With Dale Earnhardt Jr. retiring from NASCAR Cup racing at the end of this season, NASCAR is in a major need of someone who will become the face of the sport, much like Junior has been for the last 15 years or so.
Sunday at Martinsville, NASCAR may have found Earnhardt’s successor — or at least took a big step in doing so.
And that’s what they did. They began cheering — for Elliott.
And during Hamlin’s TV interview, guess who was the object of boos? A wayward fan even found his way onto the frontstretch, intent on duking it out with Hamlin after what he did to Elliott.
On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America on NBCSN, analysts Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte gave their take on Elliott amping up the crowd. While the whole segment can be seen above, here’s some excerpts of what Burton and Letarte had to say:
STEVE LETARTE: “I finally saw a frustrated Chase Elliott that was ready to stand up for himself. He did nothing wrong, he led Martinsville throughout the day, had a chance to win that race and Denny Hamlin took it away from him. He took the opportunity. We all know NASCAR does not need to get involved. This is something that’s going to play out in the court of public opinion, and this was Chase Elliott right there saying ‘I have every right to sway the jury.’ And the majority of the fans made it known. That’s exactly what this sport has needed, the personalities that made it famous. Chase Elliott took the opportunity and whichever side of the fence you’re on, that’s the kind of emotion we’re looking for from these drivers.”
JEFF BURTON: “What I saw was him (Elliott) looking Denny Hamlin in the eye and said, ‘You wrecked me.’ And I was glad to see that because that’s what happened, he got wrecked and he should stand up for himself. … I’m glad he showed his emotion and stood up to Denny Hamlin because that took an opportunity to win a championship away from him because he wrecked him and had a terrible finish. He should have stood up for himself.”
What do you think? Do you agree with Letarte and Burton? If so, leave a comment.