Friday, December 2, 2011

Ford 400 and congrats to Jr Nation!!

What a great season for Dale! Not only did he stay in the top 10 all year, he made the chase, and will be at the awards banquet tomorrow night.

As for the Ford 400, he had a pretty decent car, and finished 11th,
which is where he started the race as well.


Dale Jr's message to Jr Nation on voting him the Most Popular Driver for the 9th year in a row.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dale Jr. would be OK with Dillon taking 3 to Cup

By David Caraviello, NASCAR.COM

HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Austin Dillon won the Camping World Truck Series championship on Friday night driving a vehicle that bears the iconic No. 3. Next year, he'll pilot a car on the Nationwide Series adorned with the same numeral. And if he ever takes that same number up to the Sprint Cup tour one day -- well, there's one person who wouldn't have a problem with it.
That would be Dale Earnhardt Jr.

"Austin's ran that number. I just look at it differently," Earnhardt said Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "I don't look at the numbers tied to drivers as much as the history of the number. The number is more of a bank that you just deposit history into, and it doesn't really belong to any individual. Austin's run that number, and you can't really deny him the opportunity to run it. It just wouldn't be fair."

Dale Earnhardt made the number famous, driving it in six of his seven championship campaigns at NASCAR's top level and cultivating a legion of passionate fans in the process. No one has driven a No. 3 car full-time at the Nationwide or Sprint Cup levels since Earnhardt was killed on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. Dillon, grandson of Earnhardt's former car owner Richard Childress, began using the number in the Truck Series when he debuted on that tour in 2009, and will take the numeral with him to the Nationwide circuit next year.

Childress, who ran the number himself before becoming a car owner, has not pronounced any plans to take his grandson Cup racing with the No. 3. When Dillon made his Sprint Cup debut earlier this season at Kansas, he drove a No. 98 car. The Truck Series champ is likely to make a handful of Sprint Cup starts next year, given that Childress' race team is contracting from four to three full-time cars.

But given the family connection, fans still wonder about the prospect of Dillon driving a No. 3 in NASCAR's big leagues one day. Earnhardt points out that the number predates his father.
"Dad did great things," Earnhardt said. "He was a great ambassador for the sport, and we're still as a whole reaping the benefits of what he did and what he accomplished. He put us in front of a lot of people. But even before that, that number was Richard's. Richard drove it; somebody else drove it before then. There's a lot of guys in the '50s and '60s that ran that number with success. ... When you put the color and the style with it, it's a little iconic to the sport."

To his credit, Dillon has embraced the history of the number, and shown nothing but respect for its history. Earnhardt Jr. recognizes that.

"Austin's a good kid," Earnhardt said. "He seems to have a great appreciation for what's happening to him and what's going on around him. I would be happy if he wanted to keep [driving the 3]. He kind of had to know when he first started that running that number -- if he got this far into the deal, he would have to cross a few bridges like that. That was a tough decision I guess at first, to start running the number for him, knowing what pressures he might face down the road. But I think it would be fine by me for him to do that. I think it's got to get back on the race track one of these days. It can't be gone forever."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kobalt Tools 400

Dale had a rough day on Sunday and no matter what he and Stevie did, they couldn't get the car to Jr's liking. He finished 2 laps down in 24th, but was able to hang on to 7th place in points. Next week is the last race for the 2011 season and I have to work. :( Oh well.

Monday, November 7, 2011

AAA Texas 500

Dale had a pretty decent day, starting 16th going back and forth between tight and loose. He finished 7th and has moved up two positions to 7th in point standings.

Next week will be an interesting one as the guys head to Phoenix where not only has the track been repaved, it also had an entire makeover done to the pit road area and the track itself.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tums Fast Relief 500

Dale Jr was in rare form on Sunday, and I think the other drivers were surprised at how aggresive he was during the race. Dale started 9th, due to rain cancelling qualifying. He was involved in the first caution and was caught back in the mid 20's for part of the race. He got as high as 2nd, and come out with a 7th place finish.

Dale remains 9th in points as the Cup series moves on to Texas. I can't wait to see how Dale does this weekend as Texas is one of his best tracks.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Good Sam Club 500

Dale Jr had a day of high's and lows on Sunday. He and Jimmie worked together all day, just as they have all year at the restricter plate tracks. The guys got as high as 1st and 2nd, but had to make a late stop for tires and were stuck in the mid 20's as the race came to a close. Dale finished 25th, but because he led a lap, he has maintained the 9th place position in points.

Next week the guys head to Martinsville, a track which Dale almost won at in the spring.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dale Jr issues a statement reguarding the unexpected death of Indy driver Dan Weldon

This quote is taken straight from --

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 16, 2011) - JR Motorsports owner and NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. issued the following statement Sunday evening after the passing of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon:
"I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Wheldon at the National Guard Youth Challenge dinner about five years ago, and we crossed paths several times since then, mostly through our mutual partnership with the National Guard.  His success as a racer speaks for itself, but I will remember him as a true professional who was friendly, respectful, and genuine.  On behalf of everyone at JR Motorsports, I send condolences to Dan's family, team, and friends in the racing community."

Bank of America 500

Dale Jr struggled all night long. He stayed in 15th for a while, and had some tough breaks through the majority of the night. He finished down a lap in 19th, but has not moved in the standings.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Earnhardt finds comfort zone inside the 'fish tank'

By David Caraviello, NASCAR.COM

NASCAR's premier division returns to Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend, a trip that automatically brings back memories of the most agonizing near-miss of the season. In the mind's eye, you can still see it: that No. 88 car charging through the final corners in that final lap, spectators rising in anticipation, delirium about to explode as an epic winless streak comes to and end -- and then the vehicle slowing off the last turn, other cars screaming by, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. coasting home to finish a deflating seventh.

Had he won? Oh, it would have been gleeful bedlam, of course, the masses celebrating the drought-buster right along with NASCAR's most popular driver, all of them throwing a party under the lights that would have gone on long into the night. No other driver can build up that kind of hope and expectation; no other drivers have fans that feel as crushed when he comes close to winning, but doesn't. Earnhardt has had many good runs this year, but that ranks among the best of them, but in the end it only extended a skid that now stands at 123 races since his last victory, at Michigan in the summer of 2008.

But that's the way it is with Earnhardt, for whom everything is magnified, something that's evident even by his weekly behind-the-hauler media sessions, for which some reporters often arrive almost a half-hour early to stake out prime positions among the grill, crash cart, or beverage cooler. Show up much later, and you risk being relegated to the back, where Earnhardt's voice is barely audible, and he appears a bobbing set of sunglasses amid a sea of people, much like he is when he runs the gauntlet of autograph-seekers on the way into the garage area each day.

Everyone automatically associates Earnhardt with pressure -- as in, the pressure he faces to live up to his last name, the pressure he feels racing for a 10-time championship organization like Hendrick Motorsports, the pressure to snap the streak. And some of that has to be there, to be certain, particularly given his presence in the Chase. But Earnhardt says pressure doesn't get to him as much as another force does, one that seems a touch ironic given his unparalleled levels of popularity and marketing appeal. You wouldn't expect an eight-time winner of NASCAR's Most Popular Driver award and the sport's preeminent commercial force to feel a little uneasy with the spotlight, but Earnhardt does.

"I don't really let the pressure bother me too much. Attention bothers me, not pressure -- you know, just feeling like you're in the fish tank," he said last weekend at Kansas Speedway. "The pressure is not a big deal. I've been around this sport a long, long time, and I feel like I've got a good idea on what I'm doing. I feel comfortable doing what I'm doing and I haven't had many opportunities to race for championships. I'm sure that's a different situation that I'm not quite aware of. We were kind of close in 2004 and I didn't even realize it until it was over with, how kind of close we came."

Indeed, the season of that inaugural Chase was Earnhardt's best on the circuit, a campaign where he won six times, finished fifth in final points, and was in the championship mix right up until the final week. Back then, it seemed like something to expect every year from a driver showing all the signs of being at his competitive peak; no one could have anticipated that he'd have won only three more times since. But even then, he was only in the margins behind Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch, needing breaks provided by others to have a real shot at the title. At the Cup Series level, at least, he's never faced the kind of make-or-break moment that Busch did then, that Johnson and Denny Hamlin did last year. How Earnhardt would react to the ultimate pressure this sport can exert, we still do not know.

Attention, though, is a given. Has been since he arrived from the now-Nationwide Series with great fanfare, on the heels of two consecutive championships, everyone counting down to "E-Day," the moment he would make his debut in NASCAR's premier series. It's rarely let up, through the loss his family suffered in 2001, through the breakup with Dale Earnhardt Inc., though his alliance with the circuit's best organization and the expectations that followed. And while joining Hendrick Motorsports brought with a certain pressure -- that word again -- to perform, strangely enough it also brought a certain level of comfort, given Earnhardt's close relationship with Rick Hendrick, all the friends and family members who have worked there, security about his future.              
Crew chief Steve Letarte, who arrived this season with an upbeat approach that keeps Earnhardt motivated during races, certainly has helped (2011 results). Improvement on the race track -- Earnhardt was ninth leaving Kansas, after finishing 21st and 25th the past two years -- likely plays a part, as well. Until his driving days are over, Earnhardt will probably always be in the fish tank, looking out at all those faces pressed against the glass. But his present situation seems to make it more tolerable than it's ever been, despite all the expectations inherent to his organization.

"I can't really put my finger on a measurement, but it definitely was a lot more when I came into the sport the first time because we had come off the two championship years in the Nationwide Series, and people just wondered what we were capable of doing. And that was pretty hard," Earnhardt said. "And then not even a year later, my dad died and we just had a lot of people watching us and seeing what we would do there and how we would react. Ever since then it's eased up quite a bit. Ever since I've been running with Rick [Hendrick], it's been a more comfortable thing to deal with. And this year may be even the best when it comes to that."

Would he like to be running better? Sure. "I would like to be first. That would be the preferred position," he said. He's 43 points, a full race behind that spot at the moment, but he does have good tracks coming up in Charlotte, Talladega and Martinsville, and the early stages of this Chase have shown how susceptible the standings are to being turned on its head. The higher he climbs in points, of course, the more attention he'll receive, and the more uncomfortable life in the fish tank can become. And yet, Earnhardt is savvy. He understands his sport and his role in it, he reads his press clippings, and he gets that the attention and adulation come from the same reason he got in the race car in the first place. It all stems from a desire to see him win.

"My own expectations and my own ambition and what I want to achieve for myself sort of correlates with what my fans want out of me and what the media wants me to do," he said. "So that gets you a lot of attention when you don't do it, or you get close to doing it. But this year has been good. We've been productive and showing some signs of life in my career a little bit. That's been a good feeling. And everything that's went along with it this year has been really good."

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

Hollywood Casino 400

Sorry it's taken me a few days to update the blog. Dale Jr had a strong run on Sunday, having very good pit stops all day. He started 18th and finished 14th, which moved him back into 9th in the chase standings.

This Saturday night the guys race at home in Charlotte. We all know how strong Dale ran there earlier this season and JR Nation will be loud and proud to cheer him on again this weekend.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Before I forget (again)....

I'd like to say something to the man whom this blog was created for ......

Hope you had a great one Junebug!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

AAA 400

I was back and forth all day Sunday, but did manage to catch a few minutes of the race. Dale had a rollercoaster of a day, going two laps down, then getting them back. He started 21st, finished 24th, and has moved back down to 10th in points. Next week the guys head to Kansas.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sylvania 300

Dale had a solid day up until the end. Having a tire go down, he had to pit and finished 17th, moving him back to 8th in points. I had to work today, but I have the race recorded and will watch it tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Dale Jr ESPN commercial

Junior on First Take

Message from Dale Jr to JR Nation

Diet Mountain Dew to sponsor No. 88 in 2012

After four years with Amp Energy as primary sponsor, Pepsi wants a change.

Four years after making waves in NASCAR by signing on as the primary sponsor of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Amp Energy is phasing its brand off the car of the sport's most popular driver.

PepsiCo is expected to announce this week that Diet Mountain Dew will replace its Amp Energy brand as Earnhardt's primary sponsor for 16 races in 2012. The company has the primary sponsorship rights for 20 total races on the No. 88 car, and Amp will serve as an associate sponsor while also appearing on the hood for the other four races. The National Guard will continue to be the primary sponsor for the other 18 races Earnhardt drives.

The shift is a major downsizing in the sponsorship between Amp, an upstart energy drink, and
Earnhardt, the sport's biggest driver. Pepsi, which owns Amp and Mountain Dew, has one year left on its contract with Earnhardt and Hendrick Motorsports, and the company's executives believe Diet Mountain Dew, which is one of the fastest-growing soft drinks, stands to benefit more from Earnhardt than Amp.

"The story is really about opportunity," said George Cox, Mountain Dew brand manager. "With Dew, Dale and NASCAR there's this awesome marriage. Dale is the embodiment of the person we're trying to target with Diet Dew. We wanted to tap into that equity Dew has in NASCAR and put it into overdrive with Dale."

Pepsi and Hendrick Motorsports are expected this week to unveil a new paint scheme for the No. 88 car for next year's Daytona 500. The unveiling comes just weeks after Earnhardt signed a five-year extension with Hendrick Motorsports that will keep him with the team until 2017.

Cox said Pepsi plans to focus on developing its marketing and activation plans for Diet Mountain Dew and won't begin discussing a possible renewal with Hendrick until next year. Its current agreement with Hendrick and Earnhardt runs through 2012, but the company has had a long-standing relationship with Hendrick that dates to 1996.

Amp Energy signed a deal with Hendrick Motorsports and Earnhardt in 2007, shortly after the team added Earnhardt to its stable in one of the sport's most anticipated free-agent signings. The sponsorship was valued at $25 million to $30 million and made the brand the primary sponsor for 20 races on the No. 88 Chevrolet.

At the time, Amp was the fifth-largest player in a fast-growing category, which then had more than $6 billion in annual sales. But the category's growth has stalled recently. The category added only 1 million new energy drink consumers between 2007 and 2009, compared with 9.3 million new consumers from 2005 to 2007, according to Mintel, a global market research company. Amp Energy has remained a small player in the category, generating an estimated $234 million for the past year across key retail channels for energy drinks except Wal-Mart, according to SymphonyIRI Group, a company that tracks retail sales across consumer packaged goods.

The shrinking number of new consumers made it difficult for Amp to justify the cost of the sponsorship. The brand also is planning to relaunch its product later this year and reposition it as an energy drink for older users, sources said.

By shifting the bulk of its marketing support of the driver from Amp to Diet Mountain Dew, Pepsi can save the Amp brand money and align Earnhardt with a brand he's already passionate about. Earnhardt is a fan of Mountain Dew and grew up drinking the soft drink in North Carolina. When Brian Vickers drove a retro Mountain Dew car in a 2006 Nationwide Series race, Earnhardt famously asked for some of the retro hats that the brand rolled out for the occasion.

Though not as prevalent, Amp Energy will continue to have an association with Earnhardt, which PepsiCo hopes can preserve the connection Amp made with NASCAR fans during the past four years.

"They're going to continue to speak to the NASCAR Amp drinker we've developed, but Amp is going through an evolution," Cox said. "We're not to a point of where we can talk about where we're going with that, but once it's public it will make sense how we're using the NASCAR platform going forward."

Geico 400

Dale Jr had somewhat of a good day, slowly moving up towards the front of the field by the end. Due to a few drivers in front of him running out of gas at the end, Dale finished 3rd and leaped into the thick of the chase and into 5th place. There's a bunch of articles and video that I will post.

Monday, September 12, 2011

I promised pictures .....

..... and I have found some!
These come from Getty Images and Action Sports Photography.

So happy Junior is in the chase!! WAY TO GO JUNEBUG!!!!

They look like little kids holding their die-cast cars.

That looks like fun!!
 (Although I've heard it stings like crazy if you get it in your eyes!)

Never Forget

I should have posted this yesterday and didn't get the chance.

To all those who lost someone in
NYC, at the Pentegon, or in Shanksville, PA,
know that you're in my thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Wonderful Pistachios 400

What a race!! Dale Jr was doing great until lap 8 when he got caught up in a wreck. Stevie did an amazing job keeping the car together and at the same time keeping Dale calm in the car. We all know that Dale can be difficult when he's frustrated. At one point Dale told Stevie he felt like he was driving a fork-lift. Dale battled all night long and finished 16th. He's 10th in points, but has made it into the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup!! Once I get a pic of the 12 guys in the chase, I'll post it! WAY TO GO JUNEBUG!!!

AdvoCare 500

Sorry I didn't post this sooner, but with all the rain that NEPA got this past week, I haven't had time. My Mom and I got 8 inches of water in our basement, so the beginning of the week was pretty crazy. The rain this week pushed the race back to Tuesday morning, so the guys had a pretty short week to get ready for Richmond. Anyway, I had to work, so I can only tell you that Dale started 29th, finished 19th and held on to 9th place in the standings.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

So excited!

Blogger has updated a lot of things and one thing is that I can view how many people have looked at certain things I've written or posted. It makes me happy to be able to have this blog for JR Nation to have. I hope you enjoy what I post, and although I know sometimes I don't post things right away, I try to make sure I get results posted as soon as I'm able. Thanks and keep checking back!!

Irwin Tools Night Race

Dale Jr had a good night at Bristol, starting 22nd and finishing 16th. He's managed to stay 9th in points and if he has a good run this weekend and next Sunday, he will have made the chase!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Danica on RaceHub

A warm, and somewhat wary, welcome for Patrick

By David Caraviello, NASCAR.COM

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- The most challenging seasons of Jeff Gordon's racing career were his rookie campaigns in what are now the Nationwide and Sprint Cup circuits, inaugural efforts in which it seemed his every move was being watched and evaluated. The weight of all those eyes and expectations was so heavy, he remembered, he felt them even when they weren't necessarily there.

Now, another heralded rookie is preparing to step into that cauldron. And the weight of expectations promises to be heavier than ever when Danica Patrick slides into her No. 7 car next year as a full-time driver on the Nationwide tour.

"It should be interesting," Gordon said. "To me, it's far more challenging to her than it is for me, because I didn't have that kind of hype and expectations and that many eyes on me. Even though I felt like I did, I know I didn't. The most challenging years in my racing career were definitely my rookie year in Nationwide and my rookie year in Cup, just because you feel you have so much to do to step it up, to live up to any expectations that there are. She certainly has a lot to live up to."

Patrick may be 2,600 miles away this weekend competing in an open-wheel event in Sonoma, Calif., but her shadow easily covered the distance to Bristol Motor Speedway. Patrick announced Thursday that she would move full time into the Nationwide tour next year with JR Motorsports, and also run a handful of Sprint Cup events -- including perhaps the Daytona 500 -- in a yet-to-be numbered entry at Stewart-Haas Racing. Friday, Patrick's arrival was welcomed by competitors in NASCAR's premier series, with the understanding that her performance will eventually have to match the hype.

"I think Danica still has to prove herself from a performance standpoint," Gordon added. "I think she's impressed a lot of people in some of her performances this year, but I think she still has a long way to go. I think she's ready for this sport, I think it's awesome to have her making that announcement to be full time. We'll just have to wait and see how she does in a full-time season and in those Cup events she's planning on doing."

One of those could be the Daytona 500. Although Patrick hasn't committed to the sport's biggest race, it's clear the event is on her radar screen. One of her best finishes this season was a 10th-place effort in the July Nationwide race at Daytona International Speedway, and it would clearly be difficult for car sponsor GoDaddy to eschew the commercial bonanza that a berth in the Daytona 500 would carry with it.

"I think that Daytona would be a tough deal to turn down," said Dale Earnhardt Jr., who owns Patrick's Nationwide Series ride. "It's obviously the biggest race of the season, the best opportunity to secure sponsorship dollars at that level. I'm sure that will be something that they look at. We're just focusing on how we can help her in the Nationwide Series."

Earnhardt also sounded like he wouldn't stand in the way of a potential Indianapolis 500 effort should Patrick choose to go that route. The Indy 500 and Charlotte Nationwide race, he pointed out, aren't on the same day. "She can do whatever she wants to do," he said. "It don't matter to me."

On the Sprint Cup side, at least, there are many details still to be worked out. Patrick said she'll compete in eight to 10 races at level, and car owner Tony Stewart said ideally he'd like to find a way to fill out the rest of the season with that vehicle to try and keep it north of the top 35 in owner points.

That would likely mean finding another sponsor as well as another driver, allowing Patrick's part-time ride to morph into a full-time car at Stewart-Haas. "It's in everybody's best interests to do that," Stewart said.

As for personnel, Stewart said he began that process "a month ago," but provided no details. If Patrick wants to use Tony Eury Jr. as crew chief for her Sprint Cup efforts, Earnhardt said such a thing could probably be worked out. Eury has shepherded Patrick through all 20 of her Nationwide starts, and the two have a very good working relationship. Friday, Eury said such speculation is premature.
"We haven't even discussed what's going on over there," he said. "It would be kind of hard for me do, but I ain't never going to say no to nothing. We'll just have to see."

The Stewart-Haas facility in Kannapolis, N.C., can easily accommodate a third team, although the organization will clearly have to increase its levels of manpower and equipment. "I really don't know how it's going to affect our entire organization," said Stewart-Haas driver Ryan Newman, Patrick's soon-to-be teammate. "Obviously, there's a lot of hype around it, and we've seen other areas of the sport [that] where there can be a lot of hype, there can be a lot of area for disappointment. It's something I think we're all looking forward to."

Even so, some stepped warily. Brad Keselowski took to Twitter on Thursday to voice his concerns that Patrick's sometimes-racy marketing techniques may undermine the credibility of future female racers "who wish to make it based on skill, mental toughness, and a never give up attitude." If Patrick does not succeed, Keselowski wrote, "no female will get a chance for years to come."

Friday, he stood firm on those comments. "I said what I meant," he said.

Earnhardt didn't agree. "People get opportunities in this sport in many different ways," he said. "I don't necessarily agree with that. I think she has shown to be a tough racer and a marketing machine. She's really savvy, and I think she just opened the door to a lot more opportunities for other women whether she measures up to everybody's expectations or not."

Those expectations will surely be there for a driver who has shown potential in her two part-time Nationwide seasons, most notably a fourth-place run this past March at Las Vegas that set the record for best finish by a woman in a NASCAR national-series race. And they will only ramp up once she moves into Nationwide full time and dips a toe into NASCAR's premier series.

"She faces a lot of tough criticism, and she does a good job of handling it," Earnhardt said. "I think she does a good job of keep a good attitude and not letting that kind of stuff change the person you are. She knows what she's here to do, she loves to drive race cars. She enjoys doing that, and has a good attitude about it."

Danica Patrick's Official Announcement on her move to NASCAR in 2012

Patrick takes stock in her career move to NASCAR

2012 plans: Full-time move to Nationwide for JRM; limited Cup slate with SHR

Danica Patrick might not even be a race car driver today, let alone have the opportunity to race in NASCAR full time in 2012, had Brooke Patrick not stepped away from the family go-kart nearly 20 years ago.

On Thursday, Patrick confirmed plans to take the next step in her career -- one which began in the Midwest, then to England as a teenager, and then a triumphant return to racing's heartland and the Indianapolis 500.

And now, her focus turns to NASCAR. Sitting alongside Bob Parsons, CEO and founder of GoDaddy, Patrick made it official Thursday: She will run the entire Nationwide Series schedule next season for JR Motorsports. In addition, she'll compete in between eight and 10 Sprint Cup Series races for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Patrick said climbing out of the ARCA car at Daytona in 2010 was "the most fun I had ever had in a race car." So making the transition to stock cars was the next natural evolution in her career.

"The experience was something I've really, really enjoyed," Patrick said. "The time is now. The opportunity is now. Bob and GoDaddy have made that possible. I want to do it.

"I don't want to wait years. I want to do it now. And I'm lucky enough to have a sponsor that will stand behind me and allow me to go."

NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France welcomed Thursday's announcement.

"We are pleased Danica Patrick has chosen to race full time in NASCAR in 2012," France stated. "She has demonstrated a strong desire to compete and NASCAR provides the best opportunity to race against the top drivers in the world with the largest and most loyal fan base in motorsports on a week-to-week basis.

"Danica has shown solid improvement in NASCAR and we believe her decision to run full time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, with additional races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, will be exciting for our fans and a great challenge for her."

As to whether she'll make her Cup debut in the 2012 Daytona 500, Patrick left the door open.

"We're definitely considering that, but the schedule right now for the Sprint Cup races next year is not set," Patrick said. "It'll probably be about eight to 10 races. But the actual races themselves have not been chosen yet."

Whatever those races turn out to be, it appears it won't be long before she is running all of them on NASCAR's premier stage.

"We're very excited to have Danica Patrick and Go Daddy join Stewart-Haas Racing in 2012 for a limited NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule with the intention of us running her full time in Sprint Cup in 2013," team co-owner Tony Stewart stated. "We're proud of the fact she wants to come and be a part of Stewart-Haas Racing and what we've built with Ryan Newman and myself and all of our partners. Having Danica and Go Daddy as a combination at SHR is something we're really looking forward to."

In 1992, 8-year-old Brooke decided she'd like to try racing go-karts. It was a short-lived adventure, as she crashed four times in one race. So Danica climbed in as her replacement -- and has been hooked on racing ever since.

Patrick was anything but an immediate success at it. In fact, she admits she wasn't much better than her sister.

"In my first race in go-karts, I was lapped within six laps by the competition," Patrick said in a 2002 interview. "I knew I would have to concentrate, improve and be determined. But racing is something I wanted to do once I drove that kart for the first time."

However, Patrick stuck with it, improved as the season went on and finished second in her age group. The following year, Patrick finished second in her region and was fourth in the national Yamaha Sportsman class. And in 1994, Patrick won her first World Karting Association national championship.

She moved up in class and by 1996, was winning with regularity. As a 14-year-old, she dominated the Yamaha Junior and Restricted Junior classes, winning 39 of 49 feature races. Patrick also attended a driving school run by Lyn St. James -- the second woman to drive in the Indy 500 -- who invited her to the Brickyard in 1997 to watch the race and meet other influential people in the sport.

The advice Patrick received? One, make the switch from go-karts to open-wheeled cars. Two, go to England. And at 16, Patrick left her family and began competing in the Formula Vauxhall Winter Series.

Running the entire series in 1999, Patrick finished ninth. That gave her the confidence to advance to the British Zetek Formula Ford Series the following season, where she finished second at Brands Hatch -- the best performance by an American in the history of the event.

She also caught the eye of Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal, who was scouting young drivers for the Jaguar Formula 1 team he was managing. He was impressed enough that when she returned to the U.S., he signed her to a development deal with his Rahal Letterman Racing Indy-car team.

In 2002, Patrick got her first taste of what was to come when she tested a Busch Series car for ppc Racing. The following season, she raced in the Toyota Atlantic Series, finishing third in the points. Patrick matched that result in 2004, scoring 10 top-five finishes in 12 races.

At the end of the season, Rahal decided to promote her to a full-time ride in the Indy Racing League. And in 2005, Patrick made her IRL debut at Homestead, finishing 15th. Three races later, she scored her first top-five finish with a fourth at Motegi, Japan. And she became the first woman to lead a lap in the Indianapolis 500 when she nearly made a late-race fuel strategy gamble pay off, eventually settling for fourth and rookie of the year honors.

Patrick moved to Andretti Green Racing beginning in 2007 and one year later, became the first female driver to win an IRL race when she captured the Indy Japan 300 at Motegi, topping off her tank during the final caution and then conserving enough fuel to make it to the checkered flag.

She accepted her newest challenge in 2010 when she made her stock-car debut in the ARCA race at Daytona, then competed in 13 Nationwide Series races.

"The thing you see in Danica right away is how determined she is to be good at what she does. She's very dedicated to taking the time and effort to make the transition from Indy cars to stock cars," Stewart stated. "She has talent, she has the right mindset and she has the proper drive and determination. It doesn't matter who it is you're looking for, those are the key attributes that you look for in a driver, and Danica's got them."

So far in 2011, Patrick has one top-five and three top-10 finishes in seven Nationwide starts.

"We're thrilled with Danica Patrick's decision to join us for the 2012 season and looking forward to seeing her behind the wheel of a NASCAR Nationwide Series car on a consistent basis," stated Matt Jauchius, chief marketing and strategy officer for series sponsor Nationwide Insurance. "Her presence will continue to make our series stronger and more competitive. She has proven to raise awareness levels of our sport, sponsors and competitors, and that's good for everyone involved."

NASCAR's gain is IndyCar's loss.

"Danica has always been a great ambassador for IndyCar, and there is no doubt she has left a positive impression on our sport," IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard stated. "She has touched millions of fans and many that were new to motorsports. Danica attracted a fan base that every athlete and sports property in the world would love to have.

"We should give her a great farewell the rest of this season as she opens a new page in her career and wish her continued success with her new direction. "

Rahal put it best when he was asked if Patrick should be considered as just another pretty face.

"Danica shakes your hand and, crunch, it's like a truck driver," Rahal said. "That's the yin and yang of Danica. The exterior is nice and pretty -- and underneath she is as tough as steel."

Pure Michigan 400

Dale Jr had a good day. Starting 8th and finishing 14th, he maintained his 9th place position in the Cup standings.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s appeal fails

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. was adamant that he should have finished 14th instead of 15th in Monday's Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International.
NASCAR didn't agree.

After protesting the order of finish for nearly 15 minutes, Earnhardt emerged from the NASCAR hauler giving the thumbs down signal to crew chiefs for Ryan Newman, David Ragan and Brian Vickers, who also questioned the results.

The biggest issue was whether Richard Childress Racing driver Clint Bowyer improved his position after the caution flag came out on the final lap to secure Marcos Ambrose's first Cup win.
NASCAR officials told Earnhardt that Bowyer did not improve his position and awarded him 11th. Earnhardt, who is fighting to stay in the top 10 in points, stayed at 15th.

"I thought the 33 (Bowyer) was in the accident and that we should be positioned in front of him,'' Earnhardt said. "Points are points, man. They're real important. But they said he maintained reasonable speed and was positioned to finish in front of me, which I can't argue with them.''
Although Earnhardt lost that battle, he improved a spot to ninth in the standings. With four races left before the Chase field is set he has a 36-point lead over 11th-place Clint Bowyer.

Bowyer moved up a spot after Denny Hamlin crashed early in the race en route to a 36th-place finish.
The top 10 in points and two wild cards based on the drivers with the most wins between 11th and 20th in points make the Chase. Brad Keselowski, 14th with two wins, currently has the first wild card spot. Hamlin at 12th with one win has the other.

Although the finish wasn't what Earnhardt wanted, it was the first time since he was third in points eight races ago that he has moved up in the standings.

"I was real happy with the way we ran,'' Earnhardt said as the series moves to Michigan this weekend. "I hated we didn't get our strategy to work out well. We didn't have the gas mileage we thought we were getting and ran a little short there.''

Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen

Dale Jr had a good run at Watkins Glen yesterday. After having to wait a day and then starting 25th, he made his way up through the field and missed the horrific crash on the last lap. Junebug finished 15th and went to the NASCAR hauler afterward to appeal his finishing position, which NASCAR did not agree with. (I'll post the article explaining that situation) He moved back up to 9th, which gives him a little more cushion in the point standings.

Next week the guys head out to Michigan where Dale Jr has had success in the past.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ninth place earns breathing room for Earnhardt

LONG POND, Pa. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. got exactly what he needed Sunday -- a ninth-place finish that gave him a reasonable margin for error heading into next Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen.

It was hardly a perfect performance. Glitches on pit road probably cost Earnhardt three or four spots at the finish. Nevertheless, Earnhardt solidified his 10th-place position in the Cup standings and goes to the Glen with a 23-point advantage over 11th-place Denny Hamlin.

"We had a real good car, and we had some real good speed in the car," Earnhardt said. "We had some struggles on pit road, and I know the guys on the team will get that sorted out -- and sometimes we just have mistakes.

"Sometimes the driver makes them, sometimes -- there's so many guys on the team it's rare when everyone is kind of clicking. We'll get it sorted out. We had good speed, though, we had a good car all day long, and [I'm] real happy how that worked out."

That kind of finish, Earnhardt's first top-10 since June 12 -- the last time the series came to Pocono -- gives him breathing room at the road course at the Glen, not one of his strongest tracks.

"Well, we're just going to try and go up there and steal a good finish -- like everyone else, you know," Earnhardt said. "You've got to do different strategy at the road-course races and pit once you get inside the [fuel] window and it's all kind of craziness. It's not really much fun, but that's the way it is."

Good Sam RV Insurance 500

I was right on the start/finish line for the race yesterday at Pocono. Brad did an incredible job of holding off Shrub and getting his second victory of the season. Dale Jr had a very good run all day, staying right around the top 10 and finishing 9th, his best finish since the race there in June. He remains 10th in points, but this given him a little breathing room over 11th place Denny Hamlin.

Next week the boys head up into New York to Watkins Glen.

I will post my pics from the race sometime this week.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Brickyard 400

Dale Jr had a good day in the 88 Chevy, leading for a few laps and having a somewhat decent car. He finished 16th and has fallen into 10th place in the Cup standings. He really needs to pick it up and get the motivation back that he and Stevie had at the beginning of the season.

Next is Pocono, and I will be there and will be sure to have plenty of pics for the blog!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lenox Industrial Tools 301

Dispite a somewhat loose racecar through the entire race, Dale Jr managed to finish 15th and slipped one more spot to 9th in the points standings.

The boys have off this weekend, and then next weekend it's off to Indy.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Quaker State 400

Jr struggled most of the night with his race car and near the end had a decent top 10 going when he came in for fuel. Steve made the call for no tires, and after exiting pit road, blew a tire and finished 30th. He moved down one position in the standings and needs to finish really well this weekend in order to not slip further down in the standings.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Coke Zero 400.

Well, close again!! After working with Jimmie all night, Dale Jr seemed like he was going to have a strong finish. That was until a late race caution came out and Jimmie went to pit road for tires and Jr had no idea about it and stayed on the track. Jr started 6th and ran mid pack with Jimmie for most of the race. He was going to finish in the top 10, but a wreck on the last lap caused him to be placed in 19th position and remain 7th in points. Next weekend the boys head to Kentucky for the first time.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Earnhardt not sad to see Infineon behind him

SONOMA, Calif. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is no fan of Infineon Raceway, and that didn't change Sunday after an early wreck ultimately ended his race.

Earnhardt was collateral damage in a seven-car accident triggered when Tony Stewart moved Brian Vickers out of his way at the entrance to Turn 11. The damage included a hole in Earnhardt's radiator, and his engine eventually blew, leading to just his second DNF since 2009.

"I'm not a big fan of the place, but maybe one of these days," Earnhardt said, noting the physical nature "is just the way the road courses are. That's the way the race has been here for a while, and you know what you sign up for when you show up on Friday."

Next up is Daytona, where Earnhardt could snap his three-year losing streak. But he surprisingly wasn't looking forward to that race because of the changes in the drafting style. Long a fan of pack racing, Earnhardt doesn't enjoy the two-car tandems -- even though he pushed teammate Jimmie Johnson to a victory at Talladega in April.

"I'm not looking forward to going to Daytona, not with the way the drafting is there," he said. "But we'll just have to see if we can get lucky out there. What's after Daytona? I'll be glad to go there."

Dale Jr in final stages of contract extension

Rick Hendrick said he's down to the final paperwork on signing #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. to an extension of three to five years. The owner of Hendrick Motorsports isn't sure when the announcement will be made, but he said Earnhardt wants to keep it low-key.

Toyota/Save Mart 350

We all know that Dale doesn't like road courses, and getting the front of the car damaged in a wreck that he had nothing to do with didn't help much either. Dale Jr was running in the mid 20's when Tony Stewart decided to spin out Brian Vickers. That caused damage to Dale's radiator and then overall his engine. His engine let go and he ended up with his 2nd DNF of this year. He finished 41st and moved down to 7th in points.

He'll have a change to regain the points he lost this Saturday night at Daytona.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400

Jr was running a great race until a late race incident caused him to fall back in the pits under repairs and ended up finishing 21st. He is still 3rd in points and only 27 behind Carl Edwards and in contention for the Chase.

It's time to go Road racing in Sonoma, a place that we all know Dale Jr isn't too thrilled about racing at, but with Stevie as his crew chief, he should do really well.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

5-hour Energy 500

Signs of the confident Dale Jr are showing up all over the race track. That was apparently evident on Saturday when Dale and Stevie were reportedly spotted shopping together at an outlet mall near Pocono Raceway.

On Sunday, Dale ran very well and after starting 21st, fnished in 6th, maintaining his 3rd position in points.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dale Jr's post race press conference

STP 400

So close and yet so far away ... Dale Jr finished 2nd in todays race after starting back in the mid 20's. He said he had a good car, but would have run out of fuel had he tried to push the car too far. Dale has moved up one position in the standings to 3rd.

Congrats to our buddy Brad on his win today at Kansas.

Next week the boys head to The Tricky Triangle, Pocono Raceway, in my home state of Pennsylvania!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

For Earnhardt, real progress behind the skid

By David Caraviello

CONCORD, N.C. -- It was all right there before him, a race track as wide as a rural Interstate highway, and one of NASCAR's grandest trophies just waiting to be claimed. Vehicles stacked up on the final restart, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. vaulted into the lead as if slung from a catapult. As the No. 88 car passed under the white flag, the crowd at Charlotte Motor Speedway united in a roar that muffled even 850-horsepower engines, all in anticipation of a 104-race winless streak ending in dramatic fashion on one of the sport's biggest stages.

Everyone was celebrating -- except the driver inside the red, white and blue car. Earnhardt knew better.

"I never thought I was going to make it," he said, after he ran out of gas to finish seventh in the Coca-Cola 600. "I'm sitting there going, I'm standing in the throttle, and whatever happens, happens. I never really knew or felt like, 'Oh, I've got this in the bag.' We're supposed to be out of gas. [Crew chief] Steve [Letarte] said we should be out of gas while we were riding around in the caution there before the green-white-checkered. So I was like, we definitely ain't going to make these two green flag laps if that's the case."

And he didn't, running dry on the backstretch, but carrying enough momentum through Charlotte's high-banked corners that it wasn't until he slowed off Turn 4 that reality set in for those in the grandstands. Other contenders zipped by, eventual race winner Kevin Harvick among them, relegating Earnhardt and his legion of supporters to another agonizing close call, and adding another agonizing week to those since his last Sprint Cup victory, now nearly three years ago. He won that one, at Michigan, on fuel mileage. Sunday, he had victory snatched away for the same reason.

For all those with 88s stuck to their car bumpers or tattooed on their arms, it had to be a crushing night, especially given how well Earnhardt had run for the duration of NASCAR's longest event. And yet, standing in the garage and surrounded by cameras and microphones, Earnhardt hardly seemed devastated. No, chances to win races clearly don't come around that often for a driver with a winless streak that's stretched into triple digits. But all the hand-wringing over that breakthrough victory, and the unending focus on when it might come, obscures the real progress being made.

No, Earnhardt didn't win the Coca-Cola 600. But on the same track where his car had been garbage the week before, he was in the mix from Thursday's opening practice session until the checkered flag fell on Sunday night. This on a track where he admittedly hasn't been very good in recent years, in a marathon event of the ilk Earnhardt very well may have grown tired and frustrated and cranky in not too long ago. This was real growth, of the kind that Earnhardt needs to make the Chase and return to championship relevance, and it was there whether he wound up in Victory Lane or not.

"To be honest, I know there's disappointment about coming so close , but our fans should be real happy about how we're performing, how we're showing up at the race track, how we've adapted," said Earnhardt, who remained fourth in points. "We've definitely improved things, and we want to keep getting better and better and better. ... We're definitely going in the right direction. I felt like a true frontrunner tonight. I've felt like that sometimes this season. But the 600 is a true test. Charlotte is a true test of a team, and we performed well all night long."

Particularly when you look at where they were just a week ago, when Earnhardt was voted into the Sprint All-Star Race by the fans, and yet finished a distant 14th. "I think we were embarrassed, I know I was, with how we ran last week," Letarte said. "The fans voted us into the All-Star Race and we couldn't make any ground. That's just not really acceptable. We worked hard this week, and we brought a car that could compete, and we're proud of it."

They came back to Charlotte with a newer car, and a setup approach they had used at intermediate tracks earlier in the year. The moves paid off, as Earnhardt overcame a poor qualifying spot and within 60 laps had cracked the top 10. But repeated cautions toward the end knocked teams off their fuel strategy, and Earnhardt was one of 10 drivers who decided to stay out of the pits and make a dash for it. One of those was Harvick, the winner. Another was Kasey Kahne, who restarted in the lead with Earnhardt on his inside, but ran out of gas as the field approached the first turn. Kahne's car wiggled as it was struck by the onrushing vehicle of Brad Keselowski, and two cars spun in the choked-up aftermath, but in NASCAR's eyes the field righted itself quickly enough and kept rolling, so the caution flag stayed furled.

"There were spins and stuff," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president for competition, "but they all got rolling, so it was OK."

For Earnhardt and Letarte, staying out was the only option. "I just do whatever my dang crew chief says, but I believe that was the right call," Earnhardt said. "Because if we'd have pitted, I don't know where we would have finished. We'd have finished wherever David Ragan finished. That was probably in front of us. But think about it, man. Winning the 600, that would be awesome. I had to try. Had to try."

Ragan finished second, but unlike Earnhardt, didn't have a real shot of winning the race. "The guys had it figured perfect," Letarte said. "They said, you're going to run out somewhere on the backstretch, and it ran out going into [Turn] 3. It's still a very calculated risk. I think it was worth taking. The winner took it, so why not."

Even so, it was heartbreaking to watch, even for the competition. "I feel so stinkin' bad for them," Harvick said. "I know how bad he wants it. But it will happen. They keep running like that, it will happen."

At some point, of course, that albatross of a winless skid is going to have to be unloosed from around Earnhardt's neck. The way he's run for much of this year -- he also had a real chance at Martinsville -- you have to think it's coming at some point. But this is a sport that is built on consistency, and a program that had to be rebuilt from the cars all the way to the driver's confidence. A sole focus on getting one win obscures a movement toward a time when it won't seem like a surprise anymore when Earnhardt is up front. He may not ever get back to his glory days with Dale Earnhardt Inc., when he dominated restrictor-plate tracks and won six times in a single season. But this is also a team and a driver worlds removed from the ones that finished 25th and 21st the past two seasons, win or lose in one single event in Charlotte.

"I know we're doing a good job, I know we're unloading good cars," Earnhardt said. "The car we unloaded in the [All-Star Race], I didn't get into the meeting about what the plan was, and it wasn't a good car. Tonight we had a good car, and we showed it. I'm real happy with our effort. These guys got to lift their heads up, man, because we're doing a good thing. We're building a good team and a good chemistry. They keep their heads up, we'll keep on improving, and that's what's important. We let this bother us too much, and we won't improve as much as we can. We want to win races. We're getting close enough to where a couple of them are about to fall in our lap. We get that extra step, we'll be in business."

Like the cars, the driver is a work in progress. "Next time I come here, I'll feel more confident when I show up," he said. "I wasn't confident this week even though the lap times were great in practice and the car was ... really good. I've got to get more confidence. Even though this weekend we showed up and were really fast in practice, I thought, 'Yeah, yeah, I've seen this before. The race starts and let's see what happens.' It was great."

He felt that way even though he didn't win, even though his National Guard-backed car lost on the final lap just as its counterpart in the Indianapolis 500 had done earlier in the day. Yes, Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s winless skid continued on Sunday. But so did his unquestioned growth toward something bigger, even if sometimes it's difficult to see.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

Memorial Day, Happy Memorial Day, Animated Graphics, Animated Gif, Animated Gifs, Keefers Pictures, Images and Photos

Will she or won't she?

Rumors are flying about Danica coming to NASCAR full time. As for Jr, he's leaving the decision up to her. If she wants to stay with Chevy, her best bet is sign with Stewart-Haas Racing. We'll see.

Coca-Cola 600

He was soo close!! Dale Jr started 25th andhad a great race car all night. Stevie made all the right calls and Dale was in position to win and had the lead right at the end, but ran out of fuel 500 ft before the checkered flag. Although it was a huge let down for JR Nation, it shows that a win is in sight and we'll be there to go nuts for Dale when it happens.

Here's a few quotes from Dale after the race last night.

He was as happy with his effort, maybe happier, than the winner nicknamed "Happy" was with his. "To be honest, I know there is disappointment about coming so close" Earnhardt said after maintaining his spot at fourth in points.

"But our fans should be real happy with how we're performing. We've definitely improved things. We want to keep getting better and better."

"Think about it, man, winning the 600. That would be awesome. I think I had to try ... had to try."

Even winner Kevin Harvick knows how badly Dale Jr wants to win and made this comment about it -

“ I feel so stinking bad for him. "I know how bad he wants it. It'll happen. If they keep running like that it'll happen." ” -- Kevin Harvick on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s winless streak Earnhardt didn't look nervous on the restart, jumping to a big lead.

Next weekend is Kansas.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Way To Go JR Nation!!!

Even though he didn't win the All Star Race, Jr Nation made sure that Dale didn't miss out on the event this year!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dale Earnhardt Jr. frustrated with track conditions, 12th-place finish at Dover

By Bob Pockrass

DOVER, Del. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. appeared to play defense for part of the FedEx 400 on Sunday at Dover International Speedway.

He wasn’t defending his position on the track as much as defending himself from wrecking his car. Earnhardt Jr., who finished 12th, was frustrated by chunks of tire rubber on the track that kept him from using the inside groove.

“The track is so banked that the marbles get thrown off the car and roll back down into the groove and we run over them and mash them into the hot, sticky rubber that’s being put down,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “It just makes for a scary, scary entrance [to the corner] – just real loose.

“Everybody had the same problem. You had to dodge these patches. That’s just annoying. It never really used to do that until the last couple of tires. It’s a good tire, it’s just an anomaly with this surface and this banking.”

Earnhardt Jr. ended up finishing 12th as crew chief Steve Letarte tried a two-tire pit stop with 38 laps remaining to move from ninth to third. But he was one of the few drivers who couldn’t make two tires work and had to settle for 12th despite running in the top 10 for much of the final 80 laps of the race.

“Those kind of decisions, I leave in Steve’s hands,” Earnahrdt Jr. said. “I thought it was a great call. I tried to do the best I could.

“I wasn’t up on the wheel. The restarts were tough running on the bottom running through the marbles. Some guys could handle it. I couldn’t handle it.

“I didn’t do the best job on that restart. I lost a lot of spots. I was just real tight, and loose and tight and loose and it was just slick all over. Guys were getting around me with four tires. … We just got beat at the end pretty bad. I tried to hustle it but I couldn’t hustle it no more.”

The Hendrick Motorsports driver remained fourth in the standings, 52 points out of the lead and with a 40-point cushion on 11th.

His 12th-place finish tied his best finish at Dover in his last seven races at the track.

“Twelfth [today] is decent – when they take 12 for the championship, I think that’s a decent day,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “We ran hard and I’ve just got to hustle a little bit more in some areas on restarts.

“Starting on the inside in the marbles, I was just nervous about driving up beside somebody and knocking myself out of the race. There was a lot of things I could have done differently, but it was a decent finish. … That’s the best I’ve run here in a long time.”

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Schedule of events for All-Star week

It's finally here! Thursday kicks off All-Star week on SPEED and FOX --

Here is the schedule of events for the next two weeks ....

Thursday, May 19th - Pit Crew Challenge - 8pm on SPEED

Friday, May 20th - Camping World Truck Series - 
NC Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte - 8pm on SPEED

Saturday, May 21st - NASCAR Sprint Showdown - 7pm on SPEED
                          - The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race - 8:30pm on SPEED

Sunday, May 22nd - Nationwide Series - 
John Deere Dealers 250 presented by Pioneer at Iowa - 1:30pm on ABC 

Monday, May 23rd - NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony - 8pm on SPEED
Thursday, May 26th - NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying - 7pm on SPEED

Friday, May 27th - Trackside at Charlotte - 7pm on SPEED

Saturday, May 28th - Nationwide Series - 
Top Gear 300 at Charlotte - 2:30pm on ABC

Sunday, May 29th - NASCAR Sprint Cup Series - Coca-Cola 600 - 5:30pm on FOX

**All times are EST**


Your vote counts this year, so take a minute and vote for Junebug!!

Also, while I'm speaking about voting for something, 
don't forget to vote to make Dale Jr the Most Popular Driver again this year!! 
I have the link posted.

FedEx 400 benefitting Autism Speaks

Dale Jr had a strong day, never going lower than 15th all day. He battled the strange conditions on the racetrack, starting 3rd due to qualifying being cancelled and finished 12th. He remains 4th in points.

REMINDER TO VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!!!! Junebug now needs our votes more than ever to make the All-Star Race!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

'Unique' Earnhardt remains focused on positives

By Joe Menzer

As if there wasn't already ample evidence piling up that this year may very well be different for Dale Earnhardt Jr., there was last Saturday's Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Oh, part of what transpired was a rerun of similar Earnhardt implosions in recent years. But what happened in the immediate aftermath of a costly Earnhardt mistake getting onto pit road late in the race was different indeed.

After running over the cone that signified the entrance to pit road, Earnhardt knew what was coming next. He said he fully expected and understood NASCAR's pass-through penalty, which put him a lap down with only 38 laps remaining in the scheduled 367-lap race (which ended up going 370 because of a green-white-checkered finish).

"I knew when I touched the cone that you're not supposed to touch the cone. I knew what was getting ready to happen to me," Earnhardt said. "I was upset about it -- because we had worked so hard to get to where we were. I hated to give it up."

He also hated what he had just done to his No. 88 team. After staring a possible top-five finish down, he eventually had to settle for 14th.

So Earnhardt told his team on the radio that he wanted to meet with them immediately after the race, to accept full responsibility for the error before they all headed to Dover for this weekend's next Sprint Cup race.

"I thought it was a good thing to do, especially immediately after the event like that, to clear the air," Earnhardt said. "That way, nobody goes home wondering what everyone else is thinking. They know how I feel and I know how they feel. It was just a good way to put it behind us as quick as we could.

"One good thing we have going for us right now is that we do have good speed, and we're finding more and more speed each and every week. We're running competitively. We've been a top-10 race car at every race we've showed up to. I'm really, really proud of that and I want to keep that momentum going. So the sooner we can put the mistake that I made Saturday behind us, the better."

It was an act of maturity that did not go unnoticed by his boss at Hendrick Motorsports, team owner Rick Hendrick.

"He appreciates what he's got, and he loves the team. He thought [crew chief] Stevie [Letarte] didn't make the right call at Richmond, and it cost 'em eight or nine spots -- and he said something about it. So [at Darlington] it was just him saying, 'If I make a mistake, I'm going to raise my hand.' I think it was a smart thing to do," Hendrick said.

Earnhardt said Letarte and the rest of the team was receptive to his apology.

"[They told me] not to worry about it, that they were fine, that they feel the same way I do -- that they feel focused and excited and energized," Earnhardt said. "We hold team meetings every day in the hauler and before the race, and Steve does all the talking and I really don't talk that much. So I felt like it was important that I needed to be vocal right there, right then when I made that mistake. I just wanted to tell the guys that my focus was strong ... that I was just trying to get a little bit too much, and that I will try to minimize my mistakes moving forward. I told them to just keep loading up great race cars and taking them to the race track, and we'll be fine."

Hendrick said he is pleased with how Earnhardt's team has performed this season, the first in which the driver has been paired with Letarte. Heading into Dover, Earnhardt sits fourth in the point standings despite having not won a race since June of 2008 at Michigan -- 104 races ago.

"He loves that team," Hendrick said. "You go in the garage now, and he's in that hauler. All of the drivers stay in their buses these days. You walk through the garage any more and you don't see the drivers until it's time to practice. Well, he's in the hauler with the guys -- and he's talking about the car. He's giving input on what he thinks the car needs.

"It's just that chemistry. Stevie will not let you be down when you're around him. He's just perfect for Dale, and they like each other. And Dale, I think, has confidence that he has a team behind him that believes in him. The chemistry is there, and he's got something he wants to prove. So I'm really excited for him -- and he's the happiest I've ever seen him. He's happy and he's motivated right now."

He also obviously wanted to make it clear to his teammates that one bad mistake at Darlington is not going to change that. Hendrick said he took that as a positive. While the No. 88 team hasn't had the results he or Earnhardt envisioned when Earnhardt first signed on with Hendrick Motorsports prior to the 2008 season, Hendrick said he thinks he sees them coming.

"I think with Dale, it takes time. He's got to do it on his timetable," Hendrick said. "He's a unique guy -- but he cares more about people than most people realize. He cares about what the other drivers think about him, and the fans, and his crew."

Earnhardt helps debut Charlotte's record screen

CONCORD, N.C. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the world's largest high definition television for a spin Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway by taking virtual laps around the legendary 1.5-mile track using an iRacing simulation.

Marcus Smith, president and general manager of CMS, invited Earnhardt Jr., an avid video gamer, to show off his skills on the giant HDTV.

For its operational debut, Smith and Earnhardt Jr. used an oversized remote to power on the 200 foot-wide, 80 foot-tall HDTV, created by Panasonic, to reveal a highlight video of past racing action at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

"Charlotte sets the standard for the rest of the tracks," Earnhardt Jr. said. "They always do things first and do things the biggest and look, here we are today with another first from them. Charlotte holds a special place in a lot of drivers' hearts, mine included, and the big TV makes this place even more special.

"The Coca-Cola 600 is one of the best events we have all year long. Now fans can get a ticket to the race and have the experience of the live event with the comfort of their own TV at home with this big TV. This place just keeps getting better."

"This giant Panasonic HDTV will be a game changer for our fans on race day," Smith said. "It will give them a whole new way to experience a NASCAR event at Charlotte Motor Speedway."

The event signaled the completion of the Panasonic HDTV project, which took up to 57 workers a day, working more than 11,000 man hours, more than four months to construct. The 332-and-a-half-ton structure is the largest HDTV in the world. The 158 panels that make up the face of the television's screen will be illuminated by nine million LED lamps during select events at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Sam Bass, the official artist of Charlotte Motor Speedway, was also on hand to unveil the souvenir race program covers for the 27th running of the Sprint All-Star Race and 52nd running of the Coca-Cola 600 on the gigantic screen.

The public debut of the world's largest HDTV will take place May 21 under the lights during the All-Star Race. The screen is centered along the backstretch between Turns 2 and 3, across from the start/finish line. Fans seated throughout the frontstretch from Turn 4 to Turn 1 will have clear viewing angles of instant replays, leaderboard updates and interactive entertainment displayed in clear 720p high-definition visuals.

Frontstretch tickets with the best views of the world's largest HDTV start at just $49 for the All-Star Race. Fans can also purchase two frontstretch tickets for just $99 to the Coca-Cola 600 on May 29.

Tickets for all May races at Charlotte Motor Speedway can be purchased online at or by calling the ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267).

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Feels Bad For Darlington Pit Road Mistake, Calls Team Meeting

Following a pit-road commitment line violation that doomed his chances of a top-10 finish at Darlington Raceway on Saturday night, Dale Earnhardt Jr. called a team meeting to apologize to his crew for his 14th-place finish.

"It sucks pretty bad," said Earnhardt Jr., who was running sixth at the time he attempted to pit. "We had good speed and we worked really hard to get into the top 10. We made a mistake on pit road last week, and this week the driver screwed it up. That's just the way it goes."

Earnhardt Jr. was heading to pit road for the final stop when he came in too hot and knocked the pit road commitment cone onto the track.

Since he wasn't all the way inside the cone, he had to serve a painful pass-through penalty under the green flag. He fell one lap down and dropped to 21st as a result.

Later, he got the free pass and was able to rally for a few spots, but he was still disappointed.

"I'm going to talk to the guys and see if I can't apologize to 'em and tell 'em how much I appreciate the car," he said. "I won't beat myself up too bad, I guess."

Earnhardt Jr. said the car had speed, but was "so, soooo hard to drive, man."

"We maintained track position just by being as good as the guys around us," he said. "I don't know what we're missing...but we just lacked a little bit.

"We would have finished solidly inside the top 10, and I gave up about eight spots today making my mistake. I'll try not to make it again when we come back."

Earnhardt Jr. remained fourth in the Sprint Cup Series point standings, 47 points behind leader Carl Edwards.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Showtime Southern 500

Junior had a mostly loose car all night, but was able to run in the top 10-15 for the majority of the race. While trying to slow down coming onto pit road, he hit the commitment cone and had to come back for a pass through penalty. He got back on the lead lap after a caution and getting the lucky dog. He finished in 14th and remains 4th in points. Next week all three series will be racing at the Monster Mile in Dover, DE

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Crown Royal presents the Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400

I had to work so I didn't see much of the race. I do know that Dale's car was loose all race long and it seemed as if Steve had gotten it tightened up pretty good for a while. Jr moved all the way to 2nd, but spun the tires and fell back to 10th before having to pit for gas so he didn't run out. He finished down two laps in 19th and fell one position to 4th in the points. Next weekend is Darlington and I know Jr is always excited when his mother Brenda gets to be there with him in honor of Mother's Day.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with those you love!!

Monday, April 18, 2011


Your vote counts this year, so take a minute and vote for Junebug!!

Also, while I'm speaking about voting for something, 
don't forget to vote to make Dale Jr the Most Popular Driver again this year!! 
I have the link posted.

Johnson, Earnhardt partnership pays dividends - Apr 18, 2011 - NASCAR.COM

Putting two teams in same shop already making a difference for the drivers

By Joe Menzer, NASCAR.COM

First they started sharing the shop at the Hendrick Motorsports complex in Concord, N.C. Next thing you know, they're sharing the checkered flag at Talladega and so darn gracious toward one another that the actual race winner of Sunday's Aaron's 499 was offering his teammate the trophy and possible future benefits as well.
It appears this decision to move the No. 88 team of Dale Earnhardt Jr. into the shop with the No. 48 team of five-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson already is paying huge dividends, with the chance for more payouts and reciprocation in the immediate and long-term future.
Johnson won his first race of the season and the 54th of his 10-year Sprint Cup career by the slimmest of margins Sunday -- .002 seconds. That tied the record for the closest margin of victory since electronic scoring was introduced into the sport, and Johnson knew it could not have been accomplished without the pushing assistance provided for him all day long by Earnhardt in the two-car draft that now seems here to stay in restrictor-plate races at both Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway.
So Johnson drove up alongside Earnhardt afterward and made him an offer he ultimately couldn't refuse. He gave Earnhardt the checkered flag, which usually is reserved only for handling by the race winner.
"Man, I don't want that," Earnhardt said at first.
"Well, I have to give you something for the push and for working with me," Johnson replied.
"No, that's what teammates do," Earnhardt said.
Johnson would not be denied in his attempt at showing his appreciation. He smiled and insisted, "Take the damn flag. I'll give you the trophy, too."
Being the good teammate he is, Earnhardt finally relented. But he did put a cap on Johnson's generosity.
"No, I don't want the trophy. I'll take the flag, though," he finally said.
Teammates within the team
Keep in mind that Earnhardt has not won his own Cup race since June of 2008 at Michigan. He doesn't need reminding that was 101 races ago.
And the plan going into Talladega wasn't for Earnhardt to push Johnson to the win at the end. The plan simply was for them to work together and try to get one of the Hendrick cars to Victory Lane. The other two Hendrick teammates, Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin, arrived with identical intentions.
"We pretty much just had the philosophy coming in this weekend, you know, don't leave your wingman," Gordon told reporters after the race.
And the four Hendrick cars didn't. Gordon and Martin worked in tandem throughout the day, as did Johnson and Earnhardt. Remember, it was only last year that the teams of Gordon and Johnson were housed together in the same building at the sprawling Hendrick complex, while the teams of Martin and Earnhardt were in the other.
Shortly after the end of Johnson's unprecedented fifth consecutive title run last November, team owner Rick Hendrick orchestrated a swap of three of the four crew chiefs of the teams involved. But there was more to it than simply that.
Steve Letarte, who had been Gordon's crew chief, stayed put in the building where he had worked for so long alongside Chad Knaus, Johnson's crew chief. But now Letarte was Earnhardt's crew chief and the team under him worked for the No. 88 Chevy as well. Lance McGrew, who had been Earnhardt's crew chief operating out of the other building, didn't have to move his office, either. He stayed put but became Martin's crew chief on the No. 5 car, and Alan Gustafson, who had been working in that same building as Martin's previous crew chief, jumped over to Gordon's No. 24 team.
Essentially, what had been the 88-5 shop became the 24-5 building, and what had been the 24-48 building became the 48-88 shop.
The four Hendrick Cup teams will all tell you they operate as one. But the four teams are split between two buildings side-by-side at the Hendrick complex, and they also would admit that they operate most closely on a daily basis with the one team housed under the same roof as them and therefore that bond within the Hendrick bond is closer.
Knaus said he thought the new alliances started to show huge promise right off the bat this season, when Earnhardt won the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500.
"We have a collective group of guys at Hendrick Motorsports who work on our superpeedway program and they do a fantastic job of putting a very good product out there," Knaus said. "I think that definitely started to shine in Daytona when we were able to qualify with the 88 car on the pole and then we were able to bring some of that momentum back here for qualifying at Talladega."
It shone again when the Hendrick teams were the top four in qualifying for last Sunday's race, led by Gordon on the pole. But Knaus said it really paid off during the race when the four drivers were able to split into pairs and work so strongly together.
"You know, we have been working a while to try to get to where we could get the drivers to really commit to one another and work together, and I think it was really nice to see the 5 and 24 work together the way they did [Sunday]," Knaus said. "I thought it was nice to see the 48 and 88 work together. It made it a lot easier on Steve Letarte and myself to call the race when you have that kind of strategy going on.
"I think it was a good race for Jimmie and Dale to get a lot of experience working together and learning how the draft works and hopefully we can apply some of that to the race when we come back here in the fall. So it was a very collective effort on a lot of people's parts and it was really nice to see."
But first ...
Shortly after Sunday's race concluded, Knaus was overheard on the radio telling Earnhardt, "The next one is on us, brother." Well, of course, the next restrictor-plate race is Daytona in July, not Talladega in the fall.
And of course, you can never predict how these races are going to play out with any kind of real precision. Maybe Johnson will be in position to help Junior in Daytona, and maybe not.
And maybe Johnson will be as helpful and as selfless -- and, well, maybe not. That indeed may be the true definition of a real teammate. Last Sunday at Talladega, Earnhardt came over the radio earlier in the race and admitted that the 48-88 two-car tandem seemed to run faster whenever Johnson was in front, being pushed by Earnhardt -- and not the other way around.
That is sometimes a difficult concept for a driver to grasp, let alone admit and commit to in the middle of a frenzied race such as one at Talladega.
"I was more comfortable pushing Jimmie and I think we were the faster combination pushing that way," Earnhardt said after the race. "For some reason when I was leading I would drive off his nose and even running quarter throttle I would just get away from him and we couldn't stay together."
Johnson added: "He was committed, as was I, and it showed. Neither one of us was selfish and we worked as a group. And at the end, he felt like the 48 car leading was faster. We agreed."
These guys were so committed that at least once Earnhardt slowed down on pit road to make certain he could get hooked up with Johnson again. In this day and age where supposedly every second on pit road counts, it seemed bizarre.
It was, Johnson said later, a learning process.
"We had a plan coming into the race, and stuck to it and learned a lot as the event went on, really Junior and I did, on how we would communicate, on what runs we could make, how we could set them up, how we could pass, how to have the guy push and could cool his car," Johnson said. "Really there was a lot of learning that went on through all of the laps throughout the race.
"I'm so very proud of Chad and Stevie, and the growth of the 48-88 shop, and the way Junior and I worked together."
But next time, will it really be Earnhardt's turn to celebrate in Victory Lane, as Knaus promised?
"I think we take the exact same approach and see how it shakes out the end," Knaus said. "You have to be aware as to which situation is faster, and definitely [at Talladega] we would have been pushing the 88 car if Dale had not come on the radio and said, 'Hey, guys, I don't think we are fast enough the way we are right now; we need the 48 in front.' If we get to Daytona and the roles are reversed, that will be it. We will follow him across the line with sparks and fire a-blazing."