Dale Earnhardt Jr. reacted to Bubba Wallace’s emotional post-race interview after he finished 2nd at Michigan International Speedway to Kevin Harvick.
Wallace broke down in tears and put all the blame on himself for failing to win the race telling NBC Sports reporter and former NASCAR Cup Series driver Parker Kligerman, “Replaying everything I could have done. Took the top there on the restart. Thought I could have with the 4. And just got to racing the 5 and the 22. The 22 did a good job of getting another Ford contract; helping a Ford win.”
Wallace continued, “All in all incredible weekend. Appreciate my team. Wish we could have got Toyota in Victory Lane. Wish we could’ve got McDonald’s back in Victory Lane. She was fast all week, man. I’ll wear this one on my heart for awhile. I failed everybody.”
Wallace was then asked by Kligerman what he would have done different to which he answered, “Get clear of the 5 sooner. He was doing his part putting it on my quarter there, keeping me tight, and just the side by side here allows the 4 to get away.”
“Could’ve taken the top, pushed the 4 and then it could — I could’ve been the 5 in that scenario,” he elaborated. “Just hate it. Hate it for our team. Sucks.”
Wallace was then asked what his crew chief and car owner Denny Hamlin had to say to him, “Just great job all weekend. I mean it is a hell of a job for our team so there’s a lot of positives in this, but I’m a person that looks at the negatives more than positives. I need to change that, but I want to win so bad. And this was the best opportunity.”
Earnhardt Jr. reacted to Wallace’s interview on the Dale Jr. Download saying, “Post-race we saw an emotional interview from Bubba Wallace. I feel like that as hard as it was to see Bubba in that emotion — of course when you’re watching somebody feel that way you can’t help but go, ‘Man, I want to put my arm around that guy and say hey, this is maybe the point of view you should take.'”
“I hope that it was a moment for everyone else to be a witness to the pressure that this guy is under,” Junior continued. “Because, man, there wasn’t nothing fake about that. That was as genuine as someone can be in a moment like that.”
Junior then directed his attention to those who are critics of Bubba Wallace, “And I’m hoping that for the people that put a lot of pressure on Bubba and give him a lot of time and feed him a lot of criticism, especially, particularly online, I hope that those people can see really what this guy is dealing with on a daily basis.”
“And so, I felt pretty bad for him,” he detailed. “And it’s easy for me to say, but, you know, I said it after the race on our broadcast, you got to take — I’ve been in this position and I wasn’t good at this so this is not, it’s a bit hypocritical for me to say this — but if he, you got to look at the last couple weeks. They were great runs, top 10 finishes.”
“And look at the day where you just ran second to Kevin Harvick, who is dominant at this race track,” Junior said. “He was running him down a little bit at the end. You could say he had a good enough car to win the race. You got to look at those things and go, ‘Well, you’re close.’ Not ‘I failed everybody.’ He felt so small.”
He should take a moment and go — and I think he probably has after the last couple of days — where you go, ‘Look, we are close. We are right there. We are on the threshold of getting that win at a non-plate race track.’ Plus you’ve got Daytona right around the corner, another track that you’re good at.”
“Don’t psyche yourself out. Psyche yourself in. Psyche yourself up to the moment,” Junior advised. “If he hasn’t got that win by the time he goes to Daytona, he can go into Daytona — and I did this in 2001 — he can go into Daytona without a thing to lose. No worry about failure, disappointment, no burden, no pressure. You can just go in there and just hammer down, put it all on the line, do everything, anything you want, every single lap. Nothing to lose.”
After diving deeper into the going for broke mentality, Earnhardt Jr. returned to Wallace’s post-race interview saying, “I just felt pretty bad for Bubba. I think a lot of people did in that moment. And hated to see him get out of the car after that finish, which I was like, ‘Man, what a great run! He’s had a great string of finishes.'”
“And he got out and he was falling apart and that was tough to see,” Junior stated.
What do you make of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s reaction to Bubba Wallace’s post-race interview? What did you think about Wallace’s post race interview?