Friday, November 19, 2010

Hey it's me!

I just need to explain something here. When I started this blog, it was under an old email address that I no longer use. So having said that I started a new blog, same name, different address. I won't be posting on here anymore, but will keep the blog open in case anyone happens to find this site. To access the new blog, go to - Thanks and see you at the new site!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Slacking again....

I know, and I'm really sorry about that! So I'm going to go back and post the race, where Dale started and where he finished.

Emory Healthcare 500
Started: 25
Finished: 22

Air Guard 400
Started: 9 
 Finished: 34 (6 laps down)

Sylvania 300
Started: 32
Finished: 4 (WHOOHOOO!!!)

AAA 400
Started: 32
Finished: 23 (2 laps down)

Again I'm really sorry for not keeping up with the blog as much as i should be, forgive me please!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Irwin Tools Night Race

I'm guessing that's what it was called, that's the only name given on I didn't see much of the race as I was out with family celebrating my birthday (which was Friday). Anyway, Dale Jr started 27th, and from what I could hear on the scanner, battled a loose car all night. Lance said at one point that whatever changes they threw at it to try to make it better only made it more loose. Dale was able to bring home a 13th place finish, however due to David Reutimann's strong finish, Junebug moved down another spot in the chase to 18th.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Almirola signs multi-year deal to drive No. 88

JRM has a driver for the #88 Nationwide ride for next year! I am so excited, I was really hoping that Aric Almirola would sign and he has! The following article was taken from --

JR Motorsports cemented an integral part of its future Wednesday by signing Aric Almirola to a multi-year driving contract for the company's flagship No. 88 Nationwide Series team starting in 2011, general manager Kelley Earnhardt announced.

A 26-year-old native of Tampa, Fla., Almirola has 32 career Nationwide Series starts, including one for JR Motorsports in which he finished third at O'Reilly Raceway Park in July. Almirola's full-time duties as the No. 88 driver will officially begin in 2011, but he could potentially fill the seat in select races this season while he continues to run for a Truck Series championship.

"The chance to drive full time in the Nationwide Series with a top caliber team is something I am extremely excited about," Almirola said. "I was at the shop [Tuesday], and Kelley gathered all the employees around to announce our deal. The energy and excitement was addicting. We raced at ORP together a month ago and had a really good run. There is no reason why we cannot compete like that every race, and there is no reason why we shouldn't be running for a championship. I would expect nothing less."

Almirola comes to JR Motorsports with proven credentials. In 2006-07, he competed in the Nationwide Series with Joe Gibbs Racing, earning three poles and six top-10s. He is credited with one victory -- the June 23, 2007, race at Milwaukee Mile -- in which he and Denny Hamlin shared seat time in the victorious No. 20 car. That performance was part of a successful 2007 campaign, which opened doors to a lifelong dream of racing in the Cup Series. Dale Earnhardt Inc. signed Almirola to a part-time driving deal in 2008 with the unique task of splitting seat time with one of NASCAR's all-time greats, Mark Martin. Nineteen of Almirola's 30 Cup starts came with DEI (later to become Earnhardt Ganassi Racing). In his very first race of the 2008 season, Almirola scored a career-best Cup finish of eighth at Bristol.

Almirola continued racing in sporadic Cup and Nationwide series races in 2009 and 2010, but the opportunity to compete full-time this year with Billy Ballew Motorsports in the Truck Series was too good to pass up. In 15 races this season, Almirola has two wins (Dover on May 14 and Michigan on June 12) and has finished in the top 10 in all but four events. He currently sits second in the championship point standings.

"If there is a quintessential JR Motorsports driver, we feel it's Aric Almirola," Kelley Earnhardt said. "The way he drives, the ambition he carries, the way he represents himself on and off the track, it all fits within our company's dynamics, our core objectives, and the values of our sponsorship partners. We look forward to putting him in our No. 88 car so he can continue his success."

Almirola's one stint for JRM took place on July 24 at O'Reilly Raceway Park. He started the Kroger 200 in sixth position, led one lap, ran among the top-five all night, and finished third in his debut in the No. 88. Almirola is one of 10 drivers who has or will have raced the No. 88 Chevrolet at least once in 2010. Team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the No. 88 Chevrolet at Bristol on Friday night in the Food City 250.

"This has been a far different year than anything we have ever experienced before, but we feel like our decision to take our time and not be rushed into naming a full-schedule driver for the No. 88 paid off with the signing of Aric," Kelley Earnhardt said. "He brings a lot to the table for us, as well as our sponsors. He is someone they can build their brands around, and he has the talent to take them to the [Victory Lane]."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Commercial shoots like pair of old shoes to Junior

Driver of the Week: Nationwide spots good times for Earnhardt

By: Raygan Swan, NASCAR.COM

Ever wonder whose kitchen that is where Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his sister are standing in those Nationwide Insurance commercials?

Well, it isn't his. It's a loaner from a high-end neighborhood on Lake Norman in North Carolina where Joe Gibbs lives.

What about the phone?

Nope, that's not his either. It's Nationwide's trademark prop.

However, the cast of characters is real. Yes, that is his sister, Kelley Earnhardt, and his uncle, Tony Eury Sr. The spots tout the Earnhardt family image and 30-year dedication to the insurance provider.

And yes, that is even the same insurance agent, Steve Cook of Kannapolis, N.C., Earnhardt met when he was a young boy. Earnhardt and Cook shot their commercial and a couple of others in December building off last year's Nationwide advertising campaign.

"I couldn't believe it but Steve was nervous," Earnhardt laughed. "Being an agent and having the ability to talk to people, that surprised me. He was funny, unintentionally that is. But yes, he's legitimately been my agent for all these years. I remember having to go to him about speeding tickets and all kinds of stuff. He was a good family friend."

Earnhardt enjoyed shooting the commercials because it offered the opportunity to spend a good amount of time with friends and family away from his hectic NASCAR lifestyle.

"It was good to be around him that long because we don't get to talk that much and I've know him for all these years and then being able to shoot a commercial with him was cool. We were both just standing there thinking who would ever thought we'd be doing this," Earnhardt added.

Eury didn't think he'd ever be in any commercial campaign. The crew chief for Earnhardt's No. 88 Nationwide Series team is most comfortable under the hood of a car, not in front of a camera. Thankfully for him, his commercial shoot was at the JR Motorsports shop so he wasn't totally outside his element.

Still, commercial stardom is not in Pop's future, joked Earnhardt .

"Working with Pops, um he was really nervous ... he would just assume not be in the middle of it," Earnhardt said.

"Oh yeah," Eury said with a laugh. "We made like probably 10 or 12 different shots or scenes and every scene we did it took like three each with different camera directions.

"They tell you what expressions to make and when to nod your head where. They tell you all that, but actually it was pretty neat to see how they do it."

There was a time Earnhardt, now a seasoned commercial actor, was admittedly just as tense.

"It's not comfortable doing a commercial when there's 15 or 20 people on the other side of the camera watching you and it's tough when you're young and an introvert anyway," Earnhardt said. "I think you get more comfortable with experience but the first several commercials you're nervous and stiff. I took me a long time to get comfortable with it but now I can go in there and I know what I want to accomplish. I know how long things take and I can help move it along."

So, are there any Oscar-nominated films in your future, Dale Robertson ... err Earnhardt?

"Those are still nerve-wracking because I get star struck," he smiled.

Hard to imagine the sport's most popular driver and one of the world's most recognizable athletes still gets star struck.

But Earnhardt didn't reach his commercial star status overnight. Like other commercial actors, he's gone through the ropes and on-the-set-training.

"Absolutely, the directors all have a lot of experience working with a lot of different people and they'll give you tone and sort of [tell you] what to say, obviously, before you do the commercial," he explained. "You have to see it in your head kind of all happening together. Sometimes, you get to commercial shoots and read the script and you don't understand how it is working and don't know what the tone is. Whether you're being demanding or coy or whatever, you don't know what emotion to have. So they go through that during the process as your shooting it. And then it is easy, they tell you what to do and you just do it. That's all there is to it."

It's lights, camera, action ... but what about wardrobe?

"They have choices and you choose what you're most comfortable in," Earnhardt said. "They never force you to wear something you don't want to wear. I've been in situations where they put some options out that I won't wear."

Defined by his iconic white T-shirt and jeans accessorized with a pair of sneaks, the star keeps it simple.

"I love shoes," said Earnhardt, who says he custom-designs up to eight pairs in one order. "But then you get them back and you realized you screwed up this part or man, that was a poor choice of color, so five out of the eight are cool. Then you give the other three pair to your buddy and say, 'Hey, I got you a gift."


Dale Jr batlled a loose car throughout much of the race, going a lap down at one point. The error was corrected as Lance had the crew change a spring on one side of the car. This sent the race car from way loose to somewhat tight, but driveable. Dale was pretty frustrated through the majority of the day, but ended the day in 19th. After he crossed the start/finish line, Dale commented over the radio and said, "I'm sorry for being such a bear today." When walking towards his RV, a reporter just had to ask the question, "So what do you think of your chances to make the chase?" Dale, who of course would have the blunt answer, simply stated, "I don't give a sh*t about that right now. I just want to go home, so that's where I'm heading." Good answer Dale!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen and news

Dale started way back in the pack and had worked himself way up into the top 20, however late in the race he fell back and couldn't make his way back up to the position he had held early on. Dale is 16th in the points and if he has any hopes of making the chase at this point, he needs to step up and get moving.

My Dale Jr Pics at Pocono

I happened to look between two of the merchandise haulers and there was Dale, staring at me and the rest of the fans who saw him.

An awesome moment for me was standing in front of Dale's pit area, also on a Hendrick related note, one of the first people I passed on pit road was Chad Knaus! I didn't say anything, not only beause I didn't want to draw attention to him, but also because I know that on raceday he's all business. 
(Pic of his back down below)

The guy in the middle of the picture with the black jacket and black pants was Chad Knaus.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Shaq Vs. (Dale Earnhardt Jr)

Did anyone watch this? I did, and I thought it was great! If you missed it you can check out the full episode at

Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500

Yes I was there! I have pics from the race, including ones from the pre-race tech inspection area, and I will post them either tomorrow or Sunday. Since I couldn't hear the scanner, I didn't really have a good understanding of how Dale's car was handling. However, from where I sat, I could tell by the middle of the race he was sliding off the corner in turn 3. At one point he took 2 tires which put him up in second, but being lose made him spin out on his own, bringing out a caution. Dale made it around the track and to pit road. This put him down a lap and in 27th for the rest of the day. He is still hanging in at 14th in points, but really needs to pick it up if he's going to be in the chase this year. There are 5 races until the cut off for the chase and considering where Dale was this time last year. I can see a change in the changes that where made at Hendrick over the off season. This weekend the big boys are north of me in New York at Watkins Glen.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Brickyard 400

Dale Jr's day would have been so much better, however an over aggresive Juan Pablo Montoya made bone headed move and took Dale Jr along with him. Dale's car was starting to run the way he wanted it to and he was in the 13th position when the accident happened. This left Dale running two laps down and finishing in 27th. He's moved down one spot in the standings (14th), but I certain if he runs well the next few weeks, he'll get back up in the top 12. Next week the boys head back to my home state of Pennsylvania for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500. I will be there with one of my co-workers. I'll have plenty of pictures to post, so make sure you check the blog!! See ya then!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 400

Dale's car just handled poorly all day long at Chicagoland. Any adjustments that were made didn't help and he finished two positions ahead of where he qualified. Dale started 25th and finished 23rd. This has moved Dale back down to 13th in the points.

If you think about it, his position this year in the standing is much better this year than it was last year. At this time he was down in the lower teens/upper 20's and had run out of time to make up any ground. As you already know, the guys were off this past weekend and will be at the world famous Indiananpolis Motor Speedway this Sunday. This year (for reasons not known to me) ESPN and ABC are sharing coverage of the remaining races. This year, the Brickyard 400 will not be telecast on ABC as it had in previous years. It will be shown on ESPN. I will let you know which races will be broadcast on which network as they come up.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Coke Zero 400

Due to rain, qualifying was cancelled, so Dale started 13th. I had to work which was actually ok because by the time I got home, there were only 20 laps down. Junebug was not happy with his car all night long, but due to "the big one" and another small wreck at the end, he finished 4th. Dale has moved back into the top 12 in 11th spot, knocking his teammate Mark Martin out.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Nationwide Race Hightlights

Final Laps and Victory Lane


What an awesome way to pay tribute to Dale Sr. Not only did the car look sharp under the lights at Daytona, but Dale Jr held off Joey Logano to win the Subway Jalapeno 250 powered by Coca-Cola tonight! The 3 car was strong all night long, and the teaming of Dale Jr and Tony Jr plus a Hendrick engine and the 88 pit crew made for a picture perfect night. At the end, with 5 laps to go, Paul Menard hit the wall which brought out the caution. Dale and Joey worked together and like I said, he held off Joey to win the race. WAY TO GO JUNEBUG!!!!!!

Lenox Industrial Tools 301

Dale had a great run at Loudon and came out with a top 10 finish at New Hampshire. After starting 31st, Dale made his way up through the field and finished 8th. He remains 13th in points and is 3 points away from knocking Carl Edwards outside of the top 12.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Toyota/Save Mart 350

Starting back in 24th didn't stop Dale Jr from having a great run yesterday at Sonoma. He even ran in second for a few laps, until pitting made him give up that spot. Dale had a strong run and finished in 11th, moving him up another spot to 13th. Next week the boys head up to New Hampshire.

Junior & Shaq Set For Head-to-Head Race at Concord Speedway

Subject: Junior and Shaq ro race at Concord Speedway.

Date: Friday June 17, 2010
Further Info: Larry Thomas: (704) 782 4221

Media Contact:
Mike Davis
Communications Director, JR Motorsports

Junior & Shaq Set For Head-to-Head Race at Concord Speedway

Fans invited next Wednesday to watch Dale Earnhardt Jr. & Shaquille O’Neal battle on track during taping of ABC’s hit show “Shaq Vs.”

CONCORD, N.C. (June 18, 2010) – The challenge has been issued and accepted. Four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal has swapped his size-23 basketball shoes for racing Velcro; traded his breezy, cool basketball jersey for a heavy, fire-retardant driver’s suit; forgone the familiarity of basketball hardwood for the cramped quarters of a stock-car cockpit – all 7-foot-1, 325 pounds of him.

His reason: challenge NASCAR’s most popular driver and winner of more than 40 NASCAR-sanctioned races, Dale Earnhardt Jr., to a one-on-one race in a test of skill, endurance, and speed.

The competition will be featured in the second season of Shaq Vs., the popular television series that is part of ABC’s new summer season. The show’s premise is simple: O’Neal takes his top-level skills and athletic prowess from the basketball court and transfers it to a completely different and unfamiliar sporting event.

The first season pitted Shaq in a head-to-head match-up against Albert Pujols in a homerun-hitting contest, Michael Phelps in a swimming race, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh in beach volleyball, and Oscar de la Hoya in a boxing match.

Shaq Vs, which is produced by Media Rights Capital in association with dick clark productions, will begin airing its second season in early August. Season Two will not rely solely on sporting matches but will also feature fun, comedic non-sports competitions such as a spelling bee contest and dance crew battle. Each will test O’Neal’s adaptability, but perhaps none more challenging than maneuvering a 3,500-pound stock car with more than 800 horsepower against Earnhardt Jr., winner of the Daytona 500 and 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup races.

The race between O’Neal and Earnhardt Jr. will take place at 4 p.m. ET on Wed., June 23, at Concord Speedway, a tricky, half-mile tri-oval that features some of the best weekly racing in North Carolina. The event is open to the public free-of-charge. Gates will open at 1 p.m. ET. No cameras or phones will be allowed inside the facility. Terms of the race will be negotiated by O’Neal and Earnhardt Jr. on the day of the race.


Please note the media is not permitted to cover the actual race event. Shaq Vs. Season Two interview and coverage requests should be directed to Edwin Escobar (818.460.7758 / ) or Carolyn Nurnberg (212.843.9316 /


When: Wed., June 23, 2010 (Race starts at 4 p.m. ET / Gates open at 1 p.m. ET)
Where: Concord Speedway / 7940 U.S. Highway 601 South, Concord, NC 28025

Notes: The show will be taped. By attending event you agree to have your likeness shown on television. No cameras, phones (of any kind) or outside recording devices will be allowed inside. Please leave them in your car. Parking is limited. Please share a ride, when possible.

Social Media & Web Info: For more information on Shaq Vs., please visit  For up-to-the-minute information on Wednesday’s taping, please visit and,  or follow us on Twitter at @ConcordSpeedway and @JRMotorsports. Directions to the speedway can be found at


Shaq Vs will premiere its second season on ABC, Tuesday, August 3. Each episode in Season Two will not rely solely on sporting matches, but will also feature fun, comedic non-sports competitions as well, such as a spelling bee contest or a dance crew battle among others to be named. Shaq Vs is produced by Media Rights Capital in association with dick clark productions. Orly Adelson, Will Staeger and Barry Adelman of dick clark productions, Shaquille O’Neal, Trice Barto, Perry Rogers and Steve Nash serve as executive producers.


JR Motorsports is the management company and racing operation for Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s seven-time Most Popular Driver and winner of more than 40 NASCAR-sanctioned races.JR Motorsports competes in multiple racing divisions, including the NASCAR Nationwide Series.In 2008 JRM enjoyed a breakout season with four Nationwide Series victories between its two teams.The company followed suit with four more wins in 2009.The JR Motorsports facilities are based out of Mooresville, N.C., and include the JR Nation retail store, Hammerhead Entertainment, and DEJ Realty.For more information on JR Motorsports, visit

Media Contact:
Mike Davis
Communications Director, JR Motorsports

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 presented by Target & Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400

Dale Jr had a somewhat strong car at Pocono and started 3rd. He fought hard all day, but ended in 19th. He remained 16th in points.

Dale had a very good car at Michigan and looked as though he might battle for the win near the end. He started back in 27th but was able to move forward and finish 7th. This strong finish for the 88 team moved Dale back up two spots into 14th.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I haven had time to keep with the blog this past week. My father passed away early Friday morning, so it's been a crazy period of time. Thank you for understanding and I will catch up with the blog when I get a chance. Thanks!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Road-Course Veteran Fellows Returns To Drive JRM's No. 88

(copied from

AER Manufacturing and Grand Touring Vodka on board for two races

MOORESVILLE, N.C.  (June 1, 2010) - When the JR Motorsports flagship No. 88 team travels to NASCAR Nationwide Series road-course events at Road America and Watkins Glen International later this season, it will have one of the best road-course drivers in the sport behind the wheel and two brand new sponsorship partners on its hood.

AER Manufacturing will sponsor the No. 88 Chevrolet driven by decorated road racer Ron Fellows in the June 19 race at Road America.   Fellows has driven for JR Motorsports three times before, winning at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on Aug. 2, 2008. AER Manufacturing has been a world leader in engine remanufacturing for the past 60 years, and has supported Fellows in the Trans Am Series, NASCAR and the American Le Mans Series since 1990.

Grand Touring Vodka, which announced a new partnership with JR Motorsports earlier this month, will be Fellows' primary sponsor in the Aug. 7 race at Watkins Glen International. It will mark the third of 10 sponsored races for Grand Touring Vodka in 2010, as the vodka brand will be on the No. 88 at Daytona International Speedway (July 2) and O'Reilly Raceway Park (July 24).

"It's great to be back with JR Motorsports this year," the 50-year-old Fellows said. "I'm extremely grateful to AER and GT Vodka for making this program possible. I know we'll be competitive and able to run up front at these facilities." 

A native of Windsor, Ontario, Fellows owns three career starts with JR Motorsports, notching one win and two top-five finishes. In 2008, Fellows earned the team its first road-course victory at Montreal after leading seven laps. His best finish in 2009 was a fifth-place showing at Watkins Glen.

"We are thrilled to have Ron back with us," said JR Motorsports general manager and co-owner Kelley Earnhardt. "He is an incredible talent behind the wheel, and he will bring a lot of experience and insight to our program. Any time he's driving, he's a threat to win."

A longtime sports car and road-racing veteran, Fellows is credited with three class championships in the American Le Mans Series, two class wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and 19 overall victories in the Sports Car Club of America's Trans-Am Series as a member of the Corvette Racing Team. His NASCAR credentials include six overall wins (two in the Camping World Truck Series), and two runner-up finishes in Sprint Cup competition. With his four Nationwide Series victories, he also has seven top-fives, eight top-10s and two poles in 15 starts.

Here is some info on both sponsors -

About AER Manufacturing: Headquartered in Carrollton, Texas, AER Manufacturing is recognized as a world leader in the engine remanufacturing industry for more than 60 years.  AER continues to provide high-quality products and capabilities to the automotive industry with nine variable production lines, two manufacturing facilities and 13 strategically located warehouses throughout the United States.

 About Grand Touring Vodka: A great American tradition begins with Grand Touring's handcrafted vodka.  We combine the finest grains from America's Heartland with crisp, cool waters.  Column distilled and filtered through activated stone carbon, Grand Touring Vodka presents unmatched smoothness and quality.  The bounty of our labor will be rolling out across the country this summer.  Grand Touring Vodka reminds you to drink responsibly, "Know when to pass." For more information on Grand Touring Vodka, visit

So who is driving what and when?

Ok, so if you're like me, maybe you've heard of some of these drivers in the NNS #7 and #88 and maybe you haven't. So here is an update on both drivers that will be driving the in two JRM NNS cars. Josh Wise will drive the #7 both tomorrow night at Nashville and next week at Kentucky. JRM is doing whatever they can to keep the 7 car up in points so that when Danica comes back she won't have to try to qualify on time.

This week, the 88 is being driven by Coleman Pressley. As to whether he's driving in any of the other races, I don't know yet. If I find that out I'll post it so you know.

Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 presented by Target

Wow, that's a mouth full! To Pennsylvania NASCAR fans, it's just the Pocono 500. Anyway, Dale Jr did really well in practice and qualifying today. He was 4th in practice and will start 3rd on Sunday. TNT takes over coverage of the cup series and the pre-race show begins at 1pm.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cola-Cola 600

Dale started 24th and after battling a loose car most of the night, got the right adjustments and seemed to be moving forward. Due to having to pit early, Dale went down a lap and eventually got back on the lead lap. Because others were pitting, Dale led 10 laps before he had to give the lead up and pit himself. Dale moved down one spot in the points to 17th.

This weekend, TNT takes over coverage and the guys come to my home state of Pennsylvania for the Gillette Fusion Pro-Glide 500 presented by Target (aka the Pocono 500.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I'm such a slacker!!

I'm really sorry for not keeping up with the blog the past few weeks. I am now back on track!

Anyway, here's the update from the Autism Speaks 400 presented by Hershey's Milk & Milkshakes. Dale really struggled in this race and finished 7 laps down in 30th. Many called this race the 1 year anniversary Lance becoming crew chief. That fact is false, Lance did not become Dale's crew chief until the fall race at Dover.

Sprint Pit Crew Challenge - The 88 pit crew was so strong, and made it to the semi-finals this year. With no penalties until the semi-final round, the boys lost to Denny Hamlin's pit crew, who went on and won the finals.

Sprint All-Star Race - Due to rain which came towards the end of qualifying for the non points race, all drivers already in the race started according to what number they picked. Dale Jr started 12th and had an ill-handling car all evening. He didn't have major damage but brushed against one of the cars during the first "All-Star big one". (that's what I call it) He finished 12th and will either have to win by the end of this year or before the All Star race next year.

Saturday nights woes for Junior did not take away from the moment he and the entire Earnhardt family must have felt early Sunday afternoon. Teresa, Kerry, Dale Jr, Kelley and Taylor accepted 'Big E's' induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame from none other than Richard Childress. Teresa spoke as a wife and business partner, then let each of the children speak on behalf of their father. One thing that stuck out to me was Taylor, who said that she felt like each other them as children knew and saw a different part of their father. Also in attendence were Grandma Martha, Kerry's wife, Dale's bothers and sisters, and two other family members who sat with Kelley and Dale Jr.

Next weekend is the one and only Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It also concludes FOX Sports coverage of the Sprint Cup Series for this year. As a fan, I want to thank Mike Joy, DW, and Larry Mac for their amazing coverage of their share of the Cup races for this year. Along with them, the reporters who cover pit road and victory lane, you all do an awesome job and aren't thanked enough for it, so thank you!! To steal a line from DW, "BOOGITY, BOOGITY, BOOGITY...... SEE YA NEXT YEAR BOYS!!!"

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Taking a moment....

To remember a good kid and buddy of Dale Jr's.........

10 years ago yesterday, NASCAR lost a 4th generation driver, Adam Petty. I'm listening to Kyle talk to Mike Massaro on NASCAR Now as I write this and he said just hearing Adam's voice was making him tear up. I'm sure that this day is just as tough for the Petty family as Feb. 18th is for the Earnhardt family.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Showtime Southern 500

Dale was forced to go to his backup car (which was the car that he ran at Atlanta) after wrecking his primary car during practice. Thankfully because his wreck was before qualifying, he did not lose his qualifying position and started 19th. After flirting with the top 10, making an unexpected pit stop due to a tire going flat, and working his way back from 2 laps down, Dale finished the day in 18th and moved up one spot to 12th in the standings. Next week the boys head to Dover, which will be the first track where Dale and Lance had worked together last year in the 88. Let's hope that's a good sign for both driver and crew chief!!

On another note, I have not heard Dale joke around near as much as he did Saturday night. It was nice to hear!! (Personally, I think it was because Brenda was there watching Dale race.)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Fledgling mom gleans tips from NASCAR mothers

I posted this for all you Mom's out there. As you know, Mother's Day is on Sunday and this article fits right in.....
As a rookie mom -- yellow stripe evident by the enormity of my gear and products I so foolishly buy such as the pee-pee teepee -- I'm always eager to absorb the knowledge and wisdom offered by veteran matriarchs.

My son Grissom is 7 months old and so far he has yet to roll off the changing table, hit his head on the bathtub faucet or get his fingers smashed in any number of fastening apparatuses he is restrained by on a daily basis.

So far so good, and on Sunday I will be honored for my accomplishments. I haven't forgotten him at Target, left him in a running car or allowed the dog to babysit him while I went shopping, all of which are stories reported on the local news these days.

By comparison, I deserve 'Mother of the Year,' but honestly my job thus far has been only to blanket my little boy with love and affection, cater to most every whim and teach him how to sleep and eat. The hard part, I feel, is in front of me.

This is why when I chose to write my annual NASCAR Mother's Day feature I started the process fully aware of a slightly selfish motive. I'll interview mothers of highly talented and successful men -- NASCAR drivers -- and glean valuable parenting insight far superior to anything I could find in a stack of baby books or Parents magazine. At the same time, I'll write a feature for the boss and meet my weekly deadline. Brilliant, free parenting advice from experts with proven results!

In between my questions about the upcoming festivities at Darlington Raceway and how the mothers enjoy the ceremonial walk across the drivers' stage and free flowers, I'll sneak in questions like, 'So how do I raise a well-adjusted, confident, unselfish young man that one day won't move halfway across the country to escape my prying eyes, er, loving arms?"

It was a tough question but I received great advice.

If I can follow Jana Bowyer's blueprint for her son Clint, maybe Grissom will never miss a Christmas at home. If I can harness a bit of Brenda Jackson, Grissom will still be a big hugger well into his 30s like Dale Earnhardt Jr. And if I can somehow tap into the bond Mary Lou Hamlin forged with her son Denny, when Grissom grows up perhaps he will buy me a house 15 minutes from his.

On the other hand, Denny never calls his mother and has forced the poor woman to join Twitter as a legitimate, and at times only, form of communication. And sometimes Bowyer uses "old lady" as a term of endearment for the wonderful woman who carried him nine months and has cared for him 31 years. To top it off, one year, Dale Jr. flat out forgot to call his mom on the sacred maternal holiday!

OK, so maybe NASCAR drivers aren't perfect sons ... but they're pretty darn close.

Like the time at the gas station when Denny, in a gullible yet good-hearted manner, got suckered out of his mom's gas money traveling to a Late Model race.

"He's going to kill me for telling you this but it's just to give you an example," Mary Lou said.

On their way to a late model race about 10 years ago in North Carolina, Denny and Mary Lou stopped for gas.

"He went in and came back out and said 'Mom, I need more money.' I said, 'For what,'" explained Mary Lou. "There was a guy in there who said he had a small baby in the car and he asked Denny for gas money and said the kid hadn't eaten, so he filled up the car and he bought the man whatever food he wanted."

That's Denny, generous without suspicion, always giving to others. Still, Mary Lou is trying to teach the 29-year-old how to answer the phone when she calls.

"Actually a lot of times I have to get on Twitter to find out where he is," she said. "I have to leave him a message and remind him 'you better call me back, I'm the one who brought you into this world so answer my call.'"

Denny and his girlfriend Jordan helped Mary Lou with her Twitter account but now of course he tells her she Tweets too much!

I'm hoping this social networking wave will somehow be replaced with letter writing in 20 years; otherwise I'll have to hold out for human microchipping technology. Just a little shot in the butt, Grissom, and I will know where you are at all times!

Seemingly, when your adult son is surrounded by business managers looking out for his best interests and is as wealthy as a NASCAR driver tends to be, moms don't need to worry about their son's whereabouts. Right?

"Wrong, that never goes away. I know he has everything he needs but I still worry about him every day," Mary Lou added. "You always want to be there for them."

And so does Jana Bowyer which is why her and husband Chris have their own motorhome and travel to all of Clint's races.

"Daddy and I aren't there to be at his motor home 24 hours a day. Sometimes we don't even see him. But we understand racing can be the best day of your life and other times it can be the worst," Jana said. "Regardless of what happens, he knows we're just across the lot, he can come talk to either one of us. When he's upset that's when he'll pop over or when he wants to go eat, he'll pop over. He knows we're there."

The same goes for Jana. Her son Clint has been there for her as well.

In 2005 when her son won his first NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Nashville, Tenn., Clint surprised his mother with a token of gratitude -- in her garage -- back home in Emporia, Kan., the following weekend.

It was the least he could do for his mother after years prior she sold her BMW 3 Series to buy a motor and parts for his modified race car. In return, Clint surprised Jana with a BMW 5 Series.

"You don't always hear it from him but he told me he knew how much we sacrificed for him and he wanted me to have that car," Jana said.

Bowyer takes care of the BMW's lease and mom gets a new version every three years!

Sacrifice, yes, I get that part of parenting already. Sacrifice now and hopefully one day Grissom will be grateful and not move to Malawi.

But what Brenda told me is important. Don't get caught up in the geography. She's had to be away from both Dale Jr. and his sister Kelley in the past.

"You do the best you can from the beginning and all you want for them to be is happy regardless of what they decide to do," she said. "You'll be happy if he's happy, no matter where that may be."

It's good advice coming from a mother who has raised one of the most successful sports figures and personalities in the world.

When I asked her how, she said she couldn't take much credit for the product.

"A lot of it is just Dale's personality, he's softhearted, kind and easygoing," she said.

As a boy he was quiet, fine to play alone and content to stay home most days. He was most comfortable on Mom's lap or right beside her and aside from a caterpillar incident at the church and a tendency towards laziness, he was a perfect child.

In those days, Brenda's job was easy.

Today, however, she has her plate full of parenting duties because what I learned from her is that you don't clock out on their 18th birthday. Actually, for Brenda, this is when her job became more involved, parenting her adult child.

"I most certainly do more parenting now and it's most important now because I am trying to keep Dale grounded, explain to him how people perceive him when they don't necessarily understand everything going on and help him look at all life's avenues when he doesn't have time to do so," she said.

Also, 30 years ago Brenda didn't need to explain to Dale Jr. the responsibilities of being a role model or remind him of the ramifications that come with the job. He was just a child. The most trouble he could get into at that time involved a jar of caterpillars.

His grandmother, Martha Earnhardt, had two large trees out front that always had these furry little creatures that Dale Jr. couldn't keep his hands away from. One day with some help he put a bunch in a jar.

"I guess he was maybe three or four at the time," Brenda recalled. "He went to daycare at church while I worked. The next day at daycare he took the jar with him and snuck it in his little bag. And when he got to daycare he and another little boy went and turned all those caterpillars loose in the bathroom."

The fuzzy worms went everywhere and still today Dale Jr. is a jokester. He gets his sarcastic sense of humor from Brenda.

Her little prankster with the shaggy, bowl haircut is all grown up but he'll never be too big for hugs, Brenda said.

"I work at JR Motorsports and once or twice a week he'll come by my office, come straight in and tell me to 'stand up and give me a good hug.' He never forgets to hug me when he leaves a room," she said. "If he did, he knows that would really hurt me. So whenever he leaves he comes and hugs on my neck. That means a lot to me."

I've always been told how lucky I am to have a son because the bond is unique and special. No one can tell me exactly why but I trust and don't question what the moms say because others have said the same thing for years.

Only now, after speaking with these three women, I have a greater understanding of how the relationship evolves.

What I learned from Brenda, Jana and Mary Lou is that for a mother a son is never a fully-grown man, and a son is never a fully-grown man until he understands and accepts this about his mother.

So now I'm going to print this story out, put it in Grissom's baby book along with three simple instructions.

You better answer when I call, never miss a holiday and always remember to hug me before you leave.

If he can manage these three simple tasks and I hold up my end of the deal, we're sure to enjoy many happy Mother's Day celebrations together.

Happy Mother's Day, ladies!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Check it out!

I decided to change the header up a little bit. Like it? It was time for a change, and also I almost forgot to say this, but......

Monday, May 3, 2010

Crown Royal presents the Heath Calhoun 400

Dale's day started ok good, but quickly went from bad to worse. After a bad pit stop and bad changes to the car, he had a tire go flat and that just made it worse from there. With Richmond being a short track, it's very easy for half of the field to get lapped in no time at all. Dale started 25th and finished 3 laps down in 32nd. At the end of the race, Dale praised his team for staying positive and said that had it not been for the tire going down, they would have run better. Not only is next week Darlington, but it's also Mother's Day. Don't forget about your mom!!

Friday, April 30, 2010

No. 3 Wrangler Chevrolet back on track with Junior

Pics from @MikeDavis88 on Twitter.

The first pic has from right to left - Taylor, Teresa, Kelley, Dale Jr, and Richard Childress.
There's two men in the back row, I believe they are reps from Wrangler, not sure, but that's my guess.  

This one was taken either before or after the unveiling, I'm guessing after because of the fact that the cover wasn't on it when this pic was taken.

WELCOME, N.C. -- Through a joint effort between Richard Childress Racing, JR Motorsports, Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Wrangler, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will pay tribute to his father's upcoming induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame by driving the No. 3 Wrangler Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series race on July 2 at Daytona International Speedway.

The announcement and car unveiling was made Thursday in Mooresville, N.C., at JR Motorsports and to the fans at Dale Earnhardt Inc. In attendance were Earnhardt Jr., Richard Childress, Kelley Earnhardt Teresa Earnhardt and Craig Errington, vice president of Wrangler marketing. The car is an RCR entry built and prepared by JR Motorsports.

"This was an idea that came up as a way to pay tribute to my dad, and it's pretty cool that it's a collaborative effort between JR Motorsports, RCR and DEI," Earnhardt Jr. said. "The Wrangler car is definitely in the top-10 of coolest cars that have ever been on the race track. A lot of people identify with it, and I can't think of a better way to honor my dad and celebrate his induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame than to bring the Wrangler colors back with the No. 3 on the side, similar to the 'Wrangler Jean Machine' scheme of the 80s. I think it will be worth seeing, and I'm looking forward to driving it at Daytona."

The combination of Earnhardt Jr., DEI and RCR has a very brief yet shining history on the track together. In their only race together, Earnhardt drove the No. 3 Chevrolet to victory in the February 2002 Nationwide Series race at Daytona. That car is on display at the RCR Museum in Welcome, N.C.

"Bringing this group of people and these organizations together is the best way I can think of to honor Dale Earnhardt's induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame," Childress said. "Dale means so much to all of us, as well as his fans across the country and throughout the world. We created a special piece of history together in 2002 and, with Wrangler back on board the No. 3 Chevrolet at Daytona, we look to make some more history in July. I know the fans will love it and much as we all will."

In support of the program, an array of licensed product will be available to fans from die-cast cars to apparel and select novelty items. Merchandise will highlight both Dale Earnhardt original Wrangler car and Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s current paint scheme. Fans can find the products at, trackside or through each of the represented team stores.

"Dale's induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame is truly a special honor for the Earnhardt Family as well as for all of Dale's fans" Teresa Earnhardt said. "Dale was a competitor, but he was also a person who loved the fans and worked hard to connect with the people who supported him through his career. Wrangler was one of Dale's first sponsors and it's great to connect back with those early years, where it all started for Dale as he drove his way into the Hall of Fame".

Wrangler has a long history with all parties involved, and is the first apparel brand to have significant involvement in NASCAR, beginning in the 1980s when Dale Earnhardt was featured in the brand's "One Tough Customer" marketing campaign. Wrangler was the primary sponsor of Dale Earnhardt and the famed yellow-and-blue "Wrangler Jean Machine" from 1981 to 1987.

After a couple race team changes in the early 1980s including a brief 1981 stint with Richard Childress, Earnhardt moved back to RCR in 1984, bringing the brand with him as his primary sponsor. In 1998, the brand became one of the first corporate sponsors to sign up with Dale in his new role of team owner of Dale Earnhardt Inc.

The Wrangler-Earnhardt legacy continued in 2004 with a relationship between a second generation Earnhardt and a "New Generation of Wrangler" -- Earnhardt Jr. signed on as the endorsee for the Wrangler Jeans Co. line of new fits and styles of jeans and apparel. This longstanding relationship continues today with Earnhardt Jr. starring in the current brand marketing campaign.

"For Wrangler, this yellow-and-blue paint scheme signifies a lot of our brand history, marketing and persona from the 1980s," Errington said. "It's truly a piece of our history that will be on the track July 2 and it makes it that much more meaningful that it's not only Dale Earnhardt's son who will be driving it, but also the brand's current partner and friend -- Dale Jr."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Aaron's 499/ Aaron's 312

Dale lead several times and even had a shot at the win as the race at 'Dega went into over time and the race ended on the last of the three G-W-C's yesterday. However he got shuffled back to 13th and was never able to get back up the challenge for the lead. Dale worked with several drivers Sunday, including Joey Logano, David Ragan, (surprisingly) Denny Hamlin, and others. He's only moved down one spot in the standings, and will head to Richmond next weekend with the other big boys. The race is on Saturday night and pre-race coverage begins at 7:30 on FOX.

Jamie McMurray lead 3-4 times in the Nationwide race and tried to move up for the win, but instead caused a huge crash as Brad took the lead and the win. Congrats to him and the Discount Tire team in their win at Dega yesterday! Brad almost didn't win, much less run the Nationwide race.He was collected in the late lap crash in the Cup race, and was being held in the infield care center due to breathing in too much carbon monoxide.

Steve Arpin qualified well in 4th, learned a lot (I'm sure) during the race about drafting, and was running well until he was caught up in the late race crash. He finished in 26th. He will have a better chance to prove himself next week at the race in Richmond.

Friday, April 23, 2010

'Appreciative' Arpin moves to front and center for JRM

Driver becomes fourth driver this season to step into the No. 7

By Dave Rodman, NASCAR.COM
Tony Eury Jr. is the crew chief of the No. 7 Nationwide Series Chevrolet, so obviously he's deeply committed to that car performing well.

But as a co-owner of the JR Motorsports organization that fields the car alongside the company's flagship program, the No. 88 led by his father, Tony "Pops" Eury, Eury Jr. is also aware of his car's role in building a solid foundation for the entity that includes his cousins, Kelley and Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- as well as stock car icon Rick Hendrick -- in its ownership group.

At this stage of its existence, JR Motorsports is a development entity, but it's also burdened with a heavy responsibility to its sponsors and an organizational commitment to run at the front of the field.

And so the clock is ticking this weekend at Talladega, as Steve Arpin becomes the fourth driver this season to step into the 7, following Danica Patrick, Scott Wimmer and Landon Cassill.

JRM's short-term horizon went into a spin two races ago, after the Nashville round, when Kelly Bires was released as driver of the No. 88 and replaced by Cup veteran Jamie McMurray. But JR's management has maintained all along it wants a Nationwide regular to be in that car -- but it has to be someone who can run at the front and contend for wins, as the 88's most recent shoe, Brad Keselowski, had done.

Earnhardt Jr. came right to the point at Texas last weekend.

"We're proud of what we've been able to do so far as a company," Earnhardt Jr. said. "We're looking for the next Brad [Keselowski], the next Jeff Gordon -- whatever you want to call it -- we're looking for that next guy. You've got to get him in a good race car.

"We've got Jamie [McMurray] in the car and he's going to help us with the remaining races with Hellman's. We have that No. 7 car to alternate whoever we want, in and out of that deal because we're racing that car out of our pocket. That's the only good thing about that whole deal with running it out of your own pocket -- because you can put whoever you want in there."

And right now that's young Canadian Arpin, 26, who says he craves working on his own race cars because that allows him to know exactly how they work, and exactly what he needs to make them work better.

"When this deal with Bires came up," Eury Jr. said. "We sat down to set our agenda and we said 'one of our candidates is Steve Arpin. We need to give him a shot' because we need to get guys in the 7 car as quick as possible and give 'em chances."

The Hendrick Motorsports development driver Cassill's four-race deal was announced before Nashville, but the situation was constantly in flux.

"Everybody knows Landon [Cassill] hasn't never run a speedway race, other than in a truck, and Arpin had run three ARCA races, two at Daytona and one at Talladega," Eury Jr. said. "So from an experience standpoint, maybe that would be a good time to give Arpin a shot [because] he's got experience drafting. But Talladega is so far out of concept from every other race, maybe we need to stick that Richmond in there, because that's right behind it.

"Honestly, when we first started it was gonna be a Landon four-race deal but we were, like, 'man, we really need to get things rolling so when we get to Charlotte, like just past Charlotte when we're ready to put a young guy in that 88 when Jamie's not going to be able to do it because he's gonna be in Pocono and stuff, we need to have our agenda set up: Who are we gonna put in the car, how's the chemistry, what's his driving ability like and how's he run?'

"And all those deals kinda came up in a week, because the Bires deal kinda went down really quick. It was one of those things where we had to react, but JR Motorsports has got six months to get a talent -- like a Brad Keselowski -- to put in that 88 car, to know what we got so that team can come out of the box [in 2011] running strong."

And so right now Arpin is front and center -- though it's a moment that Eury Jr. said might extend to Arpin getting that shot in the 88 later this season.

Since the beginning of 2008, when he met Arpin at Speedweeks in Florida, Carl Edwards had become a real advocate for the Fort Frances, Ontario, native. After repeated recommendations from Edwards, Eury Jr. said the team finally met Arpin at Kansas Speedway last September.

Over the weekend at Texas Eury Jr. said at one point last fall the organization was even considering running a third car, along with the two full-time entries it's ended up fielding.

"Ever since we've met him, Steve's [Arpin] been real down-to-earth -- a real appreciative kind of guy," Eury Jr. said. "Since Carl [Edwards] introduced us, we've stayed in contact and we tried to put a deal together for Steve in the 7 car, to run the final races that Danica wasn't gonna run, but it just didn't happen."

Arpin is currently running his second season in the ARCA Series, where he has a 10-point lead in the championship over Justin Marks, after four races. Arpin comes to Talladega, where ARCA races Friday evening, having won the last two series races: at Salem, Indiana, and Texas last weekend.

"Now we're in a situation where we can give [Arpin] an opportunity and we're going to try to bounce it around in between his ARCA deal and kinda give him some chances and let him think about what he needs to do for next year," Eury Jr. said. "But we're real excited to have his enthusiasm at JR Motorsports."

Patrick's program for the next two years is a part-time schedule consisting of less than half the series' races while she concentrates on her Indy car program.

Since meeting the team last September, Arpin has spent time at the JR Motorsports shop and Friday at Texas, he split time between the ARCA and Nationwide garages. That was also the case last February, when Patrick made her first two stock car starts.

"He wants to be a team player -- he wants to do anything he can," Eury Jr. said. "He come over and helped Danica [Patrick] a lot during February at Daytona Speedweeks. He didn't have to, but that was just his personality.

"We were over here practicing with Landon [Cassill] on Friday and [Arpin] was getting ready for an ARCA race on Friday night and he's over here helping us put tires on so [Cassill] can go make a mock [qualifying] run. That's just the kind of guy that he is.

"He's just a racer -- he loves racing -- and it's just fun to be around people like that because when the team sees that kind of person; that just steps everybody's game up because they want to help that person get to their goals, also."

Earnhardt Jr. is keeping his eyes wide open at this point.

"I'm really hoping that Landon [Cassill] shows Tony Jr. what he needs to see to get more opportunity," Earnhardt Jr. said. "Landon's such a great guy; he's a real, real easy sale to the sponsors because he does such a great job. If he can show us that we can get something going chemistry-wise -- I really hope Landon works out. Steve Arpin, I think might be an opportunity waiting to happen for anybody.

"There are a lot of new variables in this environment, and they dictate really who gets in and out of the car. We're still trying to give those guys an opportunity and trying to convince who we need to, that these guys need to get a chance to get in the car."

Eury Jr. said they know the timeframe they want to make a decision on.

"Scheduling has a lot to do with it," Eury Jr. said. "If Arpin ends up being the guy, then we gotta look at his ARCA schedule. We've got some other drivers -- we've got Landon and we've got Wimmer and we've pitched some ideas out to both of those and we've got a couple more races scheduled with Landon.

"We're trying to say the middle of May, we kinda want to have an agenda, but this 7 car is going to continue to try guys out and give 'em a chance. There may be some other drivers out there that might show up but we're looking to see what we got out there, because we may be able to fill in next year with a solid driver to take up Danica's [Indy car conflict] races.

"We're constantly looking and we're gonna keep trying out new talent and give everybody the opportunity that we can. But the 88 is the flagship of our company -- that's our car and we want to contend for titles and win races and we've got sponsors on that car that we've committed to running up front and getting them the TV time because we're gonna have the best Nationwide driver out there. We're gonna beat the Cup drivers some days, and some days we're not, but that's our flagship.

"For the 7 car, our main objective is Danica Patrick, and we can use the rest of that time to have developmental drivers in the car. The biggest thing we've got to do is make sure we stay positive and stay in the top 30 in [owners'] points to help her situation out but we can also use it as a curve to help young drivers."

The rumors are true....

Earlier this week I read a post on Twitter from Darrell Waltrip. He was saying that he had heard someone talking about Dale possibly driving the #3 in the Nationwide Series at Daytona in July. I am hear to tell you that the rumors are true, and according to NASCAR Now on ESPN, the car will be unveiled within the next week. That's all I know for now, and once the pics are available I will post them here.

Who is Steve Arpin?

(I have no idea, never heard of the guy, but he is driving the #7 this weekend at Dega for JR Motorsports. Here's an article from on him and how he got the chance to drive the car for Junebug.)

Edwards sees himself in Arpin, as others might
By Dave Rodman

The best thing about time passing is that, every so often, an event re-occurs in your life -- an event that the first time it passed was so positive, even if you didn't realize it at the time -- it could be considered priceless.

One of those happened in November 2000.

At the time, no one out in the world knew Arpin was about to embark on possibly his greatest career step to date. He didn't even know that a one-race trial, at Talladega of all places, with JR Motorsports had already turned into two-in-a-row, via a Richmond follow-up in JRM's No. 7 Chevrolet.

Three days later, Nationwide Series director Joe Balash had taken Arpin to the NASCAR catering trailer in the Cup garage to get some lunch. Arpin met Brett Bodine, who heads the committee that approves drivers' transitions up the career ladder in NASCAR's national series, and then he also met and had an exchange with NASCAR president Mike Helton and Sprint Cup director John Darby.

You wonder, racing aside, how special could this kid be? Remember, he had just won the past two ARCA races, the first on one of the most daunting high-speed, high-banked short tracks in creation, and then, Friday night with a car that had been, uh, torn up a little in an early accident at Texas -- the speedway that's certainly just as daunting as Salem, with 60-or-so mph added-on.

Arpin said he hadn't known anything about racing Richmond until he heard JRM's co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. saying it in a media interview, and that "I never had a prouder moment in my career than standing there, listening to [Earnhardt Jr.] talk about me."

The next day, Edwards himself reflected on what's been a whirlwind of a two-year period, not only for himself but also Arpin.

"He's got one helluva future," Edwards said, shaking his head. "A lot of people are gonna be jealous of him, cause he works harder than anyone I know, he's a good person and he's gonna have all the success that a guy could have. I truly believe that.

"I've seen him do truly unbelievable things with race cars and he's just starting on pavement -- I mean, he doesn't -- he won that ARCA race the other night and after the race I went over there and the upper ball joint's broke on the car, and it's [wheel and tire] flopping around. The fender's all smashed-up -- the left-rear of the car is all smashed up and he won at Texas.

"That's pretty tough."

The first thing you have to understand is Edwards is no different today than he was 10 years ago, and considering his status in racing, the championships he's won -- that's truly amazing.

But he's a fan. He loves dirt racing and he follows this stuff. Case in point: more than two years ago, he read a story in Speedway Illustrated by Karl Fredrickson about a Canadian dirt track racer from Fort Frances, Ontario.

"I was a fan of [Arpin's] -- I thought, 'this guy's cool,'" Edwards said. "And then he was working on his car and he got burnt [during Speedweeks 2008 in Florida]."

Edwards said Fredrickson -- who in addition to writing about racing also races himself -- called him and tried to explain who Arpin was and what had happened, but Edwards quickly cut him off.

"I told him, 'I know who he is, you wrote an article about him,'" Edwards said, laughing. "But Karl said 'they'd like it if you'd drive his race car.' So I went over [to the Volusia Speedway Park dirt track in Barberville, Fla.] and drove his race car -- and did terrible in it, so he kind of showed me up, there."

And thus a totally innocuous meeting in a terribly busy professional athlete's career led to a very special connection. And now two years later, Arpin has the chance of a lifetime, thanks to Edwards "bugging" Tony Eury Jr. and Earnhardt Jr. to give the kid a shot in a JR Motorsports car.

That initial shot comes this weekend at Talladega and Eury Jr. is already talking about Arpin's first opportunity in JRM's flagship car, the No. 88 Chevrolet. Arpin's scheduled to drive the No. 7 car again at Richmond because Talladega is so unique -- the team wants him to carry the momentum of working with its personnel to a track where he'll have the potential to show them what he can really do.

Edwards is already convinced.
"He's just one of those guys -- he's earning it," Edwards said, his face changing to an expression of dead-seriousness. "He has so much energy -- so much positive energy and will and desire -- that there's no way he can fail. He's just got it."

And that just begs the comparison, to a kid who hitched rides to race tracks, who criss-crossed the country to win a Baby Grand championship -- a kid who continually had to make that ages-old racer's choice: Tires and fuel, or eating better?

And he chose being faster, every time. You just have to believe that Edwards -- now that he knows Arpin better -- sees a reflection of himself in the 26-year-old.

"Yeah," Edwards said, shaking his head and looking quickly at the ground like he wasn't real comfortable with the spotlight. "I meet a lot of people that want to drive race cars, but he wants to more than anybody else that I meet, and people used to say the same thing about me.

"I'm a little nervous to race with him [chuckling]. Once he gets pretty good -- I might've created a monster, here -- not to say that I created it, or whatever, but I've been doing everything I can to help him, just because he embodies ... you want to help people that help themselves, you know what I mean?

"He calls me up and he's got simple questions -- all I have to say is 'yes' or 'no.' He's on a mission."

And when you talk to Arpin a little bit, you don't have to scramble much to close your eyes and think back to Memphis and Milwaukee and Kansas back in 2002, where Edwards scored his first top-10 finish -- in his first speedway race. You almost can't tell who you're talking to.

And you can only hope you're able to witness a similar path.

"What a great kid," Wallace had said last week. "I'm just so afraid he'll get the big head and man, I hope that doesn't happen."

"I love race cars -- they're just my whole life and they fascinate me," Arpin said on Sunday -- but then he quickly back-pedaled with an ever-ready smile. "Of course, that's besides my wife, Trina."

I tell you what Kenny -- from what I've seen of his influences and his career path to date -- we might not have anything to worry about that with young Mr. Arpin.

And that, my friends, will be truly priceless.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Things fine with crew chief Lance McGrew

(Article from today's USA Today, thanks to Mike Davis for link via Twitter update)

By Nate Ryan, USA TODAY

A testy exchange between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Lance McGrew during Monday's Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway concluded with the driver lightly chiding his crew chief.

"Don't take so much offense," Earnhardt said. "Just jot the (stuff) down and be done with it."

The short transmission spoke volumes about their relationship.

Ranked seventh in points heading into Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR's most popular star says a major key to his rebound from a career-worst 2009 is the realization of separating the professional from the personal.

"We don't have to be best friends," Earnhardt said of McGrew. "We actually get along really good. But there's not that urge to be friends first.

"With (former crew chief) Tony (Eury) Jr., the No. 1 thing was the personal relationship, way ahead of the crew chief success. That's not there anymore, and I don't have to worry."

A good example was Wednesday night. Though McGrew was invited to the grand opening of Earnhardt's new Whisky River bar in Jacksonville, Fla., the crew chief stayed in North Carolina to prepare the No. 88 Chevrolet for next week's race at Richmond.

Though they've gone to dinner, McGrew said hanging out isn't necessary to performing well.

"That's a lot of extra stress," McGrew said. "It's business. I listen to what he tells me, and I react accordingly. I don't want the fact we're going deer hunting or fishing to cloud that."

The partnership with Eury Jr. was different. Earnhardt was in almost daily contact with his cousin (who remains a best friend, confidante and business partner as a co-owner of JR Motorsports), and they shared outside interests (such as attending boxing matches together).

With McGrew, who replaced Eury 10 months ago, Earnhardt said "we talk out of necessity" in between being at the track.

"That can be it," Earnhardt said. "We don't have to call and see what we thought about the Bobcats in the playoffs, none of that (baloney). It makes it easy."

Not that he doesn't enjoy the Baton Rouge, native's company.

"I have a lot of fun being around him in the truck and during practices," Earnhardt said. "We get to joking around so (darn) much, that's about all we do. He's never done anything that's gotten under my skin."

That might surprise fans who heard him unleash a vulgarity-laden stream of invective at Bristol after McGrew pleaded with his driver "not to lay down." Earnhardt said such a conversation would have taken weeks to heal with Eury.

"We would have had to call each other all week to make sure everything was cool," Earnhardt said. "People have to just believe me when I say that things are as good as ever."

He knows firsthand because of McGrew's encouragement to take a vested interest in the team's fleet of Impalas. While working with Eury, Earnhardt says he "didn't give a (flip) if a car was new or not. I knew it was going to be great. When that was gone, now I've got to care."

Earnhardt recently began e-mailing an evaluation after every race to McGrew, who is building a database his driver can study for each track (a practice embraced by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson).

McGrew said the duo's communication on preparing for a race still needs improvement, but he cited Texas, where Earnhardt led 46 laps and placed eighth, as an example of where Earnhardt's prior input made a difference. Earnhardt, though, gave as much credit to McGrew's offseason restructuring.

"He made a lot of tough calls within the shop of moving people around," Earnhardt said. "He's doing everything I could ever ask. I have a ton of respect for that."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New link being added

For those of you who love to dec your desktop screen, AIM or Yahoo icon, post banners on your site/MySpace page/etc., or send e-cards - this site is the place do to it!
Check it out at The Dale Jr Graphics Garage I'll be picking a banner from Sarah's site to put on the bottom of the blog page, so check it out!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Samsung 500

What a great day for Dale Jr and the 88 team! I'm here at work (on break of course), but kept up with the race during both my breaks. He led 5 different times for a total of (if I remember correctly) 49 laps and has moved up to 7th in the Sprint Cup standings. Next weekend brings another track that Dale Jr runs very well at..... the one and only Talladega Superspeedway.

Don't forget that in about half an hour, the Nationwide Series race is set to start on ESPN2 and the 88 and 7 will be running in that race. Jamie McMurray will make his first appearance in the #88 Hellmann's Chevy for JR Motorsports and Landon Cassill will be running in the #7 Chevy.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Much to talk about!!

Kelly's out, Jamie Mac is in..... Yup, Kelly Bires is out of the No. 88 Nationwide Series car for JRM and the Daytona 500 winner - Jamie McMurray is in the seat as of this weekend at Texas. This is a quote from Kelley Earnhardt - "We are extremely appreciative of Kelly Bires and wish him the best," Earnhardt said. "Internally, it was evident the chemistry that is imperative for us to succeed in this highly competitive industry was simply not there. That is the fault of no one person. We owe it to our fans and sponsors to make necessary adjustments in an effort to put our best product on the track, and we'll continue evaluating our progress until we are confident that our full potential is being reached." To be honest, I thought that Kelly would do well as a driver for JRM, but I was wrong (isn't the first time that's happened). Anyway, the races that Jamie will drive are the following: Texas (April 17), Talladega (April 24), Richmond (April 30), Darlington (May 7), Dover (May 15) and Charlotte (May 30) -- plus Chicagoland (July 9), Atlanta (Sept. 4) and the return trip to Charlotte (Oct. 15).

As for the No. 7 car, reports the following: The alteration to the No. 88 team does not change plans for the No. 7 team, which presently is to run the full Nationwide Series schedule with multiple drivers. Landon Cassill began a part-time stint last weekend at Phoenix, becoming the third driver this season to get behind the wheel of the No. 7 prepared by crew chief and co-owner Tony Eury Jr. Cassill will race the car this weekend at Texas. Danica Patrick has 10 of her scheduled 13 races remaining on the 2010 slate. Scott Wimmer recently completed a two-race commitment and posted season-best finishes of 10th at Bristol and seventh at Nashville. Driving vacancies left on the No. 7 schedule are still to be determined. - As more drivers are announced to fill in the rest of the dates, I will post who will be driving where as I learn about it myself.

In other news, Kasey Kahne has signed to drive for Hendrick Motorsports for the 2012 season. Mark had signed a two year extension with Hendrick that expires at the end of next year, and plans as of now are for Kasey to take Mark's seat in the No. 5 car. As for Jimmie, Jeff and Dale, they are signed through the end of next year. Kasey's current sponser, which ironicly is Dale Jr's old sponsor has made a statement saying that "it had not yet broached the idea of potentially following Kahne to another organization." How awkward would that be? To have your former sponsor be the sponsor of another teammate?

Subway Fresh Fit 600

Dale had a strong car leading into Saturday evenings race, and although he slipped back into the mid-20's for the majority of the race, Lance called for two tires after a late-race caution, which boosted Dale up into the top 10 for the last laps of the night. Dale finished 12th and remains 10th in the point standings. This Sunday the drivers head to Texas, which is one of Dale's stronger tracks and a huge place for Jr Nation members to gather.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Cassill ready for his shot in JR Motorsports' No. 7 Chevy

By Sporting News Wire Service

Nearly 17 months after he won the Nationwide Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year award for JR Motorsports, Landon Cassill is getting back behind the wheel of a Dale Earnhardt Jr.-owned race car.

What took so long? Cassill isn't sure, but he doesn't seem to care, either. He's simply excited to be driving JRM's No. 7 Chevrolet in the next four races, beginning with Friday's Bashas' Supermarkets 200 (9 p.m. ET on ESPN2) at Phoenix International Raceway

"I don't know what it was that got the call made," Cassill said. "I'd helped out Danica [Patrick] in Las Vegas and was working with JR Motorsports in that sense. They really decided to jump in with both feet and try to make this car get to every race. It really is too good of equipment to be at the shop.

"Finally, though, yeah, I'm finally happy to be back in the car."

Cassill won the rookie title in 2008, winning a pole and posting five top-10 finishes in 19 starts for JRM. But sponsorship issues put Cassill on the sideline for '09, and he ran one race -- for Phoenix Racing.

Naturally, Cassill wants to do well in his stint in the No. 7, but he's not trying to prove he belonged in the No. 88 instead of teammate Kelly Bires. No, Cassill instead said he wants to be a good teammate to Bires.

"I'm not trying to go out and say, 'Ha, you should've hired me in the first place,'" Cassill said. "That's not it at all, I'm just glad to be driving for Go Daddy and for JR Motorsports and to be part of the team.

"Being in a race car, there's nothing better. I'm just ready to remind everybody what I can do in a race car."

What can he do after being out for so long? Cassill said he can "run what the car is capable of doing," whatever performance that is.

"He's got a lot of ambition right now," Bires said. "He wants to get in the car. He's a good driver, and I think he's going to be a good teammate."

Cassill said he has a good relationship with Earnhardt and JRM co-owner Kelley Earnhardt, dispelling notions he was sidelined because he and Dale Jr. didn't get along.

"They're great," Cassill said. "It was cool when I sat down, and they said, 'Hey, we need you to drive this car. You're our guy. ... We feel like you can [take] this team and do what we need you to do.' I'd say I have a good relationship with them."

A quick reminder....

for those (like me) who don't know, the race this weekend is being run tomorrow evening (Saturday) at 7:30 EST on FOX.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wecome back Landon!!

When I first started watching Nationwide races on TV, JRM had two drivers racing. One, of course was Brad, and the other was Landon Cassill, who drove the #5 car, owned by Rick Hendrick. Landon was part of Rick's developmental program, so he only drove for them that one year. I just read the other day that Landon will drive the #7 car the weeks that Scott Wimmer is not. I'm so excited to see Landon back with JRM and can't wait to see him race.

Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500

Due to the rain not letting up on Sunday, the race at Martinsville was cancelled and run on Monday. I had to work so I could only check the race updates at work while on my break. Dale ran well all day, starting 8th and eventually finishing in 15th.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend with your families. This coming weekend the boys head back out west to Phoenix International Raceway.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Special Paint Scheme for this weekend

Ok, if any of you watched practice today and think that Dale is running a test car this weekend, (like me at first), I'm here to tell that we're wrong, lol. I checked and they have this pic of Dale's paint scheme for this weekend.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Handy Manny's Big Race

Remember when I posted an article about Dale Jr doing a voice over for Playhouse Disney? Well, I was poking around the net today and found that you can watch the whole Handy Manny episode online. Below is the address and if there's any little ones around that like Dale Jr and/or Handy Manny, they can watch it too!

Junior contends in-race radio chatter misconstrued

Driver confident that No. 88 team is on the same page.

CONCORD, N.C. -- In between morning and afternoon test sessions Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. spent considerable time trading information and wisecracks with crew chief Lance McGrew in the garage area.

Earnhardt even playfully grabbed the sides of McGrew's head to make one point, then laughed heartily. The most famous driver in NASCAR hardly seemed like he was having trouble getting along with anyone.

And that's just the problem with sharing with the world heated radio communications during a race, Earnhardt later pointed out. While on one hand it's great entertainment -- unique solely to the sport of NASCAR -- on the other it can lead to some general misunderstandings by those listening in.

So it was, Earnhardt said, when he went off Sunday on NASCAR, spewing expletives about getting penalized for speeding coming onto pit road at Bristol Motor Speedway. And when McGrew subsequently implored Earnhardt not "to lay down on him," Earnhardt responded with a stream of invective about why McGrew should never, ever accuse him of laying down -- and about how the crew chief certainly should never make said accusation over the radio during a race.

Relaxing in his No. 88 Chevrolet hauler between test runs Tuesday, Earnhardt explained what was going through his mind at the time.

"When I get upset I have to talk to somebody. I've got to tell somebody; somebody needs to hear it," Earnhardt said. "I don't feel good. I can't get over it, past it until I think I've had somebody hear my side of it.

That somebody during a race is going to be Earnhardt's crew chief.

"When you're inside that race car and something bad happens ... when you feel slighted and you're in the car and you're strapped in and it's a little claustrophobic, there's no audience," Earnhardt said. "You've got millions of people watching on TV, but there's really no one to hear your side of it. There is a very small avenue on that radio to get your point across, because nobody can see your facial expressions, nobody can see your body language, nothing.

"It's sort of like talking online. It's hard to read tone. Even though you can hear me, it's hard to understand tone or who it is directed at or whatever. Every time pretty much I get misconstrued."

Both Earnhardt and McGrew insisted Tuesday that their relationship not only is fine, but that it's getting better all the time. That seemingly is beginning to show on the track, with Earnhardt up to eighth in the point standings after coming back from Sunday's speeding penalty to finish seventh at Bristol.

"I kind of hate the way the media wrote it up like we were airing dirty laundry over the radio," McGrew said. "A lot of the crew chiefs and drivers here talk to each other that way, period. But he's the only one that gets criticized. It's bull[expletive]."

McGrew added that a successful crew chief quickly learns the art of give-and-take with his driver over the radio. He said telling Earnhardt not to lay down wasn't meant as an insult, nor was it meant to imply that Earnhardt has previously.

"It was, 'Dang, look, you've got to be positive. You've got to realize your car is freaking fast. We can still get a good finish out of it,' " McGrew explained.

At the time of his spending penalty, Earnhardt was running in the top five -- and he fell to 26th, at the tail end of the lead lap as a result. But 180 laps still remained in the 500-lap event, which was McGrew's point. There was still time to make up what was lost, or at least most of it.

Neither had their feelings hurt by their spirited exchange Sunday -- neither at the time nor afterward, Earnhardt said.

"Me and Lance really have gotten to know each other more and more really quick, faster than probably it should have happened or what happens with other people," Earnhardt said. "We don't really ever have these awkward moments where he doesn't know if I'm kidding or serious. He always knows. He knows when I'm full of [expletive]; he knows when I'm joking around; he knows when I'm really pissed or when something serious is bothering me.

"He knows, so that really helps him not get his feelings hurt. It helps him kind of understand what I'm trying to accomplish."

Earnhardt said that was the case Sunday.

"He knew when I sort of cut loose on the radio I just had to get some [expletive] off my chest," Earnhardt said. "I was mad at myself because I gassed the car up to cheat a little bit and I got caught. I was frustrated because I couldn't gas mine as much as everybody else around me was doing it because of their pit road spots."

"I was just really pissed about the situation, how stupid it was, how hard I had run to get into the top 5, how late it was in the race, [how] my chances of making it back to that point were going to be very poor. I just had to get it off my chest. I couldn't get back to the place I was before without releasing it somehow.

"I even thought about this during the pace laps. I does me no good with my finger off the [radio] button, cussing into thin air. It doesn't get it off my chest. I don't feel better. I can't beat the dash in or punch something. It just doesn't do it for me. I had to holler. Lance was the guy that I wanted to holler at 'cause I felt comfortable telling him my story."

Basically, bad thoughts were running through Earnhardt's head and he was determined to be rid of them.

"I was at the point where I didn't want to run over anybody because I wasn't pissed off at them," Earnhardt said. "I wanted to drive up there and knock the side off the pace car because that was the only way I could get back at them guys in the [NASCAR] booth, but that would have been the worst thing in the world I could have done That would have been a foolish, foolish mistake. That's just the daydreaming that goes on in your head at the time.

"I just had to calm down, you know? I just had to [expletive] calm down -- because I didn't want to do anything stupid or make an ass out of myself. And venting like that was a good release for me. Then I got back to racing the car and forgetting about all that other stuff."

In retrospect, Earnhardt said McGrew did what he needed to do to help get him focused back on driving in the race. But at the time, when McGrew made his "laying down" comment after several seconds of uncharacteristic silence following Earnhardt's initial outburst, Earnhardt got all fired up.

"I was kind of chilling out back there. He thought I was going to lay down on him or whatever," Earnhardt said. "He's got to crack the whip. He's got to motivate me to get back into fighting shape and what have you.

"He does his job right. He does it good. He makes me understand. He's working hard. It's a good relationship. ... We really do kind of see we're working together to fix this. He's really [expletive] working hard and he sees me doing the same thing. There's a lot of respect there. I think we're doing it the right way."

In the end Sunday, Earnhardt was pleased to come out of Bristol with his seventh-place finish.

"Yeah, I was happy," Earnhardt said. "At one point I felt like we were putting ourselves in position to battle for the win, to have a shot at it. Man, I hadn't thought about that more than 30 seconds and I was getting sent to the back. It was disappointing because I could have run in the top five. We didn't get [expletive] last year with top-fives and top-10s. I get this feeling that top-fives are hard to come by and I want to get rid of that feeling."

It isn't gone yet. Earnhardt said he isn't content with being back in the top 12 in the point standings, nor is he fooled into believing that the No. 88 team has arrived as a true championship contender just yet.

Asked if he was fired up to be back in the top 12, Earnhardt sighed and paused before replying: "Yeah, I guess so. It's more of a relief than anything. We've got five races in the bank, and we're just going to keep working on one after the other and try to do the best we can. The real important thing is to try to get everything you can out of every week. When you're having a bad day or whatever, you still have to try to get everything you can out of it.

"I know that's kind of a cliché, but we got behind last year -- and we kept getting further and further behind and had a lot of problems. Hopefully we just have some better luck on that end and finish these races and get these points even when we're not having good days -- kind of like we did at Atlanta, where we run like [expletive] all day and then finished in the top 15. That was pretty good."

But he was quick to add that it also was a sign that there is much work left to do.

"I need to start trying to be more comfortable with the position, being in there [inside the top 12]," Earnhardt said. "I still feel like I'm just a little nervous about keeping it up, keeping it going -- because aside from Daytona and Bristol, we've got to get our [expletive] together, still. We've got a lot of work to do."

He went on to add that without the benefit of green-white-checkered finishes that aided him when he avoided wrecks, "it wouldn't be much of a season -- because really we weren't that great at Fontana or Vegas or Atlanta. We really weren't. We're seeing some bright spots, but, man, we've still got some work to do."

One thing Earnhardt has no interest in doing is running in the Camping World Truck Series, which was suggested by three-time former champion and current television analyst Darrell Waltrip on Monday. Waltrip claimed it would be a way for Earnhardt "to win a couple of races and get his confidence back up."

Earnhardt chuckled at that thought.

"Well, I mean, I don't have any interest in driving those trucks," he said. "I want to drive a truck race, I guess, before I retire just to see what they feel like -- and [fellow driver and truck owner Kevin] Harvick said I could drive his truck anytime I wanted to. Hopefully that offer will be around for quite a while -- because I don't plan on doing it anytime soon.

"I have plenty of confidence in myself. ... I don't need more work, I can tell you that much. Going and running the truck races ain't gonna do anything but distract me from this here. They are such different beasts."