Jeffrey Earnhardt comments on making his first start for JR Motorsports this weekend and what an honor it is to carry on the Earnhardt legacy.
Team release says that assets have been purchased Photo courtesy of Viva Motorsports Viva Motorsports, which fields the No. 55 entry in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, announced on Monday that the team is ceasing operations effective this week, according to a release issued by the organization. The team was on track at Michigan International Speedway last weekend, where Jeffrey Earnhardt was behind the wheel of the No. 55 Chevrolet and finished in 34th place. The organization made its NASCAR debut in 2009 and competed in both the XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. "It takes a tremendous level of commitment to compete at this level of auto racing, especially when striving to get better on limited resources, week in and week out," team owner Jamie Dick said in a release provided by the team. "It has come to a point where my family and I cannot continue to make the personal and financial commitments that this sport requires. I have always been proud of the quality of race team we brought to the track. Instead of lessening that quality, we decided to take a step back from the sport." "I want to thank the whole NASCAR community for allowing me to be part of the family. I want to thank our sponsors and our fans for all the support through the years. But most of all, I want to thank the employees of Viva Motorsports, both past and present, for making this team the best it could be." All the team assets have been purchased and the No. 55 car will appear in a handful of races in the 2015 season, according to the release. This season, Earnhardt (six races), Dick (five races) and Brandon Gdovic (two races) split driving duties in the No. 55 car. Dick missed some time after being diagnosed with new onset diabetes after the Phoenix race in March. The team's best result in 13 races this season was a 12th-place showing by Earnhardt at Talladega in May. A few weeks ago, Dick sat down with NASCAR.com's Pat DeCola at the team's shop in China Grove, North Carolina, to discuss the challenges of running a single-car team. "I do (have a single-car team, "us against the world" mentality). I don’t try to make it a point to spread that opinion throughout our employees and everyone else, but I certainly have that opinion," Dick said. "Because of that mentality, I'm glad we do our own single-car team. Not that we want to be a single-car team, I just mean that we’re independent and we own it and we do it." Dick also reflected on where his own driving career was heading. The 26-year-old has made 60 XFINITY Series starts and 14 Camping World Truck Series starts in his career. "The trajectory and the path of the mountain of my driving career and Viva Motorsports have already started to split and have more and more over the past year or two. I think they'll continue to split more. I don't think that my driving career will blossom into something greater than it is right now. I still like driving and I want to be the best race car driver I can be, but I don’t foresee any opportunities coming along to advance my driving career beyond what it is now, which I'm perfectly OK with. I'm happy with where I am and where I've made it." The Albuquerque, New Mexico native had big hopes for the organization, telling NASCAR.com in May that he would love to work his way into the Sprint Cup Series one day. "The potential for Viva Motorsports to grow with other drivers and other partners and other sponsors, the sky is the limit," Dick said last month. "I'd still love to venture into the Cup Series if the right opportunity presented itself, but I realize how difficult it is and I don't want to go in there with a half-hearted effort. I want the right opportunity to do it right way. That probably will never mean the 'right way' compared to Joe Gibbs or Rick Hendrick, but at least the right way as something that we can be proud of." And those hopes extended to the team's XFINITY efforts. "I hope in three to five years we're no longer a single-car team. I hope we're a two or three car XFINITY car team competing for better finishes, top-10 finishes, and continue to present ourselves professionally like we do now." ---NASCAR.com's Pat DeCola contributed to this report. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
David Starr and Jeffery Earnhardt crash trying to avoid contact with Darrell Wallace Jr and Brendan Gaughan.
Grandson of 'The Intimidator' makes move to Viva Motorsports
NASCAR executive addresses drivers' council timing, overseas races RELATED: NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France addresses drivers' council NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell returned to America on Monday from a visit to a NASCAR Whelen Euro Series race in England, and he returned to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday to tackle hot topics, including the state of the 2016 rules package, the scheduling of drivers' council meetings and where in the world NASCAR wants to race. O'Donnell addressed the goal of creating better racing with the 2016 package by referencing how NASCAR races every weekend with stars like Martin Truex Jr ., and his popular win for Furniture Row Racing are like the NBA Finals between LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers and Stephen Curry's Golden State Warriors. "It's a big front-burner," O'Donnell said of work on the 2016 rules. "A lot of conversations going on, not only from the driver council, but also with the teams, so you'll see us do some things here and ratchet up those conversations in the next 30 days. It's important though to really look at what we're all striving for. "We talked about Martin Truex Jr . …. These guys are the best in the world so it's tough to continue to make it better. That's what we want to do. You've got, in our case, LeBron and Steph Curry are out on the race track every single race. "So how do you continue to make that better? How do you continue to allow for more passing? That's the goal. Everybody understands that. The good news is that the entire industry is aligned for what makes the best racing and how do we get there. So I think you'll see some good things continue to develop in terms of what you see on the race track." As NASCAR discusses the state of the sport with the best racers in the world, O'Donnell praised the initial get-together at Dover last month and looked ahead to future sessions. "The drivers' council, the first one, I thought was terrific," O'Donnell said. "Again, we're not always going to agree, but you get some really good input. And you can decipher where you want to go and how that will affect certain teams. "We'll probably have a pretty good cadence going forward. Obviously we talk to the drivers, owners or whomever every weekend, but kind of the more formal ones I'd say we'd look at more on a quarterly basis and see how that works because it is new, but I think that's the plan right now." The sanctioning body heads to Michigan International Speedway , the closest track to the auto manufacturers, and O'Donnell talked about the importance of racing in the region for all three companies supporting cars in NASCAR's national series. He also noted it could be a turnaround weekend for the Sprint Cup teams of Jack Roush, who leads all owners with 13 victories at the track. "It's really important for us; it's a great facility," O'Donnell said. "… Chevy and Ford right there but certainly Toyota likes coming in and mixing it up a little bit on the track (near Detroit). From a competition standpoint for us, you look at the race, and Roush historically has been really strong at that race track." As NASCAR considers places to race outside the United States, manufacturer growth areas come to mind for O'Donnell. "Where we've been successful is really starting from a grassroots effort, like you've seen in Mexico, where we have a successful tour and we can see some drivers come up through the system similarly in Canada," O'Donnell said. "Now that's what's happening in Europe as well. I'd say maybe taking some of our national series drivers over from time to time to help seed those series and the growth would be important for us." O'Donnell noted that national series driver Jeffrey Earnhardt traveled to last weekend's event at Brands Hatch in England to share some of his expertise behind the wheel at American Speedfest. He also mentioned other countries on NASCAR's radar going forward. Here is a great recap of this weekends events @EuroNASCAR @BrandsSpeedFest https://t.co/AK5aaA2GiC — Steve O'Donnell (@odsteve) June 8, 2015 "South America is certainly an area where we'd like to emerge, China, India, not necessarily right away, but when you look at a lot of the partners and especially the OEMs, (those countries) are certainly growth areas so we'll take a look at those as well," O'Donnell said. "First and foremost for us, it's concentrating on the U.S. and making sure we've got the best thing going every Sunday here in the United States." The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 celebrates its 100th race under the NASCAR umbrella on Saturday at Autodrome Chaudiere in Valle-Jonction, Quebec. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Nephew of Dale Jr. looks to add to family lineage on the track
NASCAR.com's Jonathan Merryman and Chris Rice discuss Dale Earnhardt Jr. starting on the pole position after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying was rained out and what it will take to for a driver to win the Coke Zero 400.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. talks about having a great night at Daytona and his fear after witnessing Austin Dillon wreck through his rear view mirror.
NASCAR.com's Kenny Bruce compares Jimmie Johnson to the 'Intimidator' RELATED: Johnson wins at Dover for 10th time The greatest NASCAR driver of all time is … Jimmie Johnson ? That's the word on the street, or in this case the voice on the radio, and since the bluegrass channel was on a commercial break I decided to stick around long enough to hear how that particular conclusion was reached. Such comparisons are inevitable – it's the sort of thing that arises when one is chasing legends. No different than when Jeff Gordon was piling up victories and championships in pursuit of Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt . No different than when Earnhardt was piling up victories and championships in pursuit of Petty. And no different than when Petty began piling up wins and titles on his way to overtaking a host of former champions, including his father, Lee, the first to win three NASCAR premier series championships. What the 39-year-old Johnson has managed to accomplish in little more than 13 full seasons in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series certainly puts him in the same league with Petty and Earnhardt , NASCAR's only seven-time champions. There's no doubt that Johnson, fit and trim and now only two wins away from matching Earnhardt's career win total of 76 victories, is one of the sport's greatest drivers. But is he No. 1? From a numbers standpoint, the Hendrick Motorsports driver will undoubtedly surpass Earnhardt's win total, and it's likely he'll eventually capture a seventh championship. He could, in fact, become the first driver to win more than seven titles. That would make him the most successful driver from a championship standpoint (neither he nor anyone else will come close to Petty's mark of 200 career wins), but will that make him NASCAR's greatest driver? No. That designation, without question, belongs to Earnhardt . Statistics are a great way to gauge success. But it takes more than numbers to measure greatness. Johnson has managed to excel during what some claim is the most competitive era in the history of NASCAR. Yes, there are more winners, on average, today. But there are also more races on the schedule, thus also more opportunities. A larger number of teams run the full schedule today, although that doesn't necessarily mean there are more "better" teams competing. Earnhardt never ran a season consisting of 36 points races; Johnson's never run in fewer than 36. Earnhardt never had the opportunity to compete at Kansas, Chicago or Kentucky; but by the same token, Johnson never raced at North Wilkesboro or Riverside. I have a strong feeling both could have won at those tracks given the chance. I'll argue that the talent pool Earnhardt often faced was just as deep – with lineups including drivers such as Petty and Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, Buddy Baker, Neil Bonnett, Geoff Bodine and Harry Gant. Eventually Bill Elliott , Dale Jarrett and Rusty Wallace, Davey Allison, Alan Kulwicki, Tim Richmond and others took their place. Most were champions; many are already members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Johnson is one of the greatest drivers that today's fans will ever see. What he has done has been nothing short of amazing. If one wants to argue that he would not have won 74 races and six championships had it not been for Hendrick Motorsports and Chad Knaus, the same could be said of Earnhardt , who owed much of his success to Richard Childress Racing and the talented group he worked with there. But what elevates Earnhardt above the rest is more than the fact that he was so successful. He provided fans with some of the sport's most memorable moments during his two-plus decades. Among them: winning the pole at Watkins Glen in '96 (and setting the track qualifying record, to boot) just two weeks after suffering a broken collarbone and sternum in a vicious crash at Talladega; climbing from his damaged car and into the ambulance, only to quickly exit and return to his car once he realized it would still run, at Daytona in '97; his first and only Daytona 500 victory the following season, a win that erased 19 years of heartbreak. There was the "rattle his cage" incident with Terry Labonte en route to victory in the night race at Bristol in '99; the wrongly-termed but aptly promoted "pass in the grass" on his way to winning the 1997 All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway ; and the charge from 18th to first in the final five laps of the 2000 Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway . For two decades, greatness drove a Chevrolet and it carried the number 3. They were memorable moments that elevated the sport and defined the man. Johnson can win more races and win more championships, but he can't match that. He needn't worry – no one else can, either. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
No. 88 team changed rear gear Sunday morning RELATED: Need to adjust your Fantasy Live lineup? Dale Earnhardt Jr . will start from the rear in Sunday's FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM) at Dover International Speedway after the team changed a rear gear in his No. 88 Chevrolet on Sunday morning. The No. 88 team changed a rear gear this morning and will start at the rear of the field. This new rule started just prior to the 600. — Laura S. (@Hendrick88Team) May 31, 2015 Earnhardt Jr. had qualified 16th in Friday's session. In a pair of Saturday practice session, the No. 88 came in ninth and 19th. Junior has one win in 30 starts at Dover, and it came in 2001. He's earned a top-10 finish in four of the past six races at the 1-mile concrete oval. Will be a tough hot race today. @MonsterMile can be exasperating. We're starting in the rear due to replacing a broken gear. Time to suit up — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) May 31, 2015