NASCAR Bristol 2013: Earnhardt Jr.: ‘We really don’t know what makes a good race track’

USA TODAY Sports

The idea that race tracks need to resurface or reconfigure to better accommodate the Gen-6 car is misguided according to Dale Earnhardt Jr, who says "everybody needs to put away the pickaxes and hammers."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a straightforward message to anyone who thinks that the answer to producing a better quality of racing is modifying the racing surfaces of some of the current tracks on the NASCAR calendar.

"We really don't need everybody hammering away at the surface of the race track trying to fix it," Earnhardt said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway, "because nobody really knows what the result is going to be."

Bristol is one such track that called in the bulldozers last year after some fans were left unsatisfied with the spring race, which featured far fewer cautions and less side-by-side racing than has become synonymous with the half-mile oval.

But did the changes Bristol undertook between its March and August events dramatically change the style of racing?

NASCAR's most popular driver isn't so sure, as the intended consequence of forcing drivers to the lower groove never really materialized as drivers continued to run the higher groove.

"Really, nobody knew what was going to happen," Earnhardt said. "They were trying to eliminate the top groove and ended-up making it even stronger. And so it didn't really have the intended result, but it was a good result nonetheless. Everybody seemed to enjoy the race. I did."

And the idea that other tracks either need to resurface or reconfigure doesn't make sense according to Earnhardt, who cited Atlanta, Las Vegas and Texas as tracks with aged asphalt where multi-groove racing is a common occurrence. The way he sees it, the more worn a surface gets the more it makes the drivers work, which in turn creates a better product.

"We just repaved a lot of tracks and you're going to have to be patient," Earnhardt said. "There's no way to speed that process up as far as aging that asphalt. ... Some of these surfaces, once they do age, will tend to be more durable and won't need repaving so quickly and we'll be able to enjoy that style of racing on those tracks a lot longer than we did in the previous paving cycle."

Of course, what constitutes a good racing surface is open for interpretation. What one driver likes another may not, while fans will often have a completely different idea of what kind of form of racing they want to see out on the track.

"Everybody has an opinion on what track is a good race track," Earnhardt said." Every driver is going to have a little bit different opinion on what type of race track they enjoy racing on. The fans like different tracks for different reasons. Everybody's got a difference of opinion."

All of which are reasons why Earnhardt stressed the need to stop the talk of resurfacing/reconfiguration to better accommodate the Gen-6 car.

"I think everybody needs to put away the pickaxes and hammers," he said, "because we really don't know what makes a good race track."

More from SB Nation:

Bracketology: Selection Sunday week is here

Gods fall down: Senegalese wrestling longform

NFL free agent grades: The most regrettable deals signed so far

NFL mock draft: Changes on the eve of free agency

SB Nation baseball cards: Bad players and dead animals

Minor League Bal

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.