Don’t count Dale Earnhardt, Jr. as a fan of the traction compound that was used during Sunday’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte.
The compound, which has been used with mixed results at Speedway Motorsports, Inc. tracks this season, was laid down in the second and third grooves at Charlotte, but things didn’t quite gel between the cars on track and the ability for the compound to increase grip.
Trouble with the PJ1 compound started on Friday in practice when a handful of drivers, including Earnhardt, Kyle Busch, and others lost control of their cars while running in the grooves that were supposed to have better traction in Turn 4. Earnhardt, Busch, and David Ragan hit the wall, while Brad Keselowski made a miraculous save to keep himself out of trouble.
Earnhardt would be forced to a backup car, while Busch’s crew repaired his car for Sunday’s race.
“We had a great car and got into whatever that mess is on the race track,” Earnhardt said of his issues in practice.
Earnhardt would start 23rd and finish 12th in his final race at Charlotte, his home track, but in his post-race debrief with the fans on Periscope, he let his frustrations about the use of the traction compound be known.
“Saw a couple of guys have some trouble with that today,” he added. “We couldn’t run right against the wall because that stuff’s so slick. It just wouldn’t come in. Good Lord. Very treacherous.”
“It was a really a hard day as a driver. I know you guys want it to be hard and it should be hard, but it was hard for all the wrong reasons today. Hopefully they don’t use that PJ1 spray on any other race tracks for a while. I think they need to research that a little bit more before we use it again.
“Had they not put the stuff down on the track, we would have been driving all on the fence and everything trying to find grip and hauling ass up there, but we just couldn’t get up there and use it.
“I was real disappointed that they sprayed that stuff down and it didn’t work. It’s easy to say that after the fact. I’m not trying to get too hard on the racetrack, but man I want to see this place see its real potential. Hasn’t been a great race here in a long time, and I just know it can be a great race here during the day, a really hot day, especially.”
The Speedway Motorsports, Inc. portfolio of tracks has just one race remaining on the season at Texas Motor Speedway, so it will be interesting to see if they elect to use the traction compound there or take Earnhardt’s comments to heart and put its use on hold for a while.