For his last NASCAR Cup Series season before retiring, Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn’t having the year he hoped.
The No. 88 Chevrolet driver is currently 22nd in the driver standings and needs to win one of the next two races to qualify for the 16-driver playoffs, which start mid-September.
After finishing 23rd Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway – a track where he’s only won one Cup race – some of Junior’s fans blamed his crew chief, Greg Ives, for the shortcomings. Ives is an easy scapegoat, but as always, Earnhardt quickly ended that conversation. (Warning: One of Dale Jr.’s tweets has some NSFW language.)
This is not the first time Earnhardt has reminded his fan base that NASCAR is a team sport. He doesn’t always address criticism on social media, but when he does, he doesn’t hold much back.
Even back in March when his fans were already doubting the 88 team’s potential, Junior was having none of it and came to his team’s defense, as usual. He said:
“One of the things that really pisses me off, I guess, is when they talk about the pit crew or my crew or my crew chief. You’ll see a tweet every once in a while where they’re like, ‘Change this. Get a new guy here. Get rid of this guy.’ This is my team, and you’re talking about my family.”
Clearly, Dale Jr. is as loyal as they come, and he’s not going to put up with his fans bad-mouthing his crew chief.
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