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The season-opening race for the NASCAR Truck Series at Daytona set a record with 12 cautions, nine of which were due to wrecks. Over half of the race was run under caution — 52 of the 101 laps. A slew of accidents isn’t uncommon for the Truck Series at superspeedways, but the first race of 2024 was notably crash-filled. Dale Earnhardt Jr. recently mulled why that is and gave his take on how NASCAR could remedy the issue for the Truck Series.

Speaking on his podcast, the Dale Jr. Download, Junior said he spoke with Cup Series driver Corey LaJoie following the race. LaJoie was involved in a crash and finished 20th in the Truck Series season-opener.

LaJoie told Earnhardt Jr. the trucks are a “handful” on superspeedways. Draft racing could be considered LaJoie’s forte in Cup, but even he was “caught out” by racing in the trucks. He noted the trucks will either get loose or tight depending on changing scenarios. It’s an experience most of the young drivers in the Truck Series simply haven’t encountered.

“Not only do we have very young, inexperienced drivers driving in that series, but we’re also putting them in the most challenging situations that anyone in the whole NASCAR ecosystem will be in at Daytona during the Speedweek,” Earnhardt Jr. said.

But remedying the issue isn’t straightforward.

Earnhardt said a key to limiting wrecks is making changes so the trucks “don’t race as well together.” That was the case in the ARCA Series for many years, he said, which led to more single-wide racing.

“They couldn’t get to one another, so they couldn’t hit each other,” he said.

Of course, that would dampen the excitement of the race, but “certainly would wreck less trucks.”

Nick Sanchez celebrates after winning the 2024 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Fresh From Florida 250 at Daytona.
Nick Sanchez celebrates after winning the 2024 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Fresh From Florida 250 at Daytona | Sean Gardner via Getty Images

Making the trucks more stable in the draft could have the opposite effect. Junior said with stability comes more risk taking, and that could lead to a bevy of wrecks.

Ultimately, Earnhardt suggested NASCAR finds a way to require the trucks to prioritize handling.

“The best races at Daytona, in my opinion, where when the cars had to handle,” he said. “And so, we would have to lift because our cars would either push into the wall or spin out.”

Earnhardt implied trucks having to lift off the throttle could somewhat separate the pack. That could lead to less wrecks, or at least those that take out a significant portion of contenders. Two crashes in the Feb. 16 Daytona race involved over 10 trucks. Tanner Gray became airborne and flipped during one of these wrecks.

Earnhardt Jr. added a rules package change to require NASCAR cars/trucks to prioritize handling could benefit the Truck, Xfinity and Cup Series.

“I’d love to see it in any of the top three series,” Earnhardt said.