May 6, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT
Dale Earnhardt Jr. made a decision to hang toward the back of the field late in Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway in order to avoid the anticipated late-race wrecks and position himself for a final run.
But the gamble didn’t work, and after finishing 26th, Earnhardt has been the target of some criticism from members of the NASCAR Nation that feel he didn’t give it everything he had.
However, on today’s episode of NASCAR AMERICA on NBCSN, analyst and Sprint Cup driver Jeff Burton defended Earnhardt and said he played it smart on Sunday.
Burton and host Marty Snider also looked into the evolution of a very important aspect of drivers’ safety: Their seats. Using photos of Jeff Gordon‘s seat from the late 1990s and Mark Martin‘s seat from 2012, Burton explained the important advances that the seat has taken over the last decade and a half.