Denny Hamlin Calls On NASCAR To Hire Dale Earnhardt Jr. To Fix Their Short Track Problems: “We Clearly Are Missing The Mark”

Denny Hamlin
Dirty Mo Media

Is it time for NASCAR to officially hit the panic button?

It sure seems that way after this past weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway, which turned out to be another snoozer for the new Cup Series car.

The racing on short tracks has suffered since NASCAR unveiled their Next Gen car back in 2022. And “suffered” might be putting it mildly: What used to be some of the best races of the season are now downright boring, which is obviously a big concern for NASCAR.

But it seems like those frustrations are finally reaching a boiling point as more and more drivers spoke out after Martinsville about the inability to pass on short tracks and the terrible racing that the “new” package puts on.

And one of the most vocal critics is (no surprise here) Denny Hamlin.

Lately Hamlin has embraced his role not just as a villain in the sport, but also as an elder statesman. And he’s got a valuable perspective as not only a driver who’s been around the sport for longer than just about anybody in the field on Sundays, but also now as a team owner with his 23XI Racing team.

This week on his podcast, Actions Detrimental, Hamlin once again sounded the alarm on the product that NASCAR has been putting out at short tracks. But he also has a solution to help the sport fix the problem – and it involves one of NASCAR’s biggest names, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Hamlin believes a big problem actually falls on the tires that Goodyear is bringing to the track:

“There’s not enough fall off. I was running practice, and my fastest lap was a 20.20 [seconds]. When I left practice running 50-something laps, my last lap was a 20.55. Three and a half tenths? We’ll never f*cking pass. Never.

It just keeps getting worse. It used to be seconds, and now we’ve tightened it all up.

Left side tires, don’t even get me started. Goodyear is so far off on left side tires.”

And he believes it should be up to NASCAR, and not the race teams, to fix it:

“This should not fall on the teams to pay for fixing this. Get NASCAR’s car, get Dale Jr., get him to go to Richmond, get him to go to Martinsville, and test tires. And he gets to pick out the tire that we run.

It would be great publicity, ‘This is Dale Jr.’s tire, let’s see how it does.’

I think he would sign up in two seconds to go out there. Because he’s angry about the tire as much as I am. He brings it up just as much as I do.”

Sounds like a no-brainer to me. While Dale Earnhardt Jr. hasn’t been a full-time driver for a few years now, he’s still deeply involved in NASCAR as a broadcaster and as a voice and ambassador for the sport. And Junior has expressed his frustration with the short track package and wanting to see better racing.

Let him pick out a tire that falls off enough to allow cars to be able to actually race and pass each other. Then advertise the sh*t out of whichever race you decide to debut that tire at. “Come see our new short track package with tires hand-selected by Dale Earnhardt Jr. for better racing.”

And it also sounds like Junior is ready to jump in whenever he gets the call:

Just need NASCAR to hit him up.

Whether it’s Dale Jr. or somebody else fixing the problem, something needs to be done. And Denny says it needs to be done quick:

“We clearly are missing the mark. Goodyear is mixing the mark, and we clearly know that having a tire that falls off…Bristol gave us the evidence that says, ‘This is better.'”

The ball’s in your court, NASCAR. Make it happen.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock