Mike Davis

Dale Jr. Download: Is Chase Elliott a title contender?

Leave a comment

Chase Elliott started last week’s race at Kansas with a fifth – 10th-place car. They adjusted on it, got track position when Kevin Harvick was hit with a pit road penalty and then outraced the field at the end.

“They made their car so much better,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said on this week’s edition of the Dale Jr. Download. “That’s hard to do in itself … making your car better as the race goes on. What is even more impressive is that they were able to make their car better and put it in the lead. … I know they didn’t pass Harvick; he had his problems. But getting that track position on guys like Kyle BuschJoey Logano, people that were dominating during the day was the most impressive thing for me.”

Earnhardt’s co-host Mike Davis disagrees.

“In none (of his wins) did Chase actually dominate or lead the most laps,” Davis said. “He did at Watkins Glen, but you could even make the argument that Kyle Busch … that was sort of his race until they didn’t pick up enough fuel in that pit stop.”

According to Earnhardt, Elliott lacks the pure speed needed to outrun the No. 4 of Harvick. Then again, no one has but Harvick and his team have found a way to beat themselves on many occasions. If Elliott makes it to the Championship 4, anything can happen.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

Dale Jr. Download: Marcus Smith gambled his legacy and won with Roval

Leave a comment

Charlotte Motor Speedway President Marcus Smith gambled his legacy on the creation of a Roval. By most people’s estimation, he won.

“To define this as an act of desperation sort of takes away credit of the (vision) Marcus brought because I don’t know if there are a lot of track owners that would be so dang bold to even make this,” Mike Davis, co-host of the Dale Jr. Download said on Wednesday’s edition of the show. “This is a bold move. This is almost something that you strap your legacy to. … This is going to define you, make you or break you.”

Last week’s Bank of America Roval 400 rejuvenated a race that had grown stale in terms of attendance. More importantly, it provided a platform for some battles that would not be seen on a traditional road course, much less a standard oval.

“When we were watching I think one of the best races of day with the 2 car Keselowski and Kyle Larson – they had a great battle that was just the essence of racing,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “The way they were both driving was completely opposite. One guy would take a high line into the corner to drive off the bottom of the exit. They were just trying two different lines really almost around the whole race track.”

The track was great, but not perfect in Earnhardt’s estimation.

“I’m sure the drivers are texting and talking with Marcus and his team about how to improve that backstraightway chicane.” Earnhardt said. “It’s not a chicane. It’s a bend. It’s 140 miles per hour. … What we need to achieve, basically is the same thing we have on the backstraightaway at Watkins Glen where we have the bus stop. They slow down, brake hard and turn into that corner. Well, that’s a passing zone.”

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

Dale Jr. Download: In praise of Ryan Joseph Newman

Leave a comment

The final lap of the Overton’s 400 at Chicagoland Speedway has been replayed, discussed, and dissected, but “let’s not lose focus of the true hero of this moment,” Mike Davis, co-host of the Dale Jr. Download podcast said on Thursday. “Because none of this happens without Ryan Joseph Newman being Ryan Joseph Newman.”

The question of how hard lapped cars are supposed the race the leader hasn’t been answered by a long shot. Drivers and experts have weighed in, but one thing is certain, if Newman is behind the wheel of the car the leaders are coming around to lap – the conversation is going to continue.

“I was trying to explain to people how Ryan races people really hard,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “He carries that as a badge of honor. Kyle Busch is pissed – I’m sure. Anybody would be. I would be pissed if Ryan Newman did that to me. But that’s Ryan. Immediately you’re like freakin’ mad and then like a lap later, you’re like ‘Well, that’s Ryan.’

“He’s there thinking, ‘these are all positions for me man. I don’t care that that’s the leader.’”

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter.

Dale Jr. Download debuts today at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Dale Jr Download podcast with Dale Earnhardt Jr. comes to TV beginning today. The show debuts at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, following NASCAR America.

“Dale Jr. Download” will air every Thursday the rest of the season after NASCAR America.

The 30-minute show will provide a condensed version of the Dirty Mo Radio podcast that is found online and features Earnhardt, NBC Sports’ newest NASCAR analyst, with Mike Davis and Matthew Dillner.

“Our approach with the TV show will be no different than our approach with the podcast – buddies hanging out, talking racing, sharing life stories, and telling jokes that may or may not be funny only to us,” Earnhardt said. “I’m having a lot of fun with the podcast, and we are excited to be bringing it to TV. If we have a guest join us, it’s only because they’re relevant to whatever has my attention that week. It could be a NASCAR driver, or it could be my plumber – depends on who’s more important to me that week. The Download is as transparent as I can be when it comes to my life and thoughts.”