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.