Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Jr's World.... and his comments as well as Lance's comments on Kansas Speedway

What's in store for Dale Earnhardt and Lance McGrew this weekend at Kansas Speedway?
A little fun, a little 'cue ... and a whole lotta racing.
Junior by the numbers
6: Sprint Cup wins in 169 career starts on intermediate tracks
4: Top-10 finishes at Kansas in eight career Cup starts
40: Number of laps led at Kansas
98: The percentage of laps completed at Kansas (2,038 of 2,079)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Kansas Speedway: "Kansas is pretty fun. The track has aged enough to where we are running off of the bottom and you can move around and find a little speed. The corners are real different. Turns 1 and 2 are a lot flatter than 3 and 4. Trying to get the car to work at both ends can be a challenge, but I enjoy running there."
Lance McGrew, interim crew chief, on Kansas Speedway: "I've always run good at Kansas and have had some good success there. I feel like we've run way better at the intermediate tracks. I feel like our program has come around at tracks like Atlanta and Michigan -- the intermediate tracks. We're trying to bring better cars to the racetrack, and we've really responded to that by running in the top 10 all day."
McGrew on which tracks he pulls information from
when preparing to race at Kansas:
"Places like Charlotte [N.C.], Texas, Chicago. I think each one of those offers something you can take to Kansas. The good thing about Kansas, as well as Chicago over the years, is it went from being really a one-groove racetrack to one that has widened out to where you can get two- or three-wide. As a driver, it allows you to hunt around and find a place on the racetrack where your car works. We'll probably look at Chicago first and go from something like that."
McGrew on Kansas City's barbecue scene: "I like Kansas City barbecue because it's more of a saucy barbecue. It's not like a dry rub barbecue, and I like barbecue sauce. So, yeah, Kansas City-type barbecue is my favorite."

Hamlin-Keselowski clash steals show

I took quotes dealing with the arguement between Brad and Denny....

DOVER, Del. -- Denny Hamlin's day appeared over. His No. 20 Toyota was in the garage after Brad Keselowski spun him into the wall late in the Nationwide Series race.

Not so fast.

An angry Hamlin returned to pit road at the end of the Nationwide Series race and welcomed Keselowski with a forceful shove and a heated exchange. Keselowski's public relations rep shoved Hamlin, and crews for both drivers quickly got involved in the brief skirmish.

Everyone wanted to know after the race what went down between Hamlin and Keselowski.
The brief, but heated, confrontation was sparked with 11 laps left in the 200-lap race when Hamlin was tapped from behind by Keselowski's No. 88 and spun sideways into the wall. Keselowski, who finished third, was trying to pass Hamlin on the inside.

"I was just there. I was underneath him," Keselowski said. "Earlier in the day when he got underneath me in the same scenario I gave him room. I paid him a favor and I expected the same favor to be returned. He didn't. I held my ground."

Hamlin, a Chase driver in the Cup series, didn't see it that way.

"I wanted to talk to him," Hamlin said. "He obviously needs some sort of guidance on what he needs to do to make it. He's got a ton of talent, I am not going to take that away from him, he's a good driver. If he can harness it, he'll win a lot more races."

Tony Eury Jr., the son of Keselowski's crew chief, ended it after he intervened and had a brief chat with Hamlin.

AAA 400

Dale Jr's car would do nothing for him on Sunday. After rain washed all the rubber off the track due to rain the night before, the first 25 laps of the race were really just to get the track rubbered back up. NASCAR threw a competition yellow at lap 25 for the crews to be able to change tires and check the ones the drivers started out with. Dale Jr started 24th and at one point was down two laps. He took the wave around two times and finished 20th and on the lead lap. Next week the drivers make their yearly visit to Kansas Speedway for the Price Chopper 400. The race starts at 2pm, with NASCAR Countdown beginning at 1pm.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sylvania 300

Dale Jr had a amazing car all day long, and had worked his way from 23 to the top 10 until an accidental bump from David Reutimann sent him into the wall and ended his day. Dale finished 35th and as you can imagine, he was very upset with what happened. However, I heard Michael Waltrip (Reutimann's car owner) say on This Week in NASCAR on the SPEED Channel that he talked to both David and Dale about the accident. He said that David felt terrible about what happened and his car was just loose. When he talked to Dale, Dale said he didn't hate David, but he was dissapointed because of how well the car had run all day. The guys are the Monster Mile this weekend and I can't wait to see who's tempers will flair there!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

JR Motorsports signs Bires to two-year deal for 2010

MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- Kelly Bires has signed to drive a full-time Nationwide Series entry for JR Motorsports in 2010-11, general manager Kelley Earnhardt announced Tuesday.

Bires replaces Brad Keselowski, who will join Penske Racing in 2010 to drive the No. 12 Dodge in the Sprint Cup Series.

A native of Mauston, Wis., Bires has competed in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series since 2006. In 66 career Nationwide Series starts, Bires has three top-five finishes and 11 top-10s. He posted a career-best finish of fourth at Nashville on April 11 for Kevin Harvick Inc.

"Kelly is a talented young driver, and we want to give him the opportunity to showcase that talent," said Dale Earnhardt Jr., owner of JR Motorsports. "Our whole premise at JR Motorsports from the beginning has been to take up-and-coming drivers, give them the chance to drive good equipment, and help them reach the next level.

"Kelly has a lot of promise. I noticed his potential earlier this year, and we are glad to have him at JR Motorsports."

JR Motorsports fields the Nos. 88 and 5 teams in the Nationwide Series. It has not been determined which car Bires will drive in 2010; the team is still in the process of securing sponsorship for next season.

"I can't thank Dale Jr. and Kelley enough for this opportunity," Bires said. "JR Motorsports is a quality organization. They win races, and they contend for championships. As a driver, that's all you can ever ask for.

"They have a tremendous infrastructure of support with Rick Hendrick and Tony Eury Sr. These are people who know how to win races, know how to win championships, and know what it takes to be successful."

Bires got his NASCAR start in 2006 in a Truck Series entry for Wood Brothers/JTG Racing (now JTG Daugherty Racing). He was scheduled to drive a partial schedule in 2007 but was promoted to the team's Nationwide Series entry after seven races. In 2008 -- his first full-time Nationwide Series attempt -- Bires finished 13th in the point standings with six top-10s.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pep Boys Auto 500 and Chevy Rock n Roll 400

I'm such a slacker!!! I am so sorry about that. Anyway, the 88 team had another strong run at Atlanta. Dale started 31st and worked his way up into the top 10, but the theme of getting tight at the end of the race continued and Dale finished 17th.

At Richmond, Brad qualified very well in 9th but finished 38th due to engine trouble. Dale, who started 15th, battled a tight car all night and finished 21st. JR Nation knows that Dale will not be in the chase this year, but he has said that for the remainder of the season, he will do whatever he can to suppet his teammates. I feel that as a member of JR Nation, I should do the same. I hope you will too.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Keselowski to join Penske, drive Cup and Nationwide

MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- Penske Racing on Tuesday announced that Brad Keselowski will compete for the team full-time, beginning with the 2010 season.

Keselowski, 25, will drive the No. 12 Penske Dodge in the Sprint Cup Series -- replacing David Stremme -- and also will run a full-season schedule in the Nationwide Series.

"We are very excited to welcome Brad to the Penske Racing family," team owner Roger Penske said. "Brad has shown terrific success on track the past several years and has quickly established himself as one of the top young stars in racing. He comes from an impressive family background in motorsports. He is a proven winner and a welcome addition to our team."

A third-generation driver, Keselowski has won at every level in which he has competed. He is third in the Nationwide Series standings, with three wins including a dramatic victory in August at his home track at Michigan. Keselowski also scored his first Cup Series win earlier this year at Talladega and he has three top-10 finishes in eight Cup Series starts this season.

"Penske Racing is one of the top teams in all of motorsports and I am honored to join Roger Penske's organization and compete for wins with his Cup and Nationwide Series teams," Keselowski said. "This is a great opportunity for me to continue competing in the Nationwide Series and to run my first full season in the Cup Series with a strong and experienced team."

Growing up working for his family's team, K Automotive Motorsports, Keselowski followed in the footsteps of his father Bob, a 23-year veteran driver who won more than 50 races and the 1989 ARCA Series championship. The younger Keselowski joined NASCAR in 2004, racing for his family's team in the Truck Series. Expanding to Nationwide Series competition in 2006, Keselowski's career began to blossom.

He finished third in the 2008 Nationwide Series championship, the highest standing for a regular series racer, earning two wins while also being named the Most Popular Driver in the Nationwide Series.

Well, it's official......

I just checked today on and Brad is leaving JR Motorsports for Penske Racing next year. The first one, I think, is more to reasure fans that there are no hard feeling between Junebug and Brad. As to who will be taking Brad's place, there are still rumors that Kelly Bires will be in the 88 next year, but as usual, I won't post anything until those rumors are confirmed as true or false.

Earnhardt's advice helped Keselowski join Penske

Brad Keselowski will admit, it was the hardest decision he's ever had to make. But having the blessing of Dale Earnhardt Jr. made it a little easier.

Keselowski, the sought-after NASCAR phenom who won a Sprint Cup race at Talladega earlier this season in a part-time car, has signed a multi-year contract to compete for Penske Racing, beginning in 2010.

The deal puts Keselowski in Roger Penske's No. 12 Sprint Cup car, where he will replace current driver David Stremme, as well as in a new, full-time Nationwide Series ride where he will compete as a teammate to Justin Allgaier.

"I want to be the guy that comes to Penske Racing and gets them their first NASCAR championship. I want to be that guy," Keselowski said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. "For everything that's been accomplished here, that's the one thing that's missing, and I want to be the guy that gets it done."

And yet, the decision to take the Penske offer was far from a simple one for Keselowski, who's been tied to Earnhardt's JR Motorsports Nationwide team -- and, by extension, Rick Hendrick's juggernaut Cup Series operation -- for most of his career at NASCAR's national levels. Keselowski talked with Hendrick about potentially finding a place at Hendrick Motorsports, something that would allow him to continue to compete for JR Motorsports, but eventually became impossible given the four-car limit NASCAR has placed on organizations in its premier division.

Penske's courtship of Keselowski, a fellow Michigander, was no secret. But after Keselowski's stock rose following his victory at Talladega in April, Hendrick asked for a few months to try to find a place for him. Given his existing relationship with the Hendrick camp, Keselowski obliged, and said Penske fully understood. Within the last month, though, it became clear that Hendrick wouldn't have room, and Keselowski accepted the Penske offer.

"He worked as hard as he could," Keselowski said of Hendrick. "He told me something that I thought was pretty interesting, that he worked much harder on my deal than he ever had to work on Jimmie [Johnson's] or Jeff [Gordon's] or any of them trying to find a way to keep me in the camp. It became obvious that it just wasn't in the cards. Too many things were going against us with the team limit and so forth, and this opportunity [with Penske] was sitting there."

Keselowski will replace Stremme, who hasn't finished better than 13th this season. Keselowski, a third-generation driver, has three Nationwide victories this year in addition to his Cup Series triumph. He is also currently third in Nationwide points driving for JR Motorsports, the Earnhardt-owned organization that gave him his big break when it hired Keselowski for what began as a three-race tryout in 2007. They've won five races together since.

"Without a doubt, the hardest part was leaving JR Motorsports," Keselowski said. "But what made it easier for me was to have Dale's blessing to do it. Without it, it would have been much harder to do. And Dale, make no mistake, was the catalyst for my career, the one who called me up and said he believed in me even though other people within his company didn't. He's the one who took the risk, financially and with his reputation, to put me in that car, and I'm eternally grateful to him for that."

In the end, it was Earnhardt who encouraged Keselowski to take the Penske opportunity. The two drivers recently had a conversation in which Earnhardt advised Keselowski to go where he had the opportunity to grow.

"He was actually one of the people who pushed me fairly hard to take this deal," Keselowski said. "As surprising as that might be to some of the people or the fans or the media, he brought up one of the good points that stuck with me when I made this decision, which was the hardest decision I've ever had to make in my life. And that was, when you have the opportunity to grow, and take on new challenge, and you're capable of conquering those challenges, you need to take it. You need to grow when you have the opportunity to grow, not only in your career but as a person. This is a great opportunity for me to grow."

And now, that the decision has finally been made?

"I feel like a lot of weight has been lifted off my shoulders," he said. "It's been a lot to carry around for the last couple of months. ... I feel a huge relief. I'm ready to dig my hands in deep in the dirt and get it going."