Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s final season has yet to produce a victory, and he has failed to finish in six different races this year.
Earnhardt didn’t finish the Brickyard 400, and his fans blamed crew chief Greg Ives for having Earnhardt pit, which led to him being near the back of the field. Earnhardt hit the back of Trevor Bayne and damaged his radiator.
Earnhardt addressed the criticisms of Ives on Twitter after he was finished on Sunday.
Earnhardt told reporters on Tuesday that he didn’t think this year’s struggles should be blamed on any one person.
“Our struggles are no one individual’s responsibility,” Earnhardt said. “Being my crew chief, we have such a very passionate fan base, a very large fan base, it’s a challenging position for anybody.”
Earnhardt also said he wants his fans to “ease up” on criticizing Ives:
“They can definitely ease up a little bit on Greg and realize that he is extremely talented. He’s in that position for a reason. He’s going to have incredible success beyond my driving career. … It’s not OK to be a fan and then dog the crew.
“You’re a fan of the team. It’s important that they embrace the crew chief, guys on the crew, mechanics, tire changers – they need to embrace the whole thing.”
Earnhardt is running out of chances to win and make the playoffs. His next chance is Sunday, July 30 at Pocono Raceway.