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Purple punch: Earnhardt Jr.'s classic North Wilkesboro memory
RELATED: North Wilkesboro, 20 years later Dale Earnhardt Jr . didn't begin his career in NASCAR's premier series until 1999, three years after the series had moved on from North Wilkesboro Speedway. But Earnhardt Jr., a student of NASCAR history, did compete at the .625-mile track, racing a Late Model entry on at least a couple of occasions. "I ran the Sun Drop (sponsored) car there," Earnhardt Jr. recalled. "Actually, I think we went there twice. With the Sun Drop car I remember qualifying 19th or something; I don't remember how many cars were there but I'm sure they sent a few home so it was cool to make the race." The contentment was short-lived. According to Earnhardt, he "T-boned a guy and had to run the rest of the race with no fenders or hood or anything. So it wasn't a whole lot of fun." The following year, all three Earnhardt siblings -- Earnhardt Jr., older brother Kerry and older sister Kelley -- made the trek to the legendary track to compete in the Late Model race. None of the three managed to qualify, a situation that didn't sit well with their father and team owner, Dale Earnhardt. "Dad had assumed that I would make the race because we'd been running so good at Myrtle Beach," Earnhardt Jr. said. "He said, 'You guys run this race' and there was a race at Myrtle Beach that night; he was going to fly us in his King Air to the beach so we could compete that night and stay in the track points (battle)." But when Dale Jr. failed to make the show, "He told me and my guys to screw off, that we had to drive the damn van all the way from North Wilkesboro to Myrtle Beach to try to make the race. "We had to hustle; we barely made it. He was pissed off that all three cars missed the race." MORE: How end of "tire war" started at track Failing to qualify and having to drive all day to that night's race wasn't the only issue. An incident with "questionable" fuel also took place, but Earnhardt Jr. laughs when he recounts the incident today. "I had a jug of trick fuel for my car," he said. "It was a purple gas jug. We kept it in that purple gas jug so we wouldn't mix it up with the other fuel. It was probably Elf fuel or something just to give my car a little more speed. Or it might have had some propylene oxide in there or something. "One of Kerry or Kelley's guys walked over to get some gas for their car and grabbed the purple jug and a fight ensued between their crew and my crew; it sort of let the cat out of the bag that whatever was in that jug was pretty special. That was kind of comical." Something to laugh about, no doubt, on the long drive from the hills of North Wilkesboro to the sands of Myrtle Beach. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Driver Sober 200 postponed at Dover
The Drive Sober 200 at Dover International Speedway has been postponed and will be run prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, October 2nd.
Purple reign: Champ Kyle Busch pays tribute to Prince
The music community has been mourning the death of Prince (full name Prince Rogers Nelson) in recent days. The musician, best known for hits such as " Purple Rain," "When Doves Cry," "Let's Go Crazy" and countless other songs, passed away Thursday. Fellow musicians have been honoring him with tributes on stage and on social media, and those tributes extended to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage this weekend at Richmond International Raceway for Sunday's Toyota Owners 400 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Defending series champion Kyle Busch has a special decal near the left rear quarter panel honoring the Minnesota native on his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. In Memory of #Prince : @KyleBusch 's #NASCAR race car will carry a decal today in honor of the musician. pic.twitter.com/4YZjJBfBhH — Joe Gibbs Racing (@JoeGibbsRacing) April 24, 2016
Jason Redman's Indy experience as Crown Royal's 'Your Hero's Name Here' Program winner
Jason Redman recaps his experience at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after being named Crown Royal's 'Your Hero's Name Here' Program winner.
Sauter's a veteran, but doesn't believe he's a favorite
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- Johnny Sauter won two of the three Chase races in the Round of 6 for the Camping World Truck Series, but the veteran racer says it would be wrong to call him and his GMS Racing team the favorite in Friday night's championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway . "I don't ever consider myself the favorite," Sauter said Thursday at the Loew's Hotel here. "Anything can happen. We've seen it time and time again. I feel really comfortable with where we are as an organization and a team going into this race, but to say that I'm a favorite, that would not be doing ourselves a service." Sauter, Timothy Peters , Christopher Bell and Matt Crafton make up the Chase drivers who will be competing for the series' title in Friday night's Ford EcoBoost 200 (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Crafton's a two-time series champion (2013-14) and drives for ThorSport Racing; Peters doesn't have a win this season, but has managed to survive through the inaugural Chase for the series to put his Red Horse Racing team in title contention; Bell's the only youngster in the group, a winner at Gateway earlier this year in the No. 4 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Sauter is the only one of the four finalists to bag a win in the Chase -- he went back to back with victories at Martinsville and Texas to advance to the finals. Crafton's had three top five finishes; Peters has four while Bell has posted a pair. That the title group is heavy on veterans isn't a surprise to Sauter, who said the more experienced drivers "just probably through the course of the year raced a little differently than some of the younger guys ... maybe a little bit smarter, and that just comes with experience, taking care of your equipment, things like that." Having spent time in the Sprint Cup , XFINITY and Truck Series, Sauter has seen just about every type of situation arise; for that reason, he said it's unlikely anything can happen that will catch himself or his GMS team off guard. "For me personally, I feel like I've seen and heard and have done it all so nothing would surprise me in the least," he said. "Having said that, I'm going to do everything I can to make sure nothing crazy happens, nothing foolish. "But this sport is very humbling; you can have all the momentum in the world, everything going your way, win two of the last three races in the final round and tomorrow night anything can happen." Sauter has 13 career wins in the Truck Series and he won three times in the XFINITY Series. His Sprint Cup career consisted of 85 starts for a handful of teams, including Haas CNC before it became Stewart-Haas Racing . He finished second in points in the Camping World Truck Series in 2011 and fourth the past three seasons. But he's never won the title. It's something he's considered, especially now that he has another opportunity. What it would feel like to win it and what it might feel like if he doesn't. "I've definitely done that," he said. "What a championship would mean for GMS as an organization for all the guys; this is a long season ... I can make a case for both sides. It's means nothing until we run that race tomorrow night. "You have to make sure you don't get caught up in it from a mental standpoint. Just keep doing what we've been doing." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Starting lineup for Zippo 200 at The Glen
See the full lineup for the XFINITY Series Zippo 200 at The Glen -- Watkins Glen International.
Suarez 'living a dream' following XFINITY title win
RELATED: Full race results " Final Chase Grid SHOP: Champion gear HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Daniel Suarez , 24 and only two years into a NASCAR XFINITY Series career, can check another box off his career bucket list. Series champion. The Monterrey, Mexico, native became a winner in the series for the first time earlier this season to qualify for the inaugural XFINITY Series Chase. Saturday evening at Homestead-Miami Speedway , he led 133 of 200 laps that made up the Ford EcoBoost 300 , and survived a wild, late-race restart to become the first Latin American driver to capture a NASCAR national series title. He is the first Joe Gibbs Racing driver to capture the series title since 2009 when Kyle Busch won the crown. MORE: Joe Gibbs thrilled after Suarez win Saturday, Suarez outran series veterans Elliott Sadler (third) and JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier (sixth) as well as JGR teammate Erik Jones (ninth) to become the series' 27th different champion and the 34th overall. In the Championship Round, the driver finishing highest wins the title. Suarez made sure no one, Chase contender or otherwise, finished in front of his orange and white No. 19 Toyota. "I'm speechless right now," Suarez, a graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, said as fans streamed onto the frontstretch to witness the official coronation and fireworks exploded overhead. "It's very hard to put into words. "I'm just very proud of everyone and thankful to have the family that I have -- my mom, my dad. They gave me all the tools to be here right now. They put me in a car even when we didn't have the support or the racing background. They supported me and right now we are just living a dream." Suarez's parents were on hand to watch their son capture the championship at Homestead. Alejandro Suarez, Daniel's dad, said he has personally watched his son race "maybe 10 times" since Daniel came to the U.S. to embark upon a NASCAR career. "It's a dream. It's a dream and tomorrow I will tell you (what if feels like)," he said, smiling. Success so quickly wasn't expected "Maybe next year, maybe 2-3 years," the father said. "But not this year. But Daniel works hard." MORE: Suarez's long road to the title Jones will head off to begin a premier series career in '17, already having been named to drive the No. 77 Toyota for Furniture Row Racing as that organization expands from one to two teams. Suarez, talented as he is, is expected to return to JGR for another year of seasoning in the XFINITY Series. Gibbs' group currently fields four Sprint Cup teams -- for drivers Denny Hamlin , Matt Kenseth , Carl Edwards and Busch, the defending series champ. "We're in there now," team owner Joe Gibbs said of Suarez's move to the XFINITY Series, "and I think … it's going to be pretty quick we'll be going to Cup. I think it's in Daniel's hands, but obviously he's performed so well. "As everybody knows, it's hard to get all that organized, but we're working -- that's going to be our end game. That's what we're going to be working for." If Suarez is in a hurry to get to the top level, he wasn't showing it Saturday night. He knows he gets to run against some of the premier series drivers some of the time now. "But you never race with all of them," he said. "So I'm pretty sure that the Cup car is going to be different, and to race with all those guys at the same time is going to be even more difficult. "Like I said before … we have to focus on today and tomorrow is going to take care of itself." Today he's a champion. Tomorrow? Who knows. &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;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;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Phoenix penalties: Sprint Cup crew chief fined; XFINITY crew chief suspended
MORE: Buy tickets for Homestead-Miami Championship Weekend Sprint Cup Series crew chief Adam Stevens and XFINITY Series crew chief Kevin Meendering were fined $10,000 each because of improperly installed lug nuts at Phoenix International Raceway , NASCAR officials announced Wednesday. Meendering, crew chief for the No. 1 Chevrolet, also is suspended as driver Elliott Sadler competes for the XFINITY Series title in the Championship 4 this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway . The penalty levied against the No. 1 team following the Ticket Gallaxy 200 at Phoenix was a P3-level penalty. Stevens and the No. 18 team for Kyle Busch 's Toyota were assessed a P2-level penalty after Sunday's Can-Am 500 at Phoenix. In addition, several teams were given warnings Wednesday after post-race inspections were completed at the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina. The No. 2 team of Brad Keselowski was given a written warning and will lose 15 minutes of practice time after the Team Penske Ford failed pre-race laser inspection (LIS) three times. The No. 2 also failed pre-race template inspection twice. Other Sprint Cup Series warnings issued were: Nos. 22 (driver Joey Logano ), 24 ( Chase Elliott ) and 98 ( Reed Sorenson ) for failing pre-race LIS twice; No. 10 ( Danica Patrick ) for failing template inspection twice before qualifying; and Nos. 78 ( Martin Truex Jr .) and 95 ( Michael McDowell ) for failing pre-qualifying LIS twice. In the XFINITY Series, six teams failed pre-race LIS twice and received warnings: Nos. 3 (driver Ty Dillon ); 15 (D.J. Kennington); 18 ( Kyle Busch ); 20 ( Erik Jones ); 33 ( Brandon Jones ) and 60 ( Ricky Stenhouse Jr .).
Ford EcoBoost 400 sold out at Homestead-Miami
MIAMI -- Homestead-Miami Speedway today announced a grandstand sellout for the Ford EcoBoost 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship race on Sunday. The event, which starts at 2:30 p.m. ET and airs on NBC and MRN Radio/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, has sold out each of the last three years. "Ford Championship Weekend continues to grow in stature each year, and having sold out the Ford EcoBoost 400 three years in-a-row is a testament to that," said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Matthew Becherer. "Not only do we have world class racing with Joey Logano , Kyle Busch , Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards competing for a championship amongst a full field of drivers, but we also offer outstanding entertainment as well, including the pre-race concert by The Band Perry. Championship weekend should provide tremendous excitement for the entire family as we celebrate the final race in the Chase for all three NASCAR national series, beginning with the Camping World Truck Series Championship race tonight followed by the XFINITY Series Championship race on Saturday." A limited number of Sunday tickets still remain for seats in the infield Pit Road Cabanas, in addition to spots in the FanVision Fan Zone, where four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will be holding a Q & A on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Tickets for the Ford EcoBoost 200 Camping World Truck Series Championship race tonight at 8:00 p.m. as well as the Ford EcoBoost 300 XFINITY Series Championship race on Saturday 3:30 p.m. are still available and can be purchased by calling (305) 230-5255, or online at www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com .
Meet this year's five Crown Royal finalists
Giving back. It's something the five finalists for Crown Royal's annual "Your Hero's Name Here" program have all done without question or hesitancy, whether it's protecting classmates from gunfire, serving in the armed forces or founding a service-dog centered charity to help wounded veterans. They gave back and served as heroes do. And because they gave back, Crown Royal will put a name in lights. One grand prize winner from among the deserving, heroic five finalists will be etched in history with naming rights to the 23rd annual Brickyard 400, which takes place July 24 at famed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway . This race will mark the 10th time Crown Royal has awarded race-naming rights to an adult fan. The program focuses on all of the unsung heroes who make a difference in their communities, from firefighters and police officers to first responders and local volunteers. Every year five heroic finalists are nominated and through fan voting, and one winner is chosen to have their name cemented in sports history. Beginning this week, adult consumers can go to CrownRoyalHeroes.com to vote for the hero they think is most deserving of naming rights to the race. Voting runs through June 9 and the grand prize winner will be announced that month. See below for their names and bios. All five finalists will be flown to Indianapolis to attend the race, and the grand prize winner will be provided with a once-in-a-lifetime experience, which will include delivering the trophy bearing his or her moniker to the race winner in Victory Lane. The Brickyard 400 is one of the landmark NASCAR races every season. Since 1994, the group of big-name race winners includes the likes of Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson . Previous Crown Royal grand prize winners who had the race named after them are: Curtiss Shaver (2012), Samuel Deeds (2013), John Wayne Walding (2014) and Jeff Kyle (2015)