Dale Earnhardt Jr Surprised at Michael Jordan’s Employee’s Oblivious Reaction Amid Ingenuity by Crew Chiefs


The playoff starter certainly was a thriller for the fans. It had all the elements of a runaway hit: drama, action, and an unexpected ending to top it all off. However, the short track race at Darlington had an awkward moment around the halfway mark. Even Dale Earnhardt Jr. mentioned the moment in his podcast.
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Yet, this bizarre stint didn’t affect Michael Jordan’s 23XI Racing driver. He wasn’t even aware of what had just happened, being so intensely focused on the race. Reflecting on this, NASCAR veteran Dale Earnhardt Jr. revealed his fascination with Jordan’s team’s ability to stay unfazed by the sudden development.
Dale Earnhardt Jr appreciates Michael Jordan’s team’s sharpness
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Last week’s race at the 1.3-mile Darlington track certainly was a thriller for Hendrick Motorsports fans. Kyle Larson, the once-in-a-generation talent, claimed his first-ever career win with a late rally in the 367-lap grueling race. While the #5 driver got his sought-after win, the NASCAR nation witnessed NASCAR’s vulnerability.
Passing the halfway mark, at lap 189, the floodlights on the track went off, nearly blinding the drivers. Turn 3 of the short track was the most affected, with one side in darkness and the other illuminated by the remaining lights. While the commentators and fans noticed this sudden disruption, not many drivers were aware of it.
And one among them was Michael Jordan’s 23XI Racing driver, Bubba Wallace. In fact, the driver was so dead focused on the race that he only noticed it when his spotter, Freddie Kraft, told him. Speaking on the DBC podcast, Kraft relayed the hilarious reaction of Wallace when he told the 29-year-old about the development.
Reflecting on this incident, this week’s Dale Jr Download also touched upon the incident. Joining his co-host, Mike Davis, Dale Earnhardt Jr. said, “I’m surprised that some of the guys couldn’t tell the lights were out. That’s for sure because we could see it from where in the booth. But the other thing too is how crafty the spotters are not to even mention it because they are seeing their drivers run along, trying to get the yellow, so that’s crafty man.”
Massive Playoff Blow to Michael Jordan’s $150 Million NASCAR Team at Kansas As Bubba Wallace Pays Detrimental Price for Deceit
The drivers’ focus fascinated Davis. The veteran JR Motorsports co-owner commended the sharpness of the team, especially the crew chief. He said it was clever not to let the other teams know of it over the radio, considering how it can lend the competition a slight edge. “Clever stuff that you only think about, right? While it was happening in the booth, we were like, is there no conversation on the radio about this and there wasn’t a lot, so there was an oddly limited amount of chatter.”
Despite the crew chief’s “craftiness”, Bubba Wallace’s team gets a stiff penalty from NASCAR
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The #23 driver finished the race decently with a 7th-place finish. However, as the action moves to Kansas Speedway, things certainly aren’t looking good for the team. With just hours remaining for the highly-anticipated speedway race, the sanctioning body penalized Wallace’s crew chief, Zachary Marquardt. The #23 Toyota failed NASCAR’s pre-race inspection twice.
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via Imago DARLINGTON, SC – SEPTEMBER 03: Bubba Wallace 23 23XI Racing McDonald s Toyota races through Turn 1 during the running of the NASCAR, Motorsport, USA Cup Series Playoff Cook Out Southern 500 on September 03, 2023, at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, SC. Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire AUTO: SEP 03 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Cook Out Southern 500 EDITORIAL USE ONLY Icon230903586500
Marquardt will remain on the sidelines for the rest of the race weekend. This sudden development will also force the team to forfeit pit-stall selection for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400. Wallace has a dominant streak at the Speedway, including a spectacular runner-up finish in the Spring earlier this year. Additionally, this marks his first-ever playoff appearance in the Cup Series. Unfortunately, the organization’s stiff penalty is now putting the team and its crew in a dire situation.
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WATCH THIS STORY: Denny Hamlin lashes out a Michael Jordan’s driver for ruining his Darlington performance
Wallace picked up 30 points with a decent 7th-place finish last week in NASCAR’s playoff starter at Darlington. Will the Alabama native be able to repeat his exceptional performance and point himself to a win? Do let us know your thoughts in the comments.


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