Kligerman speaks out on Swan Racing restructure
Kligerman commends Brandon Davis for sticking out the Swan Racing restructuring
At place of peace, Dale Jr. still 'craves' racing
DAYTONA 500 : Starting lineup " Race-day schedule " Key info RELATED: Junior fulfilled with his career numbers DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- He tested at Phoenix earlier this year, qualified on the outside of the front row for Sunday's Daytona 500 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and on Thursday he led the bulk of his Can-Am Duel qualifying race before finishing fifth. Dale Earnhardt Jr . is officially back. Today marks his return to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series , and no one is more pleased about it than the driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports . "I really had fun," Earnhardt said Thursday evening after a strong return at a track where he's typically one of a handful of drivers expected to run well. "I hated to lose but still we have to be aware of how far we've come to get back here. To go out there and lead all those laps and be able to make some good smart moves, it felt great." The road back has been a long one for the 42-year-old Earnhardt, who missed the final 18 races of 2016 while recovering from a concussion. It marked the second time he had been sidelined by such an injury, and he admitted there were times he questioned what his racing future held. RELATED: Junior emerges from injury stronger, centered and ready to win "There was a lot of time during the recovery where there were days I was 90 percent sure I wasn't going to drive again," he said. "There were days when it was 50 percent. It was just moving all over the place depending on what I felt that day. Your recovery is up and down, you have good days and bad days. … "When it came down to it, I had to decide for myself if I wanted to drive anymore. I'm not going to race because of any other reason than I want to be out there." Earnhardt will roll off second alongside Elliott, the pole winner, for the 59th running of the Daytona 500. He is a two-time winner of the "Great American Race" and one of the favorites based on past success and this year's efforts thus far. RELATED: Chronicling Junior's return to racing " Dale Jr. in the 500 Restrictor-plate races are breeding grounds for multi-car crashes, with cars running two-, three- and sometimes four-wide, a dozen or more rows deep at 200-plus mph. Earnhardt doesn't dwell on the possibility of another accident and what might result. "I don't want to wreck to sort of quantify my recovery," he said. "I think should that happen and I come out the other side of it feeling great, that will add a ton of confidence. I can't sit here and say that I know exactly how I'm going to react in those situations with confidence. So yeah, when I go through that process, there's a box or two to check that aren't checked yet." Three-time series champion Tony Stewart hung up his NASCAR uniform at the end of the '16 season. Two of Stewart's final four years driving for Stewart-Haas Racing were cut short due to injuries the Columbus, Indiana, native suffered in non-NASCAR events. But there was no apprehension about climbing back in the car following lengthy recovery periods, he said. "Never. It was more excitement to get back because you have to remember, we're drivers," Stewart, the winner of 49 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, said. "That's what we want to do, drive. "When you have an injury, all it is is a pain in the ass. It's keeping you from doing what you want to do. That's why you heard so many drivers praise Junior last year (when) he chose not to run. And that's hard." Fellow driver Martin Truex Jr . has a close relationship with Earnhardt -- the two were teammates from 2004-07 at Dale Earnhardt Inc. and spend time away from the track each fall on hunting trips. "I know he's got a lot on his shoulders," Truex said. "A lot of people put a lot of pressure on him, obviously. I think in a lot of ways he sometimes feels like he needs to be here for other people. But hopefully he made the decision based on what's best for him. I think he did. I know he's excited about racing still. He obviously still loves it and wants to do it and hopefully things will all work out for him." It has been 20 races since Earnhardt won his last race and just five -- due to his shortened '16 season -- since his last top five. Sunday affords the opportunity to reset both those streaks. After that? He's yet to win a championship at NASCAR's top level, but has finished as high as third. And, yes, he did say if he wins the title in '17 "it would be hard to not call it a career." RELATED: Earnhardt Jr. would consider walking away as champion He has a new outlook and seems to be at peace with the road he's traveled. For the longest time, he said "I let racing be who I was instead of what I did. "Like Richard Petty said, I've got a whole other life beyond driving and I really believe that," Earnhardt said. "I've got a lot of things I'd love to do. Even outside of having a family, there are a lot of things in business that I'd love to see if I could succeed at. I think we got a glimpse of what that would be like; it looks pretty awesome." For now, though, the Daytona 500 and another season of crisscrossing the country await. And Earnhardt is more than OK with that. "Like I said, I crave to drive the car," he said. "I love the position I'm in with the team I'm with, (crew chief) Greg (Ives) and the guys, and until that feeling … and that 'want' to be there is gone, I want to keep going." &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;gt;&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;
Swan breakup leaves Kligerman without ride
No. 26 team merges with BK Racing ; No. 30 team sold to XxxTreme Motorsports
Bray Pemberton joins Tommy Baldwin Racing
Son of NASCAR executive joins TBR as general manager, chief legal counsel Bray Pemberton has joined Tommy Baldwin Racing as general manager and chief legal counsel for the two-car NASCAR Sprint Cup Series organization, according to the team. Pemberton is the son of Robin Pemberton, NASCAR senior vice president of competition and racing development. He previously served as general manager with the now defunct Swan Racing as well as Randy Humphrey Racing . "While I am grateful for all of the opportunities I have had with race teams in NASCAR, I can honestly say I've never been so excited about the possibilities I now have working alongside Tommy Baldwin," Pemberton said. "I have the utmost respect for what Tommy and Beth have done over the past few years in building this team, basically on their own. I see so many great opportunities to help continue to grow their dream and see TBR compete with the top teams in NASCAR." TBR, based in Mooresville, North Carolina, was formed in 2008 by the former premier series crew chief and has grown from a single-car team to a two-car organization. Michael Annett and Reed Sorenson drove for organization in 2014. "We are excited about bring Bray on board to manage the business and legal elements at Tommy Baldwin Racing ," Baldwin, president of TBR, said. "This will give me the opportunity to focus on the big picture and spend more time building TBR into a championship-caliber organization." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Alex Bowman to drive for Tommy Baldwin Racing
Second-year Sprint Cup driver spent rookie year at BK Racing Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Related: Who the 'F' is Alex Bowman ? Alex Bowman 's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career will continue in 2015 with a new team in Tommy Baldwin Racing . The 21-year-old will drive the No. 7 Chevrolet this upcoming season, the team announced Friday. Bowman had a full-time ride with Swan Racing last year, the team that was eventually incorporated into BK Racing . He ended the year with a best finish of 13th at Daytona International Speedway in July. "I'm looking forward to working with TBR and the entire No. 7 team," Bowman said in a team release. "With Tommy's experience and his drive to run competitively, I feel like we can run well this year." Bowman made his NASCAR national series debut in 2012, with four starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. He drove full time for that series in 2013, netting six top-10s in 33 starts for RAB Racing . "Alex is the future of TBR, and he will be a great representative of our team," owner Tommy Baldwin Jr. said. "He is a young driver who displayed a great talent in both the XFINITY and Sprint Cup Series the past few years. We are pleased to give Alex the opportunity to further showcase his skills behind the wheel of the No. 7 Chevrolet this season." The team did not announce sponsorship or a crew chief. The team on Twitter promoted #TBR7in7, which promises seven team announcements in seven days. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Get history of BK Racing and full crews
NASCAR celebrates best racing in years with return of Ready. Set. Race
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Following a season highlighted by some of the closest, side-by-side racing NASCAR® fans have seen in years, NASCAR today announced the return of its 2017 season launch marketing campaign, Ready. Set. Race. The new integrated campaign, including television creative promoting the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series ™, will launch during the 2017 DAYTONA 500® on Sunday (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). NASCAR fans received a first look at "Sensory Overdrive" Friday on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. A 30-second thrill ride, the spot brings to life the high-stakes drama and intensity drivers experience competing in the sport's premier series. The campaign also includes social media videos featuring Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers shared this week and throughout the season. "The Ready. Set. Race campaign was so popular with our fans last year that we couldn't wait to bring it back with even more intense racing action," said Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series creative is unlike any advertising we've ever done. Monster Energy has built a bold, edgy brand, so we wanted to deliver creative that first and foremost is NASCAR but that also complements our new entitlement partner." The new Ready. Set. Race creative was developed in conjunction with agency partner 77 Ventures and acclaimed commercial director Gary Land. Additional creative breaking Sunday on FOX includes "A New Season," an action-packed, 60-second spot that accentuates the NASCAR racing experience across all three national series.
Dale Jr. talks emotional return to racing
Dale Earnhardt Jr. talks about his emotional return and the support shown from all racing fans at Daytona International Speedway.
Swan Racing 'reviewing its current situation'
Two-car team says it is 'unable to secure the kind of sponsorship' needed
50 Cent partners with Swan Racing
SMS Audio to serve as associate sponsor for both of team's entries
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