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Ryan Sieg's Darlington scheme honors Dale Jarrett
RELATED: Full Darlington coverage " Throwback paint schemes Sugar Hill, GA (August 29, 2016) - RSS Racing is pleased to announce that Tri County Landscape will return as a primary sponsor for three more races in 2016 starting at Darlington Raceway . In addition to Darlington, TCL will be on the No. 39 car at Richmond and Charlotte. At Darlington, the team will run a special throwback paint scheme resembling the famous colors that Dale Jarrett ran in the late '90s. Ryan Sieg commented, "I'm thrilled to have TCL back for three more races and I'm honored to drive this special color scheme at Darlington. Growing up, our family always stayed at the same condo in Daytona as Robert Yates, Dale Jarrett , and their team. He was always one of my favorites and I think I even got tossed in the pool by DJ a few times one year! Needless to say, this will be a fun weekend for everyone involved." Sieg continues to hold down the 12th spot in points with three races left before the Chase begins for NASCAR's XFINITY Series. The RSS team will have two practices on Friday before qualifying and racing Saturday at Darlington. Dale Jarrett's red-white-and-blue paint scheme from 1997
Dale Jr. regales podcast listeners with family storytime
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! Editor's note: The full Dale Jr. Download podcast can be found here . Dale Earnhardt Jr . turned his weekly Dale Jr. Download podcast into family storytime where he spoke for more than 50 minutes regaling listeners with tales of his famous father and the Earnhardt family history at the Daytona 500 . Among the gems Earnhardt Jr. shared was the story of how his father, Dale Earnhardt, taught him how to be fast in qualifying. As Earnhardt Jr. tells it, when he was 16 years old, working in a dealership changing oil, his dad called and told him to come to Talladega, where he was testing. Earnhardt was testing new V8 engines for the XFINITY Series, and told his son to take the wheel for a few turns around Talladega Superspeedway . Junior was astonished to be keeping time with his father during his first lap. "So then I get out there and open the wheel up and get out to the fence on the straightaway, drive it down into the corner," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I'm letting the wheel kind of do what it wants to do on bumps -- and I ran a second slower." As soon as he came in, his father stopped him. "What the hell are you doing?" he asked. "Well, I'm letting the car feed out off the corner against the wall," Junior responded. "Don't do that, you're adding feet to the lap," his father scolded. "I let the wheel be loose in my hands, kind of let it do its thing through the bumps," Junior continued. "Don't do that; hold it solid and steady," his father reminded. RELATED: See Dale Jr's Daytona 500 history That experience changed how Earnhardt Jr. approaches qualifying -- and what helped him to qualify second for Sunday's Daytona 500 . "What I do now when I go to qualify is I hold the wheel as hard as I can and I do not let it move when the car goes through a bump," Earnhardt Jr. said. "And I run pretty tight, which everybody does now; everybody's figured that out." Earnhardt Jr. also recounted some of his favorite moments from past Daytona 500 s. Among those he talked about: * The 2000 Daytona 500 , which was the first he saw in person -- and the first he raced in. "I felt like I had joined a fraternity," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I was on the starting grid looking around at guys like Terry Labonte and Dale Jarrett and going, 'Wow, I can't believe I'm here.' " That was also a race where his father wasn't happy that his son didn't work with him. Earnhardt finished 21st while Earnhardt Jr. finished 13th. "After the race he was very upset with me that I did not work with him," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I said, 'I don't want to work with nobody, I'm trying to get to the front.' ... He said, 'No wonder neither one of us did any good, you wouldn't work with anybody.' I said, 'You're not my responsibility, Dad.' He always took it out on me. When we raced together, if he had a bad day, in some way, it was my fault." * The 1998 Daytona 500 , which was his father's only victory in the race, despite 34 triumphs at the track. Earnhardt Jr. missed the race because he was recovering from a concussion. * The 1990 Daytona 500 , when Earnhardt blew a tire on Turn 3 of the final lap, and ended up finishing fifth. "What a badass," Junior said of his father. "Drove a damn car into Turn 3 with no right rear tire at 190 mph and didn't even hit the wall." * The 1979 Daytona 500 , which was his father's rookie season. Earnhardt finished eighth. "It's so funny how they talked about him then (compared to) how we know him and remember him now," Earnhardt Jr. said. "He wasn't the Intimidator. He was a young guy racing with the veterans." Earnhardt Jr. also had one more comment about his family's history at the Daytona 500 : "We got a lot of great history in Daytona. Hoping we can go down here and have some success and add to those wins. I'd love to go down there and pass Tony Stewart and be second (for most all-time wins at Daytona International Speedway )." &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
What's in a Number? Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Daytona 500 dominance
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! The 59th annual Daytona 500 is just around the corner, so we sifted through the numbers on Racing Reference to find some interesting tidbits for you to chew on while you wait for the Feb. 26 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) running of The Great American Race. 10 Dale Earnhardt Jr . leads active drivers with 10 victories on restrictor-plate tracks. That's double the amount for the next-closest competitors, Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson , who have five apiece. Two of Junior's 10 restrictor-plate wins have come in the Daytona 500 , his last being in 2014. 9 Dale Earnhardt Jr . also leads active drivers with nine second-place finishes in restrictor-plate races. Tony Stewart had eight, followed by Dale Earnhardt, Dale Jarrett and Jimmie Johnson all tied at six apiece. So in 19 of Junior's 67 restrictor-plate races, he has finished either in first or second place. RELATED: More restrictor-plate stats 1967 The last time the Daytona 500 was run on Feb. 26 was 1967, and the winner was Mario Andretti. It was Andretti's only win in 14 NASCAR premier series starts. He drove for Holman-Moody and beat Fred Lorenzen in a race that ended under caution. Andretti, of course, was better known for his open-wheel career. No. 11 When Andretti won the Daytona 500 he was driving the No. 11 car. That number has been on the Daytona 500 -winning car just two other times: In 1977, eventual NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough drove it to Victory Lane. Last year, Denny Hamlin won in the race's closest finish ever (.010 seconds over Martin Truex Jr .). RELATED: Stats by car number 22 The number of DNFs for Michael Waltrip in his restrictor-plate racing career, tying him with Bobby Labonte for third-most all-time. However, Waltrip has the most starts in restrictor-plate races at Daytona and Talladega with 108 and has won four times, including twice in the Daytona 500 (2001 and '03). Waltrip will be making the final start of his career in this year's Daytona 500 .
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: By the numbers
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Richmond RELATED: Dale Jr. announces retirement " Amy's message to Dale A statistical look at the NASCAR career of Dale Earnhardt Jr., with numbers as of April 25, the day he announced his retirement from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at the end of the 2017 season. For a deeper statistical dive, visit Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s page at racing-reference.info . 0 -- The number of laps completed in Earnhardt Jr.'s shortest race, the result of a first-lap crash in the 2001 Dura Lube 400 at Rockingham. The event was the first for NASCAR after the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr. in a last-lap crash in the Daytona 500. 1 -- The number of NASCAR All-Star Race victories in Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s career. He became the invitational event's first rookie winner in 2000. 2 -- The number of Daytona 500 victories recorded by Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3 -- The car number made famous by his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt. Also, Earnhardt Jr.'s highest-ranking finish in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings, in 2003. 6 -- The number of wins recorded by Earnhardt Jr. at Talladega Superspeedway, the most among active drivers. Also, the number of victories Earnhardt achieved in his winningest season (2004). RELATED: All of Junior's wins " Dale Jr. through the years 8 -- Earnhardt Jr.'s first car number in NASCAR premier-series competition. Also, his starting spot in his premier series debut in the 1999 Coca-Cola 600. 10 -- The number of seasons that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has driven for Hendrick Motorsports, which fields his No. 88 Chevrolet. 11.3 -- The best average finish in a single full season in Earnhardt Jr.'s career, recorded in his three-win campaign of 2015. 12 -- The number of tracks where Dale Earnhardt Jr. won in his premier-series career -- Talladega (6), Daytona (4), Phoenix (3), Richmond (3), Pocono (2), Michigan (2), and one each at Atlanta, Martinsville, Bristol, Chicagoland, Texas and Dover. RELATED: Best paint schemes " Junior plans to run two XFINITY races in '18 13 -- The number of Coors Light Pole Awards that Earnhardt has collected in his career in NASCAR's top division. 20 -- Over two seasons (2012 and 2016), the number of races that Earnhardt missed due to concussions. 21 -- The age at which Dale Earnhardt Jr. made his debut in what is now the NASCAR XFINITY Series. He finished 14th on June 22, 1996 at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway. 22 -- The number of top-10 finishes Earnhardt Jr. posted in both of his NASCAR XFINITY Series championship seasons. 24 -- The age at which Dale Earnhardt Jr. made his debut in NASCAR's premier series. 42 -- The age at which Dale Earnhardt Jr. made his decision to retire from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. RELATED: Dale Jr. explains his decision -- best quotes from the No. 88 driver and Rick Hendrick 50 -- The number of NASCAR national series victories for Dale Earnhardt Jr., with 26 in premier-series competition and 24 in what is now known as the XFINITY Series. 88 -- The car number the Dale Earnhardt Jr. has campaigned since moving to Hendrick Motorsports in 2008. 100 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. reached this milestone number of premier-series starts on Sept. 1, 2002 in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. He finished 16th. 143 -- The number of races in the longest losing skid of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s career, spanning 2008-12. Both wins that bookended the dry spell were recorded at Michigan International Speedway. 149 -- The number of top-five finishes that Earnhardt Jr has registered in his career at NASCAR's top level. 291 -- The number of starts that Earnhardt Jr. made for Dale Earnhardt Inc., the team founded by his father that gave him his start in what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. 312 -- The number of starts -- as of April 25, 2017 -- made by Dale Earnhardt Jr. for Hendrick Motorsports. 426 -- The number of laps led by Earnhardt in his first full season (2000) in NASCAR's top division. 540 -- The number of times that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was scored as running at the finish in his career, an 89.6 percent rate. 595.5 -- The number of miles Dale Earnhardt Jr. completed in his big-league debut May 30, 1999 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Earnhardt placed 16th, three laps down in the Coca-Cola 600. 600 -- The milestone number of premier-series starts Earnhardt achieved in March 2017 at Auto Club Speedway. 1,131 -- The number of laps led in Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s most prolific season (2004) in that category. 8,195 -- The number of laps led in Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s career to date. </p>
'Honey-Do list Dale ?' Letarte, Stewart offer personal messages
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Richmond RELATED: Dale Jr. to retire after '17 " Cain: How Junior endears himself to fans Plenty of reaction has poured in over the days since Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced his retirement from full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing at the end of the 2017 season. Drivers, fans, friends and everyone in between have taken time to thank Dale Jr. for everything he has done for the sport. In the video above, Kurt Busch expresses his thoughts on Dale Jr.'s retirement, saying "there's nobody that could ever replace Dale Jr." RELATED: NASCAR reacts to driver's announcement In the video below from JR Motorsports, an assortment of drivers from Kyle Larson and Danica Patrick to recently retired three-time champion Tony Stewart, spotter TJ Majors and a host of others wish Junior well. Former No. 88 crew-chief-turned-TV-analyst Steve Letarte warns of a "Honey-Do" list. Regan Smith also provided some humorous foreshadowing for what he think Dale ’s post-retirement life will look like. Personal messages to @DaleJr , from #NASCAR drivers and friends. #JRM360 pic.twitter.com/IGXecGu9KF — JR Motorsports (@JRMotorsports) April 27, 2017 Will we see "Honey-Do list Dale " join "Water Cooler Dale " on a Nationwide commercial? Perhaps, but for now everyone is extending their gratitude toward the racing superstar. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
What they're writing about Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. wears his heart on his sleeve, a fact that has endeared him to fans, competitors, NASCAR industry insiders, sponsors and possibly the toughest crowd of all: NASCAR writers. Junior's announcement Tuesday that he will give up full-time driving duties after the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season brought accolades and emotion from the press corps. Here's a sampling of what they're writing. "As Junior wheels his final laps, we'll all spend the next seven months recalling the good times -- the victory at that 2001 Daytona summer race, for instance, or the way he became the most accessible athlete on Twitter. But let's not forget one simple fact: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the toughest athlete in sports history." -- Jay Busbee, Yahoo Sports " Read more ----- "There is no question -- none -- that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame during his first year of eligibility. On numbers alone, Earnhardt should get in." -- Tom Jensen, Fox Sports " Read more ----- "On a personal and professional level, I'm really going to miss covering Earnhardt. There's something about his combination of candor, wit and humility that makes him the best interview in sports (at least that I've seen), and you really can't replace a guy like that. " Dale Jr. is a normal dude trapped in a superstar's life, and his fans identify with him because he acts and talks like they would if they found themselves in a similar situation." -- Jeff Gluck, JeffGluck.com " Read more ----- " Dale Earnhardt, Jr., you continue to defy convention, and define yourself. Born into advantage but forced to earn every opportunity and hone every inherited skill by a demanding father and namesake, you took up the family vocation with the scrutiny that comes as part of the deal. You were Elvis' boy who took up guitar and knew that comparison was inevitable." --Brant James, USA Today " Read more ----- Thanks to Stef Schrader at Jalopnik for bringing back a late-night TV gem: Junior doing donuts on a New York street as a segment with David Letterman. " Read more This story will be updated
Brian France statement on Dale Earnhardt Jr.
RELATED: Junior announces retirement " Reaction " Analysis MORE: Junior as a kid, a son, a racer, a fan " Dale Earnhardt Jr. is among the most recognizable athletes in the world, unequivocally serving as the sport's most popular driver for more than a decade. His passion for the sport will leave an impact on NASCAR that will be felt over its entire history. Over his 20-plus year career, Dale has proven himself a leader with a deep commitment to so many areas of the sport -- all the way to its roots. We're excited about the next chapter of his NASCAR career and wish him success for the remainder of 2017." &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Amy Earnhardt: 'I'm so proud of Dale'
MORE: Junior announces retirement after '17 season " Reactions Amy Earnhardt, wife of Dale Earnhardt Jr., released a statement via Twitter on Tuesday about her husband's decision to retire from full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition following the 2017 season. pic.twitter.com/GaAPFJKx8V — Amy Earnhardt (@AmyEarnhardt) April 25, 2017 NASCAR's 14-time Most Popular Driver unveiled the news with Hendrick Motorsports on Tuesday morning. MORE: Earnhardt's wedding gallery " Every Dale Jr. win The pair wed on New Year's Eve before Junior's return in the 2017 Daytona 500 after missing the final 18 races of the 2016 season. During his recovery from a concussion, Junior often cited the positive influence Amy had on him to get healthy and get back in the car. &amp;<span _rtetemp="spchk" style="background-color: #ffffaa;" _rtespchksugg="Lt"alt"ult"flt"let"lit"lat"lot"ltd"t">am</span>p;lt;/p&amp;amp;gt;
How to watch Tuesday's Dale Jr. press conference
RELATED: Junior to step away after 2017 " Drivers react Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced via a team press release Tuesday that he would retire following the 2017 season. Earnhardt Jr. and team owner Rick Hendrick will have a joint a press conference at 3 p.m. ET to discuss the driver's decision. NASCAR.com will live stream the press conference. Stay tuned to NASCAR.com for complete Earnhardt Jr. coverage, and bookmark this link for the live stream at 3 p.m. ET: www.nascar.com/presspass . &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
The endearing -- and enduring -- allure of Dale Earnhardt Jr.
RELATED: Junior announces retirement " Reaction " Analysis I have had the good fortune to observe many of the greatest athletes of the modern era. Thanks to a friend in the catering business, I worked the 1988 NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago when Michael Jordan put on quite the hometown show for the fans. On assignment for InStyle Magazine, I glued myself to Barry Bonds as he prepared for his wedding by pontificating the entire time to his groomsmen. John McEnroe once berated me for falling asleep during an exhibition match, and then winked and smiled as he walked away to make it clear he literally has his eyes on everything and everyone around him. In 2011, I was hired by NASCAR, and though I had followed the sport closely as a child when my father wrote, among other motorsports books, "Showdown at Daytona," I didn't fully comprehend the endearing -- and enduring -- allure of Dale Earnhardt Jr. until I had the chance to watch him up close and personal. There truly is no one, even among the GOATs in sport, who inspires more passion from his fans than this authentic, one-of-a-kind driver. That's a tall order when you spend your entire life living and working in the long shadow of your late, great father. Think about it: How does one become such an original when you're a "Junior" doing exactly what your old man did for a living? My first "encounter" with the Junior Earnhardt could have cost me my right leg. He nearly clipped me with his Chevrolet in the Bristol Motor Speedway pits as he prepared to enter the track during a practice. When I later asked someone who knows him well about the close encounter, he laughed and explained that Dale was warning me to keep my head up when walking through the garage. In other words: Welcome to NASCAR, rookie. The next day was even more terrifying. As I turned the corner in the same tight Bristol garage, a surge of fans barreled toward me, literally a tsunami of humanity sporting bright-colored shirts, jackets and hats. I'm not kidding: It was frightening. They had just spotted Earnhardt, and were rushing to him to pose for photographs and secure an autograph and do whatever they do when they spot their hero. Nothing -- and certainly no one -- was going to get in their way. Earnhardt Jr. was behind me, so he wasn't able to watch my back (or front) this time. I survived the car wash-like battering, and I since have learned how best to avoid them. Not the man himself, though. While he certainly knows crafty ways to avoid crowds, more often than not he factors fan interaction into nearly every path he takes. Fans literally grab him -- touch his face, wrap their arms around him, stumble into him as they drop everything to take a photo with him. Yet nothing fazes the guy. It's uncanny. I've never seen him get ruffled.