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Staff picks for Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
RELATED: See all the cars lined up for Sunday's race Jimmie Johnson : "The focus is rightly on Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart this weekend. Away from the spotlight, though, Johnson and his No. 48 team finally get back on track with a dominant showing -- and "Six-Time" ties Gordon with his fifth career win at the Brickyard." -- Brad Norman Tony Stewart : 'Smoke' has been on a roll and no place means as much to him as the Brickyard. -- Kenny Bruce Kyle Larson : " Fueled by a landmark victory at Eldora Speedway and increased team performance, expect Kyle Larson to ride a wave of momentum into the Brickyard, backing up his two Indy top-10s by landing in Victory Lane for the first time in his Sprint Cup Series career." -- Pat DeCola Martin Truex Jr. : Furniture Row Racing puts all the pieces together, shedding any bad luck for another crown jewel win to pair with its Coca-Cola 600 triumph. -- Zack Albert Jimmie Johnson : " He's won here four times before and it's time for his frustrating summer to end." -- Holly Cain Tony Stewart : "Equipped with a third-place starting position for his final Brickyard 400 run, look for Indiana native Tony Stewart to continue his hot streak up front -- and eventually in Victory Lane." -- Jessica Ruffin Ryan Newman : "The Rocket Man has been close the past two weeks (seventh at Loudon, third at Kentucky) and qualified sixth at the Brickyard, so let's go with Indiana's forgotten son to pull off the upset on Sunday. After all, his last Sprint Cup Series win came at Indy (2013)." -- George Winkler Kyle Busch: " The Sprint Cup Series champ is starting on the pole and I think he's going to stay there to bring home his second consecutive Brickyard win. Also, with Saturday's XFINITY Series win under his belt, Busch is eyeing a sweep again, a feat that's only been done by him." -- Taylor Nunnally Carl Edwards : " The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has the speed this weekend and his quiet summer is about to come to an end with his first Brickyard win." -- RJ Kraft Jimmie Johnson : Four-time Indy winner is due for a Brickyard win and this weekend could be the year "Six-Time" ties Jeff Gordon for the most wins at the 2.5-mile track. -- Maggie MacKenzie Make your picks in Streak to the Finish !
Kyle Busch holds off Harvick for third straight XFINITY win
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Every winner in 2016 SHOP: Busch gear SPEEDWAY, Ind. -- About the only thing Kyle Busch didn't win on Saturday was the one prize he wasn't eligible for . But the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota won everything else, capping a phenomenal day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a victory in the Lilly Diabetes 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race -- and he did so with tires that were 23 laps older than those of his pursuers. Busch led 62 of 63 laps but had to hold off Kevin Harvick on a two lap dash in overtime to win for the third time at the Brickyard, the seventh time in 11 starts this season and the 83rd time in his career, extending his series record. The XFINITY race was actually the fourth competition Busch won on Saturday. First, he won the top starting spot for the Lilly Diabetes 250, the 54th pole of his career. Next, he won the pole position for Sunday's Crown Royal 400 (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN), one of the marquee NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events of the season. After that Busch led all 20 laps and took the checkered flag in the first heat race under the XFINITY Series' final Dash 4 Cash event of the season. Busch didn't win the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus, a prize available only to series regulars. That check went to Justin Allgaier , who rolled home in fifth place, the highest finisher among the four drivers who earned eligibility in the heat races. Busch, however, has one more mountain to climb. On Sunday, he'll attempt to complete his second straight weekend sweep at the vaunted Brickyard. Busch held off Harvick, third-place finisher Paul Menard and fourth-place Kyle Larson even though Busch had stayed out on old rubber while those behind him pitted for new tires under the first caution on Lap 50. "The new tires for those guys were good for them but not so good for us," Busch said. "I just dug in deep and gave it everything I had. I knew I had to get really good restarts. On the second-to-last one (on Lap 54), I got a really good one, and then the last one (on lap 62 in overtime), it was OK. "I got an OK one, and I saw Harvick pull out… but he never got alongside of me. I never felt him close enough that he was going to pull alongside. ... It's a pretty awesome feeling to be able to go back to Victory Lane here this year. We're sitting on the pole tomorrow, and hopefully we can have another sweep here." Busch had a lead of more than eight seconds on Lap 48 of a scheduled 60 when JGR teammate Erik Jones , the wire-to-wire winner of the second heat race, blew a right rear tire entering Turn 1 and spun, causing the afternoon's first caution. While Busch and series leader Daniel Suarez stayed out on old tires, the remaining eight lead-lap cars came to pit road. Busch survived the restart on lap 54, but a lap later, ay Black Jr. and Harrison Rhodes wrecked off Turn 2 to bring put the second yellow and force the overtime. On the Lap 62 restart, Harvick pushed Larson, then ducked to the inside but was reluctant to take a bad angle into the first corner. As Harvick and Larson battled briefly for second, Busch pulled away and ultimately crossed the finish line .411 seconds ahead of Harvick's No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. "I really thought I could beat him down the backstretch if I got off of (Turn) 2 well and could clear the 42 (Larson)," Harvick said. "I got to the inside and kind of hit the chip and decided to hold the line up a little bit and try to get a run, and the 42 got stuck on the outside and that ruined my plan. "But our goal was to overachieve today, and we did that and capitalized on some situations and had a couple of good restarts and wound up second. All in all, it wasn't a bad day." Just nowhere near as good as the one Busch had.
Strong starting spot at Indy a 'big deal' for Stewart
RELATED: Full starting lineup " See every car in the field SPEEDWAY, Ind. -- Tony Stewart wrapped up day two of his final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway by qualifying third-best for the 40-car field that makes up Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard. It will be Stewart's best starting berth at Indy since winning the pole for the annual race at the legendary 2.5-mile track in 2002. It also equaled his best qualifying effort of what’s been an abbreviated season, matching his third-place start earlier this year at Michigan International Speedway. He announced last September that the 2016 season would be his last as a competitor in the Sprint Cup Series. Stewart put up the sixth-fastest lap in Saturday's opening round, enabling him to advance to the second round where he posted the second-fastest lap overall. In the final round of 12, his 184.328 mph lap was bettered only by Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch (184.634 mph) and Carl Edwards (184.547 mph). Stewart, 45, credited crew chief Mike Bugarewicz with making the appropriate changes between Friday's two practices and Saturday’s qualifying attempts. "I just wish I could do a lap … one more time and not clip the apron in (Turn) 4; I think we could have been on the pole," Stewart said after climbing from his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. "What we learned today for qualifying, we are going to have to take some of that and try to make a car a little better for tomorrow." Starting position can be crucial -- the benefits ranging from optimum track position to a clear entry into and out of one's pit stall during the race. To start third, Stewart said, "is a big deal here. It always has been." The rules package in place for this year's race is 180 degrees from the high drag package implemented at Indy a year ago. Stewart said the difference is evident and positive. "It seems like the more downforce they take off these cars, the easier it is to race around each other," he said. "That is what you need, but it always helps when you can start up front. When you can get up there and really get working on your car in cleaner air and plan for the end of the race, that is really an advantage." Stewart sat out the first eight races of the 2016 season while recovering from injuries sustained in an off-road accident on Jan. 31. A victory last month at Sonoma Raceway and his ascension into the top-30 in points have put him in line for one of the 16 positions that will make up this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. "We just have been plugging away," he said. "Everybody thinks Sonoma was the game changer and it wasn't. I mean it was Pocono, it was Michigan -- those two races leading up to Sonoma were probably as big if not bigger than what we did at Sonoma. "Sonoma just gave us the opportunity to hopefully use what we are doing to get going in the Chase now." With his final start at Indy less than 24 hours away, Stewart, who has 49 career wins in NASCAR's premier series, was ready to turn his attention elsewhere. "Tonight I'm going to go to Kokomo Speedway for our All-Stars race and go to work there," he said. "Then come here tomorrow and have fun with our friends." Sunday’s race is scheduled to get underway at 3 p.m. ET. TV and radio coverage will be provided by NBCSN, the IMS Radio Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. </p>
Wallace Jr. shows off 'Shredder' scheme for Chicagoland
NEW YORK -- Nickelodeon today announced that it is has teamed up with NASCAR XFINITY Series star "Bubba" Wallace to drive a special No. 6 Shredder Ford Mustang in the XFINITY 300 on Saturday, September 17. Nickelodeon is the entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Sept. 18, dubbed the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. The track will feature a weekend of action, activities and fun for the entire family with the iconic Heroes in a Half Shell. Wallace is in his second full-time season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for Roush Fenway Racing. His unique race car at Chicagoland will feature Shredder in his iconic helmet on the hood, rear bumper and left rear quarter-panel. The Foot Clan is right there with him, standing watch on the right rear quarter-panel, ready to do battle. Shredder is the commander of an evil ninja army called the Foot Clan, and is one of the deadliest martial artists in the world. He is cold, cunning, ruthless, and obsessed with destroying Splinter, whom he blames for the death of his true love. Shredder’s thirst for revenge has drained him of all compassion, warmth and connection to humanity. Wallace will join a number of other drivers with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles paint schemes for the Sept. 17-18 race weekend. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Danica Patrick has already been announced to drive the No. 10 April O'Neil/Nature's Bakery Chevrolet SS in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 . Additional drivers will be announced this summer. "I grew up watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Shredder was always a cool character," said Wallace. "It's an honor to partner with Nickelodeon on this program. Hopefully Shredder and the Foot Clan will lead the way to Victory Lane." This Sept. 15-18 marks the sixth consecutive year that Chicagoland Speedway will kick off the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The Nickelodeon partnership will include sponsorship of the 2017 kick off race, as well. "We are excited to partner with Bubba Wallace and Roush Fenway Racing to showcase Shredder and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the NASCAR XFINITY race," said Anthony DiCosmo, Senior Vice President, Sports Marketing and Development, Nickelodeon. "Just as we did with last season's SpongeBob SquarePants 400 at Kansas Speedway, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 will continue to expand our relationship with NASCAR, while working with another best-in-class ISC track to give fans a unique and engaging race experience that the whole family can enjoy." Nickelodeon has a long-standing relationship with NASCAR, teaming up with the motorsports giant on several programming and racing events. On the track, the network has sponsored the SpongeBob SquarePants 400 at Kansas Speedway in 2015; brought the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2014; participated in the Bank of America 500 week in 2012; and the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC in 2004. NASCAR has also contributed talent and content to Nickelodeon programming such as the Kids’ Choice Awards ( Danica Patrick , 2012 and 2013), Kids’ Choice Sports Awards ( Danica Patrick , 2014, Ben Kennedy , 2015), Team Umizoomi ( Jeff Gordon , 2012), Hammer Down (2014), which aired on Nicktoon’s NickSports block, and an upcoming Bubble Guppies episode ( Jimmie Johnson , 2015). Currently in its fourth season, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is seen in over 170 countries and territories and translated in 50+ languages. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles follows four mutant turtles -- Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo -- trained in the art of ninjutsu by their mutant rat sensei, Master Splinter, who teaches the turtles to battle evil from the New York City sewers. Executive produced by Ciro Nieli and Brandon Auman, the series is created at Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank, Calif.
RCR announces crew chief change for No. 27
Welcome, N.C. -- Richard Childress Racing (RCR) has made a change in crew chiefs for its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series programs, effective immediately. Danny Stockman, a two-time champion in the NASCAR XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series, will assume crew chief responsibilities for the No. 27 Menards Chevrolet SS team, with driver Paul Menard . Stockman's first race with the team will be at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, July 31. During Stockman's seven-year tenure with RCR, he has captured two championships and nine wins between the NASCAR XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series. The Yucaipa, California, native joins the No. 27 program already familiar with Menard, having worked with the veteran driver for the past two years in the XFINITY Series. Together, they produced a race win at Road America in 2015. Menard, who earned a spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase in 2015, is currently 23rd in the championship point standings. RCR's current NASCAR XFINITY Series Director, Gil Martin, will serve as interim crew chief for the No. 2 Rheem/Menards program. Martin, a 16-year veteran of RCR, is among a select group of crew chiefs that have won races in NASCAR's Sprint Cup, XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series.
Meet Sunday's hero, grand marshal for Brickyard 400
SPEEDWAY, Ind. -- Retired U.S. Navy Seal Jason Redman freely admits he's new to big-time NASCAR racing and says he cannot wait to see the sights and feel the atmosphere at one of the Sprint Cup Series' biggest events here at Indianapolis Motor Speedway come Sunday. The excitement and honor, however, is greatly reciprocated. Redman, 40, who sacrificed for our country serving multiple tours in Iraq, will serve as grand marshal and has gifted the name of Sunday's race, "The Crown Royal presents …." from using his name to celebrating his charity, Combat Wounded Coalition. The Virginia native Redman has had nearly 40 surgeries to repair massive injuries to his face and arm suffered while fighting in Iraq. And he and his wife founded the Combat Wounded Coalition to serve military members needing specialized services because of their injuries. "I think the whole experience I'm looking forward to, no doubt,'' Redman said, adding with a laugh. "Now I've ruined it forever because I'll never be able to come back to a race because it will never be this good again. "Everything I've ever heard about NASCAR is just incredible from the racing, to the sounds of the engine and the track. People are so friendly and have a good time. The whole experience and then take that up another notch with everything I get to do like waving the green flag, leading the field in the pace car. That will be amazing." Redman said he was looking forward to meeting drivers and was especially grateful to spend time with Danica Patrick on Friday. The two talked about their different workouts and their shared love of dogs. "She was phenomenal and we had a great conversation,'' Redman said. He is looking forward to a full day of NASCAR access on Sunday. He will attend the drivers' meeting, drive the pace car, present the trophy to the winner and kiss the bricks. "This is definitely up there,'' Redman said. "It's a two part thing how incredible it is. On the one side, the experience of being here and how cool it is. And the flip side is for Crown Royal to allow us to name this race after my non-profit and to use it as an opportunity to highlight the sacrifices of so many of our veterans. … that was amazing. "Both of those opportunities are just beyond. I can't think of any better place than here at a NASCAR race. If there's any group of Americans that doesn't take their freedom for granted it is NASCAR fans." If you are interested finding out more information about the charity Combat Wounded Coalition, visit the organization at combatwoundedcoalition.org .
Kyle Busch dominates for back-to-back Indianapolis sweep
RELATED: Results " Standings " Chase Grid SHOP: Busch gear SPEEDWAY, Ind. -- Mission accomplished, a record set, and a torch passed to the next generation. Kyle Busch set a Brickyard record for laps led and became the first driver to sweep both a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series race from the pole in the same weekend, but the real symbolism of Sunday's Crown Royal 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway didn't come until the event was over. As Busch spun his No. 18 Toyota in a celebratory burnout and took his customary bows near the yard of bricks, Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon slowly circled the track, driving side by side, waving to fans acknowledging their career accomplishments after what is expected to be their respective last appearances at the Brickyard. In heat that reached 130 degrees on the asphalt, Stewart recovered from a pit road speeding penalty to finish 11th in his retirement year, and Gordon ran 13th in what was an unanticipated substitute role for ailing Dale Earnhardt Jr. But Busch received his share of the applause, too, as fans have begun to acknowledge his ascent, at age 31, to the small group of elite drivers in NASCAR's history. To say he accomplished his second straight weekend sweep of the Indy races emphatically is to understate the case. In a race that went 25 miles beyond its scheduled distance, thanks to a rash of late cautions, Busch led 149 of 170 laps, a record for the event. In the two-lap overtime shootout that decided the issue, Busch crossed the finish line an astounding 2.126 seconds ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth , who ran second. "This Toyota was awesome today," said Busch, who won his second Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis, his fourth of the season and the 38th of his career. "It was just so fast and able to get out front and stay out front. Not even some of my teammates could challenge. This was hooked up and on rails. "Adam Stevens (crew chief) and these guys are a phenomenal group, and I'm proud to be with them. It's fun to come out here and have such a dominant piece at Indy. They don't come along often, so I was just hoping I didn't screw it up." Busch is acutely aware of the history of the sport, and completing a weekend sweep by winning both races from the pole was high on his bucket list. "It's so cool because it hasn't been done before," said the defending Sprint Cup champion, who is the second driver to win back-to-back races at the Brickyard -- the other being Jimmie Johnson in 2008 and 2009. "I've tried and been successful at being able to do a lot of things that others haven't been able to do before. I guess I give myself more chances than others because I run more of those (XFINITY) races. "It helps you, and when it helps you win on Sunday, that's what makes everything so worthwhile on those Saturday races. The guys on Saturday do a good job, too, helping prepare me and being able to do this stuff on Sunday." Busch was on cruise control, heading toward an easy victory, when NASCAR called a debris caution on Lap 150 to remove a piece of sheet metal near the exit from Turn 2. One of six drivers who stayed out on older tires, Busch led the field to green on Lap 154. Moments later, the No. 19 Toyota of Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Carl Edwards tightened up in the inside lane, twitched out of control and ignited a five-car wreck that necessitated a stoppage that lasted 7 minutes, 25 seconds. "It felt like I just got tight down there," Edwards said. "I had a little trouble there on the starts, and I got down there, we were fighting really hard for the bottom, and it felt like I got tight with whoever was on the outside of me. "If indeed that is what happened, I apologize. That's pretty frustrating. ... It felt like I got in there and just scrubbed that right front." The following two restarts also brought cautions, the eighth and final one coming when Jamie McMurray made an ill-advised lane change in front of Stewart near the end of pit road and spun sideways off the front bumper of Stewart's No. 14 Chevrolet, also collecting Ryan Newman and Brian Scott . When the race restarted on Lap 169, Busch cleared Joey Logano and Kenseth off Turn 1 and pulled away relentlessly until the finish. Johnson overcame a pass-through penalty for speeding on pit road to run third, followed by Denny Hamlin , another speeding penalty victim and the third JGR driver in the top four. Kyle Larson came home fifth, posting his fourth top five of the season. But the story of the day was the long good-bye from Stewart and Gordon, juxtaposed against the backdrop of Busch's emphatic hello to greatness at the flag stand. </p>
Full schedule for Pocono and Iowa
RELATED: Find NBCSN in your area " Watch live online at NBCSports.com The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will gather for a doubleheader weekend at Pocono Raceway while the NASCAR XFINITY Series is at Iowa Speedway this week. Check out the full weekend schedule below. Note: All times are ET FRIDAY, JULY 29: ON TRACK: POCONO -- 11 a.m.-12:25 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series first practice, NBCSN ( Follow live ) -- 12:30-1:55 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series first practice, FS1 ( Follow live ) -- 3-3:55 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice, FS1 ( Follow live ) -- 4:15 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN ( Follow live ) GARAGECAM ( Watch live ) -- 10:30 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series -- noon: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ON TRACK: IOWA -- 5-5:50 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series first practice, NBCSN will start coverage at 5:30 p.m. on a delay ( Follow live ) -- 7-8:20 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, NBCSN ( Follow live ) SATURDAY, JULY 30: ON TRACK: POCONO -- 9:05 a.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 ( Follow live ) -- 11 a.m.-12:20 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, NBCSN ( Follow live ) -- 1 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 150 (60 laps, 150 miles), FS1 ( Follow live ) ON TRACK: IOWA -- 4:15 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN ( Follow live ) -- 8 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series U.S. Cellular 250 (250 laps, 218.75 miles), NBCSN ( Follow live ) SUNDAY, JULY 31: ON TRACK: POCONO -- 1:30 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pennsylvania 400 (160 laps, 400 miles), NBCSN ( Follow live )
'Smoke' called to front of line for Indy tribute
SPEEDWAY, Ind. -- Tony Stewart 's final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway got off to an emotional start here Sunday as NASCAR and IMS officials, along with fans of the three-time premier series champion, paid tribute to Stewart during pre-race activities. Stewart, twice a winner at the legendary 2.5-mile facility, is retiring from Sprint Cup competition at season's end. Sunday's Crown Royal Presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard marked his 18th career start at the track. Stewart, 45, led the field on the opening pace lap well ahead of even the pace car prior to the start of the race before falling back in line to his official starting position of third on the 40-car grid. Earlier, additional room on the pre-race grid was provided to the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team to accommodate up to 100 guests on hand to see Stewart make his final scheduled Brickyard start. Stewart has 49 career victories, including Brickyard 400 wins in 2005 and '07. His 9.6 average finishing position at Indy is his best at any track in the series. Stewart grew up in Columbus, Indiana, located approximately 50 miles south of the speedway, and he maintains his primary residence there. He has spoken often of what the track has meant to him through the years. "You know, it means a lot," he said recently. "Some of the greatest race car drivers in the world, whether it was IndyCar, Formula 1, MotoGP, NASCAR, they've run and won at the Brickyard, so that in itself makes it special. "I grew up ... in Indiana. I didn't move to Indiana. I didn't move away from Indiana. I'm the only NASCAR driver in the (Sprint) Cup Series that's from Indiana that still lives in Indiana, and I'm proud of where I was born. I'm proud to be back. "I still live in the town I was raised in. I take a lot of pride in that. I think the state of Indiana takes a lot of pride in that, and that's what makes it a big weekend. I'm representing a lot of people around me, and I'm proud to do that." Stewart made his first start at Indy in 1996, winning the pole and finishing 24th for team owner John Menard in the Indianapolis 500. He finished fifth the following year. Stewart remains the only driver to complete all 1,100 miles of the Indy/Charlotte double held in May. He finished sixth in the Indy 500 in 2001, then flew to Charlotte Motor Speedway where he drove to a third-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 .
Junior, fiancée Amy visit Children's Hospital
Before heading to the track for opening Sprint Cup Series practice at Kentucky Speedway on Thursday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and fiancée Amy Reimann made a pit stop at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. . @DaleJr has arrived at @NationwideKids . #NW88JR pic.twitter.com/YSsZnpa4jI — Nationwide 88 (@nationwide88) July 7, 2016 The children -- as well as another furry friend -- were certainly ready for Junior, who took pictures, signed autographs and interacted with the patients. Beck, @nationwidekids therapy dog is ready for @DaleJr 's visit today! #NW88JR pic.twitter.com/cMYo54IGeV — Nationwide 88 (@nationwide88) July 7, 2016 #NW88JR pic.twitter.com/JgddhF0Pmz — Nationwide 88 (@nationwide88) July 7, 2016 . @DaleJr spends some time with our Patient Champion, Grant. #NW88JR pic.twitter.com/wR9atS0VOe — Nationwide 88 (@nationwide88) July 7, 2016 The children even had a few gifts -- including a wagon of goodies unveiled by Beck the dog -- for Reimann and Earnhardt, who will carry Nationwide Children's Hospital on his No. 88 Chevrolet this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. RELATED: See Earnhardt's special scheme for Kentucky Carson is a sweetheart and gave @Amy_Reimann at @nationwidekids . #NW88JR pic.twitter.com/jbQTbXSFj4 — Nationwide 88 (@nationwide88) July 7, 2016 . @nationwidekids patients & associates with a special good luck messages for 8️⃣8️⃣ team this weekend at @KySpeedway pic.twitter.com/fQPz4WdZUh — Nationwide 88 (@nationwide88) July 7, 2016 Beck presents @DaleJr and @Amy_Reimann with a personalized wagon and gifts for the No. 8️⃣8️⃣ team. #NW88JR pic.twitter.com/dJRXT2gMi2 — Nationwide 88 (@nationwide88) July 7, 2016 But Junior wasn't going to let the gift-giving go unrequited on his end: he presented the children with their very own Victory Bell, similar to the one Hendrick Motorsports employees ring after each Sprint Cup Series win. . @DaleJr presents @nationwidekids with a Victory Bell from @TeamHendrick . #NW88JR pic.twitter.com/d7UEaPx1KM — Nationwide 88 (@nationwide88) July 7, 2016 . @DaleJr presented to @nationwidekids ! View the creation in 1️⃣3️⃣ photos. : https://t.co/m0jkranLIq pic.twitter.com/RGCONkZ5Gz — Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) July 7, 2016 The hospital also unveiled the special hood for Junior's No. 88 ride. Dr. Allen unveils @DaleJr 's @Nationwidekids hood for this weekend at @KySpeedway . #NW88JR pic.twitter.com/ywFneRcH5p — Nationwide 88 (@nationwide88) July 7, 2016 Before Earnhardt departed, he was challenged to a Wii rematch by patient Maddie, who faced off against Junior during his visit last year. Video game rematch between @DaleJr and Maddie at @Nationwidekids . #NW88JR pic.twitter.com/6hSJly5cXz — Nationwide 88 (@nationwide88) July 7, 2016 Now, Junior is off to the race track -- but he'll have plenty of cheerleaders Saturday night. Thank you for spending the day with us at @nationwidekids . Headed to @KySpeedway now! #NW88JR pic.twitter.com/TkkKwzgRFj — Nationwide 88 (@nationwide88) July 7, 2016 . @Amy_Reimann and I had a fun and informative visit @nationwidekids today. Great things happening there. #NW88JR pic.twitter.com/RCYP3bH8AI — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) July 7, 2016