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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 .
Logano nabs victory in 'The Clash' after wild final lap
RELATED: Results " SHOP: Logano gear BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 Live! DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- When Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin collided in Turn 2 on the final lap of Sunday's rain-delayed Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway , Joey Logano was there to seize the moment. Charging to the outside and grabbing the lead near the entry to the Superstretch at the 2.5-mile speedway, Logano took the checkered flag 1.121 seconds ahead of runner-up Kyle Busch , who beat third-place finisher Alex Bowman to the stripe by .018 seconds. Danica Patrick dodged the Turn 2 melee to surge from 10th to fourth on the final lap to post her first top-five finish in any Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, though the result is not official because "The Clash" is an exhibition event with a limited field. Kevin Harvick , driving a Ford for the first time at NASCAR's highest level, came home fifth. Daniel Suarez , in his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start, finished eighth. Logano's victory was the first in "The Clash" for a Ford driver since Dale Jarrett took the checkered flag in 2004. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas settled into the first four spots after a restart on Lap 65, but Team Penske teammates Keselowski and Logano sped toward the front in the outside lane, successfully side-drafted and broke up the Camry armada. The race was decided when Keselowski challenged defending winner Hamlin for the lead on the final lap. Keselowski, who came home sixth, powered his Ford to the bottom of Turn 2. Hamlin tried to protect his position, and the cars collided, Hamlin's Toyota spinning wildly and Keselowski's Ford losing momentum off the corner. Logano pulled out to a 100-yard lead and maintained it as Busch and Bowman battled side-by-side behind him. "That was the play," Logano said of the side-drafting strategy. "The Toyotas are so selfless, I guess is the way to look at it. They're able to work together and think of one car winning, and they're really good at that. "We had to think that same way as Ford (drivers), and we Stewart-Haas and the Penske cars, we were able to get a good enough run to work together enough to break them up and make the passes, and then there at the end, it was kind of a mess. "Everything was going really fast, and I was just in the right place at the right time." Even though "The Clash" featured a mandatory caution at Lap 25, and even though the cars had been set up for racing under the lights, drivers were uniformly aggressive in the opening segment, often running three-wide in an attempt to gain track position. On Lap 17, Kurt Busch fell victim to a handling problem with reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Jimmie Johnson 's No. 48 Chevrolet. Johnson got loose in Turn 4 and spun into the right rear of Busch's No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, turning Busch hard into the outside wall. "I was just minding my own business in the low groove and we got tagged in the right rear," Kurt Busch said after exiting the Infield Care Center. "It's kind of a shame -- all of the hard work and the effort everybody puts into the off-season -- Doug Yates and his engines and everybody from Ford and everybody at Stewart-Haas, all of the effort put toward building a car and we didn't even make it to the first pit stop, so it's kind of a bummer." Johnson car survived that wreck, but the handling remained evil, and on Lap 49 he spun again off Turn 4 and clobbered the inside wall near the entrance to pit road. The wreck put Johnson out of the race, his sixth straight DNF in the season-opening exhibition event. With 14 laps left, Martin Truex Jr . tried to fill a hole that wasn't there and clipped the right front of Kyle Larson 's No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Truex spun in Turn 3, rocketed toward the outside wall and caught the left rear of Chris Buescher 's No. 37 Chevrolet, which needed two trips to pit road to repair the damage. That wreck set up the wild 11-lap run to the finish that saw the opportunistic Logano take advantage of the last-lap tangle between Keselowski and Hamlin. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
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. emerges from concussion rehab stronger, centered and ready to win
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: Dale Jr.'s complete Daytona 500 history NEW YORK CITY -- A production assistant pins a lavalier microphone to the lapel of Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s suit jacket in a newsroom studio inside FOX News on Sixth Avenue. "One, two, three, four, five. Hello, hello," the 14-time NMPA Most Popular Driver says instinctively, without instruction from the PA. You can tell this -- the sound test, the back-to-back-to-back-to-back (and then some) interviews, the traipsing around the "Big Apple" to promote the 2017 Daytona 500 , everything -- feels normal to him, like second-nature. Not long ago, there was no such thing as normal for Earnhardt. The Hendrick Motorsports driver will make his return to points-paying competition in Sunday's "Great American Race" (2 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) after missing the second half of last season following concussion-like symptoms from wrecks at Michigan International Speedway in June and at Daytona International Speedway in July. The road back was a lengthy, arduous, winding trail filled with uncertainty and confusion. "You'd be doing something during the day and something would happen and you'd go 'Whoa, what was that? That was weird,' " Earnhardt told NASCAR.com, who tagged along with him for the day. "Just these little moments when you might get dizzy or you might forget about something that you think you shouldn't forget about. That used to happen all the time." Dale Earnhardt Jr . gets mic'd up. Earnhardt was cleared to race in December after months of rehabilitation and doctor appointments. He says he's fully healthy and recovered from his concussion, but don't hold your breath on him throwing out that cliché preseason line about being in the best shape of his life. RELATED: Watch Dale Jr.'s full interview from Daytona Media Day "I think I was probably at my peak physical condition at … 1? But since then it's all been downhill," Earnhardt joked. "I feel healthy. Mentally, I'm always sort of self-analyzing so I'm not having these things that would bring (the concussion) to my attention anymore. "The further you get removed from that stuff, the less you even remember it happening, or the less you think about it. When you go a day or a week never even thinking about the injury or the past, you're free from it. I feel great. Like I said, the doctors have given me a lot of confidence, just talking to them. They're like, 'Man, you're good. We feel good about this. We feel good about you racing. We feel good about you crashing.' You've got to have those." To get a sign-off from his doctors on crashing -- a near-certainty to happen over the course of a 36-race season -- is massive. The risk of another concussion will always be in the back of Earnhardt's mind after this most recent one kept him sidelined for so long. But he can't let that apprehension occupy him behind the wheel. "The wrecks and stuff are inevitable and I do worry. There's been crashes that I haven't had issues with, but there's been a few wrecks that I have had issues," Earnhardt said. "I don’t know … my doctors told me basically that I was healthy and if they thought I shouldn't race, they would let me know. They said, 'Look, we feel good about you racing. We feel like anything that happens … it's a dangerous sport and you're going to be at risk no more than you were before. Anything that happens to you, we can fix.' " Dale Earnhardt Jr . signs autographs for fans on the streets of New York. Talking to Earnhardt, it's clear 2016 was a year that challenged on many levels. It was also a year of tremendous growth and reflection that culminated -- quite literally -- with a marriage to longtime girlfriend Amy Earnhardt (née Reimann) on New Year's Eve, a topic that took center stage throughout his media tour at the "TODAY Show," FOX News, "The Dan Patrick Show," Inc. Magazine and "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen." RELATED: Dale Jr., Amy Reimann get married on New Year's Eve Even if she did miss a question or two on the unofficially official " Dale Earnhardt Jr ." quiz on The Dan Patrick Show ( watch it here ), Earnhardt touts Amy's support and gives her nearly all the credit for his transformation. "I think I feel like a stronger, more complete person thanks to her. I hope that this isn't just a mood, that it's more permanent. I think we'll find out as we just get into the grit of the season, week-to-week and going from track to track and being tugged in all kinds of different directions by my responsibilities. Hopefully this sticks." With health in hand and a family life starting to come together at 42 years old, nobody would have blamed the 26-time winner in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for walking away before the start of his 18th full-time season. RELATED: Dale Jr. regals listeners with family storytime Dale Earnhardt Jr . with Andy Cohen of 'Watch What Happens Live' But the big news of the past week was Earnhardt's looming contract extension, with his current deal set to expire at year's end and a talented replacement champing at the bit for a full-time opportunity in Alex Bowman . RELATED: Dale Jr. discusses contract status Earnhardt won't walk away "until the gas tank is on empty," but he can't quite pinpoint when that'll be. He says any extension would be "no less than two, no more than three" years, but has put off negotiations with team owner Rick Hendrick until he knows he can commit, health-wise, long term. "I don't know (how much gas is left in the tank.) If I told you, 'Man, I've got three years,' I don’t know if I'd be telling you the full truth," said Earnhardt, a two-time Daytona 500 winner. "I can't see, I can't feel it. I know I want to finish this year and if I finish … everybody keeps asking me about my goals for a successful season, and that's to finish every race. If I'm in every race, and not injured and not missing races, then that's a successful season. "I think that will propel me into a new extension. The only thing holding me up, really, is knowing that I can do it, health-wise. Knowing that I can be there every week. If I'm going to sign a deal to be there and work for my owner … I love this man like a father. And I don't want to tell him I can be there for three more years if I can't. I'm going to get a few months under my belt and get the confidence that we can start working on the extension and I think if we get there, I'm signing that extension with the intent of doing that contract. "Now, that might be the last one but I don't know. You just don't know these things. I mean, I know drivers -- and I won't say names -- but I know very, very successful drivers in this sport that five years ago were ready to hang it up, just fed up. And they're happier today than they've ever been." Earnhardt mentioned that he nearly walked away from the sport earlier this decade, but credited his support system for pulling him back. And he's thankful it did. "I've been down, down in the dumps," he said. "Hell, if I didn't have the right support system around me, I probably would've quit in 2010, 2011. I'm glad I didn't. We got this ship righted and got to winning some races and I've had the best time behind the wheel that I've ever had in my career for three or four years now. "So who says that if I stick around that it can't get even better? I want to see, I want to wait." RELATED: Dale Jr. on front row for Sunday's Daytona 500 &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;span _rtetemp=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;spchk&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; style=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;background-color: #ffffaa;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; _rtespchksugg=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;Lt"alt"ult"flt"let"lit"lat"lot"ltd"t&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;am&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/span&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;p;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Watch Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s full interview at Media Day
Catch Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s entire Daytona Media Day interview as he addresses questions regarding retirement, the Daytona 500 and his eventful off-season.
Relive Dale Jarrett's first career win at MIS
It all came down to the last lap of the 1991 Champion Spark Plug 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Relive the dramatic finish between two legendary NASCAR drivers, Dale Jarrett and Davey Allison.
Dale on Dillon: 'I was hoping he would go with me'
Dale Earnhardt Jr. talks about his first race back in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and leading the most laps in the second Can-Am Duel.
From The Vault: Gordon wins 1997 Daytona 500
Relive the closing laps of the 1997 Daytona 500, Jeff Gordon's first win in the Great American Race.
Diamonds in the rough: NASCAR eBay findings
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: Read more Inside Groove ITEM 1: Richard Petty autographed photo w/ Rick Wilson at the zoo It's what you've dreamt of for the past 25 years -- an autographed photo of Richard Petty. And Rick Wilson. AT THE ZOO. Alternative: Men's NASCAR Classics light blue Richard Petty 80th birthday shirt While the photo would look great at your desk at the office instead of that picture of your family, a T-Shirt featuring The King might do a better job out in public. ITEM 2: NASCAR sheet metal No. 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's quarter-panel A piece of sheet metal from Kevin Harvick 's Jimmy John's car that just reads "Freaky." Give the guests stopping by your racing cave the wrong idea. Alternative: Unsigned Kevin Harvick Fanatics authentic display case with race-used sheet metal Protect yourself from sharp metal edges with a display-case protected piece of Happy's car. ITEM 3: 2003 Wheels High Gear No. 69 Greg Biffle rookie racing card A Greg Biffle rookie card -- No. 69, of course. Alternative: Greg Biffle pit row cornhole game set Greg Biffle cornhole. I think he would have wanted it this way. ITEM 4: Ryan Newman action figure An action figure of Ryan Newman spilling a bottle of sports drink. Butter fingers! Alternative: Men's Ryan Newman New Era black team relation knit beanie Protect your head from rogue sports drink spray. ITEM 5: Dale Jr. NASCAR 3M Hard Charger Award A novelty check for $25,000. If you successfully cash it, you've got a pretty decent return on investment. Alternative: NASCAR Superstore $25 Gift Card Why have $25,000 in novelty dollars when you can have 25 real dollars' worth of NASCAR merchandise? ITEM 6: Ron Hornaday No. 2 pit board sign Does Ron Hornaday live in your neighborhood? Wave this sign out front of your house and find out -- he'll surely stop! Alternative: WinCraft NASCAR street sign You might get a little more buy-in from your cohabitants with the alternative. ITEM 7: Mike Bliss Advair race-used fire suit Was your Mike Bliss Halloween costume feeling incomplete? No longer. Alternative: Men's Kyle Busch orange M&M's Halloween t-shirt Of course there's no true alternative to a complete Mike Bliss driver suit and helmet. ITEM 8: Dale Jarrett No. 88 race-used tire side wall picture Finally! The answer to your longtime question: "Where can I find a photo of Dale Jarrett to put inside the sidewall of my tire?" Alternative: Dale Jarrett collectible lot of 15 trading cards You might be able to assemble all these trading cards on a piece of poster board, and enjoy 15 pictures of Dale Jarrett instead of just one. ITEM 9: Mike Wallace No. 91 Spam Racing denim jacket Want to show your love of Mike Wallace 's tenure in Joe Falk's No. 91 Spam Racing machine from the late '90s? What better way than with a 20-year-old denim jacket? Alternative: Rusty Wallace black vintage car t-shirt While Mike Wallace merchandise is hard to come by in this decade, you can always count on brother Rusty to come through with vintage shirts. ITEM 10: Dale Jr. wakeboard You've often asked yourself: "How can I combine my love of NASCAR and passion for wakeboarding?" Look no further than this Dale Earnhardt Jr .-from-the-early-2000s-themed wakeboard. Alternative: Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2017 wall calendar Of course, there's no substitute for a wakeboard -- but this calendar can help you remember when it's time to hit the ... waves? (Or whatever it is that wakeboarders say). ITEM 11: Dale Sr. knife set in metal tin car What do we have here? If you guessed "a car resembling the late Dale Earnhardt's that's been stretched out in Microsoft Paint and has wheels that don’t touch the ground," you're right! Alternative: Dale Earnhardt checkered flag black name and number bandana How about a nice bandana instead? ITEM 12: Race-used Cougar hood It's a hood. With a cougar. Alternative: Fanatics authentic Daytona generic chair with black track bottom It's hard to beat actual seats from Daytona International Speedway . ITEM 13: Kyle Busch ID holder Holy heck! A genuine "Kyle Bush" ID holder! And you’d better believe it's emblazoned with that famous No. 18 (well, a No. 18 that doesn't really resemble the real thing). Alternative: WinCraft NASCAR color frost key ring How about something a little more official? (And speaking of ... ) ITEM 14 : NASCAR race official race-used fire suit There's no telling what you could do when you show up to the race in an Official's uniform. Alternative: Men's Fanatics branded black NASCAR t-shirt It's probably a safer bet to show your love of NASCAR with a simple t-shirt than impersonating a race official. Trust me on that one.