he has about the sport.
Concussions continue to be a significant problem in the sport. In an episode of the Dale Jr. Download, Earnhardt talked about recent situations involving Alex Bowman and Kurt Busch that forced them out of the driver’s seat.
Earlier this year, Busch announced his retirement from full-time driving after suffering a concussion at Pocono.
“Here’s my opinion. We’re having more people step up and say, ‘I’ve got a concussion,'” Earnhardt said, according to Beyond the Flag. “We’ve got Kurt Busch and Alex Bowman who are out of the car this year alone with a concussion, and those are the only two we know about. Let’s not fool ourselves. Drivers will get a concussion and race with it. It would not shock me if several of these guys got a concussion unknowingly and got back in the car — or knew that they had some sort of concussion in a crash — and continued to race.”
Addressing concussions in NASCAR has become a priority for Earnhardt. In 2018, he told People that he sustained as many as 20 concussions during his racing career. He did not speak up so that he could continue racing.
Denny Hamlin Agrees with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Regarding Safety
Denny Hamlin didn’t need to have a conversation with Dale Earnhardt Jr. to be on the same page regarding driver safety in NASCAR.
The driver of the No. 11 car has been very vocal this year regarding safety among drivers. Earlier this season, he called out NASCAR for not addressing health concerns — especially in the Next Gen car.
“Pretty disappointing that our sanctioning body refuses to acknowledge or accept any responsibility for drivers getting hurt. It’s the same THEY said,” Hamlin wrote on Twitter. “WE knew better. It’s wrong these drivers continue to get taken advantage of by the system.”
It’s going to be interesting to see how NASCAR handles these issues in the offseason.