Son of legendary driver Dan Gurney looks for first Rolex 24 win
Kenny Wallace on driver accountability, plans for Bowyer's 2016 season RELATED: Subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated Kenny Wallace is decidedly old school. When it comes to the debate about NASCAR being tougher in policing restarts, Wallace insists that it's the drivers who need to serve as judge and jury for those guilty of too much gamesmanship. That hot-button issue kicks off this week's installment of Herman Unplugged: NASCAR ILLUSTRATED: Drivers including Dale Earnhardt Jr . have been vocal about NASCAR too loosely policing restarts. Is there room for improvement there? HERMAN: "No, I disagree with all that. Ten to 15 years ago we had something called gentlemen's agreements. We have these restarts between two red lines and it's gamesmanship to where you’re gonna start. I tell you how you fix that: If the driver in front brake checks you, you beat his ass in between the haulers. In my day, Terry Labonte and Kyle Petty chewed my ass out when I did something wrong. I feel that the drivers need to do what we did, which is go between the trailers and say, 'If you brake check me on a restart again, I'll whip your ass.' These guys just need to go, that's all there is to it. If they start playing these games, you just fix it with a fistfight and that will stop it right there." NI: Tragic situation with IndyCar driver Justin Wilson losing his life at Pocono. Tony Stewart loaned his plane to Wilson's brother Stefan so he could be with him at hospital Sunday night. It was another example of the motorsports community rallying to help in a time of need. Do you have a personal story on that front to share? HERMAN: "We get so wrapped up in competition and when it comes down to the end and we have perspective, you realize competition for what it is and then we have life over here. When my father passed away October 30, 2011, Rick Hendrick gave us one of his big team planes that seats some 30-50 people and we flew my dad's casket in the belly of that airplane all the way back to St. Louis. We went to write a check to Rick and he would not take it. We tried hard to pay him and he would not take anything." NI: The last on-track fatality in NASCAR came on that dark day at Daytona in 2001. Not to compare the two series, but what do you think it says about NASCAR that there hasn't been a death in that long? HERMAN: "I feel that NASCAR has reacted much stronger than any other sanctioning body in the world. NASCAR reacts quickly now whenever something happens from a safety perspective. If a driver finds a concrete wall they thought they would never hit, by the very next race there's something done about it. Within a year, IndyCar had a driver get hit by a spring in the head and then a driver get hit by a wheel, and it amazes me that with technology and the new world we live in that they haven't reacted faster. To their credit, after Dan Wheldon's passing, they redesigned the whole car. But they have to do something with those cockpits. It's a must." NI: What's your best guess on where Clint Bowyer lands in 2016? HERMAN: "The reason this is the best kept secret is I truly believe Clint Bowyer doesn't know where he's going. I don't think there's any story here; all we know is Clint Bowyer will go somewhere because he's got some money from 5-hour Energy. He's a good driver and he has money. That's a recipe for a bidding war. Although we know that 5-hour is only enough money to get you halfway, so whoever wins the bidding war for Clint has to know he's only gonna have enough money to get you to the 50-yard line. So you'll have to have more money to fund the rest of the season. 5-hour is a great sponsor but not one for the whole year." NI: Notwithstanding all the wins by Joe Gibbs Racing and Joey Logano lately, it's hard not to like Kevin Harvick to repeat as Sprint Cup champion. Is that how you see it too? HERMAN: "I see that he's a favorite and I'll tell you why. He hasn't started his mind games yet. He's been real mellow. Once he starts being a hard ass, he'll get into people's heads. He hasn't even used his bumper yet. Once he starts that and using that cage fighting mentality, it's gonna be a different game. He hasn't used his psychology and his mouth yet and once he does it'll be pretty fun to watch." SUBSCRIBE NOW!
Boris Said: 'The infield at Sebring is like a mini-Talladega'
Michigan race winner discusses his family's jam song and more RELATED: Kenseth wins at Michigan Matt Kenseth dominated on the track on Sunday to win the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway and his six-year-old daughter, Kaylin, had a predetermined family celebration planned out. Appearing on "The Dan Patrick Show," Kenseth told the host just how he celebrated after his third victory of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and the celebration involved that catchy Kool & The Gang classic hit. (You know, you know it.) Let's let Kenseth describe the scene involving the whole family. "Katie was there. My three little girls were there, which was fun, so they got to go to Victory Lane. We were at the race track for a really long time so I have this radio station in my car when I take my girls to school that we always listen to and its called 'Kids Classic Hits' and you have all these songs come on. It's like old pop stuff but it's kind of for kids and so they like Kool & The Gang 'Celebration' believe it or not. "And Kaylin’s like, 'if you ever win a race dad, we listen to 'Celebration' on the way home.' So we all got in the rental car and I found 'Celebration' on my phone and we were all singing to that on the way to the airport. So that was our celebration." Patrick was amazed by the thought of the 2003 Cup champion singing and pressed for some details. "Yeah it was pretty funny. They usually got me trying to sing Taylor Swift, which was slightly embarrassing for me since I've always liked metal. Kool & The Gang 'Celebration' was kind of better than that." And while Matt may like metal, it's been Taylor Swift jams that have been flowing in the Kenseth household. "Metallica has always been my all-time favorite band. I like a little bit of everything. I don't get to listen to my genre of music as much as I used to. "Lately, my four-and-six-year-old (daughters Grace and Kaylin) have been extremely addicted to Taylor Swift music so I have that in my head way more than I wish I would but that's better than having Yo Gabba Gabba! in your head."
Plenty of road racers have made an impact on NASCAR
Check out how sports car racing will change forever in 2014.
In this episode of The Dirty Air Podcast, the guys are joined by Jeb Burton to discuss his Darlington paint scheme, the racing at Bristol and the finer points of the Virginia accent.
Jeb Burton joined The Dirty Air Podcast and discussed his throwback paint scheme that he will race for the first time at Darlington Raceway.
Cody Coughlin gets loose and wrecks up in Turn 4, collecting Ben Kennedy along the way at Michigan International Speedway.
No. 88 driver reminisces on his dad, Talladega on the 'Dan Patrick Show' RELATED: Dan Patrick's marriage proposal advice for Dale Jr. The 26th-place finish during last year’s spring race at Talladega Superspeedway still haunted Dale Earnhardt Jr . He had celebrated in Victory Lane since then – twice at Pocono Raceway and once at Martinsville. But to the Earnhardt family, Talladega had always been special . “I was betting on the pack wrecking before we crossed the finish line and it didn't happen and I finished 26th with a perfectly fine race car, and I just was so ashamed,” Earnhardt said on the " Dan Patrick Show" Tuesday of last year’s spring event in Alabama. “I was embarrassed and ashamed, and, you know, I learned a really, really hard lesson in that race.” “…I can't run conservatively for part of the race and then switch it on at the end and expect to make all the right decisions. I have to start the race with one goal and one objective and just be that way every lap.” Aggressive racing was the answer for Dale Jr. on Sunday, as he spent most of the afternoon toward the front of the pack. The effort paid dividends, as he took the checkered flag to a roar from Junior Nation in the grandstands. This time, his No. 88 car wasn’t in perfect condition -- he went to Victory Lane with a race car spewing smoke, the result of overheating from debris on the front of his grill. With eight laps to go, Earnhardt contracted debris on his front grill, causing his car’s water temperature – and heartbeats -- to skyrocket. “Yeah, we actually saw it before the driver saw it, before Dale Jr. saw it, and we saw the debris and at that point, what are you going to do?” said Earnhardt’s spotter TJ Majors during the Dale Jr. Download on Dirty Mo Radio Tuesday. “We’re going to have to run until it blows up at that point.” “… He said he hasn’t seen it push water yet, but I don’t know if you necessarily see it push water when you’re doing 200 miles an hour. But to me, I wasn’t going to…if he says, ‘Oh I don’t see any water in it yet’ – keep your foot in it then, just keep going.” “Keep going” is just what Earnhardt did. And just what his father Dale Earnhardt -- who earned the nickname the “Intimidator” for a reason -- would have done. While Earnhardt’s driving style isn’t completely reminiscent of his hard-hitting father’s, he is learning just when he needs to play it smart – and when to turn it up. “I feel like I'm more of a thinker,” Earnhardt said on the " Dan Patrick Show." “As far as a race car driver -- I feel like I'm a smart driver. Dad had that intimidating style and nickname, and he lived up to that persona. That was him every day and how he raced on the track. He never was the kind of guy that outthought everybody and, you know, was the clever guy or the sly guy. He was just aggressive and running hard and pushing and shoving.” But a fast race car from crew chief Greg Ives and the No. 88 shop, coupled with Earnhardt’s desire to redeem himself from last year at Talladega – boded for a more Intimidator-like Junior on Sunday. And redemption was certainly sweet for Junior on Sunday, as he took a victory lap Alan Kulwicki-style on the track, waving to a full and cheering crowd. He finally won at a track that he dominated in his early years but has been puzzled by the past decade. “I got my confidence back now,” Earnhardt said in the post-race press conference Sunday. “I know what I need to do, and that's run hard, not lay back, not worry about crashing out, bad points. I'd rather crash and not finish well trying than to be riding around in the back. Certainly hard lesson to learn, but I learned it.” And to learn it at Talladega, a breeding ground for Junior Nation and a place where the Earnhardt name is revered perhaps more than any other track – was even sweeter. “It feels like if there's one track where we have the most supporters, it seems like Talladega has always felt that way,” Earnhardt said on the " Dan Patrick Show." “There's just so many Earnhardt fans there. It felt that way when Dad raced there … They came there year after year and seen us either come close or be disappointing. So it was great to, you know, send them home happy, man. “That's what they come here to see, is us do well and win the race." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule