Former Joe Gibbs Racing tire changer Nick Odell has signed a deal with Hendrick Motorsports that will make him a member of the No. 24 pit crew, the team confirmed. Odell drew interest from several teams after he was released by JGR last week. He was a longtime front tire changer for the No. 18 Toyota driven by Kyle Busch . Scott Brzozowski was the front tire changer for the No. 24 team. He came to Hendrick Motorsports after working with the No. 39 crew of Ryan Newman at Stewart-Haas Racing . Brzozowski will move from the No. 24 team to the No. 88 team of Dale Earnhardt Jr . as its starting front tire changer. Brzozowski will replace David Mayo, who will return to a backup role. The roster moves are in effect starting at Dover. It's the second tweak to Earnhardt's pit crew in the past month. The changes to the No. 18 team last week came after changes to several teams in Chase contention, including the No. 88 pit crew, the No. 2 crew for Brad Keselowski 's Ford and the No. 78 group that services Martin Truex Jr .'s Chevrolet. For more pit crew information, visit PitTalks.com .
DOVER, Del. -- The relationship between veteran drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Elliott Sadler isn't new. Before JR Motorsports was even a thought in Junior's mind, the duo raced against one another in late models years ago and formed a kinship off the track. The pair's relationship added a new facet on Friday, when officials announced at Dover International Speedway that Elliott would drive for Earnhardt -owned JR Motorsports in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2016. Earnhardt Jr . broke the news earlier in the day via Periscope. "I'm excited to work with Elliott full-time and give him the best opportunity we can, to put him in the best car we can and to get to work with all our guys," Earnhardt said during the press conference at Dover on Friday. "... It's going to be a lot of fun. Winning races is great, but when you do it with your friends, it's even better." "We've been friends a long time and I feel like we've had each others' backs on and off the track a long time." Elliott added. "I think when you're vested personally like we are, I think to put this group together is going to be very, very exciting. "It makes you want to -- on so many different levels -- to do a good job and perform like you're supposed to. Not only on the race track, but off the race track." Elliott's number and crew chief are yet to be determined, but he will bring long-time sponsor OneMain Financial from his current Roush Fenway Racing ride. In a sport that thrives on sponsorship, a long-term supporter like OneMain Financial gives team owner Earnhardt a sense of steadiness. "Elliott has worked with One Main for a very long time so that's an easy relationship to trust and get behind and be a part of," Earnhardt said. " … I will say when we told our employees on the shop floor, they were ecstatic. It brings stability and those people really depend on that. When they see those cars go out of the shop without a sponsor on them, that makes everybody nervous." JR Motorsports currently fields three cars in the XFINITY Series with reigning series champion Chase Elliott and Regan Smith behind the wheel full-time, and a group of drivers, including Ben Rhodes as well as Sprint Cup stars Earnhardt , Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne piloting the third car. For Sadler, who has won 10 races in the XFINTY Series and three times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the chance to drive for an established team like JRM is a prime opportunity – one that supersedes getting back into a Sprint Cup car for now. "I want to be competitive in the XFINITY Series. I want to win races," Elliott said. "... There's nothing like leaving your house on a weekend going to the race track, knowing you have the opportunity to lead laps, sit on poles, run up front. "... My goal right now, and my heart and soul, and my passion is still very great when I come to the track. But it's more what I can do on Saturdays and what I can do in the XFINITY Series. If I go out and do a great job and win every race and those ( Sprint Cup ) opportunities come, we'll look at that at that time. "But right now, man, we've got to jump on this -- this is great."
NASCAR fan pops the question at the feet of 12-time Most Popular Driver The green flag for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway hadn't even dropped on Saturday night before a wild act ensued on pit road ... and we're not talking about the typical post-race-drivers-yanking-fire-suit-collars fight. We're talking about love, y'all. RELATED: Dale Jr . proposes to Amy Reimann in Germany This pre-race proposal gets @DaleJr 's approval! #AskMRN pic.twitter.com/3ShQJsesgo — Motor Racing Network (@MRNRadio) September 12, 2015 She said yes!! #NW88JR pic.twitter.com/yFAX6r99BG — Nationwide 88 (@nationwide88) September 12, 2015 The man, who has now been identified as Bryan Letchworth, got down on one knee in front of the No. 88 Chevrolet and Mr. Dale Earnhardt Jr . himself and asked his now-fianceé to marry him. RELATED: Chad Knaus marries former Miss Sprint Cup Most people who are about to propose get blessings from their significant other's father, mother, brother, etc., but maybe the Junior stamp of approval is all you really need. We can only hope she said, " Dale , yeah!"
TaxSlayer.com, a primary sponsor of the No. 7 JR Motorsports team with driver Regan Smith , will expand its involvement with the NASCAR XFINITY Series organization in 2016 while also beginning a new relationship with the Hendrick Motorsports Sprint Cup Series group. TaxSlayer.com, which has been affiliated with JRM since 2010, will serve as the primary sponsor for a total of 10 races in 2016, appearing on the No. 7 Chevrolet of Smith as well as the No. 88 entry that has been fielded for various drivers this season. The company will serve as the primary sponsor of Earnhardt Jr .'s No. 88 Sprint Cup entry for one race in 2016, as well as an associate throughout the year. "TaxSlayer is one of our longest-tenured sponsors," Earnhardt Jr . said in a release announcing the sponsorship. "… I'm extremely loyal to them. I hope the fans are, too. We've done great things together and I'm really looking forward to racing a TaxSlayer car in Sprint Cup next year." JRM fields three entries in the XFINTY Series. In addition to Smith's No. 7 and the No. 88 entry, the organization includes defending series champion Chase Elliott in the No. 9 Chevrolet. "It has been a privilege to be associated with Dale Jr . and JR Motorsports for so long," Jimmy Rhodes, TaxSlayer.com President and CEO, said. "And we're excited to add a new chapter with Hendrick Motorsports next season. "We have found an immense loyalty among NASCAR fans, but especially with Dale Jr .'s fans. We want to continue growing this partnership." Smith, a winner at Mid-Ohio earlier this year, is fourth in points as the XFINITY Series prepares to head to Kentucky Speedway for Saturday night's running of the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 (8 p.m., NBCSN).
His former crew chief made the move after the 2014 season and one of his teammates will move into the broadcast booth full-time next year. Now comes word that Dale Earnhardt Jr . will be stepping behind the microphone next season – albeit only as a guest commentator. NASCAR's most popular driver and winner of 25 Sprint Cup races isn't ready to hang up his helmet just yet. "I don't know if it's a career path for me – it just depends," Earnhardt Jr . told FOX Sports Live co-hosts Dan O'Toole and Jay Onrait. "I had tweeted that I was interested in doing some XFINITY races, so I think I'd like to try it," he said. "They extended the offer to me that we can give it a shot." Steve Letarte, Earnhardt's crew chief from 2011-14, took a position as race analyst with NBC Sports beginning this season. Teammate Jeff Gordon , retiring from full-time competition at year's end, will move into the FOX Sports broadcast booth in '16. FOX has used Gordon, as well as defending Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick , Brad Keselowski , Clint Bowyer and Danica Patrick occasionally in the booth as guest analysts for XFINITY Series races this year. "I want to go up there next year and watch a few races, or watch one race, and see what I'm getting myself into," Earnhardt Jr . said. "It looks like a lot of fun. All the drivers (this year) ... looked great, sounded great and the seemed to have a lot of fun doing it." FOX Sports NASCAR race coverage currently consists of the opening 16 Sprint Cup Series points events, the first 14 XFINITY Series races and the entire Camping World Truck Series schedule. NBC's coverage includes the final 20 Sprint Cup races, final 19 XFINITY Series races as well as NASCAR K&N Pro Series and Whelen Modified Tour events.
Eight tweets from around the NASCAR Twitterverse Editor's note: Every Friday, "Tweets You Might Have Missed" will present eight of the best NASCAR-related tweets from the week. 1. Retweet if you agree with Peyton's pick to have @DaleJr win the @NASCAR Sprint Cup in @HomesteadMiami . #GoodLuckDale pic.twitter.com/07CiSbIpo8 — Nationwide 88 (@nationwide88) September 22, 2015 2. Safe-no. Cute-YES! Ella... pic.twitter.com/gqiNtztSeH — Danica Patrick (@DanicaPatrick) September 25, 2015 3. Parking deck hangs...waiting to get the day started. Bout broke his back on that last one.. @Blaney pic.twitter.com/6Ago1EX2Po — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) September 24, 2015 4. Saw my brother @KerryDEarnhardt tonight at a family deal. I swear it's like talking to the man himself. It's unreal how much he favors him. — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) September 21, 2015 5. 21 ping pong balls in the jar and I won 3 large goldfish. Seem happy in their new home $160 after a 1am Walmart trip pic.twitter.com/t1BiiiFk2v — Tony Stewart (@TonyStewart) September 17, 2015 6. Small booth. I had burritos for lunch. Phil is disappointed. https://t.co/0DFknLJ33M — Michael Waltrip (@mw55) September 18, 2015 7. This is how my day went. pic.twitter.com/6F9E2o2giY — Kyle Larson (@KyleLarsonRacin) September 20, 2015 8. We time sure does fly by! Already 4 months n such a big personality! Love our Brexton so much! pic.twitter.com/y5hluXrRIo — Samantha Busch (@SamanthaBusch) September 24, 2015 FAN TWEET OF THE WEEK: I had to skip #BloominMonday and go to @jimmyjohns since @JimmieJohnson wrecked @KevinHarvick #blamejj #4thewin pic.twitter.com/oRK4kOXEdP — Josh Kaiser (@JoshHKaiser) September 21, 2015
Jeffrey Earnhardt signed a multi-year deal starting with the 2016 season to drive in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with Go FAS Racing. Earnhardt , 26, will pilot the No. 32 Ford Fusion and Can-Am will be on board to serve as a primary sponsor for 11 events and an associate-level partner for all other events in 2016. "I'm really excited to join GFR," Earnhardt said in a release provided by the team. "I'm thrilled to have Can-Am on board as our partner for 2016. I'm an avid outdoorsman and their products are the gold standard for outdoor sports, so it's a perfect fit. With Can-Am supporting our team we're certain to increase our competitiveness throughout the 2016 season." Earnhardt will compete for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year award. Veteran driver Bobby Labonte will also drive several events in the No. 32 Ford. "We are all really excited about this new partnership with Can-Am and Jeffrey Earnhardt for 2016", team owner Archie St. Hilaire said in a release. "This deal will improve our program and make us much more competitive in the upcoming season while giving Jeffrey all the tools he needs to succeed at this level. 2016 can't come soon enough for myself and everyone at GFR." The Mooresville, North Carolina native made his Sprint Cup debut at Richmond earlier this month, finishing 40th in the Federated Auto Parts 400 . He was on the entry list for the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Sept. 27, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). For his career, Earnhardt has made 66 starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and 10 starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Earnhardt is the grandson of the late Dale Earnhardt , nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr . and the son of Kerry Earnhardt . Kerry made seven starts in the Sprint Cup Series, 72 starts in the XFINITY Series and 27 starts in the Camping World Truck Series. The Richmond race that Jeffrey ran marked the first time two Earnhardts were competing in the Sprint Cup Series in over a decade. The team also announced in a release that Go Green Racing will be competing under the Go FAS banner starting with Daytona Speedweeks in 2016.
RELATED: NXS results from Iowa " Truck results from Pocono Dale Earnhardt Jr . says the No. 88 team was lucky to drive away with a fourth-place finish at Pocono but had high praise for his JR Motorsports teams' performances last weekend. Saying it was a great weekend overall for the organization, Junior was excited about second places for Regan Smith in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and Kevin Harvick in the NASCAR Camping World Truck s Series. Earnhardt said Smith "did a good job" and said Harvick "didn't have a winning truck but got a lot out of it," adding that his Sprint Cup driving peer always does a good job when he jumps in a JRM truck. Smith's XFINITY crew chief, Jason Burdett, also got kudos from the boss during the radio show. "Jason Burdett, the crew chief in that car (No. 7 Chevrolet) has been awesome this year," Junior said. "If you know that guy's story, you can appreciate how hard it's been a climb for him." Burdett has been a part of two championship Sprint Cup teams, with Jeff Gordon in 2001 and and Dale Jarrett and Robert Yates Racing in 1999. He was car chief on the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team from 2008-10 before moving to Earnhardt's No. 88 team from 2011-14. Junior saved his most effusive praise for Cole Custer 's ARCA win at Pocono and Josh Berry 's Late Model victory at Orange County. "Cole (Custer) has a bright future and I'm excited about working with that kid next year and providing an opportunity for him to showcase his talents," Earnhardt said on the Dale Jr . Download on Dirty Mo Radio after returning from Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Pocono. "Hopefully, we can do a good job giving him that opportunity." Custer is a 17-year-old member of the NASCAR Next Class of 2015. The Ladera Ranch, California, native holds the records for youngest pole award and race winner in both the Truck Series and NASCAR's touring series. This season he has a win in the Truck Series at Gateway Motorsports Park. Custer has started five NCWTS races for JR Motorsports in the No. 00 Chevrolet this season after making nine starts in the series last year with Stewart-Haas Racing 's developmental team. RELATED: See the NASCAR Next Class of 2015 Berry is 24 and won the Summer Sizzler 75 lap Late Model race Saturday night at Orange County Speedway near Rougemont, North Carolina. "He's been winning left and right," Earnhardt said of Berry. "I've never won at Orange County before. He's sure representing us very well at all the local tracks that we love to race at." Junior added that he's very proud of the JR Motorsports late model program, and "not just for the obvious reasons" of winning and representing sponsors well. He takes pride in "racing at these local venues that have meant so much to so many people in our sport over the years. It's a good feeling. Just keeping up with the Langleys and the Orange Counties of the world."
Cautions foiled the No. 88 team's strategy in the Brickyard 400 RELATED: Power Rankings after Indianapolis " How all 43 drivers fared at the Brickyard Sunday's annual NASCAR stop at Indianapolis Motor Speedway had a Murphy's Law quality to it for Dale Earnhardt Jr . But the 40-year-old driver, while frustrated, said that in the grand scheme of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup points system, the run of Brickyard bad luck barely matters. Earnhardt described the set of circumstances that led to an unsavory 22nd-place finish at Indy in a sigh-filled Tuesday edition of the " Dale Jr . Download" podcast on Dirty Mo Radio. "Not a lot of fun out there," was the sentiment after a late pit-road mishap then a spin after contact with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne -- all with less than 20 laps remaining. "With several laps to go, we were sitting out there in 16th or so and we were going to come down pit road and get four tires," Earnhardt told Dirty Mo Radio. "I don't know, we didn't. The reason is because who the hell cares where we finish if we can't win the race. I mean, we were going to come down pit road in 16th place. A lot of guys around us pitted and we were going to get four tires and come out probably ... we might beat two guys, we might lose two spots, what the hell ever. So it was a wash in my opinion." Earnhardt did enter pit road in 16th place, but left in 22nd after an air-gun failure slowed his stop for service, leaving his No. 88 Chevrolet team only able to change two tires instead of four. Earnhardt recovered from that and his slight brush with the Turn 1 wall to stay on the lead lap. With two regular-season victories in hand and his spot in the Chase playoffs assured thanks to the points format instituted ahead of the 2014 season, Earnhardt was able to shrug off the disappointment more easily ahead of Sunday's Windows 10 400 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) at Pocono Raceway. "With the old system, you would do everything you could to get the best finish you could," Earnhardt said, "and that might mean forgoing the win and (saying), 'Hey man, if we do everything X, Y and Z and get lucky on the restarts, we might run 10th or we might finish eighth,' like some of those guys that we were racing with. But who damn cares about that? I'm sitting in 16th with 20-some laps to go, a lot of guys behind me are coming for tires. Do I want to be the last guy on old tires? No. I don't want to get eaten up by new tires, get in the wrong line on the restart and get screwed and not be competitive and not be on the offense. "We've got two wins, we're in the Chase, so what the hell's it matter between 10th and 20th? Who cares? If we do everything right, we finish 10th. If we don't do everything right, we finish 20th, but it's a wash either way. Doesn't even matter with this points system." Earnhardt bemoaned the sequence of yellow flags at Indianapolis and how the No. 88 team's strategy was adversely affected. Still, he championed the power of creative thinking from atop the pit box -- a resource that crew chief Greg Ives will have to employ this weekend at Pocono, where short-pitting, targeting fuel windows and other pit strategies frequently come into play. "The way this system works, you just go win, and if you can't win, do what everybody else ain't doing," Earnhardt said. "Do something different. Try something different. The same-ol', same-ol' is just going to get you the same boring-ass result." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Take a look at Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s retro scheme that he will run at Darlington Raceway this weekend, inspired by Cale Yarborough.