Dale Jr. watches dad's Monte Carlo take a lap; more from 'Dega trip
Six-time Talladega Superspeedway winner Dale Earnhardt Jr . visited one of his favorite tracks Thursday for an action-packed day of greeting fans, mingling with the Alabama Gang, assisting the track with its landscaping duties and watching his father's No. 2 Chevrolet take a lap around the superspeedway. The Hendrick Motorsports wheelman, sidelined for the rest of the season by concussion-like symptoms, was welcomed by Alabama Gang members Bobby Allison , Donnie Allison and short-track legend Red Farmer as an honorary member of the group. The Alabama Gang, with deep roots in stock-car racing's early days, was the nickname earned by a group of notable NASCAR drivers -- the Allisons, Neil Bonnett, and Farmer among them -- with ties to the state. Talladega's back straightaway was named "The Alabama Gang Superstretch" in their honor in the spring of 2014. Although Dale Earnhardt was not a part of the group, he remained great friends with the drivers -- especially Bonnett, a fellow outdoorsman. The group paid tribute to the first-ballot NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee as Donnie Allison wheeled Earnhardt's famous No. 2 Monte Carlo around the 2.66-mile track. See glimpses from Dale Jr.'s day. We have a VERY special guest with us today surprising some awesome fans! Welcome back to 'Dega, @DaleJr ! pic.twitter.com/ibtEQnnAJ6 — TalladegaSuperspdwy (@TalladegaSuperS) September 29, 2016 . @DaleJr doing some track landscaping and surprising fans at @TalladegaSuperS . #NW88JR pic.twitter.com/ptrIfuXW8y — Nationwide 88 (@nationwide88) September 29, 2016 We have some REALLY cool stuff coming up with @DaleJr and the famed #AlabamaGang ! Keep an eye on Periscope & Facebook Live! pic.twitter.com/fT05pKOgrN — TalladegaSuperspdwy (@TalladegaSuperS) September 29, 2016 Donnie, Bobby and Red welcome @DaleJr as an OFFICIAL Honorary Member of the #AlabamaGang ! pic.twitter.com/JjCPAt99FJ — TalladegaSuperspdwy (@TalladegaSuperS) September 29, 2016 Dale Sr.'s No. 2 Monte Carlo rides again with Donnie Allison at the wheel! #AlabamaGang https://t.co/HeBNAtQWh8 — TalladegaSuperspdwy (@TalladegaSuperS) September 29, 2016 Good times today @TalladegaSuperS promoting the race with the Alabama Gang. Tickets are on sale for the race on October 23rd. pic.twitter.com/vm6OZFTslx — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) September 29, 2016 I remember this old thing. @TalladegaSuperS Hall of Fame. The carpet is teal, I kid you not. Great choice pops. pic.twitter.com/UMn4RAe34L — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) September 29, 2016 How cool to rename the MRN booth @TalladegaSuperS in honor of Barney Hall! pic.twitter.com/7u24pIDUnM — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) September 29, 2016
First NHMS Cup race was Davey Allison's last
McReynolds remembers driver on anniversary of his passing RELATED: High 5: Remembering Davey Allison As New Hampshire Motor Speedway celebrates its 25th anniversary, FOX NASCAR analyst Larry McReynolds, a guest on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, remembered another Magic Mile milestone: the first premier series race at the track, which was the last event for Davey Allison before a helicopter accident claimed his life. After falling 63 points shy of the 1992 NASCAR championship, Allison's No. 28 Robert Yates Racing Ford got off to a slow start, according to McReynolds, who served as its crew chief. "I think we kind of got lazy between the '92 and the '93 season because we ran so well in 1992," McReynolds said. "We didn't work to make ourselves better, and we were struggling when '93 started." The Slick 50 300 at a new New England venue offered an opportunity for the team to turn the corner, and it gave the team reason to be optimistic for the inaugural premier series race. "We finally built a brand new car and went to Loudon, and we were leading that race with 30 laps to go and we had a car that was good on the long run," McReynolds said. "A caution comes out for debris with 30 laps to go. We were in a bit of a box. We had to pit so we pitted, and we ended up finishing third to Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin ." It was the team's first top-five finish in a month and sixth in the first 16 races of the season. An upbeat Allison did something on the way home that surprised his crew chief and fellow Alabama native as the No. 28 team headed to Charlotte and then on to Allison's home in Hueytown, Alabama. " Davey did something that night that I had never seen him do," McReynolds said. "He always flew his own plane. I think it's how he kind of took out his anxiety of the day, but he told his pilot and his dad, Bobby, 'You guys fly the airplane. I'm going to sit in the back with the guys.' "…we sat back there and he was so excited and happy because I think like he felt like we finally had hit on something that we had been missing most of 1993. He told me when we landed in Charlotte, 'You won't be able to get in touch with me tomorrow. I think I'm going to fly up to Talladega to watch David Bonnett, Neil Bonnett's son, test a car.' "I said, 'No problem. I'll call you on Tuesday.' "Well, unfortunately, I never got to make that call because the next day was when he was killed in a helicopter crash at Talladega." Later that season, Ernie Irvan took over the No. 28 ride, driving the car through the first 20 races of the 1994 season before a crash at Michigan International Speedway sidelined him for for more than a year. When Irvan returned to the No. 28 car in 1996, McReynolds was his crew chief, and that July, Irvan and McReynolds went to Victory Lane at Loudon, New Hampshire, for an emotional celebration in honor of the driver's comeback and to commemorate the three-year anniversary of Allison's passing. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Throwback Thursday: Allison's last win
In the 1993 Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond International Raceway, driver Davey Allison earned his 19th and final career win before his sudden death.
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 .
1987 Winston: Where Are They Now?
RELATED: Elliott will 'never forget' Earnhardt move The starting grid for the 1987 Winston All-Star Race looked a lot like an exhibit befitting the NASCAR Hall of Fame. This was The All-Star Race for the ages. Hall of Famers Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Bobby Allison , Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, Terry Labonte, Rusty Wallace and Bill Elliott all competed. Greats such as Neil Bonnett, Harry Gant, Ricky Rudd, Buddy Baker, and Benny Parsons were on the 20-driver starting grid, too. A young Davey Allison and a new Daytona 500 winner Geoffrey Bodine lined up alongside these iconic names. The fast and famed Tim Richmond was on the grid, too, in what was his final season of NASCAR competition. And don't forget about Kyle Petty, Bobby Hillin Jr. and Greg Sacks. The only driver on that famed All-Star lineup still NASCAR racing today is Morgan Shepherd, who drove a car fielded by drag racing legend Kenny Bernstein -- and his seventh-place finish that day in his first All-Star Race remains his best showing. That starting lineup was a true convergence of NASCAR's best -- sentimental favorites, crusty veterans, future Hall of Famers and young stars out to make their big names. It had personality. It had top-line credentials. In only its third running, the 1987 race showed exactly the pizzazz that would help forge the All-Star Race into the can't-miss annual event that will be on full display Saturday in the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway . For all its historical allure, amazingly in that famed 1987 race only four drivers even led a lap -- the winner Earnhardt (10), the day's dominant driver Elliott (121), Bodine (3) and Kyle Petty (1). The great seven-time Cup champ Richard Petty crashed with the late superstar Neil Bonnett on Lap 66. As dominant and successful as Petty was, it's easy to forget he never won an All-Star Race. Among the most memorable aspects of this race will undoubtedly be the day's winner Earnhardt's "Pass in the Grass" of Elliott. It wasn't actually a pass at all, but Earnhardt maneuvering to hold onto his late race lead over Elliott in the day's most dominant car. It was the first of three All-Star wins for Earnhardt. And the gritty, hard-nosed final laps racing launched this -- then still young -- event into a bona fide can't-miss rite of spring. The above photo itself has become quite a piece of NASCAR lore. When this group of 20 drivers came together for this indelible image, these are the numbers they would leave behind: 812 premier series victories, 26 premier series championships, 11 All-Star Race wins ... and one urban legend.
Regan Smith's Darlington look honors past champion
RELATED: Buy Darlington tickets " '16 throwback schemes " SHOP: Smith gear Regan Smith and Tommy Baldwin Racing have unveiled the throwback paint scheme that Smith's No. 7 Road Rippers/Toy State Chevrolet will sport at Darlington Raceway over Labor Day weekend. The paint scheme is a tribute to 1992 premier series champion Alan Kulwicki, who passed away in an airplane crash in 1993. From 1987 until his passing, Kulwicki drove the No. 7, earning all five of his wins with that number. In a team release Smith said of honoring Kulwicki with the paint scheme, "It is a neat deal for me, I grew up watching him, Davey ( Allison ) and Bill (Elliott) battle it out for the '92 championship. I am really looking forward to getting the No. 7 Road Rippers/Toy State Chevrolet on track Labor Day weekend." The Bojangles' Southern 500 is set for Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. ET (NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Cain: My dinner with Jeff Gordon in 1992
RELATED: Gordon's teammates plan tribute " Final 24 paint scheme My first meeting with Jeff Gordon came in Atlanta in 1992, two nights before what would be a sport-changing maiden NASCAR Winston Cup Series start for the then 20-year-old. I remember he was dressed casually in jeans and yes, sported "that" mustache. I met him as part of a larger group of friends in a bustling Atlanta hotel lobby. He was without a single "handler" and since he knew a couple people in our group, wondered if he could tag along with us. The plan was to do a group dinner then later stop by a sports bar to watch the big fight between Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe. The young Gordon looked as much like a fan as a driver. You'd never know he competed in NASCAR's Grand National division. Even less apparent was that he would be making his first big Cup start that weekend, except for the occasional, "Hey Jeff," which he acknowledged in a downplayed manner. I still have a large button with a photo of Jeff and a friend of mine after we jokingly convinced the staff at Benihana's that night it was Gordon's birthday. It wasn't, but we got free dessert and the funny button. I had reported on a lot of IMSA sports car racing leading into this assignment for the Tampa Tribune , but this was my first big Cup race, too. Our primary racing beat writer, Herb Branham, was focusing his weekend coverage on "the big story" -- Richard Petty's last start. I was to handle the more routine race story topped by the championship. Looking back at it, I discovered that I never even mentioned Gordon in that story. He crashed and finished 31st. To be perfectly honest, my background was primarily stick-and-ball and I had no idea who Gordon was, especially compared to NASCAR's bigger names like Petty, Davey Allison , Bill Elliott and Alan Kulwicki, who won the title that weekend. Just to have a chance at this first big-time racing opportunity, I had to make myself valuable all around to the newspaper. So I offered to stop in Atlanta earlier in the week for a lengthy and candid interview with the Tampa Bay Lightning's big news, a woman goalie, Manon Rheaume. Manon was great. But NASCAR was better and 22 years later, I'm still here. I remember congratulating Gordon the day after our dinner on his "best of second round qualifying," but honestly had no idea of the fabulous racing legend this modest, fun, personable young man would become. He eventually lost the mustache, but never the mojo. RELATED: Photos of Gordon through the years Gordon is the first major NASCAR champion that I have covered from the very beginning to the very end, which comes with his retirement this weekend after the 2015 season finale in Homestead, Florida -- where he stands an impressive 1-in-4 chance to win a fifth title. And while Gordon has accomplished so much, transformed the sport and truly deserves the opportunity to possibly leave as a champion, it will feel very odd to me -- and to so many -- to say goodbye now. Gordon was the first NASCAR driver I had any lengthy conversation with or wrote any substantial stories about. Considering that now, after his four championships and 93 victories, it is something I will treasure as a reporter. And truly it started with what a down-to-earth person I have always considered Gordon to be. I'm fortunate to say I was there for so many of Gordon's firsts -- the Brickyards, the Daytona 500 s, the championships ... and the fabulous head-to-heads with Dale Earnhardt. RELATED: Gordon's top 24 NASCAR moments I still have the February 1995 edition of "Beckett Racing Monthly" magazine with Gordon's first cover photo and my story on him featured inside. I honestly hadn't read it in more than 10-15 years. The headline is "Flash Gordon" and talks about the amazing statistics he had already posted only two full seasons into what is now surely a Hall of Fame career. He was already truly one of the most popular drivers on the circuit -- later that very year winning his first Cup title -- and I remember his public relations team wanting me to send a letter in advance with a list of potential questions. I didn't. And Gordon was still spectacular. As impressive as his success on track had already been -- the 1993 Rookie of the Year, a win in his first Gatorade Twin 125, and then in the Coca-Cola 600 and the inaugural 1994 Brickyard 400 -- Gordon was genuinely humbled and amazed at the fan reaction in my story. "When I get a second to sit down, which isn't very often, I think back to when I got a chance to meet Charles Barkley or Chris Webber,'' Gordon said in the article. "That was a big thrill for me and they weren't rude, they were really nice. That made a big impact on me and I try to put myself in that same position. If I have an extra second, I always try to give it to the fans, especially the kids.'' And he always has. This weekend in particular, Gordon will be honored, acknowledged, remembered and cheered for more than two decades of transforming this sport on track and off it. As he said in that 1994 article, "I'm just a race car driver looking to make a living.'' And so he has. So, well done.
Yates already at work on Stewart-Haas' move to Ford
RELATED: Key moments in SHR's history HAMPTON, Ga. -- The addition of Stewart-Haas Racing to Ford in 2017 will mean an increased workload for Roush Yates Engines, the company that supplies Ford power to teams in all three of NASCAR's national series. But it means much more than the 60 or so additional engines the supplier will have to produce, according to CEO Doug Yates. "For us, that's four more top-notch cars, opportunities to win races and championships," Yates said Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway . "But the work starts now because we've got to get ready for next year." SHR, which currently runs under the Chevrolet banner, fields four full-time Sprint Cup entries, with drivers Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick . Clint Bowyer will take over Tony Stewart 's No. 14 car in 2017. RELATED: Stewart makes surprise appearance at Atlanta Yates, son of famed engine builder and former team owner Robert Yates, said his company currently has approximately 250 engines in its fleet for Sprint Cup teams. "We'll start building them up but next year, with four cars will mean about 60 more engines. … Today we build about 750 Cup, XFINITY and Truck engines a year. At our road race shop we build about 250 a year. Obviously we will have to add some people. We feel like we have a good process, we just have to add volume." The benefit, he said, is it will be "a good opportunity to allow us to bring on more resources for the R&D side, more testing, more engineers. Just add depth to every department. It's exciting. "When we brought on (Team) Penske several years ago, we were not as prepared as we wanted to be … there were a lot of long nights, a lot of stress. So we're going to try to be ahead of that." Team Penske made the move from Dodge to Ford after the 2012 season. Dodge left NASCAR on a high note; Penske driver Brad Keselowski had just won the Sprint Cup title. The following year, Keselowski finished 14th and teammate Joey Logano eighth in points. "We've never been afraid to build a lot of engines," Yates said. "My dad and I have been in the engine business our entire lives. That part's really not a concern. But we're here to win races and championships, and there's a lot of responsibility and pressure that goes along with that. "Roush Yates has been in business for 12 seasons now, this is our 13th. Between Cup, XFINITY , Truck and road races, we've won over 250 races. With Penske in three years we've won 48 races and 20 Cup races. But the last Cup championship we won was in 2004. So that's really the emphasis on us is to go win championships and we feel like with teams like Penske and Stewart-Haas and Roush Fenway and Petty ( Richard Petty Motorsports ), we have a really good opportunity to do that." Yates has built winning engines for decades, following in his father's footsteps. His can recall his first race-winning engine as if it had been built just last week. "It was a huge moment," he said. "It was the fall Charlotte race … with Davey Allison . That was the first one I built all the way through. That was just such an incredible feeling of accomplishment. It was like 'This is just incredible.' That was really special to me."
Chase Elliott wins Daytona 500 pole
RELATED: Full qualifying speeds " From tardy note to Daytona pole winner DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Chase Elliott 's rookie campaign just got a jump-start. Faced with the daunting prospect of succeeding Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, the 20-year-old Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate drove the same chassis to the same result Gordon accomplished last year—the pole position for the Feb. 21 Daytona 500 (on FOX at 1 p.m. ET). In the money round of qualifying for the Great American Race, Elliott toured 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway in 45.845 seconds (196.314 mph), edging Matt Kenseth (196.036 mph) by .065 seconds for the top starting spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series opener. Elliott and Kenseth are the only drivers whose positions for the Daytona 500 are now locked in. The balance of the field will be filled and ordered in Thursday night’s 150-mile Can-Am Duel qualifying races. "I've never qualified on the front row here before, so that certainly takes off some pressure for later in the week," Kenseth said. "This is a very, very cool day," Elliott said after Earnhardt, the last qualifier, failed to knock him off the pole. "I don't know that this opportunity has sunk in yet, much less sitting on the pole for the Daytona 500 . "So this is very cool. I think the big thing is just the team and the Daytona 500 qualifying is about the team guys and the effort they put into these cars and it's nothing special I did. It's really what kind of work they did this offseason to make it happen. "Jeff (Gordon) knows all about that and I just wanted to give a big thanks to NAPA Auto Parts and all of our partners at HMS on this No. 24 car. This is very special and a great way to start the season." Elliott's first Sprint Cup pole was a milestone in many other respects. At 20 years, 2 months and 17 days, he is the youngest-ever winner of a Daytona 500 pole, supplanting Austin Dillon (23 years, 9 months 27 days in 2014). Should Elliott win the race next Sunday, he would displace Trevor Bayne as the youngest winner of the event often referred to as NASCAR's Super Bowl. This was the 10th Daytona 500 pole for Hendrick Motorsports and the third for the No. 24 Chevrolet, with Gordon winning the previous two in 1999 and 2015. Elliott completed the fourth father/son combination to win poles for the 500, joining Richard and Kyle Petty, Bobby and Davey Allison and Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr . In fact, Earnhardt Jr. was fastest in the first round of Sunday's qualifying session, posting a lap at 195.788 mph, but he slipped to third in the final round and will start on the outside of the front row in the first Can-Am Duel. Kyle Busch posted the fourth fastest lap in the final round and will start from the second spot in the second Duel. Ricky Stenhouse Jr . and Jimmie Johnson were fifth and sixth, respectively, in the final round. The qualifying times of the Nos. 4 and 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolets, driven by Kevin Harvick and Brian Vickers , were disallowed after NASCAR discovered track bar infractions during post-qualifying inspection. Those cars will start from the rear in their respective Duels. RELATED: Nos. 4, 14 fail post-Daytona qualifying inspection Ryan Blaney powered the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford to a seventh in Sunday's time trials. As the fastest "open" car (required to qualify on speed), he is locked into the Daytona 500 . Matt DiBenedetto , the second fastest of the open cars (and 24th overall) also is locked into the field. Related: Blaney, DiBenedetto lock up Daytona spots The No. 78 Furniture Row Toyota of Martin Truex Jr . failed to post a time after NASCAR inspectors noticed that one of the roof flaps was out of compliance. The car was on the five-minute clock at the time and the problem could not be corrected in time to make a qualifying run. As a consequence, Truex will start from the rear of the field in the second Can-Am Duel. RELATED: Roof flap keeps Truex parked in qualifying
FOX Sports, NASCAR Productions announce documentary series
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. and CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Sept. 9, 2015) -- FS1 with NASCAR Productions will present, as a part of FS1's NASCAR RACE HUB™, a new documentary short film series entitled Beyond the Wheel to offer an inside look at the sport's most interesting stories and traditions. The documentaries further NASCAR RACE HUB's expansion into dynamic storytelling, taking a new approach to explore pivotal moments and provide never-before-seen insights on influential NASCAR legends and fascinating historical characters. Premiering Wednesday evenings during NASCAR RACE HUB, the first film will launch Sept. 23 on FS1 at 6:00 p.m. ET. The four-part documentary short film series is comprised of the following themes: • Chasing Davey follows Robbie Allison , son of former NASCAR star Davey Allison , as he seeks a connection with his late father by participating in the sport Davey loved. • The Kiss details the once legendary trophy girls and iconic Victory Lane kiss, and how the tradition has evolved through the decades in response to America's changing values. • The Last American Hero is Junior Johnson, Yes! pays homage to the 1965 landmark Esquire article written by journalist Tom Wolfe that introduced the country to stock car racing, the New South and one of NASCAR's most infamous outlaw heroes -- Junior Johnson. • White Knight explores the story of the man many consider to be the winningest race car driver in history, Dick Trickle, who took home victories in an estimated 1,200 races and became NASCAR's Rookie of the Year at age 48 before tragically ending his life in 2013. The subsequent three films in the Beyond the Wheel series air on Sept. 30, Oct. 7 and Oct. 21, respectively (6:00 p.m. ET). Each documentary will also be available via FOX Sports GO, the critically acclaimed app that provides live streaming video of FOX Sports content at home or on the go, or on FOXSports.com following its on-air premiere.