Dale Earnhardt Jr. ponders a 24-hour NASCAR race

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a big fan of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. He’s competed before, including in the 2001 event with his father Dale Earnhardt Sr.

So as this year’s edition of the Rolex 24 closed in on the finish Sunday, Junior went on Twitter to recall some of his past exploits in the road racing event, including posting several photos of cars he has driven in the annual sports car race at Daytona International Speedway.

So, after taking a walk down Memory Lane, Earnhardt posed an interesting question to his Twitter followers:

That actually is a great question. But could NASCAR Sprint Cup cars really — especially mechanically — run a full 24 hours, even if there were switches of drivers behind the wheel? Would the 750-horsepower, 3,600 pound cars be able to run on a track for so long.

Plus, would a proposed race be run on a road course or a typical NASCAR oval?

That’s where things get a little interesting mathematically.

Using a 1.5-mile oval like Charlotte Motor Speedway as an example, think about it: Since most 500-mile NASCAR races are typically contested in around four hours — give or take — if NASCAR were to seriously consider a 24-hour event, that would mean the race itself would last 3,000 miles!

And, that would mean something like, oh, maybe 44 pit stops!

I know there are fans who like to say they want longer rather than shorter races, but 3,000 miles in total? I question even the heartiest NASCAR fans would want to watch a race that long.

I also have to wonder how many folks would still be watching, let alone still be awake, when a Cup 3,000-miler would finally be completed.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski