Dale Earnhardt Jr. Confused By NASCAR Rule Changes At Talladega Superspeedway

When Dale Earnhardt Jr. learned of NASCAR's rule changes at Talladega Superspeedway – a larger restrictor plate to increase speeds among the tweaks – he was initially pleased.

After all, he figured, faster cars would make it harder to hook up in the two-car drafts he dislikes so much.

But the other part of NASCAR's rule changes was confusing to Earnhardt Jr.: A pressure relief valve that would pop off at a lower water pressure.

The idea behind the more sensitive pop-off valve is to make the drivers switch out of their tandem drafting more often. But that's exactly the part Earnhardt Jr. questioned.

"When we do make position changes and you've got to change more often, that's when it kind of gets crazy," he said. "You lose a lot of speed and the guys that are not changing come flying up on you really quick. If they don't have a lot of room and everybody doesn't know what's going on, bad things can happen."

Earnhardt Jr. added "I don't really see what we're trying to do there" about trying to get drivers to swap more regularly.

"I don't think it can bring about any good," he said. "I think it'll put us in difficult situations more often. When we make a swap, it's a difficult situation for the other drivers that aren't swapping to have to sort of dodge you and hope they know where you're going and what you and your teammate are trying to do."

The Hendrick Motorsports driver said the tandem drafting was created by the Talladega pavement, which is still holding up well after the track was repaved a few years ago.

NASCAR's changes might break up the pairings a little bit, Earnhardt Jr. said, but it's likely not the solution.

"I don't know, man," he said. "There's just so much grip out there."

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