JR Motorsports will make its Truck debut this weekend at Martinsville Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Kelley Earnhardt Miller appeared on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Wednesday. Among other topics, she discussed JR Motorsports' first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway . Earnhardt Miller, co-owner of JR Motorsports, said earlier this year that there were no plans at that time to field the organization’s Camping World Truck Series team for any races beyond the 10 currently in place with driver Cole Custer . On Wednesday she said that was still the case, but also said Sprint Cup Series Dale Earnhardt Jr . had broached the subject of driving the truck. "He's definitely mentioned that that's something he might be interested in," Earnhardt Miller said. "I think he would want to see how the program is going to do, and make sure we have the resources and the capability to do that. Let Cole the team get off the ground first and see how that goes." The organization will make its CWTS debut this weekend at Martinsville Speedway , fielding the No. 00 Chevrolet for Custer in Saturday’s Kroger 250 (FOX Sports 1, 2:30 p.m. ET). The entry will carry sponsorship from Haas Automation and will be under the direction of crew chief Joe Shear Jr . Earnhardt Miller, Earnhardt Jr . and Sprint Cup Series team owner Rick Hendrick share ownership of JRM. One of the organization’s three full-time XFINITY Series teams features multiple Sprint Cup drivers, Earnhardt Jr ., Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne , behind the wheel for select events. Two other full-time teams feature drivers Chase Elliott and Regan Smith , who finished 1-2 in points, respectively, last season. "He ( Earnhardt Jr .) and some others have expressed interest in running the truck," Earnhardt Miller said. “We’ve actually gotten calls from other people saying ‘do you want to fill out the balance of your schedule and run it full time?' "We really don't want to do that. We want to focus on Cole. If the opportunity exists to put a couple of the Cup drivers in there to make our program stronger, (that's) really why would we want to do that… "I won’t say it’s not going to happen but there aren’t any concrete plans for it to happen right now." Even though the XFINITY Series is taking a one-week break after five consecutive races to open the 2015 season, it is shaping up to be a big weekend for JRM. Custer, 17, made his NCWTS debut last season with Haas Racing Development and became the youngest winner in a NASCAR national series event when he won the UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . In only nine starts, he scored six top-10s and two poles. Elliott, the defending XFINITY Series champion, will attempt to make his Sprint Cup Series debut in Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville. The 19-year-old is scheduled to step into the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet in 2016, replacing four-time series champion Jeff Gordon . HMS will field a No. 25 entry for Elliott this weekend, with veteran crew chief Kenny Francis heading up the team. With Elliott already tabbed for the move to Sprint Cup next season, Custer could be auditioning for a full-time XFINITY Series ride with the organization. "Hopefully, that (truck effort) will roll into an XFINITY Series ride for Cole, depending on how he performs," Earnhardt Miller said. It will be the first start of the season for Custer, who is limited to competing on road courses and tracks 1.1 miles or less in length due to his age. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Kelley Earnhardt Miller talks about the circumstances it would take for Dale Earnhardt Jr . to run in the NCWTS.
Driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet earns fourth top-six result in five races Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live FONTANA, Calif. -- Coming off a sixth-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway , Dale Earnhardt Jr . is feeling good. That finish is especially welcomed when just one week prior in the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway , the 12-time NMPA Most Popular Driver Award winner suffered a tire failure that sent the No. 88 into the wall and to a last-place finish, demolishing his streak of three consecutive top-five finishes to open the season. "We're just glad to be able to rebound," Earnhardt Jr . said Sunday at Auto Club Speedway . "Last week was very dismal, disappointing and frustrating." Although Dale Jr . was the one piloting the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at Fontana, he has his team -- newcomers and old faces -- to thank for his performance on the oldest asphalt on the Sprint Cup Series schedule. "Greg's real sharp," Dale Jr . said referring to his crew chief, Greg Ives, who is in his first season atop the pit box for the No. 88 team. "He's still, you know, learning the ropes and taking everything in. He's a sponge, just absorbing everything he can. He's got a great help, too. Kevin Meendering is my lead engineer from last year. There's a lot of great information that Kevin already knows about me, what I like, don't like, what's worked for us in the past to make our cars work. So he's feeding off of that. I'm sure Kevin is giving him a lot of great information." Junior might still be adjusting to Ives, but his performances this season don't show a lack of familiarity between driver and pit boss as he is currently fourth in the driver standings with three top-fives and four top-10 finishes. The Sprint Cup Series heads to Martinsville Speedway for the STP 500 (March 29, 1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) next weekend where Dale Jr . won the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 in October of 2014, earning his first grandfather clock. "I'm surrounded by a bunch of great guys, a great crew," Earnhardt Jr . said. "Look forward to getting to the next race. We want to get a win, get that in the bank if we can." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Ryan Newman, Brian Vickers and Martin Truex Jr . talk about having good runs at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Fourth-place finish gives Earnhardt three straight top-four finishes to start '14 Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live LAS VEGAS -- It all looks so easy, so effortless, when Dale Earnhardt Jr . and that No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet glide around the race track, snapping up the competition and soaring toward the front of the pack. Trust crew chief Greg Ives on this: It's not so simple. "It's been a lot of damn hard work," Ives said while walking through the garage following Sunday's Kobalt 400 , pausing to autograph a No. 88 hat. "We work hard. Everybody on the team does. Dale , me, the guys at the shop, the engineers, all those guys. They make it seem easy, but it's not." If that's the case, they're likely fooling a lot of folks. Once again, the No. 88 came off the hauler fast, this time in sun-splashed Las Vegas. Once again, it kept that speed on race day. Junior finished fourth Sunday, and it's his third consecutive top-five to start the year. It's the second consecutive year in which Earnhardt's group has notched that achievement, but this year's mark was set under the backdrop of change. Ives is just one piece of a rebuilt No. 88 puzzle as Junior's first-year crew chief -- the over-the-wall crew has three new members, too, yet there hasn't been a dip in either car speed or stops on pit road. "I think we were first, second, second (to start the season last year), so we have to step it up a little bit," Junior said with a laugh. "No, Hendrick, overall, has great speed and the engine department is doing awesome. We're having fun." Clearly. The veteran has been at-ease this entire season, and for the second year in a row at Las Vegas was pleased with a late-race gamble. Last year, it was a fuel strategy call that had Junior leading on the last lap, only to go dry on the final circuit and finish second. This year it was a two-tire call on the final round of green-flag pit stops, one that put him first when pit stops had cycled through. The dominant No. 4 Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick eventually caught and passed Junior, and Earnhardt wound up finishing fourth -- he was second at the time of the late pit stop. Still, it was the spirit in which that decision was made and not the subsequent loss of two spots that had Earnhardt excited. "We didn't put lefts (tires) on it; made it a gamble," he said. "I like to gamble. I liked the call. I love being aggressive. We weren't going to drive up there and pass that No. 4. So, we had to take a chance. Second, fifth, fourth, whatever; it really don't matter if you don't win." Wins may be coming soon, though, especially as Earnhardt continues to learn about his ability to adjust the track bar mid-race. After not finding it useful early on this season, he came out even more strongly in favor of it Sunday, making the self-adjusting track bar just another new thing that seems to work for this group. "We've been running the track bar pretty much even the whole race, and at the end there I had it down three inches on right side trying to save my butt," he said. "Maybe it was worn-out lefts, I don't know. The left side (tires) is new and a little softer compound maybe we just took it a little bit too far." Maybe, but as his late-race gamble shows, this group would rather take it a little too far than play it conservatively. They have the speed and the skill; it's those types of decisions, though, that often mean the difference between challenging for a win and, well, not. "This year, our cars are racing up there," Earnhardt said. "So, we think we've got the cars better than we had last year. But I want to win. We're going to get there." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView toda FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
No. 88 driver has finished in the top four in all three 2015 races RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s string of three consecutive top-five finishes came to a halt here Sunday when the Hendrick Motorsports driver suffered a tire failure and crashed during the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway . "Not a lot of guys are having tire problems," Earnhardt Jr . said after exiting the infield care center. "(Sam) Hornish had one similar to us. You just can't abuse it. We were really, really loose and just abused the tire. You want to get angry but you've got to get the balance of the car better. "A lot of guys are running without any problem. We were super, super loose; it just wore the tire out." The incident occurred on Lap 181 of the 312-lap race. According to Goodyear officials, the right-rear tire problem was the result of a melted bead and was the same issue suffered by Hornish, who had a tire go down earlier in the race. Earnhardt opened the season with top-five finishes at Daytona, Atlanta and Las Vegas and entered Sunday's race second in the points standings. Damage to the No. 88 Chevrolet was too extensive to try and repair and get the driver back out before the conclusion of the race. Earnhardt said crew chief Greg Ives had told him the team had seen no previous tire issues on previous stops Sunday. "We were progressively getting worse and worse on entry," Earnhardt said. "I imagine we put that set through hell compared to the other ones. "I like the tire a lot and I applaud Goodyear for trying to soften it up because the other tire we had here wasn't a lot of fun. This one is pretty good to race with, the car's still real, real hard to pass with. Shifting is a little annoying … it's a little bit of a pain in the ass to shift. "But the tire's OK. We were too loose. We’ve got to get the balance better.” Earnhardt was credited with a 43rd-place finish. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Last fall's Martinsville winner optimistic this weekend as driver, owner
Danica Patrick rallies late to make Daytona 500 field Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Buy Daytona 500 gear RELATED: Daytona Duel #1 results " Daytona Duel #2 results " Daytona 500 starting lineup DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—Hendrick Motorsports swept the front-row starting positions for Sunday's Daytona 500. Apparently enjoying the feeling, HMS then swept Thursday's Budweiser Duel at Daytona twin 150-mile qualifying races. Dale Earnhardt Jr . came from his last-place starting position to win Thursday night's first Budweiser Duel at Daytona 150-mile qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway, as unsung heroes behind him diced their way into the 57th running of the Great American Race (1 p.m. ET on FOX). Jimmie Johnson, on the pole for the second Duel and already locked into the outside of the front row for the Daytona 500, completed the Hendrick sweep with a .125-second victory over Kyle Busch, leading 40 laps in the process. MORE: Driver Reports previews the Daytona 500 In a drama-filled second Duel, both Danica Patrick and David Ragan recovered from wrecks to race their way into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' most prestigious race, Patrick with a strong push from Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch. For the second time during Speedweeks, Patrick was involved in a crash with Denny Hamlin, and the two drivers had an extended animated conversation as soon as the cars parked on pit road. Earnhardt started 25th in the first Duel because his qualifying time was disallowed after inspectors discovered a ride-height violation on his No. 88 Chevrolet after Sunday's time trials. Undeterred, Earnhardt worked his way methodically to the front, grabbing the lead for the first time on Lap 35. All told, Earnhardt led 21 laps and crossed the finish line .165 seconds ahead of Hendrick Motorsports teammate and Daytona 500 polesitter Jeff Gordon. As the winner of the first Duel, Earnhardt will line up behind Gordon in the third spot on the grid for Sunday's race. MORE: Danica rallies to make Daytona 500 " Mears makes Daytona 500 field In the non-points qualifier, Earnhardt won for the first time with new crew chief Greg Ives, who took over this season for Steve Letarte, hired by NBC Sports as a television analyst. "We have had a great car all week," Earnhardt said. "I'm so glad to be able to get through the Duel in one piece, because I know how good this race car is. We have a couple more practices to go through and try to stay out of trouble during those and put this thing on the grid. We're going to have a fun day on Sunday. "We had to do a lot of blocking there at the end, but those guys were mounting some pretty hard charges. We made a lot of good moves tonight because the car is so good. TJ Majors (spotter) deserves a ton of credit for helping us win that race tonight. He called a great spotting job up on top of the hill there. He gave me all the information I needed to make the moves I needed to kind of keep them guys behind me." Joey Logano came home third, followed by Tony Stewart and Clint Bowyer, whose fifth-place finish in a backup car represented a stroke of good fortune during an otherwise star-crossed week at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. The real drama in the first Duel, however, took place behind the frontrunners, as Landon Cassill (ninth), Cole Whitt (10th), Michael McDowell (12th), JJ Yeley (13th), Michael Annett (14th) and Ty Dillon (16th) all earned starting spots in the 500. McDowell made the most dramatic move, forcing his way up the middle and racing from the tail end of the field to 12th place on the final lap. "When I crossed that white flag (to start the last lap) I was thinking, 'I have to do this. I don't know what we're gonna do, I don't know how we're gonna do it, but we've just got to do it,'" McDowell said. "You can't make these cars go faster. I had a run that was building and there wasn't a gap and I made a gap. "I tore up both sides of the race car in the process of doing it and had to block some people, and probably upset a few people along the way, but this race is so important for us to make…" WATCH: Bayne involved in late wreck For Johnson, the win in the second Duel was a continuation of a week that couldn’t have gone better. "It's a special night," Johnson said. "What a race car. I'm stoked for my teammate ( Dale Earnhardt Jr .) to win the first Duel. We won the second, and Jeff (Gordon) and I have the front row locked down. It's been an awesome week for all our Hendrick Motorsports cars. "I'm just happy to start out the week like we have." On Lap 57 of the second Duel, Patrick spun in Turn 3 after Hamlin made a move to her inside in very close quarters. "I mean, we're superspeedway racing," Hamlin said, after he and Patrick went their separate ways. "I treat her as equal as anyone on the race track. She deserves her spot here, but you have to be able to run close to somebody on a superspeedway. You have to have your car stable enough to handle those situations and, to me, it's not much different than what it was with the 22 (Joey Logano) and the 4 (Kevin Harvick) last week (in the Sprint Unlimited) - only I wasn't pushing her. "I was just close to her and her car got loose and she spun. Thank goodness she got her way in the 500. I didn't want to be responsible for that. I treat her as an equal on the race track. I'm not going to say, 'It's Danica, so I've got to make sure I just leave some extra room.' If you're out here in the Cup Series, you have to be able to handle those situations." MORE: See all the Paint Schemes for the Daytona 500 Patrick wasn't buying it. "I'm confident other cars get very close, and things like that don't happen," said Patrick, who finished 10th after Busch propelled her through the field. "Done thousands of miles of this speedway racing now, and I haven't found that to be a problem. So I just think that he's wrong. "I think that he's too close. I think that he's taking the air and getting it off the spoiler, and he's not squared up either. That's also part of the problem. I don't know. Maybe he likes my left rear." Notes: Ty Dillon qualified for his first Daytona 500, as did Ryan Blaney, who will pilot the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford. … Six drivers failed to qualify: Ron Hornaday Jr ., Josh Wise, Jeb Burton, Justin Marks, Alex Bowman and Brian Scott. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Earnhardt seeks improvement after runner-up finish in last year's race
Junior: 'We're gonna win this race' RELATED: 40 pictures of Dale Jr . on his 40th birthday CONCORD, N.C. -- Feeling good on his 40th birthday, Dale Earnhardt Jr . called his shot in a televised interview after Friday's first practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway . "We're gonna win this race. I've got a really good feeling about it," Earnhardt Jr . said. Earnhardt Jr . was 11th in the practice session at 188.633 mph and will line up ninth in Saturday night's Bank of America 500 (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC). Despite being winless at Charlotte in 29 points starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Earnhardt Jr . has been optimistic about his chances to win the race throughout the week. "I'm really excited, actually," Earnhardt Jr . told the media on Thursday. "I was thrilled with how we ran last weekend. Super-fast car, this place is a bit similar. "We obviously know what the situation is with the points and how important it is for us to come in here and win the race. I have been winless at Charlotte in a points-paying race since I started my career, so it's bound to happen sooner or later. I always win at the weirdest times, in the oddest circumstances. So I feel like everything is lining up and feel real good about this weekend." On the season, Earnhardt Jr . has three wins, 11 top-fives and 17 top-10s. He finished 19th here in the spring in the Coca-Cola 600 and has not recorded a top-five finish at the track since 2008. Earnhardt Jr . led 45 laps at Kansas and was running the best he had in the Chase before a cut tire derailed his day and led to a 39th-place finish. With two races remaining in the Contender Round, Earnhardt Jr . is 11th in the standings and 25 points back of the final transfer spot to the Eliminator Round. A Chase driver must be in the top eight in points or have a win to advance to that round. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation