Kyle Busch; Dale Earnhardt Jr on the level playing field

Dale Earnhardt Jr: “Too many rules is a bad thing.”

The NASCAR inspection tent, also known to Clint Bowyer as ‘The Room of Doom’ has never placed a smaller box over the NASCAR engineers. The cars are inspected to the thousandths of an inch via an optical scan, multiple times throughout the weekend.

In addition, NASCAR takes a select number of cars back to Concord, NC each week. At the NASCAR R&D Center, the cars are torn completely apart as NASCAR combs through each page of the thicker than ever rulebook.

In the NASCAR Truck Series, they’ve introduced a spec engine. Teams can get a very competitive spec engine at a drastically reduced rate to full custom engines. It’s something that might be mandatory in future years.

The moral of the story… NASCAR has never made a greater effort to create a level playing field. Though, many would argue that’s the wrong direction. Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr both sit on that side of the fence. Here’s their side of the argument below.

Why are you so against spec engines? What’s your idea of leveling the playing field without penalizing the top teams?

“Racing was made in the days where anybody could go out there and put anything they wanted on the race track. Go out there and compete with it,” Kyle Busch opens up the discussion via the Dale Jr Download.

“Smokey Yunick wouldn’t be what Smokey Yunick is if it wasn’t for the opportunity to be innovative and make changes. Work on his own stuff how he wanted to do it.”

“If it was always just go down to your local store and grab an engine and put it in when you couldn’t do anything with it — We would have no Smokey Yunick stories.”

“You’d probably not have many Dale Inman or Richard Petty stories as well either.”

“Everybody wants to create parody and make everything fair. Why are we in the world of fair? I don’t want a blue ribbon for my son who finishes 2nd place at the local fair or whatever. I want him to win. I want him to get the trophy.”

“That’s how I look at things. There’s a winner and there’s other no so winners, they’re losers.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr and Kyle Busch at Richomond International Raceway in 2008
RICHMOND, VA – MAY 03: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Pedigree Toyota, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, race side by side during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Dan Lowry 400 at Richmond International Raceway on May 3, 2008 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Dale Earnhardt Jr

Dale Earnhardt Jr agree’s. He spoken on this topic multiple times over the years.

“I agree with you [that] taking innovation out of the sport is a bad thing. Too many rules is a bad thing,” Dale Earnhardt Jr joins the conversation.

“They certainly could benefit from opening up and allowing a bigger box for guys to get creative in. That would be under the hood, the engine, the bodies, the chassis, all kinds of things.”

“There needs to be innovation and guys learning new things. They worry that it’s just gunna drive costs. Any time anybody’s doing anything to re-engineer sumthin that it’s gunna be expensive.”

Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch at Bristol Motor Speedway
BRISTOL, TN – APRIL 16: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 McDonald’s Chevrolet, race during the rain delayed Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 16, 2018 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

Kyle Busch is the winner of the last two NASCAR Cup Series races. But, just because the level playing field is working for him, doesn’t mean he agrees with it. He recalls the way it was in the past.

“Back in the day, I’d say 90’s-ish, you had guys that were working on chassis. Working on setups and getting the mechanical game down. So, they would excel probably at the shorter tracks,” Kyle Busch explains.

“Other teams were working on aero development. So, they wouldn’t be as great at short tracks but they’d be good at mile and a half’s.”

“You had guys that were working on horsepower. The Yates guys, they always had the 2 mile race tracks down.”

“Teams were working in different areas and utilizing their spend in different areas. Now, the rule book is so tight and so thick it’s like everybody is working in the same space all the time.”

“It’s so hard nowadays to find any little particular advantage. If that advantage is found, right away everybody knows what it is and they go to work in that area.”

“It’s too close in my opinion. For instance, us, we’re good everywhere we go because there’s not much you can do anymore.”

Kyle Busch sits 16th on the all-time wins list after collecting 45 wins. If he wins this weekend, he’ll be tied with Buck Baker for 15th. Dale Earnhardt Jr sits 29th on the all-time wins list with 26 wins. Earnhardt’s now retired from full-time racing with only Xfinity Series races announced for 2018.


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Related: NASCAR is testing at-track inspection options

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Kyle Busch | Dale Jr | NASCAR