Erik Jones talks about winning the Oreilly Auto Parts 300 and finishing ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr .
JR Motorsports will make its Truck debut this weekend at Martinsville Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Kelley Earnhardt Miller appeared on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Wednesday. Among other topics, she discussed JR Motorsports' first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway . Earnhardt Miller, co-owner of JR Motorsports, said earlier this year that there were no plans at that time to field the organization’s Camping World Truck Series team for any races beyond the 10 currently in place with driver Cole Custer . On Wednesday she said that was still the case, but also said Sprint Cup Series Dale Earnhardt Jr . had broached the subject of driving the truck. "He's definitely mentioned that that's something he might be interested in," Earnhardt Miller said. "I think he would want to see how the program is going to do, and make sure we have the resources and the capability to do that. Let Cole the team get off the ground first and see how that goes." The organization will make its CWTS debut this weekend at Martinsville Speedway , fielding the No. 00 Chevrolet for Custer in Saturday’s Kroger 250 (FOX Sports 1, 2:30 p.m. ET). The entry will carry sponsorship from Haas Automation and will be under the direction of crew chief Joe Shear Jr . Earnhardt Miller, Earnhardt Jr . and Sprint Cup Series team owner Rick Hendrick share ownership of JRM. One of the organization’s three full-time XFINITY Series teams features multiple Sprint Cup drivers, Earnhardt Jr ., Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne , behind the wheel for select events. Two other full-time teams feature drivers Chase Elliott and Regan Smith , who finished 1-2 in points, respectively, last season. "He (Earnhardt Jr .) and some others have expressed interest in running the truck," Earnhardt Miller said. “We’ve actually gotten calls from other people saying ‘do you want to fill out the balance of your schedule and run it full time?' "We really don't want to do that. We want to focus on Cole. If the opportunity exists to put a couple of the Cup drivers in there to make our program stronger, (that's) really why would we want to do that… "I won’t say it’s not going to happen but there aren’t any concrete plans for it to happen right now." Even though the XFINITY Series is taking a one-week break after five consecutive races to open the 2015 season, it is shaping up to be a big weekend for JRM. Custer, 17, made his NCWTS debut last season with Haas Racing Development and became the youngest winner in a NASCAR national series event when he won the UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . In only nine starts, he scored six top-10s and two poles. Elliott, the defending XFINITY Series champion, will attempt to make his Sprint Cup Series debut in Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville. The 19-year-old is scheduled to step into the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet in 2016, replacing four-time series champion Jeff Gordon . HMS will field a No. 25 entry for Elliott this weekend, with veteran crew chief Kenny Francis heading up the team. With Elliott already tabbed for the move to Sprint Cup next season, Custer could be auditioning for a full-time XFINITY Series ride with the organization. "Hopefully, that (truck effort) will roll into an XFINITY Series ride for Cole, depending on how he performs," Earnhardt Miller said. It will be the first start of the season for Custer, who is limited to competing on road courses and tracks 1.1 miles or less in length due to his age. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet earns fourth top-six result in five races Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live FONTANA, Calif. -- Coming off a sixth-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway , Dale Earnhardt Jr . is feeling good. That finish is especially welcomed when just one week prior in the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway , the 12-time NMPA Most Popular Driver Award winner suffered a tire failure that sent the No. 88 into the wall and to a last-place finish, demolishing his streak of three consecutive top-five finishes to open the season. "We're just glad to be able to rebound," Earnhardt Jr . said Sunday at Auto Club Speedway . "Last week was very dismal, disappointing and frustrating." Although Dale Jr . was the one piloting the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at Fontana, he has his team -- newcomers and old faces -- to thank for his performance on the oldest asphalt on the Sprint Cup Series schedule. "Greg's real sharp," Dale Jr . said referring to his crew chief, Greg Ives, who is in his first season atop the pit box for the No. 88 team. "He's still, you know, learning the ropes and taking everything in. He's a sponge, just absorbing everything he can. He's got a great help, too. Kevin Meendering is my lead engineer from last year. There's a lot of great information that Kevin already knows about me, what I like, don't like, what's worked for us in the past to make our cars work. So he's feeding off of that. I'm sure Kevin is giving him a lot of great information." Junior might still be adjusting to Ives, but his performances this season don't show a lack of familiarity between driver and pit boss as he is currently fourth in the driver standings with three top-fives and four top-10 finishes. The Sprint Cup Series heads to Martinsville Speedway for the STP 500 (March 29, 1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) next weekend where Dale Jr . won the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 in October of 2014, earning his first grandfather clock. "I'm surrounded by a bunch of great guys, a great crew," Earnhardt Jr . said. "Look forward to getting to the next race. We want to get a win, get that in the bank if we can." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Driver recalls coming to track as a kid, uniqueness of trophy Vote: Who will win at Martinsville? " Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr . doesn't always credit himself for his driving ability, but when he does, he prefers to do it at Martinsville Speedway . Earnhardt enters Sunday's STP 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) with an increasing amount of short-track savvy on his side, logging seven top-10 finishes in his last nine starts at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' shortest track. It's a fur piece from his unflattering Martinsville debut, a four-laps-down 26th place back in 2000. "The first time I came here, I hit everything, even the pace car," Earnhardt said. "It looked like, at that time, after my first race here, that it was going to be quite a challenge to sort it out and understand what I needed to do." Perhaps that, combined with his appreciation for the speedway's rich heritage, kindled his glee at winning his first Martinsville Speedway grandfather clock trophy last fall -- that, and knowing that being able to wheel a car plays an even bigger factor here than at most venues. "There is something about the race track -- obviously it has so much history, the style or racing that you do, and it takes some driver to win here. I don't often take a lot of credit for everything we do good out there, but I will say that at Martinsville, it does take a little bit of driver to do well here. I feel like when you win at certain tracks like Martinsville you can feel good about it that you were part of that puzzle and part of making that happen." Things clicked here for Earnhardt early on, shortly after a period of extensive testing at the .526-mile track with the former Dale Earnhardt Inc. team. The extra track time led to a stellar streak of five consecutive top-five finishes (2002-04) and a feel for the paper-clip layout that has aided his Martinsville resume. MORE: Dale Jr . looks at Martinsville But it's also the childhood memories of visits to Martinsville -- the family trips, his father's six wins here -- that have stuck with him. "It was one of the race tracks that I always could come to even when we were in school it being such a short trip from home," said Earnhardt, who spent 29 fruitless efforts before his first Martinsville victory. "We always did get to go to this race. So it is one of the few tracks that I always got to go to even as a young kid. You could get right up on the action man, right against the fence down there in the corner and see the guys coming through there in practice. And you could see the balance of the cars and what they were dealing with. It is just a fun place to be at even as a kid. "I don't know man, just been coming here a long time and I always wanted to win. That clock makes it even more special and more desirable, I guess, because of the uniqueness of that trophy." RELATED: NASCAR.com offers its review of the new hot dog Earnhardt has proven to be a purist when it comes to racing tradition, wearing his fondness for nostalgia on its sleeve. So when Martinsville Speedway changed course on the provider of its trademark hot dogs this weekend, a shift in a decades-long concessions custom, Earnhardt said as long as the hot dogs had the same flavor as the original, he would give them his blessing. "I kind of liked them to begin with and if they are anywhere close that will be fine with me," Earnhardt said. "I will probably be having two for (Friday) lunch and I'm going to call it a day." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Junior: 'It's only a 50-lap race so it would be over and done before I even do it' Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live As an owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr . ran his first Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday at Martinsville Speedway with Cole Custer finishing 16th. When will he make his debut as a driver in the series? He may have given a hint during the FOX Sports 1 "Setup" pre-race show when feature reporter Ray Dunlap mentioned that Pocono Raceway hosts the series on August 1 (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). "That would be an opportunity for me to get in there and get my feet wet," Earnhardt said. "It's only a 50-lap race so it would be over and done before I even do it. "I do have interest in driving a truck. I've always had interest in driving a truck, just never really found that opportunity or was focused more on the Cup side at that point in time. But this does open the door a little wide for me. If we don't do it this year, we're going to continue to keep the truck around and work with this program and continue to try to grow it." Serving as an analyst, two-time Camping World Truck Series champion Todd Bodine said Pocono "absolutely" would be a good place for Earnhardt to get behind the wheel. "He's not going to own a race car or race truck that he doesn't get to drive, and you heard him say that he's wanted to drive a truck so it's a perfect opportunity if you own it," Bodine said. Earnhardt recalled his father's Dale Earnhardt Inc. Truck Series team that won two of the first four championships in series history with Ron Hornaday Jr . "I have a lot of great memories of that team," Earnhardt said. "We actually worked in the same shop together, and it had two bays in the back. They were in one bay, and I was across from them in another bay building my Late Model cars that I'd run at Myrtle Beach. I was in there every day, watching them and sort of mimicking them as they built their first truck. I did everything they were doing to my Late Model that they would do to that truck. "I formed a great relationship and friendship with Ron Hornaday so that was pretty cool to be able to forge that relationship early with him." As Earnhardt builds his own Truck team for 17-year-old Custer, he's helping the NASCAR Next driver and sponsor Haas Automation achieve their objectives while JRM is meeting its own milestones. "Their goals are to get Cole into the XFINITY Series at some point so this was an opportunity to begin a relationship with us," Earnhardt said. "It made sense to get into the Truck Series. "For me, it's actually exciting because it's a 10-race deal. You're just kind of getting your feet wet. It's a great way to ease into it so we had the room. We had the interest. They had the program already together, the relationship with Chevrolet. We made it work." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
No. 88 driver has finished in the top four in all three 2015 races RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s string of three consecutive top-five finishes came to a halt here Sunday when the Hendrick Motorsports driver suffered a tire failure and crashed during the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway . "Not a lot of guys are having tire problems," Earnhardt Jr . said after exiting the infield care center. "(Sam) Hornish had one similar to us. You just can't abuse it. We were really, really loose and just abused the tire. You want to get angry but you've got to get the balance of the car better. "A lot of guys are running without any problem. We were super, super loose; it just wore the tire out." The incident occurred on Lap 181 of the 312-lap race. According to Goodyear officials, the right-rear tire problem was the result of a melted bead and was the same issue suffered by Hornish, who had a tire go down earlier in the race. Earnhardt opened the season with top-five finishes at Daytona, Atlanta and Las Vegas and entered Sunday's race second in the points standings. Damage to the No. 88 Chevrolet was too extensive to try and repair and get the driver back out before the conclusion of the race. Earnhardt said crew chief Greg Ives had told him the team had seen no previous tire issues on previous stops Sunday. "We were progressively getting worse and worse on entry," Earnhardt said. "I imagine we put that set through hell compared to the other ones. "I like the tire a lot and I applaud Goodyear for trying to soften it up because the other tire we had here wasn't a lot of fun. This one is pretty good to race with, the car's still real, real hard to pass with. Shifting is a little annoying … it's a little bit of a pain in the ass to shift. "But the tire's OK. We were too loose. We’ve got to get the balance better.” Earnhardt was credited with a 43rd-place finish. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Ride along with Dale Earnhardt Jr . as he deals with trying to fix a broken shifter during the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
Sam Hornish Jr . gets heavy damage after making contact with Trevor Bayne at Fontana.
Kelley Earnhardt Miller talks about the circumstances it would take for Dale Earnhardt Jr . to run in the NCWTS.
Dale Earnhardt Jr . compares his win at Martinsville Speedway last October to previous victories and how this track in particular differs from all the others.