Hmm, never saw this one before, just found it tonight.
Monday, December 22, 2008
By Bill Kimm, NASCAR.COM
December 22, 200811:20 AM EST
Brad Keselowski's rise to fame was as unexpected to him as the rest of the garage. After losing his ride with Keith Coleman Racing in 2007, Keselowski was left without a ride and a less than stellar Nationwide Series resume.
But it was impressive enough to catch the eye of Dale Earnhardt Jr. After releasing Shane Huffman from his No. 88 JR Motorsports team halfway through the '07 season, Earnhardt called Keselowski and offered him a second chance at success -- and Keselowski didn't disappoint.
Brad Keselowski had 11 top-fives and 20 top-10s in the 88 car.
Six top-10s in 14 races was enough to secure a full-time ride with JR Motorsports in 2008 and Keselowski took full advantage of his new opportunity.
The season didn't start out great. Transmission problems at Fontana and a crash at Las Vegas had the 24-year-old 19th in points -- but that would be the lowest he would fall in standings.
Three consecutive top-six finishes at Atlanta, Bristol and Nashville propelled Keselowski to sixth in the standings and established him as a serious threat to compete for the championship.
Beginning at Charlotte in May and ending at Gateway in July, Keselowski went on a tear with nine consecutive top-10 finishes, including his first career win at Nashville and a dominating 145 laps-led effort from the pole at Milwaukee.
That's not to say Keselowski avoided trouble along the way. At the Charlotte race, Keselowski and Denny Hamlin raced aggressively at the finish and both pit crews were involved in an altercation on pit road after the race that led to fines and suspensions for some on the No. 88 crew.
Keselowski's amazing run led to a job offer for a Cup ride at Penske Racing in August, but Keselowski turned it down, choosing to be loyal to JR Motorsports and its Cup partner, Hendrick Motorsports.
In the final weeks of the season, Keselowski was unable to keep up with eventual champion Clint Bowyer and runner-up Carl Edwards, but Keselowski finished a strong third and was rewarded for his efforts by being named the Nationwide Series' most popular driver for the 2008 season.
Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway -- It took 49 races, but after coming close numerous times, Keselowski finally earned his first Nationwide Series win with a strong performance at Nashville. With Tony Eury Sr. calling the shots, the 88 team used pit strategy to get up front. Then on the final restart with seven laps remaining, Keselowski was able to pass David Reutimann, Bowyer and Kyle Busch and hold on for the victory.
Turn for the Worse
Camping World RV Service 300 at Auto Club Speedway -- Keselowski was riding high heading to Fontana for the second time in the '08 season. He was coming off a win at Bristol, his second of the season, and was second in points just 112 behind leader Bowyer. Unfortunately for Keselowski that would be the closest he would get to the championship. Engine problems led to a 33rd-place finish in Southern California and a 21st the following week at Dover would drop Keselowski to third in the standings for the rest of the season.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Lastly, I do want to say a huge welcome back to Tony Stewart to Team Chevy. We missed you Tony, welcome back!! Ok, that's all for now, keep checking back, I hope to have some new at least once every week, not sure how that will work out. Talk to you soon!!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will stay comfortable and stylish during 2009 with a continued relationship with the Wrangler brand. Today, the denim giant proudly announced it will once again be the official jean of Dale Earnhardt Jr. for a sixth consecutive year. The NASCAR superstar will continue to be featured across a range of high-profile consumer promotions and Wrangler marketing initiatives.
“It’s been an honor to work with Wrangler for all these years, and this relationship has always meant a lot to me,” said Earnhardt Jr. “Wrangler has been a great supporter of my family, my teams and the sport. I couldn’t be happier that we’ll continue to build on the things we’ve already accomplished.”
The Wrangler brand was the first apparel company to have a significant involvement in NASCAR beginning in the early 1980s as the primary sponsor of Dale Earnhardt and the legendary blue-and-yellow “Wrangler Jeans Machine.” In 2004, the Wrangler-Earnhardt collaboration was renewed with Dale Jr. and has since helped raise more than $175,000 for various charitable causes. The Wrangler relationship is Dale Jr.’s longest-running endorsement deal.
“The Earnhardt name has always represented the core, all-American values that Wrangler embodies, and we are thrilled to be continuing that tradition,” said Craig Errington, vice president of Wrangler marketing. “Dale Jr. has been a wonderful partner, and as evidenced by his huge popularity, he continues to be a perfect representative for the Wrangler brand.”
The Wrangler brand and Dale Jr. will work together in 2009 on promotional opportunities designed to enhance the brand’s profile. As the official jean of Dale Jr., Wrangler will continue to leverage NASCAR’s most popular driver in advertisements, in-store signage, product ticketing and consumer promotions.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Ok I'm the first to admit (not that it would make any difference) that I'm not one for the beard look, but hey, if Junior likes it, more power to him. Anyway, first Junior got a sweet watch from Tissot with the team colors on it. (I guess the lady is the representative from Tissot)
I know I voted a lot of times for Dale Jr to win this award, and I know it means so much to him because of it being voted on by the fans. As I've told him many times on InfieldParking.com, I'm so proud of him and happy for him!!!! Ladies and Gentlemen, this years winner of the Chex Most Popular Driver Award (6 time, I might add) is...... DALE EARNHARDT JR!!!!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Brad with his trophy for the Nationwide Series Most Popular Driver
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Macy’s celebrates NASCAR’s Champions Week with Dale Jr. and Godinger Silver Company
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr., five-time Most Popular Driver of NASCAR will be at Macy’s in New York City on December 4th to meet and greet with fans and support the new Godinger NASCAR collection line of crystal and silver gifts and barware. The line of products features both the #88 National Guard and #88 Amp cars driven by Dale Earnhardt, Jr in 2008.
To have the opportunity to meet Dale Jr, fans can be one of the first 100 customers to purchase $150 or more of the NASCAR Collection beginning at the store opening on December 4th for the chance to have your picture taken with the 18-time race winner. Or be one of the first 50 customers to purchase $75 or more to qualify for a signed autograph photo of Dale Jr.
That’s Thursday, December 4 at 5:00pm at Macy’s Herald Square, in the Crystal Dept. on 8 during Champions Week in New York City.
Visit www.Macys.com or www.Godinger.com.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Earnhardt did win a race in 2008 and made the Chase, but didn't challenge for as many victories and the championship as some had predicted.
However, Junior looks back at his first year as a member of the Hendrick stable as successful.
"I was super excited about the way the season was going to start," Earnhardt said. "I couldn't wait to get to work earlier this year. It was a long year, we worked really hard. It went good sometimes, sometimes it went poorly. For the most part I was real proud of just getting the season in the bank and getting done and looking forward to next year. I am really happy to be with Rick (Hendrick) and working with the guys I am working with."
Earnhardt did begin the year as one of the most consistent drivers on the series and remained in the top five of the point standings for the first half.
But things started to level off and by the time the Chase started, the solid finishes Earnhardt was enjoying at the beginning of 2008 began to fade.
"I need to do a little bit better in the summer," Earnhardt said looking back. "There are a bunch of tracks that are backed up there in the summer that we just don't run good at. I need to work on my string of races there at about the 5/8 mark of the season.”
Earnhardt is already looking ahead to season number two with Hendrick but is particularly pleased with NASCAR's decision to ban off-season testing as a means of saving teams money.
"I am happy about that," he said. "I am really looking forward to that happening. I think it is a great choice. It is going to save each individual team, like the No. 5 car, the No. 24 car about a million and half dollars a year so it is a great move."
As for the off-season, Earnhardt has plans to keep himself busy. He will have an early start to it, as he won't be attending the NASCAR Championship Banquet in New York. Only the top 10 teams are being honored at the banquet.
"I am going to take my family somewhere," he smiled. "Then I am just going to stay home. I am taking my uncles, Robert and Jimmy Gee hunting right up to Christmas Eve. New Year's, I might go watch the street stock race at Rockingham. Just might."
Thursday, November 20, 2008
CONCORD, N.C. -- Rick Hendrick got on his radio prior to the first of the Sprint Cup's 10-race playoff and told Dale Earnhardt Jr. he had what it took to be holding the championship trophy after the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
One of Hendrick's drivers indeed held the trophy on Sunday in South Florida, but it was Jimmie Johnson.
It was that kind of season for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who started the Chase in fourth place but finished it in 12th.
"I'm disappointed," Hendrick said on Tuesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "I felt like we were so good early on. We just had tremendous little gremlins bite us, from tire problems to things you just can't control.
"All of those things that happened to him could have happened to Jimmie Johnson. He could be fifth in the points and Jimmie could be third in the points."
Earnhardt had eight top-5s and 12 top-10s during the first 26 races and entered the Chase fourth in points. He had only two top-5s and three top-10s in the final 10, finishing a whopping 557 points behind Johnson.
The consistency Earnhardt had early in the season was nowhere to be found in the Chase. NASCAR's most popular driver finished worse than 15th only twice in the first 15 races. He was 20th or worse in five of the final nine races, and he finished on the lead lap only four times in the final 10 races, failing to finish at Talladega (crash) and Homestead (wheel bearing).
"Racing luck has got a lot to do with it," Hendrick said. "When we look back at the year and at what he's accomplished and how he's fit into our organization and how happy he is and Tony [Eury Jr.] is, we're going to go to work to make it better for next year.
"That's the good news -- there is next year."
Hendrick already is busy trying to make next year better. He took a brief break from meetings on Tuesday to attend the rookie of the year luncheon at LMS in which Landon Cassill took home the Nationwide Series Award.
Then it was back to meet Mark Martin, who will take over the No. 5 car in 2009 and share the same shop with Earnhardt.
"Mark Martin being there is going to help us, help us a lot," Hendrick said of the 49-year-old driver who has finished second in the championship standings four times. "Mark is a great example of dedication and determination. His enthusiasm gets me excited."
Earnhardt was excited about his chances of winning the title his dad won seven times. "I was super excited about the way the season was going," he said prior to Sunday's 41st-place finish. "I couldn't wait to get to work earlier this year. It was a long year, we worked really hard. It went good sometimes, sometimes it went poorly. For the most part I was real proud of just getting the season in the bank and getting done and looking forward to next year.
"I am really happy to be with Rick and working with the guys I am working with."
Expectations may have been too high for the driver who arguably has higher expectations than anybody in the garage.
"There's no way you can put a team together in their first year and they be as good as [Johnson's] team because they've been together," Hendrick said. "That's the chemistry that is going to get better on Dale Jr.'s side.
"Hopefully, Junior might get his first championship next year. Who knows?"
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Dale Earnhardt Jr. supports DEI merger with Ganassi Racing
Dale Earnhardt Jr. falls victim to parts failure in Cup season finale
SEMA: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Big Red Truck
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Congrats to Jimmie, he has made history and anyone who says he doesn't deserve to be in the history books with Cale isn't a real NASCAR fan.
Congrats to Clint Bowyer on winning the Nationwide Championship, he beat Carl Edwards by 21 points.
Congrats to Johnny Benson for holding off Ron Hornaday and winning the Championship, Johnny beat Ron by 7 points.
As for our Junebug, he came in for a last pit stop and felt something break under the hood, he came back in and went back to the garage and had his 2nd DNF for the season. He finished 41st and ended the season 12th in points. There is always the Favorite Driver Award, which he has won 5 times. Keep voting, I'll let you know when that will televised.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I'm not sure if it's official yet, and if it is, NASCAR.com hasn't reported it yet, but anyway....
to Landon Cassill on winning the Raybestos Rookie of the Year award!!!!!! I found this article, and because it's pretty short, I'll just post the whole thing here.
Nationwide Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year is Landon Cassill
Kyle Ocker, FanZone Sports
HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Landon Cassill was the winner of the Nationwide Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year award for 2008. Cassill, 19 of Fairfax, Iowa, has run 26 races in his career, with 20 races this year. He achieved his highest finish of sixth place twice, at Gateway and Phoenix last weekend.
“I’m just really proud of everybody, my whole team, for working so hard for me this year,” said Cassill on winning the Rookie of the Year award. “I ran a limited schedule, and I had some really good races, and at times it didn’t look so good, and at times it looked great. You know, it was a real compliment to me, and it was flattering when we went to Phoenix, and all my guys knew it was my last race, and their focus was getting me the finish I needed. You know, I can’t thank them enough for that, for being that focused on winning Rookie of the Year.
“My guys, National Guard, supported me all year, Dale, Jr. who owns my car and the team, and it’s an honor, and I hope I’m a good rookie.”
Cassill raced in all but 3 of his 20 races this season in the No. 5 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. He ran in the No. 4 at Mexico City, Infineon, and Watkins Glen.
“He did a good job for the most part of the year,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr. about Landon winning the Rookie of the Year award. “He got the finishes he needed to win. He had some pretty good competition, I think Brian (Clauson) and he got some really good finishes at parts of the year and showed a lot of good showed he’s got a lot of talent.”
Also, Brad did an awesome job this year and I'm so happy he'll be with JRM next year. I'm not sure if they've found a sponsor for the Nationwide 88 yet or not.
From what I am hearing, and they talked about it during the race tonight, the 5 car will remain at JRM (and I hope I'm getting this right), however it won't run the full season, as of now, the car is going to be entered in at least 7 races. So there's a bit of good news for the #5 car.
Like I said, once the race is over tomorrow night, I will post the results from all three races, as well as who won the three championships.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
MIAMI -- Teresa Earnhardt and Chip Ganassi will combine their slumping race teams next season, an effort to stabilize their organizations in a tough economic time.
The combined team will be called Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. Martin Truex Jr. and Juan
Montoya will drive the Nos. 1 and 42 and Aric Almirola will be behind the wheel of the No. 8. The driver of the No. 41 has not been named.
Both organizations have struggled to secure sponsorship this season, forcing the teams to pool resources.
"In this ultra-competitive era of NASCAR, it is necessary to build and sustain the strongest team possible and our combining with the people and equipment at Dale Earnhardt Inc. will help create a strong four-car program for years to come," Chip Ganassi said in a statement released by the team. "This is a win-win for both organizations as well as all of our partners."
Truex and Almirola will come from Dale Earnhardt Inc.; only Truex's car has full sponsorship for next season.
Montoya has half a season of sponsorship, and Ganassi's flagship No. 41 car has full sponsorship.
DEI fields Chevrolets, and Ganassi has a Dodge contract. Details of a manufacturer switch still are being worked out as the team is expected to use General Motors.
"Having a partner like Chip, who is heavily involved on the competition side of the business, is an ideal situation for DEI," Teresa Earnhardt said. "He has a long history of managing championship teams in the IndyCar and Rolex Grand-Am Series and I share his passion and goals of winning races and ultimately championships in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. I think this is a case where we are stronger together than we are apart."
DEI is losing the Menard's sponsorship on its No. 15 Chevrolet. Driver Paul Menard is leaving the organization to drive a third car for Yates Racing in 2009.
Ganassi shuttled the No. 40 Dodge of Dario Franchitti earlier this year, and longtime driver Reed Sorenson is leaving the No. 41 to drive for Gillett Evernham Racing next year.
The teams' drivers have combined for 210 starts this year and have zero wins, 11 top-five finishes and 28 top-10s.
DEI has only three wins in the past four seasons, while Ganassi drivers have four wins since 2002.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
|10||+1||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||6087||-474|
Friday, November 7, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- For the next three weeks, NASCAR fans have the opportunity to do two good things at once -- buy a cherished collectible, plus lend a hand to one of the sport's pioneers.
An online auction that opened Saturday features autographed memorabilia from numerous Sprint Cup Series drivers. It's a joint effort by the NASCAR Foundation and Motor Racing Outreach, with all proceeds benefiting the Sam Ard Fund.
Ard, the 1983-84 Nationwide Series champion, is battling Alzheimer's disease and financial woes. His wife, Jo, is in a battle of her own, against a degenerative eye disease.
This pas Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, another two-time Nationwide Series champion, Kevin Harvick (2001 and 2008), donated a van to Ard's son, Robert, for conveyance to his father.
Items available in the online auction include autographed driver suits from Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer, two-time Cup Series champion Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton, Kyle Petty, Denny Hamlin, defending Craftsman Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday, Ryan Newman, Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson.
The Sam Ard Fund auction closes at noon ET on Nov. 17. Other items will become available during the next three weeks.
The Sam Ard Fund auction page
Depressed economy forces Earnhardt's hand at JR Motorsports
Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the real Jimmie Johnson
Monday, November 3, 2008
I thought was pretty cool that Jimmy praised Brad, while the media seems to think that Joey is such a talented driver. I'm not putting Joey down, and not saying he's not a talented driver, it's just that he hasn't done well in any of the cup races he's run, finishing at least 20th or worse in each of them. Brad made his debut, starting back around where Joey started, and yet Brad fought and made his way to 19th!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
I'm one of those fans who have looked at this season and thought, "You know what, this is his first season being with HMS, and just like anything else, being around new people (pit crew, garage crew, staff at HMS), teammates, surroundings, etc. - they take time getting used to. I know Junior will be ready for next year."
I don't look at this year as being a one win year for him. I look at it (or try to) from his perspective, he knows he has the best equipment out there and he knows what he can do with that. He also knows that no matter what, the true Jr Nation fans will be with him all the way.
Brad had a great run in his debut in the #25 GoDaddy.com Chevy. He qualified 37th and although he was a lap down, he finished one position ahead of his boss (Junebug), in 19th.
|11||-1||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||5937||-429|
Monday, October 27, 2008
I really hope that Brad gets to start this weekend at Texas. This is an awesome opportunity for him and I really hope it doesn't rain so Brad can achieve this milestone in his career.
Keselowski continuing on a steady path to Cup racing
So what did Junebug do on Friday since qualifying was canceled? Click below to find out. :)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. enjoys rainy Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway
Here's the updated chase standings:
|10||-1||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||5829||-419|
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. is looking forward to returning to Atlanta Motor Speedway this Sunday.
Even though his chances of winning his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship appear to be over, Dale Earnhardt Jr. still has plenty to look forward to, starting with this Sunday's Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"I like running at Atlanta a lot," said Earnhardt Jr., who has one win, eight top-five and 10 top-10 finishes at the 1.54-mile track.
"It's a good race track and real, real fast. We have run really well there in the past, and coming off a good run like Martinsville last week, I think we have a good shot at it."
Earnhardt Jr.'s second-place finish at Martinsville on Sunday was his best finish in the 10-race Chase so far this season and gives the driver of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet momentum heading to a track where he was third in the spring race after starting outside the pole. Obviously, he hopes to improve this weekend.
"A win would be great, but I really just want to keep running as good as we did last week," Earnhardt Jr. said.
Tony Eury Jr., the crew chief for the No. 88 team, is also itching to get back to Atlanta.
"I think that's one of Dale Jr.'s favorite tracks," Eury Jr. said. "We want to get there, try to get on the pole and fix what we didn't finish [in March]. We had a super car there at the start of the race. I'm really looking forward to getting back there and trying again."
Monday, October 20, 2008
Not great, but Junior's first year at HMS a good start
Earnhardt settles in with Hendrick, looks forward to 2009
Second fiddle at Martinsville just fine for Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. says crew chief calls are pivotal at Martinsville
Earnhardt not in right spot to challenge
That last one doesn't sound encouraging, but it's not negative so that's why I posted it.
Here's one about the sponsorship with Unilever.
JR Motorsports "too good to be true" for Unilever
Just a reminder, two days left to vote for what blog you'd like to me start up in the place of Flippin Out for Carl Edwards. Looks like a blog for Jimmie Johnson is ahead, and some want to see one for Jeff Gordon. Hmm, we'll see what happens!
Also, I forgot to mention, I do read all the articles I post here before I post them. I will never post anything that anyone has written about Dale Jr that is negative. Just wanted you to know that.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
|9||+1||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||5694||-379|
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
PS Don't forget to check out my pole over on the right side!!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
CONCORD, N.C. – JR Motorsports officials announced Friday at Lowe's Motor Speedway a 10-race sponsorship of the No. 5 Nationwide Series team for 2009 with Unilever and its Hellman's mayonnaise, Ragu pasta sauce, Klondike ice cream and Lipton tea brands.
Landon Cassill will drive the No. 5 Chevrolet for seven of the events, team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. two and Mark Martin one, according to Kelley Earnhardt, general manager of the team.
The sponsorship will begin with the season-opening Nationwide race at Daytona, with Earnhardt Jr. driving a Hellman’s-sponsored car.
Earnhardt Jr. said the team is close to signing sponsorship for the remaining 25 races for the No. 5, as well as the entire schedule for the No. 88 Chevrolet driven by Brad Keselowksi.
“We’ve got it just about entirely finished as far as putting together a program for all the races for each car,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “We still have a couple of gaps to fill. We started working pretty early and we had a lot of interest. We’re more fortunate than most I’m sure. I feel very confident that we’ll be able to get it wrapped up.”
Kelley Earnhardt said JR Motorsports is committed to two full-time cars next season.
“It’s very disconcerting,” Earnhardt said. “We’ve got people trying to put cars together and firesuits and get our marketing together for next year, and every day I have e-mails hitting my inbox: ‘Have you got nay news? Have you got any news?’
“But we’ve got some things working. I think we’re going to have it wrapped up, hopefully, within the next 30 days.”
Cassill, who has shared the No. 5 this year with several drivers, said an announcement should be forthcoming on his remaining schedule with the team next year, and it should include more races for him.
“We’ll have something soon,” Cassill said. “It’ll be cool.”
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Here's the updated chase standings:
|10||--||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||5524||-354|
Thursday, October 9, 2008
For those of you who have been with me since the beginning, you all know about the collages I used to make and post here. I had taken them off the blog since I had been told that they made me look like a Dale Jr "stalker" (umm okie dokie then). Well, for those that think that, this is my blog and I will post as many collages as I want. If you want to voice your opinion on that, go somewhere else. Anyway, collage will appear every now and then, and for those that like them, feel free to use them. :) Ok, talk to you all later.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon: Shake and Bake?!
Junior runs into trouble at Talladega
I know that this next one doesn't have anything to do with Junior, but, AJ Allmendinger is one of Junebugs buddies and so I thought I'd post this for those interested. This is also one of the reasons I'm also a Michael Waltrip fan.
Allmendinger to drive No. 00 at Lowe's
Also, there is so much being said about the whole Regan Smith deal. Ok, here's my take on it. Rules are made for a reason. From what I understand, the drivers were told at the meeting, there is to be no "improving your position" (I forget how they said it, I think that was it) below the yellow line. That means, you can't pass below the yellow line. I know Regan is a rookie, but rules are rules, and they're put there for a reason. Tony won that race, he did what he had to do to hold of Regan and that's that. Congrats Tony for getting the win! Regan, I hope you have learned that when the NASCAR officials inform you and the other drivers of the rules, that applies for the entire race.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Congrats to Dale Jr's good buddy Tony Stewart on his win at Talladega. I know that although Jr would have wanted to win this race, he's happy for Tony.
As I said above, next week, the guys head home (for most of them) to Charlotte.
|10||-2||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||5469||-249|
Saturday, October 4, 2008
The Hendrick Motorsports teammates, two of the greatest restrictor plate racers in the sport, have a plan for Sunday's Amp Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Both men have agreed to set aside their competitive differences, for a portion of the race at least, and work on their team building skills.
"Me and Jeff are thinking about going up front, running hard ... go up there and try to learn how to work together," Earnhardt said. "I think it will work good, we got to make it work."
Teammates or not, Junior Nation may find this pairing a bit unsettling.
Talladega Superspeedway is sacred ground for the Earnhardt family and the fans don't take kindly to interlopers. The city of Talladega has become a Mecca of sorts, a holy city. Thousands of Earnhardt fans make the pilgrimage to 'Dega twice a year to worship their beloved driver. Needless to say, the place has special meaning for Earnhardt.
Special not only because he has five wins and his late father 10, but because it feels like home and the fans, evident by the loud roar that rolls from the stands whenever he takes the lead in the race, adore him.
"Well, to me it's special. I don't think everyone gets that sensation going into the race," Earnhardt said. "But to me it's a pretty important place just because my family's done so well there. And the way the fans treat us there make it exciting, make it a place you look forward to. I think that's probably the biggest key, the fans and how they've treated us at that track."
His fans are loyal -- to the point of dangerous.
Last year when Gordon bettered the late Dale Earnhardt's all-time victory list with 77 wins at the revered track, fans were enraged and began chucking beer cans onto the track pelting Gordon's No. 24 (watch video).
But a year later, Gordon and Earnhardt are in a position to align, combining their knowledge and ability to master the draft.
"We just said we'd go up there and work together and enjoy working together instead of being so competitive," Earnhardt said after posting a 15th-place qualifying lap Saturday. The No. 88 driver was forced to qualify a backup car after an early crash in practice Friday caused by a blown right rear tire (watch video). "We should be fine. I'm pretty happy with the way the guys rebounded and I feel like really prepared going into the race even after the day we had yesterday."
Of course at the end of the day, nearing the final laps of the race, Earnhardt said both drivers will go for the win, determining the dominant plate racer for the time being.
"Well we both think we are the best so that's where the conflict comes in. Who is supposed to be out front and who is supposed to be helping who," Earnhardt said. "We do a pretty good job at it ... we are getting better working together for 75 percent of the race. [Gordon] knows what he's doing, he can be a great help to you. You get what you give and maybe sometimes I'm not as giving as I should be."