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“You people are crazy,” he wrote on Twitter. “When my crew tells me to pit, I pit. Steve and Chad sort out the details.”

But that wasn’t even what ruined Earnhardt’s race. It came later, on the final two-lap sprint, when he said Jamie McMurray drove into the side of his Chevrolet and turned him.

“I had it saved, and then he came on and got him another shot,” Earnhardt said. “Brought the KO. punch the second time and spun us around.”

The style of racing won’t change before NASCAR goes to Talladega in October, when drivers, maybe even Earnhardt, will be competing for the Sprint Cup championship. Each move will be critical, and every driver will be dependent on someone else.

It’s not comfortable for Earnhardt, and he doesn’t think it’s suitable. He’s the most outspoken driver about the current state of plate racing, but he’s definitely not alone.

“It’s so hard to see how many hours these (crew) guys put into these cars, to have it torn up in the blink of an eye like that,” Johnson said. “But it is what it is and we’ll just go on to the next one.”