Junior celebrates 'Jeansboro Day,' says he expects to race '17 Daytona
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr . may not be competing in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series as the 2016 season begins to wind down, but the series' most popular driver still has plenty to keep him busy. "Going to the races, doing all my (sponsor) appearances, doing everything I was doing before, just not driving," Earnhardt said Wednesday during a stop at the corporate headquarters of Wrangler. "Take the driving part out of it and everything else I'm still doing." Earnhardt was joined by team owner Richard Childress to help kick off the second annual "Jeansboro Day" celebration and reminisce about the long relationship Wranger has enjoyed with Childress and Earnhardt. Earnhardt has been sidelined since midseason after suffering concussion-like symptoms following a pair of crashes. In his absence, drivers Jeff Gordon and Alex Bowman have handled the driving duties in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet. MORE: See: Bowman in the No. 88 car After missing two races in 2012, this marks the second time in his premier series career that Earnhardt has missed races due to a concussion or concussion-like symptoms. Although he won't be back behind the wheel this season, Earnhardt told the crowd that he plans to be back in the car when the 2017 season gets underway at Daytona International Speedway . "It's coming along pretty good," Earnhardt said when asked about his recovery. "We got dinged up, had a lot of wrecks this year, got dinged up pretty good. … "(I'm) starting to feel real good, starting to be able to get out and do things, enjoy myself. "I miss being in the car but we have every expectation of being in the car come February for the Daytona 500 ." The Sprint Cup Series heads to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend for Sunday's Hellmann's 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). It is the final race of the Round of 12 in this year's Chase, with only the top eight advancing to the next round. Earnhardt, who has six career victories on the 2.66-mile track, said he plans to be at Talladega "all three days." But just watching. Not driving, yet. &amp;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;amp;gt;
Daytona International Speedway's statement on Hurricane Matthew
" Daytona International Speedway experienced moderate damage from Hurricane Matthew with impacts to lights, speakers, signage, fences, gates, awnings and palm trees. Daytona International Speedway Ticket Office and Tours and the Richard Petty Driving Experience will be closed on Saturday and Sunday for facility cleanup. We will provide more updates through the weekend." "Pictures of a past weather event at Daytona International Speedway have been circulating on social media during the storm. Those pictures are from a weather event in 2009. There was no flood damage to the facility from Hurricane Matthew." "We are working with local, regional and state officials on recovery efforts following Hurricane Matthew. Daytona International Speedway is once again serving as a staging site for Florida Power & Light crews. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been impacted by this weather system."
FOX Sports, NASCAR return for 'Beyond the Wheel'
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. and CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- FS1 and NASCAR Productions will present the second season of the acclaimed documentary series Beyond the Wheel as part of FS1's NASCAR RACE HUB . Created to depict the sport's most pivotal moments and compelling narratives, the short films focus on influential characters -- both past and present -- and the unique stories that have shaped NASCAR as a sport since its inception. The first film premieres on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. ET during NASCAR RACE HUB on FS1. The second season of the documentary short film series is comprised of the following: · Bonneville 71 details how NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Bobby Isaac set 28 land speed records with a banned Dodge Charger Daytona on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1971, accompanied only by his crew members, a USAC official and a Chrysler engineer. Using the authentic No. 71 K&K Charger and featuring interviews with original crew members Buddy Parrott and Ken Troutt, the documentary pays homage to Isaac's historical runs by revisiting the Salt Flats to shoot all-new footage down a 10-mile straightaway. A remarkable story of innovation, the short film depicts Isaac's desire and dedication to always test the limits of speed, no matter the barriers. · Sueños de NASCAR follows NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Daniel Suárez from his roots in Monterrey, Mexico, to his rise in one of the sport's top series through the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program. As Suárez returns home to visit family and friends, the film explores his place in Mexican racing culture, how the country has embraced stock car racing, and the impact of Mexican drivers on the future of the sport. Illustrating the young driver as a source of inspiration, the documentary also examines Suárez's success as the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR national series race and his current pursuit of the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship. · Miracle at Daytona -- The Tiny Lund Story recounts how DeWayne "Tiny" Lund risked his life to rescue fellow driver, Marvin Panch, from his burning Maserati at Daytona International Speedway before going on to win the 1963 Daytona 500 just days later. The true story of a journeyman driver who was one of the most likeable characters of his era, Lund was also awarded the Carnegie Hero's Medal for his selfless bravery in what became one of the greatest Daytona 500 stories of all time. The second film in the series featuring Daniel Suárez will premiere on Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. ET, while the original special on Tiny Lund will air in early 2017. Each documentary will also be available on FOX Sports GO and FOXSports.com following its premiere.
Meet Eddie D'Hondt, Chase Elliott's spotter
Editor's note: This is the first in a series of interviews with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series spotters. Eddie D'Hondt, Spotter for Chase Elliott , No. 24, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet HOW DID YOU GET STARTED SPOTTING? "I was the GM at Evernham Motorsports when Bill Elliott was driving. I actually started spotting for Bill -- I guess about 16 years ago. I had been managing teams up until that point. I just sort of fell into it. I used to drive Modifieds. It just worked. I've been doing it ever since." WHAT OTHER DUTIES DO YOU HAVE WITH THE TEAM? "We have a team meeting on Tuesdays, the driver, the crew chief and all the engineers. I have two reports I'm responsible for putting together for that meeting. That takes up most of my Monday, it's a lot of video work and some other technical work, but that's the other part of my job." DO YOU SPOT IN OTHER SERIES? "I spot in every series every weekend. I do 105 races a year; Rolex, Modifieds, Truck, XFINITY , Cup. In depends on the series as far as who I'm spotting for each weekend. I did all of Chase's XFINITY races, Cole Custer 's XFINITY races; I do Ryan Preece when I'm not doing the 88 XFINITY car. I do Cole's Truck races. The Ferrari team in Rolex." HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH CHASE? "Just this year. For four or five years I was with Jeff (Gordon); three years with Kyle (Busch) before that." WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST RACE AS A SPOTTER? "It was with Bill. I guess the (2001) Daytona 500 , the race that Dale (Earnhardt) passed away." WHAT'S THE MOST BIZARRE THING YOU'VE SEEN WHILE SPOTTING? "Oh my gosh. I've lived up here all weekend for 16 years so I've seen a lot of stuff. There have been so many things. It's a great vantage point. Every single weekend we get to see a lot of what no one else gets to see." WHAT'S BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE AS A SPOTTER? "Homestead with Jeff last year and (the win at) Martinsville. I'd have to say those two. Jeff was just special. He is a special guy. He got in the trenches with you, he became your friend. You wanted to fight with him. I was working with Kyle Busch when Alan Gustafson (Gordon's crew chief at the time) came and got me, sat down and struck a deal and five years later, here I am." WHAT'S THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR JOB? "Probably the travel. I’ve been on this circuit since 1996, prior to that I raced on my own. Being away from your family is difficult. Both my boys are working in the garage, so if I want to see them I have to go find them in the garage somewhere. The rest of my family is always home, so that's the hard part." WHAT CURRENT DRIVER WOULD MAKE A GOOD SPOTTER? "That's a good question. Maybe Carl Edwards . He likes to talk." WHICH TRACK IS YOUR FAVORITE? "Bristol and Martinsville. Probably those two. I grew up on the short tracks. The thrill of the short track, anything can happen at any moment. The flow you get into in those races, I enjoy that." WHAT IS ONE THING ABOUT WHAT YOUR JOB ENTAILS THAT THE AVERAGE FAN MIGHT NOT KNOW? "Today, it's become way more intricate than what people realize. We're providing information that we never did before. You have all engineers now on top of all these pit boxes, not guys that grew up short-track racing. These guys are all engineers now. So they talk to the drivers less and it's fallen into our laps now to provide more and more information on things like rubber buildup, lanes that are working, braking, backing up corners. We're talking more about driving than safety. Most of the guys up here, just go down the line, used to drive. They have some kind of wisdom about what it feels line so you're able to talk about it. And the guys that didn't drive have educated themselves. Those guys on the pit boxes, they're looking at data."
Keselowski preps for Junior-less 'Dega with motivation, fast car
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Brad Keselowski 's winning Coke Zero 400 Ford was lightning fast. The Team Penske driver led 115 of the 161 laps around Daytona International Speedway to win the July event at the famed superspeedway. But he won't be unloading that hot rod this weekend at Talladega. "The car that we won Daytona with I saw it the other day," Keselowski said Oct. 7 during a Team Penske luncheon at Charlotte Motor Speedway . "It's sitting in the back and completely torn down. The body and everything is still just like it finished at Daytona . I asked the guys, 'Are we really gonna let that car sit? Are we not gonna run that at Talladega?' "And they said, 'No, we've got a car better than that for Talladega.'" Given Keselowski's current circumstances heading down to Alabama for the elimination race this Sunday (Hellmann's 500, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), a fast car is a must. His 38th-place finish last week at Kansas Speedway put the No. 2 driver in a precarious position on the Chase Grid, as he sits 11th of 12 drivers and seven points behind the cut-off spot. RELATED: Keselowski, Elliott lowest on Chase Grid But if anyone can climb out of the hole holding the checkered flag, it's Keselowski. The 32-year-old veteran has a field-high four wins at Talladega, including the spring race earlier this season. For Keselowski, his past success paves the way for future conquest. "There's a self-fulfilling prophecy to plate racing to when you have confidence it transcends, not just through yourself, but to the cars you're running around, other drivers that work with you more, but also to your team, to where your team puts extra emphasis on those race and the drivers year-round cut you a little more slack because they just think you're going to pass them anyway," Keselowski mused. "And that creates a snowballing effect of momentum at plate tracks. So when you can have consecutive quality runs at a plate race, it almost gets easier. "It's kind of hard to explain and funny to explain, but I would say the success we've had this year on the plate tracks has put my team in a spot to where they almost put more effort on those races and developing the car and developing strategy and so forth because they have confidence that we can perform well at those tracks. And that they're not so much of a roll of a roulette wheel." Keselowski isn't the only current driver with a flair for plate racing. Six-time Talladega winner Dale Earnhardt Jr . is always considered a favorite heading down to the Deep South. But Earnhardt, who is out for the remainder of the season due to concussion-like symptoms, will be watching the Talladega chaos unfold from the sidelines -- something that hasn't happened there since Junior began racing in the Sprint Cup Series full-time in 2000. The absence of a veteran plate racer like Earnhardt Jr. is a big deal, Keselowski says. "There's no doubt about it that Dale Jr. at Talladega is one of the best," Keselowski said. "Without kind of putting in how the field feels about Dale himself in the moment, just losing one of the best drivers at the track is going to change the race. When you add in those other components and elements, I think it reduces the likelihood that you'll kinda see the field line up single-file against the wall. "And that itself means that the race is more taxing and an opportunity for incidents goes up dramatically." Multi-car incidents, tagged the "Big One" at restrictor plate tracks, are definitely no-go zones for Keselowski, who likely needs a win to advance to the next round of the Chase. There's no room for mistakes, no room for wrecks -- and likely no room for even just "safe" finishes. "Even being good at Talladega, it still doesn't feel good going there with no win," Keselowski said. "But you know you have an opportunity, especially when you have a great team and all those things. It can be tough -- I think it’s tougher on the guys that go there and don't enjoy that style of racing already. "But for me, I look forward to it."
H2H: Chase hits halfway; Talladega tempest next
RELATED: See the Chase grid " Chase Bubble Watch The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason is making the turn for home -- five races down and five to go. This weekend's stop on the 10-race ride is among the most pivotal of them all, Sunday's Alabama 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) at Talladega Superspeedway . With the playoff field about to be cut from 12 drivers to a final eight, our Holly Cain and Zack Albert tackle pressing topics ahead of a true Chase wildcard: *** Halfway through the Chase, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr . have each won twice, leaving Jimmie Johnson as the only other race winner in the postseason's first five races. Will the champion be one of these three or is there still room for a Chase dark horse? Cain: It is highly likely that the champion will come from among these three drivers, who have not only won lately but set the bar this year. With half the Chase remaining, someone else may -- and needs to -- step up, figuring it would be Brad Keselowski or Joey Logano or one of the four remaining Toyota drivers who have led the way. No dark horse here. Albert: There's time left, but that clock -- not to be confused with the Camping World Truck Series' caution clock -- is ticking more urgently. Harvick, Truex and Johnson may be the main Chase triumvirate so far, but I'm holding the door open for a Keselowski-led Penske effort or another Joe Gibbs Racing entry to stage a Round of 12 rally, starting at Talladega. Next year, a schedule shake-up for the Chase's Round of 12 will have Kansas trading places with Talladega to be the three-race series' elimination event. Do you favor the move or was the Charlotte-Kansas-Talladega progression a suitable schedule? Cain: Depending on whom you talk to, Talladega settling the third-round Chase grid was either a huge opportunity or a crazy wild card. Everyone goes into the unpredictable Talladega race feeling like either he/she has a big opportunity or scant chance to emerge. That makes for a heightened excitement level, but the question is whether this type of race should solidify the next round of elimination. Cases can be made either way, but I think the switch-up is a good idea. Albert: Talladega races are heart-clenching enough as it is -- whether it's in the regular season in May, in the playoffs in October or a 20-lap offseason trophy dash for funsies (just a suggestion). Making the schedule shift may slightly reduce spectator palpitations, but the track loses little in stature as the middle event in a three-race series. A more conventional venue such as Kansas makes more sense as the host of an elimination race. The Chase's current bottom four: Austin Dillon , Denny Hamlin , Brad Keselowski , Chase Elliott . Of those four, who is best positioned to take out the math and guesswork and emerge with a season-saving Talladega win? Cain: I truly see any and all four of these with the possibility of point-climbing their way up to Chase advancement. Among them, it's hardest to argue with Keselowski's Talladega resume. He already has two restrictor-plate wins at Daytona in July and at Talladega in the spring. He has lots of good Alabama juju -- scoring his first-ever Cup win at Talladega in 2009 and amassing four total wins there. He's finished in the top five in three of his last trips to the track. Albert: With such a stacked quartet in the Chase basement, this is a tough one. All four drivers have the backing of teams with standout superspeedway programs, and Keselowski has evolved into one of the sport's best at the large, fast ovals where horsepower is restricted. While still imagining some No. 3 magic for Dillon or a No. 24 breakthrough for Elliott, Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin gets the slight nod from these parts in a plate-track pick 'em.
Heads up: Talladega weekend
Here are the hot topics, trending news and key story lines to get you ready for this weekend's races at Talladega Superspeedway . WEATHER Can you say "Chamber of Commerce weather?" That's what you'll get at Talladega. It'll be sunny all weekend, with a high of 70 on Friday and a high of 68 on Saturday, with the temperature nosing up to 77 degrees on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Beautiful outlook for a pair of elimination races. KEY TIMES Sprint Cup Series: The biggest change this weekend is Coors Light Qualifying. Rather than qualifying on Friday, the Sprint Cup Series will do so on Saturday afternoon after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. The single-car spectacle is set for 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The race is Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, also on NBCSN. Camping World Truck Series: The Camping World Truck Series has a pair of Friday practices (beginning at 1 p.m. ET and 3 p.m. ET, both on FS1). The race is Saturday at 1 p.m. ET on FOX with Keystone Light Pole Qualifying just before at 10:30 a.m. ET (FS1). CATCH DRIVERS LIVE We'll stream every driver press conference in the Talladega media center at NASCAR.com/presspass . Among the notables Friday: Chase Elliott (12:30 p.m. ET), Joey Logano (12:45 p.m. ET) and Martin Truex Jr . (3:30 p.m. ET). Click here for a full schedule. LAST TIME Joey Logano swept the Round of 12 last year, beating Alabama's favorite son Dale Earnhardt Jr . -- and eliminating him from the Chase -- in the process. The Team Penske driver led 20 laps to Earnhardt Jr.'s 61, and he held off Junior on an abbreviated green-white-checkered finish. Logano was first and Earnhardt Jr. second as the field's only attempt at a GWC conclusion went green. A wreck just past the start/finish line brought out the caution, ending the race just as Logano and Earnhardt Jr. were racing for the lead. Logano was in the lead at the time and declared the winner. Eventually, NASCAR tweaked its green-white-checkered rule in the offseason, leading to the addition of the overtime line. YOU SHOULD KNOW • With Dale Jr. sidelined for the rest of the season, Brad Keselowski may hold the mantle as the best restrictor-plate racer in NASCAR. The driver of the No. 2 Ford has three top-five finishes in the past four Talladega races, including two wins -- to bring his total 'Dega wins to four. He also won at Daytona in July. And following a wreck at Kansas last week, Keselowski likely has to win to advance in the postseason. • It's not just Keselowski who is in win-or-else mode. Chase Elliott essentially is facing a "must-win" scenario to advance into the next round. The rookie is 25 points behind the cutoff line. • Keep an eye on Joey Logano and Austin Dillon . They are tied for the final transfer spot, with Logano currently owning the tiebreaker thanks to his third-place finish at Kansas. Their stories are quite different. Logano won all three Round of 12 races last year, but his performances and speed slipped this year; Dillon is in his first postseason and one race away from making the Round of 8 after being seeded 15th out of 16 drivers at the start of the Chase. • This is the first elimination race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase, with two drivers getting knocked out of the postseason. Daniel Hemric and John Hunter Nemechek are both 15 points below the cutoff line and will need to make up some serious ground.
PEAK becomes title sponsor of NASCAR Mexico Series
RELATED: Peak becomes new sponsor for Mexico Series DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 18, 2016) -- During an event with team owners, drivers, local dignitaries and media at the InterContinental Presidente Hotel in Mexico City, NASCAR today announced plans to strengthen its presence in Mexico for years to come with a full slate of races in 2017 and beyond. Also announced was a multi-year agreement with Old World Industries (OWI) to make PEAK® title sponsor of the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series, only the third title sponsor in series history. Additionally, PEAK becomes an Official NASCAR Partner along with other key brands such as BlueDEF®. "The NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series is a place where young drivers are honing their skills and competing for a championship against the toughest competition in Latin America," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "The series drives interest in stock car racing in Mexico, while cultivating talented drivers and pit crew members aspiring to compete at the NASCAR national series level." The NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series will make its return with an exhibition race on Dec. 3-4 in Mexico City. Celebrating its 10th season, the series will officially get underway in 2017, with a full championship schedule that will be announced at a later date. The NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series has helped develop some of NASCAR's best young drivers, including Daniel Suárez, who is the first Mexican-born driver to capture Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors; win a NASCAR national series race; lead a national series in points; and compete in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase for a championship – which he is currently pursuing. Furthermore, the continued development of young Mexican drivers, like reigning NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series Champion Ruben Garcia Jr., exemplifies the wealth of talent competing throughout the series. "I am extremely proud to be a Mexican driver competing against the best young drivers making a name for themselves in the NASCAR XFINITY Series," said Suárez, driver of the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing . "I am lucky to have had the support of NASCAR's developmental programs along the way – including the NASCAR Mexico Series. I am excited to see that other talented Latin American drivers will continue to have similar opportunities for many years to come." "We remain steadfast in our commitment to develop young talent and engage our passionate fan base in Mexico," said Lou Garate, vice president, partnership marketing, NASCAR. "PEAK is a world-class brand, and its three decades of experience in motorsports will help elevate NASCAR-sanctioned racing in Mexico." Old World Industries' PEAK, BlueDEF and HURCULINER brands have a storied history in motorsports. PEAK held race entitlements in NASCAR throughout the 1990s and 2000s. In 2016, PEAK sponsored Clint Bowyer 's No. 15 Chevrolet, including two primary races and a season-long associate sponsorship. PEAK is also the title sponsor of NASCAR's eSports partner, iRacing.com, which has helped produce current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points leader William Byron. "Old World Industries products have been a recognized part of the racing industry for decades, and we're proud to help bring NASCAR to the passionate fans in Mexico and the U.S. for years to come," said Bryan Emrich, chief marketing officer at Old World Industries. "Whether in the garage or on the track, we'll continue to deliver quality products that auto enthusiasts can count on." As an Official NASCAR Partner, race fans will see the NASCAR bar mark on select products including: PEAK Antifreeze & Coolant (Official Antifreeze/Coolant of NASCAR®), PEAK Windshield Washer Fluid and Wipers (Official Washer Fluid and Wiper Blade of NASCAR®), BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid and Equipment (Official Diesel Exhaust Fluid of NASCAR® and Official Diesel Exhaust Fluid Equipment of NASCAR®) and Herculiner Truck & Bed Liners (Official Roll-On and Spray-On Bed Liner of NASCAR®). For more information on OWI products and the company's involvement in motorsports, please visit www.PeakAuto.com .
Dale Earnhardt-Wrangler deal risky, but paid off big for Richard Childress
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Richard Childress went all in. He wagered everything -- his yesterday, his today and his tomorrow. He bet it on a late-season deal with a driver who was a maverick, and he bet it on nothing more than a sliver of a sponsorship. And at the end of that 1981 season, less than a dozen races after the relationships began, the driver and the sponsor departed. The story could have ended there. Driver gone, sponsor gone and Childress, who had tried to scratch out a living as a racer before going the ownership route, hopelessly broke and perhaps finished with NASCAR. But it didn't. Two years later, both Dale Earnhardt and Wrangler reunited with Childress. The union produced a pair of championships and a slew of wins, and set Childress and Earnhardt on a path of success rarely seen in NASCAR. "I borrowed everything I could on my home; I sold everything I had that I thought I could sell just to run Dale those 10 races," Childress said Wednesday during a celebration at Wrangler's headquarters here in Greensboro. "At the end of it, I was just in debt. I had borrowed money from some folks and everything just to run those 10 races." It's fitting that the celebration of the region's textile community, dubbed Jeansboro Day, took place this week, just as NASCAR's premier series prepares to return to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. Because it was at Talladega in the summer of '81 that all the pieces first came together that would unite Childress, Earnhardt and Wrangler. "I had already talked to Dale at the track earlier that day," Childress said, "and put our deal together." Later, at the long-gone Anniston Inn just east of the track, he met with Phil Holmer of Goodyear, Wrangler officials and Joe Whitlock, who handled Earnhardt's public relations at the time. Earnhardt had won the 1980 title while driving for team owner Rod Osterlund, but when the team was sold mid-season to J.D. Stacy in '81, the driver wanted out. A deal to run the final 11 races of the season was struck, with Childress and Wrangler. By year's end, Earnhardt had managed six top-10 finishes, but the strong runs were offset by mechanical issues and parts breakage. "We ran good, but I knew we didn't have what it took to run him for a championship," Childress said. Dale Earnhardt talks with Richard Childress after the two reunited in 1984. Dale Earnhardt Jr . remembers that season, in particular his father's second start with Childress. "I remember the race at Bristol where you had the accident on pit road that second race that dad drove for you in 1981," Earnhardt Jr. said Wednesday. "I was there. I know that because one of my most favorite photos of me and my father, they basically had these two tires stacked on top of each other and I'm standing in the wheel to get a better perspective to watch the race. I must have been 7 years old. "But Dad is standing with me and we're both watching the rest of the race; the car is in the background too damaged to continue. But my favorite photo of me and my father actually happened that day at Bristol." At the suggestion of Childress, Earnhardt left at the end of the year, taking the Wrangler funding with him to sign with veteran team owner Bud Moore. Childress hired driver Ricky Rudd, and a late deal put Piedmont Airlines on the car and helped stabilize the organization. Wrangler officials, knowing his dire financial situation, had kicked in an extra $50,000 at year's end to help Childress keep his operation upright. "That really helped me going into the following year," Childress said. What would have he done without it? "It's hard to say," he said. "I never look back. I just look ahead and that was one of those deals that helped me look ahead. I don't know where we would have been without it." Before the '84 season began, Childress said Wrangler officials wanted to reunite, with Earnhardt once again driving the No. 3 Chevrolet. The Earnhardt/Moore union had produced just three wins over the course of two years. Childress was more than willing to agree. "I'll never forget Bud told me at Riverside, 'Boy, that boy will break you,'" Childress recalled Moore telling him of Earnhardt. Instead, the pair flourished. A Legacy Continues In 2010, Earnhardt brought the brand back to the race track for a one-off race, winning the XFINITY Series event that summer at Daytona International Speedway . The car, prepared by his own JR Motorsports group, sported the No. 3 and a paint scheme similar to his father's. He continues to serve as a spokesperson for the company, and says it is "amazing" that the relationship has endured for so long. "My father first had Wrangler on the side of his car at the end of the 1980 season; he won the championship with Wrangler on the quarter panel of his car racing at Ontario in 1980 for the final race of the season," Earnhardt Jr. said. "Then he went into 1981 with Wrangler as a full-time sponsor. And we're still working together today. "I'm very proud of that relationship, very proud that it spanned so many years. Typically, relationships just don't last that long. So it says a lot about Wrangler and what they get out of the sport itself; their connection to race fans and the legacy of the Earnhardt family and Richard, everything that Richard and Dad did together."
Keselowski on Chase pressure: I feel quiet and confident
RELATED: See the Chase grid " Chase Bubble Watch HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Brad Keselowski downplayed any sense of panic or urgency in his Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup hopes during a Tuesday test session at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Judging by the easygoing body language and quiet assurance he brought to a lunchtime question-and-answer period, Keselowski seemed calm and ready for the big race at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. The Hellmann's 500 (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will decide which eight of the current 12 Chase-eligible drivers will advance to the next round of the championship. And Keselowski is ranked 11th heading into the race. He trails his Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano by seven points. Logano sits in the eighth place cut-off position now, tied in points with Austin Dillon . Keselowski had a string of seven top-10 finishes end Sunday at Kansas. His No. 2 Miller Lite Ford was hit by Denny Hamlin and Keselowski ended up finishing a season-low 38th-place. MORE: Frame-by-frame of the Keselowski, Hamlin wreck "I haven't honestly thought very much about it,'' Keselowski told reporters Tuesday. "I took Monday off and cleared my head. We came here this morning and all I thought about was how I could be the fastest here in Homestead. "I want to do the best I can at Talladega, but I like to live day-to-day." Later, however, the 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion and restrictor-plate guru smiled and conceded about his chances at Talladega, "There are worse places." MORE: Keselowski: 'We will win Talladega' "I feel kinda quiet and confident and when you have those moments, if you have to talk about it, it's like you have to sell yourself,'' Keselowski said. "I don't feel like I have to sell myself.'' That's in part because Keselowski has a reassuring track record on the Talladega high banks. Many would place the 32-year-old among the tops on the list of restrictor-plate talents. He certainly tops the series this year -- with victories this spring at Talladega and this summer at Daytona Beach. He has four career victories at Talladega -- including his first career Sprint Cup win in 2009. And he won this October race to stave off Chase elimination back in 2014. "Tactics change, cars change and I'm a few years older so I've probably changed, too,'' Keselowski said. "I think any success at the Cup level no matter what track, the keys are doing everything right. You have to have a great team, you have to make the right moves, and the strategies have to change and you have to have a little bit of good fortune. I don't think there is one key. "That track, I've been very fortunate to win at a handful of times and each time there was probably one moment that was more important than another moment and they aren't shared between the races." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;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;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;