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Dale Jr.: 'Awesome to see' dad appreciated on birthday
RELATED: Full schedule for Talladega TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Dale Earnhardt Sr. would have been 65 years old on Friday. Fittingly, his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr ., spoke about his father on Friday at Talladega Superspeedway , where the paternal duo has a combined 16 Sprint Cup Series victories. "It's crazy to think of what he would have been like at 65 years old," said the Hendrick Motorsports driver. "You kind of had an idea he wouldn't have changed a whole lot had he lived a little bit longer, but at 65 and what would he have been like at 80 and all those things would be hard to imagine." RELATED: Crew, competitors recall Earnhardt's final win " See all of his 76 wins So often in racing -- and in sports in general -- names and figures come and go as they pass through, their careers short or long. One has remained constant -- Earnhardt . "One of the best things about it, and I've said it before, is that it's great that people still talk about him. That the sport, his fans, the media, that everybody still acknowledges who he was and what he meant. That is all I care about … that we don't ever forget just the impact that he had because I felt like he had so much influence, definitely in the top five, top three people that influenced this sport as a whole, as much as Bill (France) Sr. and guys like that. I put him right up there with people that really changed the sport. "It's so awesome to see him get that kind of appreciation and recognition after all these years. Hopefully, that is something that never changes. I see it on his birthday and days like this is when I'm reminded of that appreciation that everybody has for him."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. reveals No. 88 paint scheme for Kansas
RELATED: See Junior's Darlington paint scheme " BUY TICKETS: Kansas SHOP: No. 88 gear Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s No. 88 Axalta/Carstar Chevrolet has a fresh look for GoBowling 400 on May 7 at Kansas Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The Hendrick Motorsports team revealed the paint scheme Thursday, a day after pulling the cover back on Junior's thowback paint scheme honoring the "Gray Ghost" for Labor Day weekend's Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway (Sept. 4, 6 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). That is one sweet ride, @DaleJr ! pic.twitter.com/RIPKb5A2qY — NASCAR (@NASCAR) April 14, 2016 In addition to the Kansas reveal, Dale Jr. took a lap around Uptown Charlotte in the car. MORE: See all the Darlington looks
Are Dale Jr. and 'Amelia' a Fantasy Live must have?
Marty Snider and Chris Rice tell you if Dale Earnhardt Jr. and 'Amelia' are a sure bet on your NASCAR Fantasy Live roster, after the car was repaired from a crash in the Daytona 500, and look at Matt Kenseth's chances at another Talladega victory.
Takin’ it to the streets with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes his newly unveiled Axalta No. 88 Chevrolet for a drive through uptown Charlotte, North Carolina.
Earnhardt Jr. rebounds from early miscue to match season-best finish
RELATED: Full race results BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr . spotted the field two laps and then nearly won the race Sunday. Well, maybe not won . But he did spot the field two laps, thanks to an unspecified electrical issue. And he did run as high as second with only five of the 500 laps remaining in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway . But it would have taken quite a turn of events for the Hendrick Motorsports driver to overtake leader and eventual race winner Carl Edwards . Not that he and crew chief Greg Ives didn’t try. Instead, Earnhardt wound up with his second consecutive second-place finish and his third of the season. Earnhardt said it was an issue with the braking system that caused the engine to shut off practically at the drop of the green flag. With no power, his No. 88 Chevrolet was nearly run over from behind by the No. 43 of Aric Almirola ( Richard Petty Motorsports ), which in turn was nearly run over by the No. 23 of David Ragan . "If your throttle is stuck and you mash the brake to a certain (pressure) -- you're going to mash the (expletive) out of that brake when the throttle sticks; it'll shut the motor off. That's a system; that's one of the two systems that you have to choose from in this sport. "The other is a button on the steering wheel. I don't like the button on the steering wheel because when the throttle sticks, I ain't going to think, 'Mash a button.' I'll be in the fence before it's over with.” Ives said officials were still evaluating the situation after the race. "It looks like the engine might have just went into protection mode," he said. "They’re still diagnosing it … we’re just double-checking everything before we claim (that) was the real issue." Once the problem was corrected, if not entirely solved, Earnhardt Jr. began the long, arduous task of racing his way back into contention on a speedy half-mile where passing options are limited and mistakes are often costly. He gained one of the lost laps by taking the wave-around during the first of 15 caution periods during the race. When the yellow flag appeared a third time at Lap 116, he once again remained on the track and was back on the lead lap when green-flag racing resumed. Late restarts were beneficial since for nearly each one, Earnhardt restarted in the preferred outside row. A position or two here, a position or two there and suddenly, with five laps remaining, he shot from fourth to second. A misstep by Edwards and the No. 88 team would have been in Victory Lane. But Edwards didn’t waver and both Earnhardt and Ives knew they didn’t have the best car. "We had a really good car last week, a top‑three car," Earnhardt said. "This car wasn't that good, but we kind of understand why. We're going outside the box as far as what we typically run here for setup. "And that's good. The setup didn't quite work but you still had a good day and you can go home and learn and try to science it out and make that setup work." Ives agreed. The car was good enough, he said, to allow his driver to make passes and "do what he needed to do." "But I don’t think we had a second-place car or a top-10 car," the crew chief said. "I felt like we were probably 12th to 15th at best with the race car. Just Dale working the traffic and doing what he needed to do got us in position there at the end. That really allowed us to get a second-place finish, but I definitely need to bring better cars. "Obviously we want to run well and win races, but if you just keep on bringing the same stuff year in year out you’re not going to learn anything." Earnhardt hasn’t won since last fall’s Phoenix race, however he and the team have five top-10s in the season’s first eight races. As a result, he sits sixth in points and is poised to head back to the Chase for the Sprint Cup at the end of this season. Not that he’s taking anything for granted. "Going to Victory Lane is important to our sponsors and it's obviously fun," he said. "But it's good for our team to set ourselves up to not have to worry about the Chase anymore. "Even though you know you're a top‑five team or top‑10 team that should make the Chase without any issue, you can't help but count them points to 16th or 17th each week."
Dale Jr. holds off Ty Dillon for XFINITY win at Richmond
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings RICHMOND, Va. -- After a massive late-race wreck scrambled the running order in Saturday's ToyotaCare 250 , Dale Earnhardt Jr . survived a two-lap dash in overtime to win his first NASCAR XFINITY Series race since 2010 and the first in his own JR Motorsports equipment. Earnhardt held off Ty Dillon by .266 seconds in a main event that ran nine laps past its scheduled distance of 140 laps, but Dillon collected the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus available to the two highest finishes among XFINITY Series regulars from each of the two heats that preceded the main event. The victory was Earnhardt's fourth at Richmond -- his first at the .75-mile short track since 2002 -- and the 24th of his career. Earnhardt's last win in the series came in the July 2010 race at Daytona in a No. 3 Chevrolet owned by Richard Childress. Earnhardt has not driven the No. 3, the number closely associated with his father, since that victory. On Saturday, he drove the No. 88 Chevrolet in his last scheduled start of the season for JR Motorsports. Though Earnhardt led 128 of the 149 laps after passing Erik Jones for the top spot on Lap 18, the final two were a challenge, with Dillon restarting beside him for the two-lap overtime. "Those last couple of laps, we were real loose in the corner," Earnhardt said. "I thought Ty was going to get to me -- he tried to get to me. When we got to (Turn 3), we drove into the corner wide-open." But Dillon couldn't pull even with Earnhardt , who cleared Dillon's No. 3 Chevrolet off Turn 4 on the first overtime lap. "We came up a little short, but we're going to get one soon," Dillon said. Dillon wouldn't have had a shot at the win at all, had a nine-car pileup on Lap 134 not bunched the field and necessitated the overtime. The wreck came moments after a restart, with Brennan Poole leading the field to the green. Poole had stayed out on old tires when Earnhardt and the rest of the lead-lap drivers came to pit road for fresh rubber under caution on Lap 127. Earnhardt restarted third behind Poole and JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier , but when Poole spun his tires, Earnhardt dived to the inside approaching Turn 1, creating a three-wide lead group. After side-by-side contact with Earnhardt's No. 88, Poole's No. 48 Chevrolet washed up the track, clipped and turned Allgaier's No. 7 and ignited a chain-reaction wreck that damaged three of the four cars eligible for the Dash 4 Cash bonus – those of Poole, Allgaier and Jones. "When he spun the tires, I had to go to the inside," Earnhardt said. "I tried not to drive up into him – I don't think I got into him. They just kind of came together up there (in the outside lane) and had a heck of a wreck. "I hate that it happened, but, man, I had to do what I had to do to try to get the win. We ran so well and led all those laps." Elliott Sadler came home third, followed by series leader Daniel Suárez, who leaves Richmond nine points ahead of Sadler in second. Austin Dillon ran fifth and Cole Custer sixth in Custer's XFINITY Series debut. Poole brought his damaged car home in 10th.
Dale Jr.'s victory celebration? A banana-mayo sandwich, of course
Photo courtesy of Richmond International Raceway 's Twitter account RELATED: Dale Jr. shows how to make the sandwich " Dale Jr. wins at Richmond Thanks to a tweet heard 'round the NASCAR Nation, we all know about Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s favorite sandwich, bananas and mayo. The driver turned the much-discussed tweet into a charitable endeavor with the funds raised going to Blessings in a Backpack. Kelley Earnhardt Miller, Dale Jr.'s sister and the co-owner/general manager of JR Motorsports, said after the Richmond win that all told, fans have donated over $55,000, while Hellmann's and Dale Jr. will each donate $50,000. Driving the No. 88 Hellmann's Chevrolet, Earnhardt Jr. won the ToyotaCare 250 to score his first win behind the wheel for the team he co-owns, JR Motorsports. And if you are wondering how he celebrated in Victory Lane, just remember it was a little after lunchtime of a 149-lap race, so the man was hungry. RELATED: JRM extends relationship with longtime partner That led to a banana-mayo sandwich for the victor to enjoy. A and a #DaleJrSandwich in Victory Lane. pic.twitter.com/jg3djblM5R — JR Motorsports (@JRMotorsports) April 23, 2016 A celebratory #DaleJrSandwich , anyone? pic.twitter.com/C3dRIegUJe — Richmond Raceway (@RIRInsider) April 23, 2016
'Gray Ghost' left lasting impression with Dale Jr.
MORE: See the scheme, fire suit that Dale Jr. will sport at Darlington RELATED: Buy Darlington tickets " '16 throwback schemes " SHOP: Dale Jr. gear DARLINGTON, S.C. -- The "Gray Ghost" lives to race again. Or at least a very reasonable facsimile of the famous entry that was driven to victory in the 1980 Daytona 500 by NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Buddy Baker. On Wednesday at Darlington Raceway , Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr . unveiled his team's throwback paint scheme for this year's Bojangles' Southern 500 (Sunday, Sept. 4, 6 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), paying homage to the 19-time race winner and his Harry Ranier-owned, Waddell Wilson-tuned machine. Photo credit: @Nationwide88 Twitter account The black and silver Chevrolet carries orange numbers -- 88 instead of Baker's No. 28 -- and orange stripes while featuring Nationwide branding. But even with those minor differences, the resemblance is striking. RELATED: Dale Jr. drops throwback hints It is, Earnhardt Jr. said, his favorite paint scheme. "The black and silver, the chrome numbers that NASCAR doesn't allow any more," Earnhardt said. "Those chrome numbers to me were very, very cool. But the black and silver was a mean looking race car, a real tough looking race car. "I thought the colors and the chrome numbers really complimented each other really well. Buddy was this giant guy; it probably wouldn't have been quite as cool a paint scheme if it had been a four-foot 10 guy driving it." The car was named the "Gray Ghost," a reflection of its color scheme which blended in with the racing surface of the track and its apparent ability to appear out of nowhere, speeding past unsuspecting rivals at a moment's notice. Baker and Wilson teamed up to win twice that season -- at Daytona and again later that year at Talladega. His average winning speed of 177.602 mph at Daytona, where he led 143 of 200 laps, remains a race record. It was especially gratifying given the team's stumble the previous year when a clearly dominant car (Baker had won the pole and his qualifying race handily) suffered mechanical issues early in the race. "He just seemed to be a great match with the car," Earnhardt Jr. said. "They were just so good, so fast. When they won the Daytona 500 after such a devastating loss after 1979 -- they were the greatest thing down there, nobody could touch them throughout the entire weekend and then they didn't even really get to race. "And then they went back in '80 and won, it was pretty neat; I know that was pretty special for Buddy to get that win. You can tell in some of the interviews from back then how important the Daytona 500 win was to him." The car and the team were no less stout at Talladega Superspeedway , Earnhardt Jr., said, adding, "Nobody could keep up with them." Seven-time premier series champion Dale Earnhardt ran second to Baker, but according to Earnhardt Jr., the elder Earnhardt "was just hanging on to his coattails all day long. "(He was) just lucky to be in the draft," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I think Dad had the lead somehow or another, (through) pit cycles, to where (he) had like a 10-second lead and Buddy ran him down in like 20 laps. It was ridiculous. "You could see all day long in that particular race Buddy wasn't even really stretching the legs in that race car. And when he had to, when he got nervous and it got down to the end and he had to make up that distance, he was beating the second-place car by half a second a lap almost. It was incredible." This will be the second year Darlington Raceway has featured a throwback theme, with a focus on paint schemes that ran between 1975 and 1984. Last year, Earnhardt Jr.'s entry featured a red, white and blue paint Valvoline paint scheme that honored NASCAR Hall of Fame driver and three-time series champion Cale Yarborough. RELATED: See Dale Jr.'s paint scheme from 2015 Jim McCoy, Director of Sports Marketing for Nationwide, said the company knew as soon as last year's throwback program hit the track at Darlington that Nationwide should be involved. "We talked about it starting last September when we saw the pieces come together," McCoy said. "We weren't (the) primary (sponsor), Valvoline had the paint scheme with Dale . It just felt like we should be there. "We love his passion and he loves what he drives and what it looks like. He's such a great partner. "He clearly had a vision in direction in which he wanted to head. We were supportive of that and found the right ways to infuse our logo, the historic logo (with) the 'N' and Eagle that's on the hood. It was a great back-and-forth process that I think we're all very pleased on how it turned out." Baker passed away Aug. 10, 2015. Come September, he and the "Gray Ghost" will be front and center once again.
Returning to Bristol makes Dale Jr. nostalgic
RELATED: See Sunday's full lineup " Full weekend schedule BRISTOL, Tenn. -- For Dale Earnhardt Jr ., coming to Bristol Motor Speedway makes the 41-year-old feel like a kid again. As the son of "The Intimidator," it comes as no surprise that Earnhardt Jr. grew up around race tracks. While most children might have spent their adolescence frolicking with friends through suburban streets, Dale Jr. spent his atop a van, watching cars circle the track -- and "The Last Great Colosseum" was one of his favorite places to do that. "As a kid I loved coming here because we would just run from one end of the track to the other getting into whatever we could get into," Earnhardt Jr. told the media on Friday at Bristol. "They used to park the comfort coach conversion vans in the corners. All the drivers would park theirs in the corners and we would just climb up on the back of them and watch practice. "You were literally 30 feet from the cars when they were going by. In the race they would crash and roll down the banking feet from the bus. It was just the coolest thing as a kid to be able to be that close to the action and see the drivers in there working and turning the wheel and watch the cars literally work as they go through the corner and how the cars were handling. It was so much fun having that kind of vantage point." Junior has been an advocate of the racing at Bristol Motor Speedway for some time now, occasionally claiming it to be the best race track for attendees to become captivated by NASCAR. "I'm very proud of this event," Junior said. "I tell people all the time to come get tickets and watch this race and this is where you need to go if you want to get hooked." In 32 starts, Junior has seen Victory Lane once at Bristol, which came during 2004's night race and was one of six wins (a career high) that year for him. For Sunday's Food City 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), Earnhardt Jr. will line up 20th in the field, on the same row as Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott (19th). MORE: Junior's Darlington scheme " No. 88 rides around Uptown Charlotte
Dale Jr.'s sandwich project going strong, raising $145K
RELATED: Dale Jr. shows how to make the perfect banana-mayo sandwich BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Just 10 days after Dale Earnhardt Jr . tweeted out a photo of a banana-mayonnaise sandwich, NASCAR's 13-time winner of the NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver has helped raise $145,000 for Blessings in a Backpack, an organization that provides food for elementary school children across America who might otherwise go hungry. With $50,000 of the total donation coming from Hellmann's, another $50,000 is being matched by Junior, himself. Along with the Hendrick Motorsports driver's charitable efforts, the sandwich was picked up by Bristol Motor Speedway for this weekend's race events. The Tennessee short track plans to sell the unusual sandwich combo to fans for $4, with $1 of every sandwich sold going to the Dale Jr. Foundation. "It's awesome that tracks are participating and anyone donating however they want to donate, that's a great thing," Dale Jr. said on Friday at Bristol. "But it's important to say the whole thing was completely organic. I was sitting there bored with a little time on my hands in between taking pictures for a Hellmann's photoshoot and they always have me make this sandwich at the photoshoots and it was laying there as a prop they were preparing for a picture, and I took a picture of it and I had no idea that that was going to take off like it did." Carrying over 1.4 million Twitter followers, when Dale Jr. tweets, the world listens, so he might be alone in the shock of the sandwich tweet's takeoff, but leave it to the NASCAR veteran to turn what many viewed as gross, to good. "The thing is is 25 percent of the country knew exactly what I was talking about and the rest were completely disgusted," Earnhardt Jr. said. "So, it got a lot of attention and I think the disgust is what really drove the tweet viral. But it had everybody's attention so I called Mike Davis (Director, Brand Strategy and Communications at JR Motorsports) and said, 'It just seems silly to let this fizzle out and not seize this opportunity to do something good.' " And with one simple phone call the JRM team has generated awareness for an important cause, all with the help of just three simple ingredients. "The response from the fans, as far as donations, has been amazing. And also, you have things like this where the tracks are doing their own thing and it's helping people. So it's been an amazing thing, and I'm super glad we have the resources at JR Motorsports to make these things happen." You can donate to the cause at DaleJrSandwich.com .