Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Budweiser Dale Earnhardt Jr. Skipping CD

Another one of Jr's commercials, found this while searching for another commercial a friend told me about.

Eury's call, Earnhardt's win show Juniors are better together

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- A shirtless man wearing cut-off jean shorts blocked the road to one of the exits of Michigan International Raceway as he proudly waved a large No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. flag late Sunday afternoon. Not far away a large group of fans holding beverages lined the campground fence shouting "Junior" at the top of their lungs. The many fans who follow NASCAR's most popular driver were out in full force celebrating the end of a 76-race losing streak that dated back to Richmond in 2006. It was a party that lasted long after Earnhardt coasted across the finish line without enough fuel to do a burnout or make it to Victory Lane without a push from his crew. A week ago, some of these same people likely were among those calling for the head of Earnhardt's crew chief, Tony Eury Jr. Many questioned Eury's pit strategy during the first 14 races this year, some blaming him for the losing streak being so long. Many said Earnhardt was too loyal to his cousin, who made the move with him from Dale Earnhardt Inc. to Hendrick Motorsports during the offseason. Forty-eight hours before the win, Earnhardt found himself defending Eury in the infield conference center at MIS. "I don't know for sure whether I would be able to match the success I have now with someone else," he explained, choosing his words carefully. "But what I do know is how good he is. Do we work perfectly together all the time? No, I don't think we do, I don't think anyone does. Am I happy with Tony Jr.? Yes."Do I get more out of working with him being that we are family and more like brothers than I would with any other crew chief? Winning with him, eventually when that happens again, and having top-5 and top-10 runs is way more satisfying for me personally than it would be with anyone else." Earnhardt didn't have to wait long for that win. Fittingly, the first person he thanked over his radio was Eury. It was Eury's decision to gamble on fuel mileage, understanding his driver likely would finish around 25th if he pitted or ran out of gas. It was his calm demeanor over the final laps that kept Earnhardt focused on the prize. "It's a little underestimated, but that trust is there every time I climb in the car," Earnhardt said. "I would go do something else if I didn't believe in my crew chief and didn't have faith in what kind of race car he built. "And if I didn't have that option and opportunity, I don't feel like that this would be very enjoyable. "Because they're family Earnhardt and Eury have a relationship like none other in the garage. They split after Earnhardt missed the Chase in 2005, in part because DEI owner Teresa Earnhardt and director of competition Richie Gilmore believed their arguing had become counterproductive. They also wanted to strengthen the team of Michael Waltrip. Earnhardt suggested he and Eury had "begun knotting each other up." They soon learned the knots were what made them work so well together. They were united for the final 10 races of the 2006 season with Earnhardt safely in the Chase at sixth. They had five top-10s and six finishes of 13th or better in the 10-race playoff, finishing fifth overall. The only time they've been apart since is when Eury left DEI late last season to begin learning the system at Hendrick. "I'm his worst critic; he's my worst critic," Earnhardt said. "We want the best for each other. We want to see each other have an amazing time at this, and see each other just experience so much success. "When they disagree, they may go to the back of the hauler, close the door and "just go at it." While that may lead to hard feelings and a separation by another pair, it works for them. "Because by the time it's over, we get the result we want, and especially with this opportunity and this equipment," Earnhardt said. "And we go, 'Man, thanks for hanging in there. We did the right thing; this worked out.'"

It worked out because Eury and Earnhardt say they think alike, down to not worrying about the losing streak. "Because I've seen him lead laps, I've seen what he's capable of doing and we've run up front and we've had fast, fast racecars and get caught up in accidents and stuff like that," Eury said. "It's like you love winning and you love seeing that guy's face beside of you just happy that you won, but I'm just as content because I feel the same way he does. ''Team owner Rick Hendrick was as happy for Eury, as he stood in Victory Lane drenched in Amp and rain drops, as he was for Earnhardt. "He's in a no-win deal," he said of Eury. "If Junior wins, it's going to be talent. If he makes a mistake or we don't win, it's because Tony Jr. didn't do the right thing. "Eury isn't like most of the crew chiefs at Hendrick. He doesn't have an engineering degree. He looks and talks more like the mechanic at your local garage.But Hendrick appreciates the wealth of knowledge and old-school workmanship Eury has brought to his organization. He wouldn't have kept him with Earnhardt if he didn't believe that was the best recipe for a championship.Earnhardt hopes that never changes. He wants to work with Eury forever. He said he firmly believes that one day his cousin will be considered one of the best ever in the business. The last thing he wants to do is have to beat him with another driver. "He pushes me and I need it, and I push him to make sure he's doing what he's supposed to do," Earnhardt said. "It's old-school, our ways of doing it. Hell, we 'MF' each other on the radio and stuff, but I think it's old-school." The two were at their best over the final laps on Sunday. Earnhardt desperately wanted Eury to tell him whether to race against Jamie McMurray and other drivers coming up on him or continue to conserve gas.

Eury was so quiet that Earnhardt finally said, "You don't want to tell me." "He was like, 'Ooohhh, I don't know. 10-4,'" Earnhardt recalled with a laugh. I was, 'What the hell does 10-4 mean?' He didn't have an answer. He's like: 'I don't know what to tell you, man.' "I said, 'Well, who's leading?' They took the frigging scoreboard down, and you can't see who is leading -- I can't read that thing [new high tech scoreboard] in the middle. I'm like, 'Well, hell, I don't know who is leading.'" Eury finally informed Earnhardt he was leading."I'm like, 'Oh, hell, I should probably try to win,' because there was five to go or four to go and I passed Jamie back, and I started saving, which Jamie passed me back, and I'm like, 'Dang, are we saving or racing?' So it was really comical, actually." Such comedy might drive some owners crazy. Some might say it's unhealthy for a driver and crew chief to communicate that way. Earnhardt can't imagine it any other way. "He's one of the few people in this world where I can lay it down," he said. "And I can even be wrong, you know what I mean, but I can tell him like it is and even if I'm wrong, terribly wrong, he doesn't change exactly how he feels about me. "Me and him are both real lucky. Man, this is storybook. So I'm fortunate to have the job I've got and be in the position that I am in this sport, and I'm fortunate to have my cousin on my side with me every step of the way."

Dale Jr quotes from Sunday

"I can understand how it might look, especially if you're not Dale Jr. fans ... I know exactly what they're going to say Monday. I mean, my fans are happy and I'm happy for them. The other half are going to tear this apart on how we won this race. But I got the trophy and I got the points. I got to see my team and my owner and my family tonight as happy as they've been in a long time. ... It's a pretty big day for me."

"It's special ... My daddy, he meant a lot to me. I can't tell my father Happy Father's Day, but I get the opportunity to wish it upon all of the other fathers out there, and I genuinely mean that when I say it."

"It is what it is man ... We were going to stay out there no matter what."

"We were going to stumble to the finish and probably not win the race. We weren't going to finish. The yellow saved us. They can write what they want, but we won one."

- all from Dale Jr.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Dale Jr Wins 2008 LifeLock 400 Michigan

I am so proud of Jr, and still smiling about it, and I'm sure he is too!!

My own thoughts on Jr's win.....

Ok, for some reason, I felt the urge to write down my own thoughts, comments, whatever - on Jr's win. First of all I have got to say that I fell that Sr was with him that last lap. Not just because it was Father's Day, but because today was simply Jr's day. If you've seen me comment to Jr on Infield Parking, one thing I have always told him is that I have faith in him, always have and always will. Also that his win would come when he least expected it and sure enough I was right. Congrats also go to Tony Jr - the win on Sunday was a perfect example why Tj just fits as Jr's crew chief, and the crew did an awesome job as well. Congrats to Rick Hendrick, who's stood by Jr the whole way, and to Chevy for sticking with Jr. (I sound like I should be there victory lane, then again, I'll leave that to Jr!!) Again, way to go Jr!!! I knew you could do it!!!

Junior's fuel strategy end 76-winless streak......

BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) - Dale Earnhardt Jr. is enjoying that old winning feel and he doesn't much care what his detractors have to say about it.

"I can understand how it might look, especially if you're not Dale Jr. fans," Little E said Sunday after ending a 76-race winless by stretching his last fuel load beyond the limit at Michigan International Speedway. "I know exactly what they're going to say Monday.

"I mean, my fans are happy and I'm happy for them. The other half are going to tear this apart on how we won this race. But I got the trophy and I got the points. I got to see my team and my owner and my family tonight as happy as they've been in a long time. ... It's a pretty big day for me."

The most popular driver in NASCAR won this one by gambling, somehow going the last 55 laps on the two-mile oval, including three laps of overtime, without stopping for gas.

He gave most of the credit for his first win in more than two years to crew chief Tony Eury.

"We came in on that last stop and we were going to be about six laps short, and I saved six laps of gas," Earnhardt said. "So, (we were) just real lucky. I have to hand it to Tony Jr. for being a risk-taker. ... He's done a good job this year getting us good finishes, better finishes than we should probably have."

A couple of late cautions helped and Eury determined the No. 88 Chevrolet was only going to be about two laps short of finishing at that point. With about 20 laps to go, Eury radioed Earnhardt to try to save more fuel and gave him the worst-case-scenario.

"We miss it by one lap, we finish 25th," Eury said. "If we pit and put fuel in it we're going to finish 25th. So, who cares? Go for it."

As the laps wound down, driver after driver was forced to pit for a splash of gas, and Earnhardt, whose last victory came on May 6, 2006, at Richmond, inherited the lead with five to go in regulation. It appeared he had things under control until former IndyCar star Sam Hornish Jr. spun on lap 198, bringing out another caution.

Knowing the race was going to be extended beyond its scheduled 200 laps, Eury told Earnhardt to shut the engine off and coast whenever he could under the caution flag in a desperate effort to save more gas.

Junior did just that, coasting fast enough at times that he passed the pace car - until NASCAR warned Eury to have Earnhardt cut it out.

"I didn't know how much they were going to worry about it," Earnhardt said. "All the cars out there are gassing it, shutting 'em off, coasting about a half straightaway, cranking 'em back up, gas it, coast. Everybody's doing it.

"There's no rules specifically against that, but I was getting a little greedy ... I wanted to coast farther, so I'd gas it harder and coast past the pace car and just let him come on and catch back up, and that way I could keep my motor off longer."

It worked out just right as the green flag came out on lap 202 for a two-lap sprint to the finish, which was then cut short when Patrick Carpentier spun on lap 203, freezing the field and allowing Junior to coast - this time behind the pace car - to his 18th career victory and first at Michigan.

"They can write what they want, but we won one," Earnhardt said in the jubilation after the Lifelock 400.

He gave his new boss, Rick Hendrick, only his second victory of the season. Hendrick's team won 18 of 36 races a year ago, but has struggled to reach Victory Circle in 2008, with a lone victory by two-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson until Sunday.

After leaving the team his late father founded to drive for Hendrick's juggernaut this year, Earnhardt began the new phase of his career with two non-points victories at Daytona in February. But, despite running well so far this season, that promising start did not lead to any victories in the first 14 Cup races.

"We started out and he won the (Budweiser) Clash and the 150 (qualifying race) and we said, `We don't have to worry about winning a race now.' Then nobody counted it because it wasn't a points race," Hendrick said in Victory Circle. "We've been waiting for this. Been so close."

Earnhardt was as relieved as he was joyful about the long-awaited victory.

"This is pretty meaningful because it's with Rick," he said. "He's such a great man because he's been through so much. I'm glad to be able to win for him, for Tony Jr., for the team for believing in me."


To see the entire collage, click on it.
In celebration of Jr's win at Michigan, I made a special Victory collage!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Brad's first win!!!

#88-Brad Keselowski won the Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway for his first career win in 49 Nationwide Series races (and the first win for the U.S. Navy as a sponsor). He passed #2-Clint Bowyer with 5 laps to go and pulled away to win by nearly 2 seconds. #64-David Stremme finished second, followed by #99-David Reutimann, #2-Clint Bowyer, #6-David Ragan, #7-Mike Walllace, #29-Scott Wimmer, #47-Kelly Bires, #5-Landon Cassill, and #16-Greg Biffle. After starting from the pole and leading the first 60 laps of the race, #20-Joey Logano was caught in a wreck on lap 89 and finished 31st. #32-Kyle Busch, running all 3 races this weekend, finished 3 laps down in 20th after a cut tire late in the race. There were 10 cautions for 41 laps and 8 leaders with 10 lead changes.

(I had to work that night, but got home just in time to see Brad take the checkered flag. When I realized it was Brad leading at the end and as he crossed the finish line, and seeing the excitement shown by his Mom, I had tears in my eyes.)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Guess who likes Barry Manilow?

I never knew this until I read it the other day,
guess who is a Barry Manilow fan?

I happen to think it's pretty cool, I happen to be a Barry fan myself.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a Barry Manilow fan.

"Sure, I have a few of his tunes on my iPod," Earnhardt said. "I really like 'Weekend in New England.' I mean, the guy's a legend. Doesn't everybody listen to a few of Barry's songs every now and then."

(Taken from ESPN.com)

10. You got anything that people might consider atypical on your portable music player?

Earnhardt: Surprises? Well, I've always tried to come across as down to earth with everything I've done -- but sometimes things surprise you, like you got a Barry Manilow song on your iPod, or something.

Well, I do. Weekend in New England is one of my favorites. He's awesome. I think a lot of people listen to him that wouldn't admit it.

You can blame my sister for that. When our mom lived up in Virginia we'd take some long rides up there and [Kelley] got me hooked.

The End

(Taken from NASCAR.com)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008

Dale Earnhardt Tribute

Not one day since 01 has gone by without my hero entering my head in some way.
What was taken for granted before is sorely missed today.
He was unique in all our lives and I thank God we all live in an age where a person's greatness can be relived simply by pushing a button.
He shows us how to overcome with no doubt of the results.
God must have needed a driver.
No person better qualified.
No person better deserving of such an honor in death.
RIP #3, YOUR OUR #1!

(Thanks to eddiecares from YouTube for that quote)