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."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Food City 500

After a week break, the boy were back at it in Bristol. Dale had a decent start to the day and was doing well until a speeding penalty put him back in 26th. He used the f-word quite a bit, finally calming down after he and Lance yelled at each other for a moment or two. This was after the restart and after Lance yelled at Dale, telling him to get on the wheel and get moving. Dale yelled back basically saying that he wasn't going to drive into the cars that were in front of him. After another quick yellow, Dale stayed out and moved up to 15th. After working his way to the front he was able to stay there and finished 7th. His finish today boosted him into the 8th position in the standings. Hopefully this is a good sign of things to come and Dale can keep himself up there in the top 10. Martinsville is up next week and I can't wait to see how Dale does there.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Kobalt Tools 500

What a crazy day for Dale! He had the pole but was not able to hang on to the lead and Shrub led the first lap. After a quick caution he stayin the top 5 for quite a while. He started complaining that it was too tight for him, but was able to stay in the top 10 for the first part of the race. At lap 112, Dale gave up his sixth place position and pitted while complaining about possibly having a loose wheel. Lance had the guys make a chassis adjustment and went a lap down. Dale kept saying he felt like one of the tires was loose and so the crew set to find out why. They were puzzled by it, and ruled out the tires and rear axle, but still were not able to find out what was causing the problem. I had the scanner on and after the incident between Carl and Brad, you hear the concern in Dale's voice when he asked TJ Majors if Brad was ok and if he got out of the car. TJ said he did, but needed help getting out and was limping a little bit. In the end after both the second green-white-checker, Dale made his way up to 15th and finished the race there. Over the radio, a pumped Lance McGrew said something like, "YEAH MAN! THAT'S THE WAY WE GET IT DONE HERE!" This great finish after a horrible day moved Dale up two positions in the standings which puts him in 13th, one position out of the top 12. Next week is the first weekend off for the guys and on March 21st Thunder Valley will be roaring as the guys head to Bristol.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Some great news from qualifying today!

Dale Jr got the pole for the race in Atlanta.... yes I said DALE JR GOT THE POLE POSITION FOR THE RACE ON SUNDAY. Sorry, got a little too excited there, but this should be such a huge confidence boost to him, Lance and the rest of the #88 team. I am so excited to see him smile!! (pic below) This is Dale's first pole in the spring race at Atlanta and the last pole he got was at Texas in '08. Now all he has to do is get rid of that ridiculous looking beard and I'd be very happy!

Friday, March 5, 2010

A new blog is coming!

I think I had mentioned this at the end of last season, but not sure, but anyway, I am going to create a blog for Brad Keselowski. It's going to called Krazy for Keselowski and it will the same format as this blog, only (of course) centered around Brad. So I will give a quick update on him. I was looking at and they have Brad as being 2nd in the Nationwide points. He seems to be fitting in well with Kurt and Sam and I'm glad to see he's doing well in the Cup series.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Shelby American

Dale Jr had an awesome qualifying run and qualified 4th last Sunday. No mechanical problems this week, just a stubborn race car that wouldn't tighten up no matter what Lance and the guys did to it. Dale ran in the 10 for the majority of the race, but towards the end slid back to 16th and wasn't able to make any progress from there. His finish did move him up one spot in the standing from 16th to 15th. Next week the guys come back to the east coast and head to Atlanta for the Kobalt Tools 500.