What 'dad' means to star drivers
Watch as NASCAR's biggest stars such as Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson and Austin Dillon thank their dads for their guidance and support in racing.
Kim Coon takes a look back at Pocono in this week's Rearview Mirror
Take a look back at all of the action from Pocono Raceway with Kim Coon in this week's Rearview Mirror.
Emotional Nemechek: 'Awesome Father's Day gift for dad'
John Hunter Nemechek celebrates an emotional win with his team and his father, Joe, in Victory Lane at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Tricky Trivia: MENCS GarageCam takes over Pocono
Watch as NASCAR.com invades the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage on this episode of GarageCam
Jimmy John's re-ups with Stewart-Haas Racing, Harvick
RELATED: Drivers on the move in 2017 Stewart-Haas Racing announced Thursday that Jimmy John's has renewed its partnership with its No. 4 Chevrolet team and driver Kevin Harvick in a multiyear agreement. With the extension, Jimmy John's will be the primary sponsor of the No. 4 Chevy in 16 races, including the season-opening Daytona 500 . The Illinois-based sandwich chain will serve as a major associate sponsor in the remaining 22 events. Jimmy John's has been associated with Harvick as a primary sponsor in NASCAR's top division since 2011. Jimmy John's followed Harvick from Richard Childress Racing to Stewart-Haas in 2014, expanding its backing of his racing efforts. "We are fortunate to partner with Kevin for many years in a very meaningful way," restaurant founder Jimmy John Liautaud said in a release provided by the team. "On and off the track, Kevin and (wife) DeLana Harvick are winners in all they do, and Stewart-Haas Racing has proven to be an excellent home for them and for Jimmy John's." Said Harvick: "I've known Jimmy since 2009 and I've personally seen how driven he is and how his work ethic is embraced by Jimmy John's franchise owners. He wants to be the best, period. And he'll out-work everyone to be the best. That's the same mindset we have in racing. I'm proud to continue this partnership with Jimmy John's at Stewart-Haas Racing ." Jimmy John's also sponsored Harvick's efforts as an owner/driver from 2009-10 in what is now known as the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
Drivers rally from pre-qualifying hang-ups
RELATED: Qualifying results " Edwards earns sixth Coors Light Pole of 2016 Multiple drivers, including three Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup competitors, were left sweating it out in the garage when their cars did not pass pre-qualifying inspection by the start of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . Qualifying began on time at 4:45 p.m. ET, with a long line of cars still waiting to be cleared. Those that did not initially pass included the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Austin Dillon , the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick and the No. 14 SHR Chevrolet of Tony Stewart , all Chase drivers. Despite the backlog, all 40 cars eventually posted a qualifying time for Sunday's Bad Boy Off Road 300 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), with Regan Smith the last to clear inspection as he headed to pit road with 3 minutes, 15 seconds left in the opening 20-minute knockout round. "We feel like what is going on is that the stakes are higher now that we're at the Chase," NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller said on the NBCSN broadcast. "I think all of our competitors are trying to push the envelope. ... If someone doesn't make it out there, it's not our process, it's them pushing the envelope." In other technical-related news, the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 team for rookie Chase Elliott received its fourth written warning for issues in inspection. Elliott's team will be relegated to the final pick in pit-stall selection ahead of the second race of the 10-race postseason. Dillon and Harvick were eventually cleared with less than 12 minutes to go in the opening 20-minute round of group qualifying, and Harvick got on the track with seven minutes to spare. The final latecomers were granted a slight time cushion when Clint Bowyer spun out in Turn 4 during a qualifying pass, stopping the clock with 11:39 remaining. Harvick eventually posted the seventh-fastest time of the round, with Stewart in 17th and Dillon 29th in his backup car after a crash in opening practice damaged his primary No. 3 Chevrolet. "It's different," Dillon said of the logjam outside of the inspection bay. "I see NASCAR just trying to keep everybody on the same playing field." Harvick will start 19th. His team owner and SHR teammate, Stewart, will start 22nd in what's expected to be his final New Hampshire start. The full list of cars not cleared from inspection when the green flag dropped: the No. 10 of Danica Patrick , the No. 47 of AJ Allmendinger , the No. 7 of Smith, the No. 83 of Matt DiBenedetto , the No. 5 of Kasey Kahne , the No. 16 of Greg Biffle and the No. 17 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. , in addition to the Nos. 3, 4 and 14. &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;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;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. get together late at Richmond
RELATED: Results " Stage results RICHMOND, Va. -- A little contact is customary in short-track racing. But the heavy contact that led to the derailment of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s first race since setting his retirement plans in motion came from an unexpected source -- a teammate. Neither Earnhardt nor Jimmie Johnson -- his Hendrick Motorsports stablemate -- saw each other before Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet swept up the track to broadside Earnhardt's No. 88, compounding an already frustrating Sunday at Richmond International Raceway. Both continued on, with Johnson leading the four-car Hendrick charge in 11th place, but Earnhardt faded to a 30th-place finish in the Toyota Owners 400, two laps down. "I was running the top (groove) right against the fence and really wasn't watching the mirrors," Earnhardt said. "I didn't even know he was there or anybody was coming. T.J. (Majors, his spotter) was giving me pretty good warning about guys getting on my inside, but otherwise when you're running the top, you don't have to worry about it. Everybody kind of takes care of you, but Jimmie didn't know we were there. "It was an explosion, but the car held up pretty well. It knocked the sway bar arm off it, so we ran the last bit of the race without a sway bar hooked up, but wasn't a great day." Johnson, a winner in the previous two races, also remarked about the severity of the impact. After the checkered flag, Johnson sought out Earnhardt on pit road for a team debrief and to apologize for his part in the collision. "Trying to figure out if I didn't hear it being told to me or if it wasn't told to me," Johnson said. "Just feel terrible, obviously. Man, I'm surprised our cars even kept rolling after that because I just bodyslammed him in the wall, and I could've easily not heard the clear or something else happened, I don't know. But it's the last thing you want to have happen with a teammate." RELATED: Johnson takes on Twitter haters Earnhardt started 12th and dropped back in the order with an off-cycle stop for tires. He rallied, but a speeding penalty in the 67th of 400 laps knocked him to 27th when the field reorganized. Earnhardt was busted in Section 15, the next-to-last segment on the .75-mile track's pit road. "I was pretty conservative, but they said we sped," Earnhardt said, further explaining that the team adjusts its tachometer to allow for pit road's curvature near the exit. "We're real aggressive with our (tachometer) lights. We maybe need to be a little more conservative so that we can get through a couple of these races without issues like that. But all I can do is run the lights like the dash is programmed. I really don't have a speedometer in there to help you." With his car struggling to advance on set-up savvy alone, Earnhardt and crew chief Greg Ives opted to gamble with a late green-flag run. Ives kept his driver on the track as other front-runners came in for pit service under green; that strategy moved Earnhardt as high as second in the running order, but on old tires with his team keeping its fingers crossed for a timely caution period. That yellow flag flew, but for his incident with Johnson. "Just luck this year is just awful," said Earnhardt, who also spun out 13 laps later after his car developed a tire rub. "I don't know what else we need to do. I mean, we're out there just taking care of ourselves and running along, and something seems to always bite us." RELATED: Junior frustrated in Richmond Earnhardt remained stuck back in 24th place in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points, recording his fifth finish of 30th or worse in the nine events so far this year. With 27 races remaining in his final full season, Earnhardt said his goals for the immediate future might be more modest. "Greg (Ives) told me last week we weren't looking at (points) anymore, we were just going to try to win a race," Earnhardt said. We're so far back. If you're sitting 15th, 16th, 17th, you probably can't help but look at points then. We're sitting so far back, we've just got to get this thing to where we can finish. I'm just going to concentrate on trying to get about five or six races put together in a row -- top 15s -- and see what the points look like after that." The same could be said for Hendrick Motorsports, which rode the high of back-to-back victories for Johnson in the previous two races -- Texas and Bristol -- into Richmond. Sunday, none of the four Hendrick drivers finished among the top 10 -- Kasey Kahne took 22nd with Chase Elliott 24th -- nor did they collect any stage points for running in the top 10 at the two intermissions. "It's a competitive sport," Earnhardt said. "You get written off one week and then you're back in the conversation the next. None of our cars were really that fast, so we'll probably come back here with a different idea, a different direction on all our set- ups and see if we can't figure something out. We've got the equipment and the resources to run in the top five, but it's shocks and springs and set- ups that just didn't pay off today." </p>
If Harvick wins All-Star race, you could win $1 million
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Bristol Kevin Harvick's No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion will look like a million bucks at the May 20 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race, and one race fan will have an opportunity to cash in, as well. As Stewart-Haas Racing driver and 2007 All-Star Race winner Harvick races for the $1 million prize, Busch Beer will match that first-place prize if indeed Harvick takes the checkered flag. The beer brand is launching its Busch Bucks loyalty program, and fans who are 21 and older and enroll in it on BuschBucks.com between April 17 and May 6 will be eligible to win the big prize. "While we want to win every single week, the Busch Bucks million-dollar giveaway definitely ups the ante and adds some serious pressure to the No. 4 team in the All-Star Race," Harvick said in a news release. "Even though it's a non-points exhibition race, the stakes are going to be about as high as they can possibly be on May 20." Fans who enroll in the Busch Bucks program also can take home Busch-themed prizes. The way it works is fans register, purchase eligible Busch products, upload their receipts to BuschBucks.com to collect points, then redeem the points for prizes that include T-shirts, coolers, hats and more.
Junior endears himself to fans by being the real deal
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Richmond RELATED: Reactions " Relive every Dale Jr. win " Top quotes from day How appropriate that after an emotional, heartfelt press conference to formally share his decision to retire at the end of the 2017 NASCAR season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. walked outside into the Hendrick Motorsports parking lot to find a large crowd waiting for him. Some were there to ask him for his autograph, but many more had come to give Earnhardt their support and appreciation as he competes in his final season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The adoration is something Earnhardt, 42, receives in bulk every time he goes anywhere in public. The fan love and positive feedback have translated to more than 2 million followers on Twitter. Sure, two Daytona 500 trophies, the amazing run of restrictor-plate victories and the racing lineage have helped earn him these loyal fans. But perhaps it's the real triumphs and real struggles of Earnhardt's career -- the high highs and low lows -- that the masses of people relate to and appreciate most. "One thing that's made this career the incredible ride that it's been, is Junior Nation," Earnhardt acknowledged. "The fan support that I received straight out of the gate, was in large part because of my famous last name. "But throughout the ups and downs it occurred to me that the fans that stuck it out and the new ones that joined us, they were there because of the person I was and not who they wanted me to be." While Tuesday's news may have caught some off-guard, the sport's reigning 14-time Most Popular Driver seems genuinely content about the decision. And that should give his fans some peace. MORE: Junior: A kid, a son, a racer and fan favorite Earnhardt openly shared the process behind his decision and then answered questions from the media. Often there were long pauses between question and answer and that's because Earnhardt actually thinks about his responses instead of replying with clichés and soundbites. He is honest and heartfelt -- even in the moments after he's just climbed out of his race car. He is genuine. And that -- not just his ability to win big races or even his racing lineage -- is what fans seem to appreciate most about Earnhardt. His time behind the wheel has evolved -- much as the sport's fan base has as well. There was the "Junior" I first met in the mid-1990s -- young, worry-free and sporting bleach-blond highlights. He was learning about the sport, winning Busch Grand National races and hoisting championship trophies under the watchful eye of his dad, seven-time premier-series champion Dale Earnhardt. It was fun to watch their interaction and see the pride on the elder Earnhardt’s face. I remember vividly the way Earnhardt shut down an interview in the Daytona press box one afternoon during Speedweeks just so he could watch his son run practice laps on the speedway down below. Fans were intrigued by the young Earnhardt then -- those that cheered for his father and those that cheered against him. He was a "typical" 20-something making his way up the ranks, having fun and winning. After his legendary father passed away on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, Junior's world naturally shifted. Almost immediately he received new fans. So many felt for this young man who had suddenly lost his beloved dad. Many others had already taken him in as "their guy." And Junior never disappointed. Whether he won or not. His career highlight reel includes winning the summer Daytona Monster Energy Series race five months after losing his father and a streak of four consecutive Talladega victories from 2001-03. He has collected 26 trophies in all -- huge triumphs at Daytona and Talladega and workmanlike wins at Phoenix and Pocono. He has challenged for season championships -- finishing a career-best third in 2003. TAKE A DEEPER LOOK: Complete Junior stats It's the success he's collected without trophies that will be remembered most -- the way he has shown how to persevere after tragedy, overcome doubt and recover from injury. Perhaps Earnhardt's announcement this week wasn't honestly a total surprise to his fans and friends. He is 42 years old, just got married on New Year's Eve and maybe there's a "Dale III" in the future. MORE: Dale, Amy's wedding album " Dale and Amy through the years As Junior stressed on Tuesday, his decision to retire after an incredible career came of his own free will. It was not dictated by injury or loss of ability, team orders or even a sponsor decision. It is what Junior wants to do. It is best for him. And what more could you ask. He deserves that. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
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