RELATED: Where does No. 88 team stack up in this week's pit crew rankings? CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Dale Earnhardt Jr . said he doesn't anticipate any further changes to his pit crew even though teammate Jimmie Johnson has been knocked out of this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Earnhardt and fellow Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon advanced into the Contender Round of the Chase, which begins this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Johnson, a six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, did not secure one of the 12 Chase positions, falling by the wayside when a rear axle seal failed during Sunday's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway . RELATED: Johnson's dream of seventh title in 2015 washed away at Dover Speaking to the media Tuesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Earnhardt couldn't guarantee that there would be no changes in his over-the-wall crew, "but I would like to keep my guys," he said. Earnhardt's last win came in July at Daytona. His pass of Jamie McMurray in the closing laps at Dover vaulted him into the Contender Round, but he and his team had to overcome a loose wheel during the race to put themselves back in contention. A caution allowed Earnhardt to pit and correct the problem and kept him from having to come to pit road under green-flag conditions. "I'll be honest with you. … I don't know what's going to happen. You might find out tomorrow that somebody got changed," he said. "I don't think you build a guy's trust … he needs to know that you believe in him; the same for the driver. The driver needs to know the team believes he can do it. "I think the (tire) carrier, the (tire) changer, all those guys want to think that the driver and everyone involved believes in them when they go over the wall. "If I take the 48 guys because I think they're better, then what am I going to do next year when we have to start from scratch again? All those guys that are on my car now are going to be pissed off because I don't believe in them because I took the 48 guys when the going got tough. "So I don't believe in doing that. I think that my guys can do it; I think we will find the combination that works for us to get to the end of the season and beyond." RELATED: Change made to No. 88 pit crew Earnhardt's No. 88 crew has been retooled in recent weeks, most recently for Dover as front-tire changer Scott Brzozowski replaced David Mayo, who had earlier been replaced by Kevin Novak but had been brought back onto the main crew. The addition of Brzozowski can possibly be a game-changer for the team, according to Earnhardt . "I hope that Scott wants to stick around beyond this season," he said. "I actually talked to him today. "It's not like we need two new (tire) changers. We just need one key guy that can come in and kind of elevate the standard and push everyone. Over the past couple of years when we've had great pit crews, a lot of the guys that we've been working with this year were on those teams. "If you get one guy in there that’s kind of a key player … like a wide receiver or a quarterback is to a football team, he can really elevate the play of everybody around him and boost the entire crew; just the confidence that those guys have going over the wall when he's a part of it changes the whole consistency of the team." Gordon's No. 24 team picked up the services of tire changer Nick Odell recently, which freed up the move for Brzozowski to the 88. Gordon, a four-time champion in his final full-time season, is still searching for his first win in 2015. "We really want Scott to try to wrap his brain around sticking with us," Earnhardt said. "We could really use a guy like him on the 88 car to bring some stability to the rest of the group. I've got a lot of faith in our guys; it's not like we need to go crazy and blow it up, go looking outside our system." Any crew changes for his team, he said, would be orchestrated by crew chief Greg Ives and Hendrick Motorsports General Manager Doug Duchardt. Swapping individual crew members heading into the Chase isn't unusual. There have even been cases of swapping entire crews, in the middle of a race no less, as Johnson and Gordon did in 2010. "I know teams have done that before but I just feel like, yeah you might get somewhere in the short term and get some stability but over the long term you basically have just destroyed the integrity of the team you have," Earnhardt said. "Having those guys back at the beginning of next season is not going to be an option. They're not going to want to work for you once you take them off the car during the Chase."
TaxSlayer.com revealed Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s paint scheme for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race the company will sponsor next year. The bright red look is different from a typical Junior scheme, but the man who drives the No. 88 Chevrolet likes it -- after all, he helped design it, according to the company, and Junior said on Twitter that he was influenced by one of his dad's paint schemes. Earnhardt 1987 https://t.co/FA8pO4Ohi7 — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) October 5, 2015 TaxSlayer.com is expanding its involvement with JR Motorsports in 2016 while also beginning a new relationship with Hendrick Motorsports . It will serve as the primary sponsor for a total of 10 NASCAR XFINITY Series races in 2016, appearing on the No. 7 JRM Chevrolet currently driven by Regan Smith as well as the No. 88 entry that has been fielded for various drivers this season. In addition to serving as the primary sponsor of Earnhardt Jr .'s No. 88 Sprint Cup entry for one race in 2016, TaxSlayer.com will also be an associate sponsor throughout the year.
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 .
Dale Earnhardt Jr . makes a pass around Jamie McMurray to clinch the 12th position and advance in the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
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).
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.
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!"
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.
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."
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