Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thoughts on the 2009 season

Well, the 2009 season is in the books, and there were some exciting moments, scary moments, and moments we'll be talking about for years to come. A few highlights were those who won races, like Brad winning at Talladega, David Reutimann winning at Lowe's (even though it was a rain out), and Joey Logano (ok his was a rain out too), among others. There were some pretty big crashes this year, Carl Edwards at Talladega, Joey Logano at Dover, and Ryan Newman and Mark Martin at Talladega.

There were rule changes and a few things that NASCAR changed that the fans wanted changed. The biggest change that really stired things up was the double file restarts, which began at Pocono in August. The last minute no-drafting rule and rule to make the restricter plates at Talladega this fall made for, what most thought would be a pretty uneventful race. It wasn't uneventful, as it actually made little to no difference because #1 the smaller plate really didn't help slow down the cars and #2 the no bump drafting rule didn't stop the "big one" from happening.

Other than all of that, it was a good season of racing and I can't wait untill the 2010 season starts so we can do it all again. I'll keep the blog updated as to anything Dale Jr related, and can't wait to start posting results and other things once the new season begins.

Ford 400

As if the season wasn't bad enough, Dale Jr couldn't even end the season on a high note. His car was really strong at the start, however because of how high he runs in the corners, he hit his car against the wall a few times and knocked the tow out in the front of the car. He qualified way in the back in 32nd and had made it up as high as 7th when he hit the wall. He struggled for the rest of the race and finished 28th.

Congrats to Dale's teammate Jimmie Johnson on his 4th straight Sprint Cup Championship. For those who are tired of seeing the same person win the championship, I say this: You saw history be made last Sunday night, and that is very rare in a persons life to see that being done. Stop complaining about it, Jimmie and Chad aren't cheating, if they were NASCAR would have caught it by now. They are simply that good as a driver/crew chief.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hendrick turning attention to getting Junior on track

Getting Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s team back on track is Rick Hendrick's top priority now that Jimmie Johnson has his record fourth consecutive NASCAR championship.

"We're all over it, and we've been all over it," Hendrick said Tuesday in a conference call. "It's my primary focus here, starting Monday."

Johnson gave Hendrick Motorsports its NASCAR record 12th championship in Sunday's season finale, and Hendrick drivers swept the top three spots in the standings. Mark Martin finished second and won five races this season, while Jeff Gordon finished third and had one victory.

Earnhardt, meanwhile, went winless and was a distant 25th in the final standings in his second season driving for Hendrick.

Hendrick changed Earnhardt's crew chief midway through the season, and assigned additional engineering support to the No. 88 team. Although his performance began to improve toward the end of the season, bad luck and mechanical problems left Earnhardt with very little to show for his efforts. Earnhardt had just five top-10 finishes all year, and admittedly struggled with his confidence.

"I've seen this happen with Jeff Gordon ... you just go through these [slumps]," Hendrick said. "We know we can make the team better and it's frustrating. The driver begins to think that no matter what he does, something is going to happen.

"We've had failures, we've had wrecks. If it could happen, it happened to that team. It's just been really frustrating."

• Hendrick, meanwhile, said his 29-year-old niece is doing well after undergoing an emergency liver transplant Sunday in North Carolina.

He missed the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway after flying home Friday night to be with niece Alesha Gainey, who was healthy and headed to a Carolina Panthers game on Thursday night when she suddenly fell ill.

Hendrick said doctors aren't sure what caused Gainey's organs to fail, and although the liver transplant was successful, she's in critical condition because her kidneys aren't yet functioning.

Gainey is the daughter of Rick Hendrick's brother, John, who was one of the 10 people killed in a 2004 plane crash. Also killed in the accident was Gainey's younger twin sisters.

"It was never a doubt in my mind where I needed to be, and where I wanted to be," Hendrick said of missing the race. "I would have loved to have celebrated with them, but I wasn't in the frame of mind to celebrate. The good news is, the liver is working, she's stable and we're going to have a very good Thanksgiving."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500

I love listening to Dale Jr on the scanner, whether he's happy with the car, or not happy with it at all, you never know what you will hear from him. Today I had the scanner on as they showed the drivers climbing into their cars. When Dale got his radio hooked up, first thing out of his mouth was him singing.... "Let's get it started....." Hilarious!!! Rick is the man! If he doesn't get to see the drivers before they head out onto the track, he makes sure to stop by their pit box and get on the radio to wish them good luck. Dale Jr had a good car for most of the race, was involved in a multi-car wreck, had an oil leak that was able to be fixed and ran the rest of the race in 35th sport and down 56 laps. Next week is the last race for this year. :( I am so hoping that Dale Jr has a good run next weekend. It would be great for him to finish next week strong, so the team has their heads held high heading into the 2010 season.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dale Jr in the National Enquirer

I'm not one to rant, you know that, but what I just read has me #1 a littlie miffed, and #2 realizing just how much the tabloids hate NASCAR. They got a story from a supposed "pal" of Dale's that read that he is in a "death spiral" and has turned to booze to comfort himself from pain of this season. It also said that he and Rick are fueding and that he has locked himself away from his closest friends. GIVE ME A BREAK!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dale Jr on the CMA Awards

For those that didn't get to see Dale Jr on the CMA Awards last night, he presented the award for the Best Vocal Duo or Group with Dancing with the Stars dancer/singer Julian(?) Hough. According to Mike Davis, Dale's PR person, Dale nailed his lines during rehearsals, and then actually got his tongue tied while reading them for the live broadcast. Sugarland won the award, and both members shook Dale's hand when they accepted the award from he and Julian.

Something I found on Dale Jr and Rick

This is a bonus clip from the movie "Together: The Hendrick Motorsports Story"

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dickies 500

Dale Jr once again ran very well for the majority of the race and after a quick stop for gas, stalled the car on the apron and finished 2 laps down in 25th place.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Keselowski to make first start in 12 car at Texas

Penske giving driver jumpstart on his full-time ride

TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Brad Keselowski will replace David Stremme in the No. 12 Dodge for the final three races of the Sprint Cup season, moving up the schedule on a driver change the team announced earlier this year.

Penske announced Sept. 1 that Keselowski will drive the No. 12 Dodge full time in the Sprint Cup Series next year, and the team has opted to get an early start on the transition.

"Penske Racing wants to give Brad an opportunity to work with the team and get to know the racecar as we prepare for the 2010 season," owner Roger Penske said Monday. "These three races will provide a good base for both Brad and the team as we head into next year."

Keselowski, 25, has been driving part time in the Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports and James Finch's Phoenix Racing while competing full time in the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports. Keselowski is third in the Nationwide standings with four victories, the most recent coming Oct. 24 at Memphis Motorsports Park.

"I am very excited to begin working with the Penske Racing team, and I look forward to competing in the No. 12 Penske Dodge in the final three Cup Series races of the year," Keselowski said. "We all have high expectations for next season and beyond and being able to race with the team this year will only help us as we look toward 2010."

Keselowski finished eighth at Talladega Superspeedway in his last ride in Finch's No. 09 Chevrolet. Keselowski has four top-10s in 12 Cup starts in 2009 and scored his only win in the series at Talladega in April driving for Finch.

Stremme, 32, is winless in 108 Cup starts and does not have a top-10 finish in 33 starts this season. He is 31st in the points standings. This was his first year in the Cup Series with Penske Racing after breaking in with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2005.

Monday, November 2, 2009

AMP Energy 500

Qualifying was canceled so Dale Jr started 24th. He lead a few times, stayed out of the "big one" and finished 10th. This is a breath of fresh air for the 88 team and for Jr Nation as well. Next weekend the guys head to another track that Dale Jr runs very well as the Cup Series goes to Texas Motor Speedway.