"You can't take that risk" - Dale Earnhardt Jr. backs NASCAR calling off Coca-Cola 600 early 

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 - Qualifying
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 - Qualifying

Despite backlash from some fans and observers, Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn't have an issue with NASCAR's much-debated call in the Coca-Cola 600. After rain brought the race to a halt and having waited for the track to be dried, NASCAR called the race officially over on the grounds of the track still being wet in places.

This attracted a lot of angry reactions from the fans who felt that the race should have carried on late into the night if required.

However, Earnhardt Jr. is of the opinion that NASCAR took the right call and racing in those conditions wasn't a risk worth taking.

"The 600 ends as a rained-out event. I don't have a problem with that. There's protocols in place that when our races are went beyond halfway and we have a rain delay or any kind of a rain event, the race can be called official. It's been the way it has been forever, for as long as I remember," he said on his podcast 'Dale Jr. Download'.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. stated that he wasn't there and didn't know what the track looked like. He noted that he has been in a situation where the track was humid and damp and there was nothing NASCAR could do to get it to dry up. Junior said he has seen cars still heading into turn 1 despite such conditions, on what the drivers thought was a dry-enough track, and getting wiped out.

Earnhardt Jr. maintained that such a risk simply cannot be taken.

"You can't take that risk. If they thought that the track was not dry enough and if they thought that it was too late in the evening to race this thing out, then that's the decision they make and I have to be okay with that."

What exactly went behind the decision to call off the Coca-Cola 600?

NASCAR Vice President of Competition, Elton Sawyer, revealed in an interview with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio what went behind the decision to call off the Coke 600.

“It’s NASCAR’s decision. We do work closely with the folks at the Speedway and work closely with our TV partners to get to the right decision," Sawyer said.

He mentioned that as the day unfolds, there are a lot of works behind the scenes and officials who get to the track early in the morning to get it ready. There is also local law enforcement to direct traffic.

Having dug deep into the timeline, NASCAR saw that it could get to the 1:30-2:00 am range when the checkered flag drops, if it was a clean race without any cautions. If any cautions were to come into play, then that range could have extended to 3:00 am.

All of these things were taken into consideration, as per Sawyer. While it wasn't a decision they wanted to make, he claimed it was a decision they had to make at that point.

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