No. 21 Darlington throwback a tribute to David Pearson
The Wood Brothers unveil their throwback paint scheme for Ryan Blaney at Darlington Raceway, honoring David Pearson's 1976 season where he won the Daytona 500, World 600 and Southern 500 that season.
Johnson's No. 48 to honor Pearson , Earnhardt at Darlington
RELATED: See all the Darlington throwbacks " BUY TICKETS: Darlington CONCORD, N.C. -- The throwback paint scheme featured on the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson for this year's Bojangles' Southern 500 pays tribute to a pair of former series champions and NASCAR Hall of Fame members. Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports entry will carry a familiar blue and yellow scheme reminiscent of the colors associated with Dale Earnhardt in which he captured rookie of the year honors for NASCAR's premier series in 1979 and the first of his seven series championships a year later. Earnhardt drove for team owner Rod Osterlund at that time. Earnhardt did not compete in the '79 Southern 500, the fourth and final race of the season he was forced to miss due to injuries sustained in a hard crash earlier that season at Pocono Raceway . Subbing for the team in those four events was three-time NASCAR premier series champion and Hall of Fame member David Pearson . Pearson finished second at Talladega, fourth at Michigan and seventh at Bristol before putting the team in victory lane at Darlington Raceway . It was his ninth title at Darlington, long considered the series' most difficult track to master, and his third in the Labor Day classic. "I think it's really cool," Chad Knaus, crew chief for Johnson, said Wednesday during the unveiling of the car. "I can remember the car and scheme from when I was younger, seeing it on television. "Obviously Dale's first championship (in 1980) came in a paint scheme similar to this." Earnhardt's nine Darlington wins are second only to Pearson's 10; he also won three Southern 500 titles. Lowe's Home Improvement, longtime sponsor of Johnson and the No. 48 HMS team, has a tie-in as well, providing funding for the No. 2 entry at Talladega in '79. More than two dozen throwback paint schemes for this year's running of the Bojangles' 500 (Sunday, Sept. 4, 6 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR) have been announced. The program launched last season and is expected to continue for the next several seasons. "The whole Darlington thing is a lot of fun, the environment is full of energy," Knaus, who'll sport a throwback-styled firesuit similar to that of his driver, said. "Maybe I'll get a couple of stopwatches (to time cars), too." Johnson, a six-time series champion, has three Darlington wins, two in the 500. "To get another victory there," Knaus said, "would be fantastic." &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Hall of Fame Induction: David Pearson
David Pearson comments on a legendary career that saw 105 victories and three NASCAR championships.
Defending Darlington champ Edwards reflects on last year's win
RELATED: See this year's throwbacks " Comparing past and present looks They'll trot out their throwback paint schemes and throwback uniforms this week when NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams travel to Darlington Raceway for Sunday's Bojangles' Southern 500 (6 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR). It's a nod to NASCAR's past draped around today's technology. But strip it all away and some things remain unchanged. The 1.366-mile track continues to be the most difficult to master of any on the circuit, and the Southern 500 is still one of stock-car racing's crown jewel events. "To me, it's a real race," defending race winner Carl Edwards said. "There is no better film to watch than the old races at Darlington. Watching ( David ) Pearson and those guys sliding under each other, slide-jobbing each other lap after lap in all those races. There's just something special about it." Pearson , a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, won a record 10 times at Darlington. If anyone ever came close to understanding what was required to endure 500 miles on a treacherous layout once dubbed "The Lady in Black," it was the Spartanburg, South Carolina driver. The circuit is oddly shaped, like an egg rather than an oval, and the asphalt while not worn still takes its toll on tires. Contact with the outside wall is considered a rite of passage and they even have a name for it -- the Darlington stripe. You don't beat Darlington; you simply try to survive it. Edwards did just that last year, sprinting away from Brad Keselowski ( Team Penske ) and JGR teammate Denny Hamlin on a restart with eight laps remaining to earn the victory. Twice a runner-up at Darlington, Edwards said the win was memorable for two reasons. One because it was another victory, at the time the 25th of the Missouri native's career. Second, he said, "it's the Southern 500. And that in itself, it's probably next to the Coke 600 -- those two together were both the biggest wins of my career. "For me, that race was really a hard-fought battle; at one point we were I believe two laps down. We fought back. We didn't quit and we made it back to the front. "So it wasn't an easy win; it was a really special win. "I really like the place; I like how it races. It's a really mentally and physically exhausting track so I like the challenge. ... I think I can speak for all the drivers in saying yeah, it's one of the biggest events of the year." Edwards' No. 19 Toyota will feature an orange and white throwback paint scheme in honor of three-time Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart this weekend. Stewart won two of his three titles while at JGR; he is retiring from Sprint Cup competition at year's end. "It will be cool to do that for Tony's last year," Edwards said. "I've got my helmet ready to throw and everything." The throwback program is in its second year. Edwards got a taste of it much earlier. Eight years earlier in fact. With none other than Pearson . "We did this media day at Darlington (in 2008)," Edwards said. "I went and picked up Pearson at his local airport, flew over to the race track and I remember taking the metal picture -- 'Don't ever forget this moment.' " Edwards, then with Roush Fenway Racing , was making laps in his No. 99 Ford. "Driving through Turns 1 and 2, just kind of goofing off slow," he said. "... I look over and here's Pearson in the 21 Wood Brothers ('71 Mercury) with his arm out the window beside me, just smiling. 'Man, I'm at Darlington with Pearson in that car.' That's like being a part of history for a moment. That was really cool." MORE: See the 2015 race filmed in old-school look
Blaney's Darlington scheme -- and loafers -- an ode to the Silver Fox
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It is perhaps the most memorable paint scheme among many for the organization, but when your team has been around from the beginning, the options are no doubt plentiful. "When I look at that car, I immediately think of David Pearson ," Leonard Wood said Tuesday at the Hall of Fame while standing in front of the iconic No. 21 Ford. Pearson and Wood enjoyed a lengthy tenure, the Silver Fox winning 43 times for the team with Wood calling the shots as crew chief. The paint scheme chosen for this year's Bojangles' Southern 500 throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway is a nod to the 1976 season, a highlight year among many for both Pearson and the WBR organization. The 2016 Ford Fusion that will unload for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Labor Day weekend features the same red and white paint scheme with blue piping down the sides as the Mercury Montego wheeled by Pearson . The Pearson name adorns the driver’s side door below the window just as before; the wheels are silver and the No. 21 lettering has the gold foil look that became so familiar. Driver Ryan Blaney’s uniform mimics that of Pearson's as well, a white outfit with blue across the right shoulder and stripes of red, blue and red again running down off the left shoulder. On Tuesday, Blaney was even outfitted in alligator loafers similar to those worn by Pearson during his driving days. Eddie Wood, who today oversees the operation of the team along with brother Len and sister Kim Wood Hall, said the choice of the 1976 look was "the right thing to do" to celebrate the accomplishments of four decades ago. "This is pretty much as close as you can get to (the look of) that car in '76," he said. The car on display Tuesday even carried five sticks of Wrigley's gum taped to the dash, a staple for Pearson during his tenure with the team. One stick for each 100 miles. Pearson's alligator footwear came from a local business, Price's, in his hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina. "They had thick heels on them," Eddie Pearson , David's son, said. "He'd take them back in about every six or eight months and have them re-soled." Because the team did not run the entire schedule during his tenure, Pearson , a three-time premier series champion and member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, did not win a title with the Wood Brothers. But he won plenty of races. And the '76 season was perhaps the highlight of his stay with the legendary organization. Among his 10 victories that year were the Daytona 500, World (now Coca-Cola) 600 and Southern 500, earning him NASCAR version of the Triple Crown. The Daytona 500 victory featured a last-lap crash with Richard Petty as the two came off the final turn, both sliding to the infield as they fought for the win. "I remember asking him, 'Can you get him?'" Eddie Wood said of the incredible finish. "He was running second (on the white flag lap). He said 'I'm going to try' or something like that. You never knew what he was going to do … how much he had left." With no television monitors in the pits to track the action on the track, the team had no idea what was taking place after the field zoomed past. "When they got to Turn 3, the crowd starts to stand," Wood recalled. "Things are really going nuts. And he said, 'I got him' on the radio. They come off of (Turn) 4 and he says, "Richard's under me. He got under me.' And then he said 'We hit.' "The whole place goes nuts, me included. … We didn't know what was happening, you couldn't see. Then we saw Richard come sliding (across the infield), and here comes David … he's spinning backwards – he actually hit a car that was coming down pit road … and that kind of straightened him up and helped him back out into the infield. But he said 'Where's Richard?'" Told Petty was stopped in the infield grass along the frontstretch, Pearson told Wood, 'Well, I'm coming.' He got going and won the race." It remains one of NASCAR's most incredible, unforgettable finishes. "To understand it all, he's spinning backwards and his (radio) button was on his shoulder harness, it wasn't on the steering wheel like it is now," Wood said. "He knocked the car out of gear, had the awareness to ask where (Richard) was – he almost needed like three hands (to do all that). But there was never, never any emotion, just matter of fact. Like talking on the telephone." Wins also came that year at Atlanta and Ontario, and Pearson swept races at Riverside, Michigan and Darlington. His 10 wins came in only 22 starts in what was then a 30-race season. Blaney, competing for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors this season, was excited to see the new look his car will carry. "It's awesome," Blaney said. "I love the whole throwback concept at Darlington. To be able to do this really cool paint scheme this year – I think we're going to have the best-looking race car out there. "I've always enjoyed the Wood Brothers cars; they're simple, but I think they're the best looking ones."
Voting for 2016 NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver Award Opens Sept. 4
RELATED: Cast your vote DARLINGTON, S.C. (Sept. 3, 2016) -- Voting for the National Motorsports Press Association Sprint Most Popular Driver Award will officially open Sunday, Sept. 4. The award, sponsored by Sprint and administered by the NMPA, is the only major NASCAR award determined solely by fan vote. It has been presented annually since 1953. The 2016 voting period will open at 12 a.m. ET Sunday and close at 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 20. To vote for this year's award, fans can visit www.mostpopulardriver.com through either desktop or the NASCAR MOBILE app. Voting is limited to one vote per person per email address per day. Fans are encouraged to share their votes through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Eligible drivers for this year's award are those who have declared for the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. NASCAR Hall of Fame member and 1988 series champion Bill Elliott holds the record for most MPD awards with 16; Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr . has won the award for the past 13 seasons. Nineteen drivers have earned MPD honors on one or more occasions since its inception. "The launch of the NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver Award is one of the most anticipated events of the season for many fans," Kenny Bruce, president of the NMPA, said. "NASCAR fans are the most passionate you'll find in any sport and the NMPA considers it an honor to allow them to determine the sport's most popular driver. "We are pleased to present this year's program once again with series sponsor Sprint, whose help and guidance have been invaluable in bringing the Most Popular Driver program to fans." Sprint has been the presenting sponsor of the MPD Award since 2014. The winner of this year's award will be announced during the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards program on Friday, Dec. 2 in Las Vegas. NBCSN will air the post-season program beginning at 9 p.m. ET. MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR will carry the awards show live. A $10,000 donation will be made to the NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver's charity of choice on behalf of the NMPA. NMPA MOST POPULAR DRIVER AWARD Year – Recipient 2015 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2014 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2013 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2012 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2011 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2010 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2009 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2008 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2007 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2006 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2005 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2004 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2003 - Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2002 - Bill Elliott 2001 - Dale Earnhardt 2000 - Bill Elliott 1999 - Bill Elliott 1998 - Bill Elliott 1997 - Bill Elliott 1996 - Bill Elliott 1995 - Bill Elliott 1994 - Bill Elliott 1993 - Bill Elliott 1992 - Bill Elliott 1991 - Bill Elliott 1990 - Darrell Waltrip 1989 - Darrell Waltrip 1988 - Bill Elliott 1987 - Bill Elliott 1986 - Bill Elliott 1985 - Bill Elliott 1984 - Bill Elliott 1983 - Bobby Allison 1982 - Bobby Allison 1981 - Bobby Allison 1980 - David Pearson 1979 - David Pearson 1978 - Richard Petty 1977 - Richard Petty 1976 - Richard Petty 1975 - Richard Petty 1974 - Richard Petty 1973 - Bobby Allison 1972 - Bobby Allison 1971 - Bobby Allison 1970 - Richard Petty 1969 - Bobby Isaac 1968 - Richard Petty 1967 - Cale Yarborough 1966 - Darel Dieringer 1965 - Fred Lorenzen 1964 - Richard Petty 1963 - Fred Lorenzen 1962 - Richard Petty 1961 - Joe Weatherly 1960 - Rex White 1959 - Jack Smith 1958 - Glen Wood 1957 - Fireball Roberts 1956 - Curtis Turner 1955 - Tim Flock 1954 - Lee Petty 1953 - Lee Petty
Logano leaps to Coors Light Pole Award at Michigan
RELATED: Qualifying results " See every car, team rosters BROOKLYN, Mich. – If Joey Logano was looking for a good omen for Sunday, he found it on Friday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway . Touring the two-mile track in 35.697 seconds (201.698 mph) during the final round of knockout qualifying for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2 p.m. ET on NBCSN), Logano edged Jimmie Johnson (201.523 mph) for the top starting spot by .031 seconds. The Coors Light Pole Award was Logano's third at MIS. On the previous two occasions the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford started first on the grid—in August 2013 and June 2016—he won the subsequent NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Should Logano win form the pole on Sunday, he would be the third driver to win three or more Michigan races from the top starting spot, joining NASCAR Hall of Famers David Pearson and Bill Elliott . "Any time you put your name with a Hall of Famer of any sort, it would be really special for me," said Logano, who has collected three poles this season and 16 in his career. "That's crazy—that's a really, really neat stat. "We've got to do it though. But, obviously, starting up front here is an advantage, for sure. We talk about track position. We talk about safety on restart, being how crazy it is with the low-downforce package. And the first pit stall—probably the most important thing of all is keeping the track position through the race." And, of course, when Logano is fast in qualifying trim at MIS, he usually races well, too. "I'm excited about it," he said. "I thought our car was really fast in race trim earlier (in practice). ... I didn't think we were going to make it happen today (in qualifying), but (crew chief) Todd (Gordon) made some good adjustments, and he gave me a little pep talk, and I was ready to go. I was going to drive the heck out of that thing." Denny Hamlin (201.406 mph) qualified third, followed by Kevin Harvick (201.382 mph) and Chase Elliott (201.303 mph). Johnson's second-place start led a resurgence by Hendrick Motorsports , which placed all four cars in the top 12 during qualifying for only the second time this season, the first coming in May at Talladega, a restrictor-plate track. "It was just an awesome day for this Lowe's race car and this Lowe's race team," Johnson said. "We keep stacking pennies and making this car better and better. "My hat's off to everyone at Hendrick Motorsports and all the hard work they're putting into things. Great practice and great qualifying. We need some more practice sessions (Saturday) and roll them into a good race." Johnson participated in a NASCAR organization test (one car per team) on Tuesday at Chicagoland Speedway and found the session helpful in finding speed. Indeed, the Hendrick cars more than held their own against the four entries from Joe Gibbs Racing , which have been the dominant force in Cup qualifying this season. Hamlin and Carl Edwards (ninth), were the only two JGR drivers to make the top 12, with Matt Kenseth qualifying 13th and Kyle Busch 16th. &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Junior: Jimmie wanted to wear dad's fire suit
RELATED: Instagram post causes PR freak-out Dale Earnhardt Jr . said Monday that Jimmie Johnson had asked him to borrow one of his father's old uniforms to complete his retro look for this weekend's NASCAR throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway . Earnhardt Jr.'s remarks came on Monday's edition of the "Dale Jr. Download," a 70-minute episode that he co-hosted on his Dirty Mo Radio network. Earnhardt did not provide a health update on the concussion-related symptoms that have forced him to miss the last six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, but offered an anecdote about his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, who will be running a blue-and-yellow paint scheme on his No. 48 Chevrolet that pays tribute to Earnhardt's father and the legendary David Pearson -- both NASCAR Hall of Famers. "He's texting me, he's like, 'You got one of your dad's old uniforms and all that stuff?' " Earnhardt said of a recent exchange with Johnson. "He wanted to actually wear it to intros, and it would fit probably. It smells like … every bit of 40 years old." Earnhardt Jr. clarified that Johnson had asked about a different uniform than the one from the 1982 season that he recently modeled on social media. He also had to clarify for Johnson the level of Lowe's involvement with stock-car racing back in 1979, the elder Earnhardt's rookie season. "He sends me a picture of this car, and I said 'David Pearson ran second in that car at Talladega in relief for my father,' " Earnhardt Jr. said. "My father was out four weeks with broken collarbones (from a crash at Pocono), and David drove that car, ran second. That was the only race Lowe's was on the hood. I don't know why. Must've been a local chain, but they had Lowe's on the hood for that race, and that race only. "And so, it's kind of unique, kind of weird. Jimmie gets excited about it and then I have to tell him the story. He's like, 'Man, I'm going to run one of your Dad's throwbacks,' and I'm like, 'Well, David Pearson drove that car and Lowe's was on the hood for just that race,' but it's still really cool. I've always wondered what that paint scheme would look like on one of the modern cars." Earnhardt will be replaced by interim driver Jeff Gordon in this Sunday's Bojangles' Southern 500 (6 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM) as his recovery from concussion-related issues continues. Earnhardt said he was "real sad" he won't be driving his own throwback paint scheme, a No. 88 Chevrolet that pays homage to Buddy Baker's "Gray Ghost" look from the early 1980s. Alex Bowman made his second substitute start last weekend at Michigan International Speedway , placing 30th after slowing early with engine trouble. Still, Earnhardt Jr. gave him a vote of confidence. "That was disappointing. I know Alex was upset," Earnhardt Jr. said. "He doesn't know how many opportunities like that he'll get to show he's capable. I believe in him, and I know he's got the ability to do it, to be in the Cup Series and to be in a competitive car and do a good job behind the wheel. It was a shame because I think he could've shown again -- like he did at New Hampshire -- that he belongs." Though Earnhardt Jr. will sit out Sunday's event at Darlington, co-host Mike Davis -- brand and communications director for Earnhardt and his JR Motorsports team -- teed up what's scheduled to be a busy week for the 41-year-old driver. Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to participate in competition meetings Tuesday, before traveling to a Wal-Mart in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, for a Wednesday driver appearance. Wednesday's schedule also includes an interview on Nickelodeon's "NASCAR Hammer Down" program, hosted by Karsyn Elledge, Earnhardt Jr.'s niece. Earnhardt's JR Motorsports organization in the NASCAR XFINITY Series also has a busy week on tap. Davis said JRM planned to unveil nostalgic paint schemes for its three Darlington entries, which will be piloted by XFINITY regulars Justin Allgaier and Elliott Sadler , plus Sprint Cup star Kevin Harvick . &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Blaney balancing on bubble, but not focused on Chase -- yet
RELATED: Chase Grid NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers and teams resume the pursuit of a position in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup this weekend as the series heads to Sonoma Raceway and the year's first road-course stop. Ten drivers have all but officially secured berths with one or more victories through the series' first 15 races. If there aren't at least 16 winners following the cutoff race at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 10, the remainder of the field will be determined based on points positions. Last season, there were 11 winners, leaving five positions to be awarded based on points. Ten drivers have found themselves 16th in the standings at some point this year. Five have advanced; four have fallen by the wayside for now and one, Ryan Blaney , heads to Sonoma situated in the 16th position. Blaney, driver of the Wood Brothers No. 21 Ford, is aware of his situation, but says he pays no mind to his past or current points placement. "I don't care about it," he said during a recent organizational test for teams at Kentucky Speedway . "I really don't look at it." Blaney has been as high as 12th in the standings and as low as 21st. With 11 races remaining before the field is set for the 10-race, championship-determining format gets underway, there's little reason to panic. He enters Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 (3 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR) with an 11-point cushion on Hendrick Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne and is 19 points ahead of 18th-place Trevor Bayne ( Roush Fenway Racing ). Richard Childress Racing driver Ryan Newman (15th) is five points ahead of Blaney. Jamie McMurray sits 14th -- the driver of the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 1 Chevrolet is five up on Newman and 10 on Blaney. "I don't like to look at that stuff," Blaney reiterated. "I think if we go on the race track and perform the way I know we should, and run toward the front of the field like we can do week in and week out, that stuff will take care of itself." Sunday's race will be Blaney's first Sprint Cup start on a road course but he is not alone. Fellow Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates Chris Buescher , Chase Elliott , Brian Scott and Jeffrey Earnhardt will be making their first Sprint Cup road-course starts as well. Both Blaney and Elliott ( Hendrick Motorsports ) have one road-course win apiece in the Camping World Truck Series and both came at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park . Buescher ( Front Row Motorsports ) won at Mid-Ohio in 2014 while competing in the XFINITY Series. The Wood Brothers Racing team is making its first appearance at a road-course since the 2008 season when former driver Marcos Ambrose wheeled the No. 21 from 43rd to a third-place finish at Watkins Glen International . Blaney's father, Dave, also competed in that race. One of roughly a half dozen teams competing without a Charter this season (and thus no guaranteed starting spot in the 40-car fields), Wood Brothers Racing has eight road-course wins to its credit. Marvin Panch scored the first in 1965 at The Glen; Dan Gurney won four times and NASCAR Hall of Fame member David Pearson three at Riverside International Raceway. Blaney and his team, led by crew chief Jeremy Bullins, have one top five and six top-10 finishes this season. Two of the last three starts, however, have resulted in finishes of 20th (at Charlotte) and 17th (at Michigan), sandwiched around a 10th-place run at Pocono. A brush with the wall late in the second half of the Michigan race sent his No. 21 entry to pit road. Although he restarted 29th, Blaney did gain 12 positions in the closing laps of the 400-mile race. "We had a bad day," Blaney said. "It was unfortunate because we had a really good car. We should have run in the top five pretty easily. Just the circumstances we were put in really hurt us." Michigan was the most recent outing for the series. Teams will return to the 2-mile track in August. For now, though, Sonoma is the focus. Two practices are slated for Friday on the 12-turn, 1.99-mile layout. Qualifying for the 40-car field is scheduled for Saturday.
Report: Lorenzen joins Junior with brain pledge
RELATED: See photos of Lorenzen's career Moved by Dale Earnhardt Jr. 's advocacy on the issue of concussions, NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen will donate his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation upon his death, the driver's daughter Amanda told the Associated Press. "As a family, we decided we wanted to support Dale Jr. and all work together toward a healthy future for these drivers," Amanda Lorenzen Gardstrom told the AP in a story published Saturday. Earlier this week Hendrick Motorsports announced that Earnhardt Jr. would miss Sunday's race at New Hampshire due to concussion-like symptoms. The driver thought he had a severe sinus infection, according to the team, and sought treatment from a doctor who delivered that diagnosis. Lorenzen was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2015. He made just 158 premier series starts in his career, but the "Golden Boy" won 26 times from 1961-67, topping both Richard Petty and David Pearson during that span. Now 81, Lorenzen has fought the effects of dementia for years. NASCAR.com previously documented his battle in a 2014 feature. MORE: Dale Jr. pledges to donate brain to science