#88 Team News Archive

(NOTE: some older links may not work)

2017 News

    Nationwide Insurance [22 races] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following races in 2017: Daytona, Clash* - 2/18, Alex Bowman drove Daytona, Budweiser Duel* - 2/18 Daytona - 2/26 Atlanta - 3/5 Las Vegas - 3/12 Bristol - 4/23 Richmond - 4/30 Talladega - 5/7 Charlotte - 5/28, Patriotic Dover - 6/4 Daytona - 7/1 Kentucky - 7/8, Nationwide Children's Hospital New Hampshire - 7/16 Indy - 7/23 Pocono - 7/30 Darlington - 9/3, throwback New Hampshire - 9/24 Dover - 10/1 Charlotte - 10/8 Kansas - 10/22 Martinsville - 10/29 Texas - 11/5, Justice League Phoenix - 11/12 Axalta [13 races] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following races in 2017: Phoenix - 3/19 Auto Club - 3/26, Service King Martinsville - 4/2 Texas - 4/9 Charlotte, All-Star race* - 5/20, w/Maaco Pocono - 6/11 Sonoma - 6/25, Fix Auto Collision Watkins Glen - 8/6 Michigan - 8/13 Bristol - 8/19 Richmond - 9/9 Chicago - 9/17 Homestead - 11/19 Mountain Dew [~3 races] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following races in 2017: Kansas - 5/13, DEW-S-A, patriotic Michigan - 6/18 Talladega - 10/15 Top 10 die-cast of 2017: The die-cast car from Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s final race as a full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver was the best-selling paint scheme for Lionel Racing in 2017. Lionel Racing released its top 10 list Thursday. Earnhardt paint schemes take up five of the 10 spots. The Axalta/Last Ride car at Homestead-Miami Speedway consisted of a design Earnhardt drove early in his career.[More](12-16-2017) NASCAR and Concussions: Concussions have recently become a major issue in professional sports, but they've been a health issue racers have faced for decades: The potential for head injuries that can debilitate for life. In the spring of 2002, Dale Earnhardt Jr. wrecked hard during a NASCAR race, with the driver's side of his car slamming the concrete wall at a frighteningly high speed.[More](12-2-2017) Bowman unveils new 2018 #88 Axalta Camaro: To kick off a season of change, the #88 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will debut a fresh look when it hits the track at Daytona in 2018. Featuring a predominately darker base color with bright pops of color on the sides, the unique scheme is a bit of a contrast to the fiery Axalta Chevy that Dale Earnhardt Jr. piloted in 2017.[More](12-8-2017) Earnhardt, Jr. wins most popular for 15th year: Dale Earnhardt Jr. wrapped up his final season as a NASCAR driver with one last piece of hardware. He won the Most Popular Driver Award on Thursday night for the 15th consecutive time. The award is based on a fan vote and sponsored by the National Motorsports Press Association. Only Bill Elliott won the award more than Earnhardt - 16 times between 1984 and 2002 - before he removed his name from consideration.[More](11-30-2017) Dale Earnhardt Jr. named Grand Marshal for 60th Annual DAYTONA 500: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is indeed returning to the DAYTONA 500, although in a different role than the previous 20 Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. Earnhardt, who has retired from Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition, will serve as the Grand Marshal for the 60th running of "The Great American Race" on Feb. 18, 2018.[More](11-29-2017) Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s final sendoff has a noble purpose: Tony Stewart had some sage advice for Dale Earnhardt Jr., as NASCAR's most popular driver faced his first season of retirement from full-time driving in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. "Stewart told me that first year's a weird one," Earnhardt said on Tuesday night before a gala at the Cosmopolitan simultaneously celebrating his career and his partnership with Nationwide Children's Hospital.[More](11-29-2017) Dale and Amy Earnhardt Fund to be formed at Nationwide Children's Hospital: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his wife, Amy, have long been supporters of Nationwide Children's Hospital, so much so that an activity room at the hospital was dedicated in their name earlier this year. That's why on Giving Tuesday - the driver was ecstatic to announce the formation of the Dale and Amy Earnhardt Fund at Nationwide Children's Hospital. The Dale Jr. Foundation will launch the fund with a gift of $88,888.88.[More](11-28-2017) Dale Earnhardt Jr. Homestead Press Conference...the transcript Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #88 Axalta Chevrolet SS, met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed competing in his final race as a full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver, his emotions going into his final race, the group of people he will have around him and many other topics (Team Chevy). See the full transcript HERE. Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Legacy Sunday's race at Homestead will finish Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s final full season in NASCAR (he's left the door open for running future races). The legacy he leaves behind is one of the biggest fan favorites in series history, and one of the top drivers to never win a championship. See all kinds of stats and notes HERE (11-17-2017) Watch Earnhardt's final paint scheme come to life To close out his NASCAR Cup Series career, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Axalta figured there was no better way to go out than with a paint scheme that paid tribute to the way he came in. This weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the driver will pilot a red #88 Axalta Chevrolet SS with black and white stripes, paying homage to the driver's very first paint scheme, which debuted in 1999 when he competed in his first career Cup Series race.(Hendrick Motorsports)[Read More Here](11-15-2017) Special schemes for Kahne, Earnhardt, Jr. at Texas: The Hendrick Motorsports drivers will sport schemes promoting the new Warner Bros. movie, "Justice League," which debuts in theaters Nov. 17.[More](11-1-2017) Texas Motor Speedway will celebrate to make Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s final race gr-eight From the concession stands to "Big Hoss," Texas Motor Speedway will celebrate Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s final race in the Lone Star State during this weekend's AAA Texas 500 NASCAR playoff tripleheader. The most unique tribute for NASCAR's most popular driver, who is set to retire at the conclusion of the season, comes best served warm with salt and dipping sauces. Levy Restaurants has created the "JR88" pretzel that features two four-ounce soft pretzels shaped into Earnhardt Jr.'s iconic #88. The specialty concession item, only available at this weekend's AAA Texas 500, will be served in a specially branded "JR88" box and include bacon beer cheese and spicy brown mustard for dipping. The "JR88" pretzels will sell for $10 and are hearty enough to feed two hungry JR Nation fans. The pretzels can be purchased throughout the race weekend at concourse stands outside Gates 4.(Texas Motor Speedway)[Read More Here](10-31-2017) Saturday Martinsville Notebook / Marco Andretti & Earnhardt? On Saturday morning at Martinsville Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. acknowledged discussing the possibility of providing a NASCAR XFINITY Series ride for Marco Andretti, Mario's grandson. Only one problem: with four Chevrolets set to compete full-time for the XFINITY title next year - with drivers Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier, Michael Annett and Tyler Reddick - Earnhardt doesn't have an "all-star car" to make occasional starts with a variety of drivers. Denny Hamlin plans to win one of the next three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, all tracks that set up nicely for the driver of the #11 Joe Gibbs racing Toyota. But if Hamlin can't take a checkered flag at Martinsville, Texas or Phoenix, he'll become a fan of fellow Toyota drivers Martin Truex Jr., the series leader, and JGR teammate Kyle Busch. Last Sunday at Kansas Speedway, Ryan Blaney advanced to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series' Round of 8 with a third-place finish bolstered by 10 points accumulated during the first two stages of the Hollywood Casino 400. But Blaney isn't willing to say he and the #21 Wood Brothers racing team have overachieved this season. Blaney and team owners Eddie Wood and Len Wood prefer to view their Playoff run as peaking at the right time.(NASCAR Wire Service)[Read More Here](10-29-2017) Martinsville Speedway Contributes $10,000 to Start Endowment for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Honorary Scholarship When #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. leaves Martinsville Speedway for the final time as a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver, he will leave behind a legacy that will be felt not only in the garage and in the grandstands, but at Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC), as well. Martinsville Speedway contributed $10,000 to start an endowment for the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Honorary Scholarship in the school's Motorsports Program. Each year, two students enrolled in the program, who have a minimum GPA of 2.5, will receive a $1,000 scholarship.(Martinsville Speedway)[Read More Here](10-28-2017) Earnhardt Jr. to run Grey Ghost throwback scheme at Martinsville Fitting with the JR Nation Appreci88ion Tour theme, Nationwide gave fans the chance to pick Dale Earnhardt Jr's paint scheme for this weekend's race at Martinsville. When the votes were tallied, fans selected the "Grey Ghost" as the #88's scheme - fitting for Halloween weekend considering the orange and black colors. In 2016, Earnhardt was scheduled to run the sleek, silver scheme on his #88 Nationwide Chevy for the throwback race at Darlington Raceway, but Jeff Gordon ended up filling in as Earnhardt missed the final half of the season due to a concussion. It's only fitting that Earnhardt will get to race one of his all-time favorite schemes before he retires from full-time Cup Series racing.(Hendrick Motorsports)[Read More Here](10-26-2017) Amy Earnhardt expecting a baby: Dale Jr said Tuesday that the couple has a daughter on the way.[More](10-16-2017) #88 spotter change next season: T.J. Majors will leave Hendrick Motorsports as Kevin Hamlin serves as Alex Bowman's spotter.[More](10-16-2017) Dale Earnhardt Jr. bags first Talladega pole in last NASCAR season: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has started on the front row in every restrictor-plate race this season. The driver of the #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet has won six races at Talladega Superspeedway. But Saturday was special.[More](10-14-2017) Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s #2 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Presented to Dale Earnhardt Jr. by Talladega: Before six-time Talladega Superspeedway winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes his final laps at the track he considers his "second home" in Sunday's Alabama 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race, the track surprised him Friday afternoon by presenting him - on permanent loan - with the No. 2 Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by his father Dale Earnhardt Sr. to the 1980 NASCAR Championship title. The presentation was made by Grant Lynch, Charmain of Talladega Superspeedway, and Alabama Senator Gerald Dial, Chairman of the Board of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (IMHOF), located outside of the 2.66-mile track.[More](10-13-2017) Keselowski to honor Earnhardt Jr at Talladega: He will drive a #2 Miller Lite Ford with a scheme that resembles his #88 US Navy he drove for Earnhardt in XFINITY Series.[More](10-9-2017) Earnhardt, Jr. to be inducted into Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Texas Motor Speedway will forever be synonymous as the NASCAR superstar captured milestone victories in two national series at the world-renowned motorsports facility. That connection from his first career wins in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and XFINITY Series coming at Texas Motor Speedway will be further strengthened by Monday's announcement of his induction into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame during November's AAA Texas 500 NASCAR tripleheader playoff weekend.[More](10-9-2017) Charlotte, Speedway Children's Charities establish Dale Earnhardt Jr. Concussion Research Fund: In honor of local hero Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s considerable contributions to the NASCAR community throughout his iconic career, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Speedway Children's Charities have established the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Concussion Research Fund at Carolinas Healthcare System's Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina. The $100,000 gift underwrites ImPACT baseline concussion testing for more than 10,000 student athletes at 62 middle schools, high schools and athletic associations across eight area counties as well as Johnson C. Smith University and Gardner-Webb University. [More](10-6-2017) Hendrick Motorsports unveils 2018 paint schemes: Thursday evening, Hendrick Motorsports ushered in a new era with the reveal of its four primary Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 paint schemes for the 2018 Daytona 500. The thrilling event, held in uptown Charlotte, not only featured all four of the organization's 2018 drivers - Chase Elliott, William Byron, Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman - but also saw Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon, 14-time most popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and 1988 Cup champion Bill Elliott supporting them on stage.[More](10-5-2017) Hendrick Motorsports 2018 car reveal Thursday at NHOF On Oct. 5 in Charlotte, North Carolina, 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports will reveal the 2018 Daytona 500 primary paint schemes for all four of its Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 teams. It will mark the first time Hendrick Motorsports has unveiled all four of its Daytona 500 cars together and the first official appearance of the team's 2018 driver lineup: - Chase Elliott and the #9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 - William Byron and the #24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 - Jimmie Johnson and the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 - Alex Bowman and the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 The event is open to fans via the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Information on how fans can attend is available at the NHOF website. The event will also be streamed live on NASCAR.com and the Hendrick Motorsports Facebook page.(Hendrick Motorsports / NASCAR Hall of Fame)[Read More Here](10-3-2017) Saturday Chicagoland Notebook Jimmie Johnson encouraged by 14th-place qualifying effort Jimmie Johnson will start what he hopes is a run to his eighth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship from the 14th position on the grid in Sunday's Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Believe it or not, that's an improvement over Johnson's 17.4 average starting spot in the 26-race regular season. Johnson hasn't won a pole this season, and if he fails to do so in the 10-race Playoff, it will mark only the second time in his career the driver of the #48 Chevrolet has failed to claim at least one Coors Light Pole Award, the other being 2011, when he also won a career-low two races. KESELOWSKI IS SALESMAN OF THE MONTH-FOR RIVAL BRAND? If the war of words is any indication, the advent of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs brings out the persnickety side of the drivers involved. In a Friday tweet, Brad Keselowski bemoaned what he perceives as Toyota's performance advantage over the Fords and Chevrolets in the field. That earned the driver of the #2 Team Penske Ford a lot of return fire from the Toyota camp. After qualifying second to Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch, Toyota driver Denny Hamlin couldn't resist a foray into the fray. "I'd like to know what Toyota is paying Brad, because he is their best spokesman," Hamlin quipped. "I need more money for my PSA. If you're shopping for a midsize sedan, get the unfair advantage - get a Toyota." DALE EARNHARDT JR. THINKS HE'S LEAVING NASCAR RACING IN GOOD HANDS There's no debating that the highest level of NASCAR racing is witnessing a changing of the guard. Jeff Gordon retired from full-time racing at the end of the 2015 season. Tony Stewart followed a year later. Earnhardt is playing out his final year in the #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Danica Patrick has announced she won't return to Stewart-Haas Racing next year. And veterans Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne are out of their current rides, with no concrete plans to announce yet for 2018. That doesn't mean, however, that the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is short on star power. With neophytes Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Daniel Suarez, Austin Dillon and Erik Jones leading a parade of talented 20-somethings, Earnhardt believes he's leading the competition in firm hands. "Yeah, absolutely," Earnhardt affirmed. "I think that these young guys are really crafty with social media and I think that's a great direction for them to interact with not only current fans, but to find new fans. I think they do a great job at that."(NASCAR Wire Service)[Read More Here](9-17-2017) Darlington post-race penalties: Two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and two XFINITY Series penalties were issued after the races at Darlington Raceway. The Cup teams of #11-Hamlin and #88-Earnhardt, Jr. were penalized. Both drivers had their crew chiefs suspended for two races. Hamlin's win is encumbered. In the XFINITY Series, #18-Hamlin and #22-Logano's teams were penalized. Both crew chiefs were suspended two races and Hamlin's XFINITY race win was also encumbered.[More](9-6-2017) Special scheme for Earnhardt, Jr. at Bristol: Earnhardt will run a special True Timber camouflage Axalta scheme this weekend, featuring Axalta's partners Ducks Unlimited, which is the largest wetlands conservationist in the world, and Service King, an auto service chain that strives to deliver safe, superior repairs with excellent customer service.[More](8-15-2017) Hendrick Motorsports announces several team promotions: Hendrick Motorsports has elevated eight senior leaders into new positions designed to strengthen the 12-time and defending NASCAR Cup Series champions and enhance the team's overall management structure. The eight executives, who will assume their new roles immediately, have more than 150 combined years of service with the organization.[More](8-15-2017) Earnhardt, Jr. unveils Homestead paint scheme: When Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes the checkered flag at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 19, his career as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver will come to a close. What better way to sign off a tremendous 18-year run than to do so in a car that carries the paint scheme he raced from the very beginning? The No. 88 Axalta/AutoNation Chevrolet that Earnhardt Jr. will race during the season-ending 400-mile event at Homestead will feature the iconic scheme from 1999, with a black roof, red main panels and raked side stripes that wrap around to the AutoNation-branded TV panel at the rear. [More](8-2-2017) Dale Earnhardt, Jr. joining NBC in 2018: Dale Earnhardt Jr., the motorsports icon voted by fans as NASCAR's Most Popular Driver for an unprecedented 14 consecutive years (2003-16), will join NBC Sports Group's NASCAR coverage beginning in 2018, it was announced Monday. Earnhardt will be utilized in a number of capacities on NBC's NASCAR coverage, with specifics to be announced in the coming months. In addition, the agreement with NBCUniversal allows Earnhardt a wide range of opportunities in the company's media businesses, including movies, television, podcasts, and other areas.[More](7-24-2017) Hendrick, Earnhardt, Jr., Bowman press conference transcript: Following the announcement that Alex Bowman would drive the #88 next season, Rick Hendrick, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Alex Bowman met with the media Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.[More](7-23-2017) Alex Bowman to replace Earnhardt, Jr. in the #88 next season One year after his impressive debut with Hendrick Motorsports, the team has named Alex Bowman full-time driver of the #88 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series with a 19-race majority sponsorship from Nationwide beginning in 2018. Bowman, 24, piloted the #88 Chevrolet SS in 10 of the final 18 Cup races last season in place of injured driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. The Tucson, Arizona, native debuted July 17, 2016, at New Hampshire and went on to earn three top-10 finishes with the team including a sixth-place result at Phoenix, where he won the pole position and led a race-high 194 laps.[More](7-20-2017) Earnhardt, Jr. unveils Darlington throwback scheme: The scheme is patterned off the ACDelco scheme Earnhardt, Jr drove to his first XFINITY win in 1998.[More](7-18-2017) Earnhardt Jr. to reveal #88 Darlington at NASCAR HOF Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to be at the NASCAR Hall of Fame (in Charlotte, NC) on Tuesday, July 18 at 2:00pm/et to reveal the #88 Nationwide Chevy throwback paint scheme for the Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. NASCAR Hall of Fame guests are invited to enjoy this exclusive first look of Earnhardt's throwback paint scheme and to listen in as he takes questions from members of the media.(NASCAR Hall of Fame)[Read More Here](7-17-2017) Nationwide Children's Hospital scheme for Earnhardt, Jr. at Kentucky: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the #88 Nationwide Children's Hospital Chevrolet SS this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. The special paint scheme features the Nationwide Children's Hospital (NCH) logo as well as more than 315 names on the hood of people who donated to the hospital through a special fundraising platform.[More](7-6-2017) Dale Earnhardt Jr. edges teammate Chase Elliott for Coke Zero 400 pole #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. may have just extended his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career by one exhibition race with Friday's pole-winning effort at Daytona International Speedway. The driver who will step away from the #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at the end of the season will start first in that car in Saturday's Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola, after edging teammate #24-Chase Elliott by .044 seconds for the top spot on the grid. The Coors Light Pole Award was Earnhardt's first of the season, his second at Daytona and the 14th of his career. In touring the 2.5-mile speedway in 47.127 seconds (190.973 mph), Earnhardt also qualified for the 2018 Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona, and that's what raised the prospect of another race at "The Birthplace of Speed" for NASCAR's most popular driver. "Yeah, I'll talk to my boss man Rick (Hendrick) and see if we can make some arrangement and come back and have some fun," Earnhardt said after climbing from his car. "I'll see what he's got in the shed." Elliott (190.795 mph on Friday) has won the last two poles for the Daytona 500, knocking Earnhardt out of the top spot this past February. On Friday, it was turn-about for Earnhardt, who credited Elliott and his #24 team for pushing the #88 group to the limit. Pitstalls Starting Lineup Qualifying Results (NASCAR Wire Service)[Read Full Report](6-30-2017) JRM Licensing Announces Partnership with CounterFind: JRM Licensing, LLC, which manages the licensed merchandise programs for all the Hendrick Motorsports and JR Motorsports teams and drivers, announced today a partnership with CounterFind, a company specializing in eliminating counterfeit merchandise in the social commerce space. The partnership is the first of its kind for JRM Licensing. "We have seen a big uptick in the amount of counterfeit merchandise advertised on the various social media platforms," said Joe Mattes, vice president of JRM Licensing. "We're confident this new partnership with CounterFind will assist in reining in the counterfeiters. We want to proactively police the marketplace to protect our clients' brands and trademarks. NASCAR has one of the best fanbases in all of sports, and it's our responsibility to ensure that fans are purchasing authentic, quality merchandise manufactured by officially licensed vendors." Founded by former NFL player Darren Woodson, CounterFind is a turnkey technology used by some of the world's leading sports and entertainment brands to combat counterfeit goods in social commerce. CounterFind's software combines image recognition with human intelligence to detect and report all ads marketing counterfeit merchandise on Facebook and Instagram in real time. "CounterFind is solving the problems that broad internet protection companies can't figure out," said Woodson, CounterFind Founder. "If someone launches an ad on Facebook marketing a counterfeit product for Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, or Chase Elliott, we will find it and have it removed in less than 24 hours."(JRM Licensing)(6-28-2017) Dale Earnhardt Jr. Launches JR Nation Appreci88ion Campaign Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced his version of a final act - a five-month campaign called JR Nation Appreci88ion. It will start this weekend at Daytona and carry through the end of the 2017 season, his last as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver. The Appreci88ion campaign will create opportunities in social media, at-track activation, fan engagement, industry participation and philanthropy to celebrate Earnhardt Jr.'s historic career while offering gestures of gratitude to everyone who made the ride possible. That includes fans, teammates, colleagues, family members, lifelong friends and anyone who influenced Earnhardt Jr.'s time in the driver's seat. JR Nation Appreci88ion will have a heavy presence on social media with the #Appreci88ion hashtag and digital engagement opportunities throughout the five-month campaign. Earnhardt Jr. will release weekly videos recollecting memories and milestones achieved at each of the specific racing venues. Sponsors and industry partners will have featured roles as well, activating in unique ways to give back to JR Nation.(JR Motorsports)[Read More Here](6-27-2017) Dale Earnhardt Jr. won't rule out running future Daytona 500: As he retires from full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has two Daytona 500 victories to credit. But that doesn't necessarily mean he won't ever have a third. During a question-and-answer session with reporters after opening practice at Sonoma Raceway, Earnhardt allowed he might consider an encore appearance in NASCAR's most prestigious race-under the right circumstances. True, next week Earnhardt will compete for the last time at Daytona as the driver of the #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy. But that doesn't mean it's the last time he'll compete at Daytona. Earnhardt also addressed reports that he, too, might be under consideration for a broadcasting role. "We are certainly open to discussing the possibility of seeing what options I have," Earnhardt said. "Who wanted us, what kind of job they want me for, and we are sort of in the middle of understanding that, and that just goes along the lines of doing due diligence on everything. I'm not retiring from work. I want to keep seeking out opportunities to make a living and make money and be relevant and be a value to my partners."(NASCAR Wire Service)[Read More Here](6-24-2017) Original docuseries following Hendrick Motorsports to debut in July Complex Networks, Film 45, Markay Media, and NASCAR champions Hendrick Motorsports have teamed up on an original eight-part documentary series that journeys deep inside the teamwork, sophistication and heart that makes stock car racing an American institution. Road to Race Day goes behind the scenes with Hendrick Motorsports during the 2016 season, delivering unprecedented access to witness the passion, determination, and talent that propels its superstar drivers - Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. - and crew to be the winningest team in professional stock car racing. Directed by Cynthia Hill (A Chef's Life, Private Violence) and executive produced by Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Patriots Day), Road to Race Day premieres on Complex Networks' Rated Red available on go90 on Wednesday, July 19.(Hendrick Motorsports)[Red More Here](6-22-2017) Silly Season heating up: Brad Keselowski left himself very little wiggle room when asked if he is a candidate to replace Dale Earnhardt Jr. next season. "Roger has given me a lot, and I have no reason to not want to stay with him," Keselowski replied when The Associated Press asked him if Earnhardt's retirement at the end of the season and his open seat at Hendrick Motorsports is holding up a new deal. As NASCAR hits the long, slow stretch of summer, its "silly season" is certainly heating up and Earnhardt's seat in the #88 Chevrolet the biggest prize of free agency.[More](6-19-2017) Earnhardt, Jr. talking to TV networks: According to a report on Monday's Sports Business Daily, "NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in talks with Fox Sports and NBC Sports about joining one of their broadcast teams, according to industry sources, the clearest sign yet that Earnhardt is close to a move to the booth." [More](6-19-2017) Hendrick Motorsports GM Doug Duchardt leaving Hendrick Motorsports executive vice president and general manager Doug Duchardt will leave the organization later this summer. He will remain in his role through the end of June. Duchardt, 53, came to Hendrick Motorsports in January 2005 as vice president of development, a position in which he oversaw race car design, engineering and production. In July 2013, he was elevated to the newly created role of general manager, directing all racing operations for the team. Duchardt's responsibilities will be assigned to multiple team members, including Hendrick Motorsports president Marshall Carlson, chief financial officer Scott Lampe and vice president of competition Ken Howes. The organization does not plan to fill the general manager role.(Hendrick Motorsports)[Read More Here](6-6-2017) Earnhardt Jr. earns the most news coverage: By sheer volume, Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s April 25th retirement announcement has been the news story of the year in NASCAR. The surprising decision made by the sport's most popular personality significantly contributed to Earnhardt's name being referenced in more than 46,000 news media stories.[More](5-18-2017) Johnson, Lowe's renewal expected soon: Rick Hendrick said he is ready to announce a new deal with Jimmie Johnson sponsor Lowe's "probably anytime" over the next 3-4 weeks and Nationwide also has indicated a willingness to continue with Hendrick Motorsports after the retirement of Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the end of the season. One sponsor Hendrick doesn't have to worry about is Earnhardt sponsor Axalta, which opened a 36,000-square-foot training and customer service center today on the Hendrick Motorsports campus. Hendrick, whose automobile dealerships use 40,000 gallons of paint a year, said he would discuss 2018 driver options with Axalta leadership later today.[ESPN.com](5-16-2017) Dale and Amy Earnhardt working on home renovation TV show We've already seen Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s home-building skills when he revealed his incredible treehouse. The tree-top oasis was shown off on Animal Planet's "Treehouse Masters" last year. Now, it looks like the driver of the #88 Chevrolet is getting into the renovation business. Earnhardt tweeted that he and his wife Amy will work on a historic house in Florida for a show that will air on the DIY Network in 2018.(Hendrick Motorsports) AND What happens when the world of professional auto racing and home renovation intersect? We'll find out in early 2018 when a special home-improvement series featuring third-generation NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his wife, Amy, makes its debut on DIY Network. The new DIY Network limited series will follow the couple as they restore a classic but dilapidated home in the historic Old Town district of Key West, transforming it into a contemporary seaside retreat. But to create their idyllic tropical getaway, Dale Jr. and Amy face some of the challenges common to renovating and restoring old homes, including structural issues and antiquated wiring and plumbing.(HGTV)[click to continue](5-9-2017) Loose wheel dashes Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s hopes at Talladega: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. lined up third for a restart on Lap 174 of Sunday's GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, after a massive 18-car wreck on the backstretch thinned the field. The anticipation in the air was palpable, as Earnhardt rolled through the tri-oval toward the start / finish line, but what happened next had fans in the front grandstands ripping the radio headphones off their heads and throwing them to the ground. As the field came up to speed, Earnhardt pulled out of line and moved to the top of the track, coming perilously close to the outside wall. As the pack sped away, Earnhardt's #88 Chevrolet slowed and rolled gingerly to pit road. "Oh, I had a wheel come off," Earnhardt said after the race. "The guys said it was real similar to the issue we had at Atlanta, but it was pretty bad. We were about to wreck. And we were lucky to get to pit road and get it changed. The left rear tire come loose. We didn't change it on the last stop but the glue build-up on the stud didn't allow them to get the tire tight, and it just kind of worked its way loose. We only had one nut tight when we come down pit road. It was real close to coming off. I hated it, because we were right there in good position to get a great finish-if not win the race-and I had to bail out. That was a hard decision to make. But, knowing what I know now when we come down pit road and they saw the tire, I'm glad I did, because it wouldn't have made it another lap or two." Earnhardt lost a lap because of the unscheduled stop but got it back as the highest-scored lapped car when NASCAR called the seventh caution on Lap 179. But over the final few circuits, which included a two-lap overtime, Earnhardt couldn't make progress and finished 22nd.(NASCAR Wire Service)[click to continue](5-8-2017) Could Dale Earnhardt Jr. run the 2018 Clash if he wins a pole this season? Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned a front row starting position for the GEICO 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega Superspeedway with a second-place qualifying effort in the #88 Nationwide Chevy. Earnhardt Jr. navigated the 2.66-mile track with a final round lap of 190.780 mph. The run marked his third top 10 start of 2017 and his 16th in 34 races at Talladega Superspeedway. It is also his first front row start at Talladega in his 18-year Cup Series career. "The car was really fast today," said Earnhardt Jr. after the qualifying session. "That gives us good confidence in the speed of the car for Sunday." Q) IT SOUNDED LIKE IF YOU DO GET A POLE YOU MIGHT LOBBY FOR A SPOT IN THE CLASH NEXT YEAR? Earnhardt Jr.: "Yeah, I've got a 'get in the Clash free card' from this year. I got a credit and if I get a pole I will talk to Rick (Hendrick) and see if we can't line something up." (Team Chevy)[More](5-7-2017) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. knocks Dale Earnhardt Jr. off Talladega pole Qualifying for Sunday's GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway was shaping up to be a sentimental story-until #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. said "No." The last driver to make a run in Saturday's final round of knockout qualifying, Stenhouse knocked #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. off the provisional pole for Earnhardt's last spring race at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. The Coors Light Pole Award was Stenhouse's first since he secured his only previous top starting spot in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series since 2013 in Atlanta. It was the first pole for a Ford driver at Talladega since Travis Kvapil won his only career pole in October 2008. And it was the first Talladega pole for Roush Fenway Racing since Mark Martin did the honors in both races in 1989. #2-Brad Keselowski qualified third, followed by #20-Matt Kenseth and #6-Trevor Bayne, Stenhouse's teammate at Roush Fenway Racing. Note: #96-D.J. Kennington failed to qualify for the 40-car field.(NASCAR Wire Service)[More](5-7-2017) Alex Bowman leads field to replace Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2018: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will leave the building before 2018, this much is true. Who will replace him at Hendrick Motorsports? This much is speculation. Earnhardt's departure will leave a void that ultimately must be filled, even if for all practical matters Earnhardt is irreplaceable as an iconic star of the sport. He moves the needle big-time. But we all must move on, and he will leave the seat warm anyway. So who's next? Alex Bowman? William Byron? A wild-card entry in Carl Edwards? Early handicapping points to Bowman, who filled in for Earnhardt Jr. in 10 of 18 races that Earnhardt missed last season with concussion-related symptoms. Bowman wasn't spectacular, but he was steady. Bowman, 24, posted an average finish of 19.7 in those races. "I see Rick Hendrick going young," said Steve Letarte, Earnhardt's former crew chief and now an analyst with NBC Sports. "I do not think William Byron is the answer in 2018. I think Hendrick understands that drivers need to mature. We have already seen the struggle of Daniel Suárez this season, who is the Xfinity champion, perhaps getting moved up a little too quickly. I think that can be a detriment to a driver's career. I have Alex Bowman circled on a piece of paper. I think Bowman is the perfect guy. I don't mean a five-year contract, maybe a one- or two-year deal."(Orlando Sentinel)[More](5-4-2017) Earnhardt Jr. to run special Nationwide Children's Hospital scheme at Kentucky: This July at Kentucky Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive a unique paint scheme for a great cause. Tuesday afternoon, the #88 Nationwide Children's Hospital Chevrolet SS was unveiled, and along with it Nationwide has provided a way to help children everywhere. Returning this year is a fundraising campaign that allows fans the opportunity to have their name emblazoned on Earnhardt's #88 Chevy while simultaneously supporting patients receiving care at Nationwide Children's Hospital. During the Ride Along with Dale Jr. to Help Kids Everywhere campaign, fans that donate can have their name a part of Earnhardt's Kentucky race weekend.(Hendrick Motorsports)[More](5-3-2017) Dale Earnhardt Jr. press conference transcript: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. met with members of the media Friday at Richmond International Raceway.[More](4-28-2017) Hendrick Motorsports has no timetable for naming Earnhart, Jr's replacement: A Hendrick Motorsports executive said Wednesday there is no timetable - or concern - for finding Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s replacement in the #88 Chevrolet. "Obviously it's an important decision for us, and one we're going to take our time, and we're going to find the right person, the right fit for all the factors that go into that," Hendrick Motorsports general manager Doug Duchardt said.[More](4-27-2017) Dale Earnhardt, Jr retirement press conference transcript: Dale Earnhardt, Jr and Rick Hendrick met members of the media on Tuesday afternoon to discuss Earnhardt, Jr's decision to retire from the Cup Series at the end of the season.[More](4-25-2017) Dale Earnhardt Jr. wanted to step away on his own terms, announces 2017 will be final season: More than anything, Dale Earnhardt Jr. wanted to be the master of his own destiny. In announcing his retirement from Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing on Tuesday at the Hendrick Motorsports campus in Charlotte, North Carolina, Earnhardt described his primary motivation during months of physically and emotionally exhausting rehabilitation from a concussion that sidelined him from the final 18 races of the 2016 season.[More](4-25-2017) Earnhardt Jr. to retire from NASCAR Cup Series following 2017:After 18 seasons and more than 600 races behind the wheel, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will bring his NASCAR Cup Series driving career to a close at the conclusion of 2017. Today, he shared the news with members of his #88 Hendrick Motorsports team. The fan favorite and two-time Daytona 500 champion will discuss his decision in a press conference this afternoon. He will be joined by Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, for whom Earnhardt has driven since 2008. The two first met about the driver's decision on March 29. [More](4-25-2017) Earnhardt Jr. talks about Bristol incident Dale Earnhardt Jr. was involved in an incident on lap 218 in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway THEY ARE TRYING TO ADDRESS WHAT DAMAGE WAS DONE BEFORE THE INCIDENT AND WHAT DAMAGE WAS DONE AFTER YOU HIT THE WALL, BUT DID YOU HAVE ANY IDEA AT ALL THAT THERE WAS A PROBLEM? "We came out of the pits and there's some oil in the pit stall I noticed when I was getting lined-up for double file, is smoking. I don't know why. But it's got oil all over the engine compartment. So, in the corner, it just went straight in the wall. I don't know what's broke, but I think that's the end of the day." ACCORDING TO NASCAR RULES, YOU HAVE TO DO TO THE MEDICAL CENTER. DO YOU FEEL OKAY? "I feel good. We'll get in here and find out."(TeamChevy PR)[More](4-24-2017) Johnson, Dale Jr. and Gordon help out Sam Bass NASCAR licensed artist Sam Bass has opened a GoFundMe.com account to try and raise $350,000 for a kidney and pancreas transplant. Bass has waged on an ongoing battle against medical issues resulting from his diabetes. You can donate to Bass' account by clicking here.(FoxSports)[More](4-22-2017) Dale Jr. to run a patriotic Mountain Dew scheme at Kansas in May With the calendar nearing May, Mountain Dew is helping fans get ready for summer. Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevy will help kick the season off on May 13 at Kansas Speedway with a brand new patriotic look. The red-white-and-blue theme is a nod to Mountain Dew's soon-to-launch summer innovation, Mountain Dew DEW-S-A.(Hendrick Motorsports)(4-21-2017) Earnhardt's Axalta scheme to feature Philadelphia Eagles at Pocono: Dale Earnhardt Jr. may root for the Washington Redskins, but this June at Pocono Raceway, he'll pilot a Philadelphia Eagles paint scheme. Wednesday morning, Axalta unveiled the special look for Earnhardt's #88 Chevrolet SS. Most importantly, the scheme will prominently display the Axalta All-Pro Teachers logo.[More](4-5-2017) Earnhardt set to make 600th start Sunday: This weekend, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will reach a milestone in his NASCAR Cup Series career. Sunday in Fontana, California, he will make his 600th Cup start. To mark the occasion, a decal commemorating Earnhardt's 600 starts will be placed on the B-posts and the front of the hood of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS this weekend.[More](3-22-2017) Axalta makes first 2017 appearance on the #88 Phoenix marks the first of 13 races where Axalta Coating Systems will be the primary sponsor for Earnhardt's #88 Chevy. The new "Flash Point" paint scheme, designed by artist Sam Bass, will make its on-track debut this weekend. The #88 Axalta Chevy incorporates bright, neon yellow and red colors to create an eye-catching paint scheme.(Hendrick Motorsports)[More](3-17-2017) AmeriCarna returns tonight with Earnhardt Jr. & Ray Evernham AmeriCarna epidsode, "Two Juniors and the El Laguna", Thursday, March 16 at 9 pm on Velocity. Dale Earnhardt Jr. wants Ray Evernham to help restore an El Camino, except add on a Laguna front end. It's not a typical restoration, but it's certainly a NASCAR performance-worthy restoration.(Victory Management Group PR)[More](3-16-2017) Facebook's Zuckerberg Hot-Laps Charlotte with Dale Jr. Mark Zuckerberg is no stranger to innovation, but the CEO of Facebook tested the limits on something entirely new on Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Zuckerberg joined Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. for a high-speed ride around the iconic 1.5-mile superspeedway before climbing behind the wheel of a NASCAR Racing Experience stock car. Zuckerberg's trip to Charlotte Motor Speedway is part of a year-long challenge that involves visiting every U.S. state and meeting with people to learn more from communities and help Facebook continue to positively influence the world. Zuckerberg's 800-horsepower adrenaline rush followed an earlier tour of the nearby Hendrick Motorsports facility and a meeting with Charlotte Motor Speedway President and General Manager Marcus Smith (CMS)[More](3-14-2017) Dale Earnhardt Jr. Likes NASCAR's Five-Minute Rule: Racing Wrecked Car 'Sucks' With all eyes on Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the Daytona 500 as he made his return to racing, it only was fitting he was the first to fall prey to NASCAR's new Damaged Vehicle Policy. Despite the fact that it forced him to end his day early, though, Dale Jr. said he's in favor of the rule. During the Hendrick Motorsports driver's weekly podcast, "Dale Jr. Download," he explained he's very much in favor of NASCAR's updated regulation. Under the policy, teams have just five minutes from the time the car enters pit road to repair damaged sheet metal, body parts no longer can be replaced and any car that has to go to the garage or behind the pit wall for repairs isn't able to return to the track. Additionally, if a team gets the car repaired and on track in under five minutes, it must maintain a minimum speed throughout the race, or the driver will be required to return to the pits. "So, thoughts on the five-minute clock? I'm good with it," Earnhardt said. "I didn't want to drive that car anymore, if I'm not out there with a good car, competing and trying to win. "My top reason is because it just sucks; it's boring. That goes in the boring bucket."(NESN Fuel)[More](3-3-2017) Hendrick Motorsports goes for third straight Atlanta win Georgia has been "peachy" to Hendrick Motorsports in recent memory. The four-car outfit owned by Rick Hendrick has won the last three races at Atlanta Motor Speedway behind the efforts of #5-Kasey Kahne (2014) and #48-Jimmie Johnson (2015-16). On Sunday, Hendrick Motorsports will go for its fourth consecutive win at the 1.54-mile track as it travels to AMS with Kahne, Johnson, Georgia native #24-Chase Elliott and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (NASCAR Wire Service)[More](3-3-2017) Hendrick cars running Monster logos when required UPDATE: Car owner Rick Hendrick gave a short response to a question Friday about his cars not always displaying logos of Cup series sponsor Monster Energy when they are away from the track.
    UPDATE: Monster Energy doesn't have a problem with Hendrick Motorpsorts taking steps to avoid using the Monster logo when its cars or drivers are not in the garage. [More](2-28-2017) Earnhardt, Jr. feels fine after accident at Daytona: Dale Earnhardt Jr. climbed out of his wrecked race car, surveyed the damage, chatted with his team and hopped on a golf cart for a trip to the infield care center. Eight minutes after checking in with doctors, Earnhardt walked out. And he felt fine.[More](2-27-2017) Forbes ranks NASCAR's most valuable teams: A dozen years ago, few leagues could match the popularity of NASCAR, which boasted record-high viewership and was going toe-to-toe with the NFL. But then few leagues suffered worse during the economic crash.[More](2-23-2017) Passion to race drives Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s return to the track: Dale Earnhardt Jr. felt "wobbly" and didn't know why. In his motor coach last July at Kentucky Speedway, Earnhardt felt the first hint of the concussion symptoms that would keep him out of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for the last half of the 2016 season. [More] Rear tire changer for the #88 suffers injury in post race accident: Over coming adversity and figuring out a way to make things happen is what NASCAR is all about. For the #88 crew this has come earlier than later. Following the Clash Sunday afternoon in Daytona, rear tire changer Devin DelRicco had his ankle run over by a pit road utility cart. The details are a little sketchy at the moment but sources that were around the accident said the cart got DelRicco's ankle and that he was having trouble putting any weight on it.(Pit Talks)(2-20-2017) Earnhardt Jr. to wait a couple months before deciding to extend contract: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is on the last year of his contract with Hendrick Motorsports. He plans to race for a couple of months, see how he feels, before he decides whether to sign up for more. After his time off, retirement no longer feels like a distant notion. "I've done everything I ever thought I would do," he says. "I've done more than I thought I was capable of doing. I look at my trophies and can't believe they're mine." But his mind is still not quite settled. As much as his time off made him a better human being, it couldn't replace the feeling he gets inside a race car -- that happiness at making so many other people happy. "I've had a hard time trying to find something that's comparable," he says.(see full article at ESPN The Magazine) AND Earnhardt said the delay is not a sign he is ready to quit driving; rather, he just wants a couple months to figure out whether his health will allow him to continue racing beyond this season. "When I got hurt last year and what I saw it put the company through....I don't want to do that again," he told a group of reporters Saturday. "So I want to get some races under my belt and get confidence in my health before I can commit to him. I don't want to make any promises I can't deliver on." Earnhardt said he thinks he can race for "a couple" more years, but - despite asking himself the question - hasn't been able to put a date on exactly when he might stop (should his health allow him to keep going).(JeffGluck.com)(2-19-2017) Bowman happy to be aligned with Hendrick: After a stellar performance as a substitute driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr. last year, Alex Bowman got several offers of NASCAR rides - but none that could induce him to leave Hendrick Motorsports, where he spends most of his time driving a simulator. "I was kind of surprised that a winning XFINITY car or something like that didn't open up," Bowman said on Friday at Daytona International Speedway, where he'll race in Saturday night's Advance Auto Parts Clash as a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole winner from 2016. "At the same time, I had quite a few full-time Cup opportunities that were offered, but there really wasn't anything that was going to make me leave Hendrick Motorsports. I feel like I want to be part of a winning organization whether I'm driving, just working for the team, doing testing or doing the simulation stuff. Whatever I'm doing, I want to be part of a winning team. Nothing was going to drag me away from here." Not only that. Bowman figures he'll get the nod, should the organization need another super sub for any of its four drivers. "Obviously, you never hope that situation comes up," Bowman said. "But I think after last year, as easy as it is for me as far as already being here with Hendrick Motorsports, I think if something did come up that I would think I would be the one that would get called for it."(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-18-2017) Earnhardt Jr. visit's Newman's Rescue Ranch: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his wife Amy paid a visit Friday to the Rescue Ranch, an 87-acre ranch in Statesville, NC that offers rehabilitation and rescue for animals. Earnhardt sent out several tweets about the visit. He obviously enjoyed spending time with the animals.(Charlotte Observer)(2-12-2017) Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in TV booth for the Clash: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to join the FOX NASCAR television booth as a guest driver analyst during FS1's live coverage of THE CLASH AT DAYTONA, the exhibition race that serves as a precursor to the 2017 NASCAR season, on Saturday, Feb. 18. Earnhardt, a two-time winner of THE CLASH, will team with FOX NASCAR announcers Mike Joy, Hall of Famer and three-time champion Darrell Waltrip and four-time champ and former Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon. THE CLASH AT DAYTONA marks Earnhardt's second race in the FOX Sports booth. In June 2016, he served as a driver analyst for the NASCAR XFINITY SERIES race from Michigan International Speedway with Adam Alexander and Michael Waltrip, joining a roster of NASCAR CUP SERIES drivers to rotate in the XFINITY booth.(Fox Sports)(2-3-2017) Earnhardt, Jr. excited about return to racing: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. walked into the Phoenix Raceway garage about 30 minutes prior to the start of testing. There used to be days where he might not arrive that early for a monotonous test. Earnhardt now values his time in a race car as he prepares to mount a comeback in 2017 after missing half the 2016 season because of a concussion. He tested on Dec. 7 at Darlington Raceway to earn approval to return to racing in the Daytona 500 qualifying races Feb. 23. Tuesday was the Hendrick Motorsports driver's first time in a NASCAR Cup car since on the first day of a two-day test at Phoenix Raceway where each race organization could field one car. "I was texting the guys [last night], 'Man, I don't know why, I'm just freakin' pumped up about this,'" Earnhardt said during the lunch break Tuesday. "You miss the camaraderie and the friendships I have with my road crew," said Earnhardt, whose last race was July 9 at Kentucky. "I think they miss me. So that makes you feel good. They seem excited that we're working together and we're back together." As far as his expectations for the upcoming season, Earnhardt wouldn't mention specific goals. "I'm just a little nervous if there will be any kind of learning curve but I don't know," Earnhardt said. "I hope there ain't. Sometimes you see guys in sport, no matter the type of sport, that are away for a while have to adjust to how much has changed since they have taken time off. Then there are some guys that have come back like they've never missed a day. I hope there's no rust to shake off. I'm really anxious to kind of get back there and have some success, go out there and run well and check that box that I'm right where we need to be."(ESPN.com)(2-1-2017) Gordon willing to sub, but wants Bowman to be first choice: Four-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon said he would be willing to return as a replacement driver for Hendrick Motorsports if needed in an extreme circumstance, but believes 23-year-old Alex Bowman should have the opportunity. Gordon replaced Dale Earnhardt Jr. in eight Cup races last season as Earnhardt experienced a recurrence of concussion. Bowman, who does not have a NASCAR ride this season, replaced Earnhardt 10 times, and scored three top-10 finishes. He won the pole and had a best finish of sixth at Phoenix International Raceway after leading 194 laps. Bowman's lone scheduled Cup start is in the exhibition Clash in the #88 Chevrolet because of the Phoenix pole. "I think that you're looking at Alex Bowman, who has done an excellent job stepping in," Gordon told USA TODAY Sports. "He's in a position with Hendrick Motorsports doing a lot of simulation work and debriefs. He did a great job behind the wheel last year. So, I think that a lot of it had to do with they weren't real sure what the scenario was going to be with Alex and then also with sponsors or how long Junior was going to be out, so that was a pretty unique scenario. And I think it would have to be a very unique one for me to step in (in 2017.)"(USA Today)(1-28-2017) Earnhardt, Jr. leaves drivers council: Dale Earnhardt Jr. told NBC Sports on Wednesday that he won't be on the Cup Drivers Council this year after playing a key role in organizing the group and running the group text. Earnhardt told NBC Sports it was his decision, citing time commitments. Earnhardt was a part of the first Drivers Council meeting with NASCAR in May 2015. "We're just trying to work together," Earnhardt said after that first meeting at Dover. "There's better dialogue and communication that way." Kyle Busch has confirmed that he'll be back on the council. Joey Logano told NBC Sports he will be back on the council.(NBC Sports)(1-26-2017) Earnhardt, Jr wants to retire on his own terms: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s highly anticipated return to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing is less than one month away. No one is more enthusiastic about the most popular driver's comeback than Earnhardt, who spoke with media during Wednesday morning's segment of the 35th Annual NASCAR Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. Earnhardt hasn't competed since last July at Kentucky Speedway when the aftereffects of a concussion he sustained in a crash in June forced an early end to the 26-time race winner's season. During his time out of the car, Earnhardt had an eventful December which saw the Hendrick Motorsports driver get married and get cleared to return to action this year. He still had a decision to make, though. "To get approved to race is one thing but to decide to race is another," Earnhardt said. "You have to make the decision if you want to keep racing and if you want to keep racing you've got to give 100 percent. ... I had to answer a lot of personal questions from myself and just really buy in (to returning). All of that was a process and I'm really happy with what I decided to do. I'm just hoping to enjoy what's left of my career and hopefully I get to make the decisions myself as far as how much longer I want to race. I'm really excited about my future."(Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour Notes)(1-25-2017) Nationwide video series to feature Earnhardt, Jr. Nationwide Insurance lost a little bit of visibility at the track when a concussion sidelined Dale Earnhardt Jr. last season. It will try to create buzz now that he is returning, but it started spending money to create that buzz even before it knew if the sport's most popular driver would race next month at the Daytona 500. The company has created a six-part series it will push on social channels that focuses on Earnhardt's return. The first 180-second episode airs Tuesday night, with 90-second episodes each of the following Tuesdays leading up to the Daytona 500. Earnhardt tested in December and was cleared to race in Daytona. But the series was filmed primarily over two days in late November, a couple of weeks before Earnhardt's test. The series is called "Unfinished Business," using the phrase both team owner Rick Hendrick and Earnhardt used when discussing why Earnhardt would return to racing. Nationwide's director of sports marketing, Jim McCoy, said the company expects Earnhardt fans to be hungry for Earnhardt content amid his return, and he hopes this series satiates some of that. The company has close to a six-figure budget for production and promotion, McCoy said. Nationwide had a relationship with Earnhardt before it signed to sponsor his car, and McCoy said the company did not pressure him to return. "All along, it was always Dale's health first," McCoy said. "We have been a partner with him for a long time. ... We just made sure we were aware of what was going on and had contingencies."(ESPN.com)(1-22-2017) No racing plans for Bowman beyond the Clash: Alex Bowman's focus [now] returns to NASCAR. And when it comes to unemployed Monster Energy Cup drivers, it would difficult to find one with as much potential as Bowman. The 23-year-old racer for Tuscon, Arizona, had the opportunity to audition last season in the #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy while substituting for the sidelined Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his performance was solid. But with less than a month before NASCAR teams report to Daytona International Speedway for Speedweeks, the only race on Bowman's schedule so far is The Clash at Daytona. Although he's posted one pole, three top fives and seven top 10s in 11 starts for JR Motorsports, Bowman doesn't have the backing to make a full-time Xfinity Series ride work with the team. But he's not giving up hope. "It's just money," Bowman said. "This sport is so money-driven and it's not a fully funded deal. I can't write a check to drive a car. I'm trying to get checks written to me to drive a car. If the right situation came up and there was a good sponsor and everything fit, it absolutely would be a possibility. But right now, there's no funding to go do it." He still has his day job with Hendrick Motorsports. He'll still test for the organization and drive the simulator.(Motorsport)(1-19-2017) Earnhardt, Jr., Kahne to run two NXS races each: Continuing a tradition of running his own JR Motorsports Chevy each season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to make a pair of starts in the #88 Chevy Camaro this season in races at Bristol in August and Richmond in September. Long-time JRM driver Kasey Kahne will drive the car at Daytona in February and Talladega in May. Scott Radel, director of engineering at JRM, has been tabbed to crew chief all four races. Radel has been a JRM engineer since 2013, and previously worked for Hendrick Motorsports. He won championships with JRM in 2014 and with two other teams as an engineer. Radel brings 20-plus years of experience in calling races. The #88 "All Star car" has been a full-time car the past two seasons, but with JRM's expansion to four full-time teams and the addition of new drivers William Byron and Michael Annett, it will be a fifth JRM entry in the four races named.(JR Motorsports)(1-13-2017) Congrats: Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR's most popular driver, married longtime girlfriend Amy Reimann on Saturday night. Earnhardt and Reimann have dated since 2009 and got engaged in June 2015 in Germany at a church where Earnhardt's ancestors had attended seven generations and 300 years ago. "I'm so excited, so thrilled to be a part of it and look forward to our future," Earnhardt said four weeks prior to the ceremony. The wedding Saturday night was at the Childress Vineyards -- owned by NASCAR race team owner Richard Childress -- in North Carolina.(ESPN.com)(1-1-2017)
2016 News

  • TaxSlayer.com [1 race] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following races in 2016:
    Daytona, Sprint Limited* - 2/13

  • Nationwide Insurance [22 races] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following races in 2016:
    Daytona, Budweiser Duel* - 2/18
    Daytona - 2/21
    Atlanta - 2/28
    Las Vegas - 3/6
    Auto Club - 3/20, Batman
    Martinsville - 4/3
    Texas - 4/9
    Bristol - 4/17
    Talladega - 5/1
    Dover - 5/15
    Charlotte - 5/29, patriotic
    Daytona - 7/2
    Kentucky - 7/9, Nationwide's Children
    New Hampshire - 7/17, Alex Bowman driving
    Pocono - 7/31, Jeff Gordon driving
    Darlington - 9/4, Buddy Baker tribute, Jeff Gordon driving
    New Hampshire - 9/25, Alex Bowman driving
    Dover - 10/2, Jeff Gordon driving
    Kansas - 10/16, Alex Bowman driving
    Martinsville - 10/30, Jeff Gordon driving
    Texas - 11/6, Alex Bowman driving
    Phoenix - 11/13, Alex Bowman driving

  • Axalta [13 races] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following races in 2016:
    Phoenix - 3/13
    Kansas - 5/7, CARSTAR
    Pocono - 6/5
    Michigan - 6/12
    Sonoma - 6/26
    Indy - 7/24, Jeff Gordon driving
    Watkins Glen - 8/7, Gordon
    Bristol - 8/20, Gordon
    Michigan - 8/28, University of Michigan, Bowman
    Richmond - 9/10, Jeff Gordon driving
    Chicago - 9/18, Alex Bowman driving
    Charlotte - 10/8, Alex Bowman driving
    Homestead - 11/20, Alex Bowman driving

  • Mountain Dew [3 races] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following races in 2016:
    Richmond - 4/23
    Charlotte, All-Star race* - 5/21
    Talladega - 10/23, Alex Bowman

  • Congrats: Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR's most popular driver, married longtime girlfriend Amy Reimann on Saturday night. Earnhardt and Reimann have dated since 2009 and got engaged in June 2015 in Germany at a church where Earnhardt's ancestors had attended seven generations and 300 years ago. "I'm so excited, so thrilled to be a part of it and look forward to our future," Earnhardt said four weeks prior to the ceremony. The wedding Saturday night was at the Childress Vineyards -- owned by NASCAR race team owner Richard Childress -- in North Carolina.(ESPN.com)(1-1-2017)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. feeling healthy; ready to talk contract extension: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he believes he is more healthy now than he was before a crash at Michigan in June that caused a concussion, triggering balance and vision issues as well as nausea that kept him out for the final 18 races of 2016. He feels so good that he plans to resume contract negotiations with Hendrick Motorsports before he returns to racing in late February when the 2017 season opens at Daytona. The 42-year-old driver's contract is up at the end of 2017, and contract negotiations were put on hold after he stepped out of the car in July. Earnhardt, who in August decided not to return at all in 2016, tested Wednesday at Darlington Raceway and has been cleared to return to racing.
    "We're probably going to revisit that [contract extension] before the season starts," Earnhardt said Friday during a teleconference with reporters. "I've told you guys that before I got sick, me and [team owner] Rick [Hendrick] had been sitting down and talking about our future and the extension and what we wanted to do and all that stuff was starting to come together."
    "I wouldn't be coming back to the seat and wanting to drive and excited about driving cars if there was any risk other than the typical risk that every driver faces on Sunday," said Earnhardt, who also suffered two concussions early in his career. "I feel very confident in what I've seen in myself, my improvement and I feel confident in what my doctors tell me about my future."
    Earnhardt said he does not expect he will have to undergo any additional tests because of his concussion history if he gets into a crash other than the evaluation given to any other driver. "I have a personal responsibility to myself, to be smart, make great decisions for myself," Earnhardt said. "My health is No. 1. ... I'm not going to take any unnecessary risks with my own health." The driver said beyond having a new helmet, he also has not changed any of his safety devices inside the race car. During the test Wednesday, Earnhardt would drive the car for 15-30 laps and then would be evaluated by his doctor during a 20-minute break. The test lasted about five hours, and Earnhardt said it helped him build his confidence. Earnhardt will test again Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at Phoenix International Raceway.(ESPN.com), read the complete transcript of Earnhardt, Jr's teleconference.(12-9-2016)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. medically cleared to return to racing: Following a test session Wednesday afternoon at Darlington Raceway, Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been medically cleared to resume NASCAR competition after making a full recovery from a concussion. He will return for the beginning of the 2017 season at the Feb. 26 Daytona 500. Earnhardt, 42, was cleared Wednesday evening by Dr. Micky Collins, medical director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program in Pittsburgh, in consultation with Charlotte neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty. Petty attended the test at the 1.366-mile South Carolina racetrack.
    "Dale is one of the hardest-working patients I've ever encountered," Collins said. "He's done everything we've asked, and we believe he is ready to compete at a professional level again and can withstand the normal forces of a race car driver. Dale has been very open with us, and we've had plenty of time for his treatment, so we feel very good about his long-term prospects and how this has been managed by everyone involved."
    Earnhardt, driver of the #88 Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports, completed 185 laps during a nearly five-hour session at Darlington under the guidance of his crew chief, Greg Ives. In addition to the on-track test, which was observed by NASCAR, the driver has logged more than 15 hours in a racing simulator during his recovery.
    "I feel great, and I'm excited to officially be back," Earnhardt said. "I expected things to go really well yesterday, and that's exactly what happened. Actually getting in a race car was an important final step, and it gives me a ton of confidence going into 2017. Thanks to the staff at Darlington for hosting our team and to NASCAR for giving us the opportunity to put a car on the track. I'll do more testing in January to help knock the rust off. When it's time to go to Daytona, I'll be ready."
    "Dale deserves so much credit," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "I'm proud of him for listening to his body and standing up to take responsibility for his health. He's worked extremely hard and set a terrific example for others. It's great news as we go into the off-season, and we can't wait to see him back on the racetrack at Daytona."
    Bowman will race the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS in the Feb. 18 season-opening, non-points The Clash at Daytona International Speedway, which will feature pole position winners from the previous year. Bowman won the #88 team's lone 2016 pole at Phoenix in November.
    "Alex did such a great job in the car this year, and I felt like he deserved another opportunity," Earnhardt said. "When I spoke with Rick and the team about him driving The Clash, everyone agreed that he more than earned it, and Nationwide was 100-percent on board. I'm really grateful to him and Jeff for what they did for our team, and I'm glad Alex is getting another run with us."(Hendrick Motorsports)(12-8-2016)

  • Bowman to run the Clash at Daytona: ESPN's Bob Pockrass Tweeted: Rick Hendrick said Alex Bowman would compete in The Clash at Daytona, he's just not sure for who/what car.(ESPN), Bowman is eligible after winning the pole at Phoenix in November, subbing for Dale Earnhardt Jr., out with a concussion.(12-5-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr. confident ahead of upcoming private test: "I feel 100 percent," Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Friday after accepting the NMPA Most Popular Driver award during the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards at the Wynn Las Vegas. "I don't feel we're going to have any issues." Earnhardt, 42, missed the final 18 races of the 2016 Sprint Cup season because of a concussion in June that impacted his vision and balance. He plans to return for the 2017 Daytona 500 as long as NASCAR-approved on-track tests don't trigger any symptoms. Earnhardt will do a private half-day test this month in which he won't be able to have data-acquisition sensors on the car in order to limit any advantage the organization gets from the private test. The test had not been allowed until NASCAR made a rule earlier this year that permits a private test following injury. "I had balance and vision issues and some nausea when I was going through the illness, so we'll just make sure that I don't have any vision issues and no nausea," Earnhardt said. "I don't expect anything, because I've been through the simulator several times. I was getting sick in the simulator before I was injured. I have been able to do the simulator without any nausea or any vision issues at all." If things go well, Earnhardt will do the NASCAR open test Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at Phoenix International Raceway. Earnhardt said he probably will have a doctor at the first test but that he shouldn't need a follow-up examination if he feels fine during the test.(ESPN)(12-3-2016)

  • Earnhardt voted Most Popular Driver for 14th consecutive year: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s hot streak in Las Vegas continued Friday night. The driver of the #88 Chevy was named the National Motorsports Press Association Sprint Most Popular Driver for the 14th consecutive year, extending his record streak. "That's pretty cool," Earnhardt said to open his acceptance speech. Earnhardt's 14 consecutive wins mark the longest streak since the award was first presented in 1953. Bill Elliott -- Chase's father -- holds the record for all-time Most Popular Driver honors with 16. He was presented with the award at the black-tie NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards held at Wynn Las Vegas. The award is determined solely by fan voting, and Earnhardt said it was especially touching to know that his fans supported him even during a year in which he missed the second half of the season due to a concussion. "This year was a difficult year for us and our team," Earnhardt said. "You think you know just how incredible the NASCAR fans are and how supportive they are. You see them support the drivers through victories and through defeat. But when you go through recovery from an injury or maybe the loss of a loved one or something like that, you really get to the core of what's great about our fan base." Earnhardt's 2016 season came to an end when he was sidelined after the race at Kentucky Speedway in July. In the 18 races in which he participated, he earned five top-five finishes -- including four runner-up results -- and six top-10s. "I want to thank the fans for all the support and all the well-wishes," he said. "It really motivated me to get healthy and it also motivated me to come back. I'm looking forward to next year."(Hendrick Motorsports)(12-3-2016)

  • Dale Jr. wedding date announced: While in Las Vegas for the Sprint Cup Series Awards ceremony in Las Vegas, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. confirmed when he and fiancée Amy Reimann are tying the knot. The longtime couple are set to wed on New Year's Eve. No wedding location was revealed.(NASCAR.com)(12-3-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr. close to returning after worrying 'I may never race again': A few months from believing he "may never race again" in NASCAR, Dale Earnhardt Jr. now believes he is only a few weeks from being cleared to return. The Hendrick Motorsports driver, who missed the last half of the 2016 season after suffering a concussion, said he hopes to turn laps in a December test and again in a January session before racing his #88 Chevy in the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 26. Earnhardt declined to specify where the tests would occur but intimated they were the final steps he alluded to last week on his podcast. "Basically, the test in December would be the final box checked," he told NBC Sports in a Tuesday interview at Hendrick Motorsports, where he unveiled a new paint scheme he designed with primary sponsor Nationwide for the 2017 season. "Once that's done, I am jumping into the hamster wheel again. I'm excited." In his first extensive comments since a late August news conference to announce he would miss the rest of the 2016 season, Earnhardt revealed the depths of his long recovery from a concussion that he sustained in a June 12 wreck at Michigan International Speedway. It was at least the fifth concussion that Earnhardt has sustained during his NASCAR career, but the severity of the symptoms were enough to worry the 13-time most popular driver that his career was over. "I mean I went through some really doubtful moments with this whole process when I was not doing well and my symptoms were really, really bad, and they lingered," he said. "I'd never had the symptoms stay that long. I was thinking, 'I may never race again. I don't know how this is going to end.' So I went from not knowing if I could do it to having to build my confidence back one little Lego at a time." Earnhardt said the symptoms, which centered on problems with balance and vision (known as "gaze stability"), began to dissipate over the past month. During the photo shoot Tuesday, he wasn't wearing the thick, black glasses that he often wore in public during his recovery.(see more at NBC Sports)(12-2-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr. plans to get in a car soon and test: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. discussed Monday -- one day into the 2016 NASCAR offseason -- his plans to get back inside the race car on the Dirty Mo Radio podcast. "We're going to go testing this offseason," he said. "Obviously I need to get in a race car. I'd love to get in a car and go run a little bit somewhere just to shake the rust off and get some confidence. I can do the basics before we ever go to Daytona. We'll go do that sometime this offseason. We have to squeeze it in there somewhere because I'm getting married and have my honeymoon, and I have to certainly devote proper time to (fiancée) Amy (Reimann). But it'll be no problem. ... All signs point to us being in the car for Daytona." The Hendrick Motorsports wheelman, who was sidelined for 18 Sprint Cup Series races this year due to a concussion, has not stepped inside his #88 Chevrolet since July.(NASCAR.com)(11-22-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr. nears final clearance from concussion: Rick Hendrick expects #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. to receive his final clearance from doctors in the next six weeks, which will allow him to return to Sprint Cup racing in February. "Sometime in December, the doctor is going to give him final clearance, and then we'll get him in a car," Hendrick said Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "He feels great. Everything is on track." Earnhardt, who will miss his 18th straight race this weekend as he recovers from vision and balance issues caused by a concussion suffered in June, has repeatedly said that his rehabilitation and recovery have been on track for a February return. NASCAR will allow Earnhardt to participate in a private test to allow doctors to approve his return to racing. "Every step that we supposedly need to go through, we've gone through. I don't see anything holding us back," Hendrick said. "I think we've just got a couple of more hurdles."(ESPN)(11-19-2016)

  • Bowman talks about 2017 prospects: #88-Alex Bowman, met with members of the media Friday at Phoenix International Raceway. He discussed his role driving the #88 Chevy, his future plans in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and other topics. The transcript in part:
    Bowman: "No, I'm still waiting for the right opportunity to come along. There's nothing that has really fit that has come along. I'll still probably have my day job at Hendrick Motorsports driving the simulator. We'll go from there."
    Bowman: "Really it's been a big learning process on how Hendrick Motorsports works - the process on doing things, how they operate as a team. It's been incredible to be a part of it, and I feel like I've learned a lot doing it. It's been a lot of fun and a huge blessing in my life to do this. I'm trying to make the most of it but at the same time trying to have as much fun as I can. You never know when this is going to end or if you're ever going to get an opportunity like this again. So it's been a lot of fun."(Team Chevy)(11-12-2016)

  • Dale Jr. making plans for 2017: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. met with members of the media Sunday:
    Q: In your conversations with sponsors have you start committing to things for next year?
    Earnhardt, Jr. "My intentions are to race and that is the plan that we have going forward so we are booking things as normal per usual. We are doing all our photoshoots and everything with anticipation of our sponsors marketing me as the driver of the #88 car. I think that is perfectly on track and a reasonable goal to be in the car and be competing in Daytona. We can't sort of sit and wait. We've got to make a decision. Those types of things have to be decided quite early. So, we are moving forward with the plan to be in the car and I don't see anything that says that is not going to happen. Things are good."(Team Chevy)(10-31-2016)

  • Gordon's final race? UPDATE: Sunday will mark four-time champion Jeff Gordon's final scheduled NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start. Gordon will be driving the blue-and-silver #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS this weekend. His career began on Nov. 15, 1992, at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Richard Petty's final start. From 1992 through 2015, Gordon made 797 consecutive starts and racked up 93 wins, 325 top-five and 475 top-10 finishes in addition to his four championships. This weekend's race at Martinsville Speedway will be his eighth race filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2016. On Nov. 1, 2015, Gordon led the final 22 laps at Martinsville Speedway en route to his ninth win at the Virginia short track and his 93rd career Cup victory. The defending race winner leads all active Cup drivers in wins (nine, third on the all-time list), poles (seven, second on the all-time list), top-five finishes (29), and laps led (3,779, second on the all-time list). He is tied with Richard Petty for the most top-10 Cup finishes of all time with 37, and holds the all-time record for lead-lap finishes (38) and for the least DNFs, having been running at the finish in every single one of his 46 races at the half-mile paperclip.(Hendrick Motorsports)
    AND: If Gordon leads 64 laps on Sunday, he will become only the sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver all-time to lead 25,000 or more laps, joining NASCAR Hall of Famers Petty, Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison, Dale Earnhardt and David Pearson.(NASCAR)(10-27-2016)
    UPDATE: Gordon talked to the media Friday at Martinsville Speedway and was asked if this was his final race;
    Gordon: "Your guess is as good as mine. I can promise you I had no intentions of this happening, but here I am. Never say never is all I know what to say. I really don't think that I will be getting back in the Cup car again, but go ask Rick Hendrick. That really has more to do with him than anything else. I hope in the future that the drivers don't have a situation like what we had with (Dale Earnhardt) Junior where they need somebody to fill in for them. This little bit of experience has been kind of good for me, good for the organization and we have had a little bit of fun with it as well. If I had to do it, then certainly I would, but I don't anticipate it."(Team Chevy PR)(10-29-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr. Joins MRN for Talladega Broadcast: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will return to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend - not behind the wheel of a racecar but behind a Motor Racing Network microphone. "Junior" will join "The Voice of NASCAR" during the first half of Sunday's Hellmann's 500 broadcast - teaming up with MRN anchors Joe Moore and Jeff Striegle in the newly christened "Barney Hall MRN Booth." Hall of Fame driver Rusty Wallace joins Moore, Striegle and Earnhardt with analysis of the sixth race in this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Fans who are unable to attend Sunday's race can find their local Motor Racing Network affiliate by visiting www.MRN.com and clicking on the "STATIONS" link. This weekend at Talladega Superspeedway Chevrolet in partnership with the American Cancer Society will campaign a pink Chevrolet SS pace car in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month. For every pace lap the pink Chevrolet SS leads, Chevrolet will donate $350 to the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Program. On Saturday morning, Chevrolet will host a group of 25 survivors and their guests in a hospitality area and give them pace car rides with drivers Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray and Kasey Kahne.(MRN)(10-21-2016)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. acquires roof from dad's 1982 car: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is continuing to build his collection of meaningful memorabilia during his time off from NASCAR. In a Twitter post on Tuesday, the driver posted a photo of a roof from a dirt car his father drove in 1982 that he's adding to his collection.(USA Today)(10-21-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr. joins the Cup broadcast booth for next two races: NBC Sports announced that Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of Hendrick Motorsports' #88 Chevy, will join the NBC Sports broadcast booth for portions of two upcoming Sprint Cup broadcasts. Earnhardt, who has not raced since July as he recovers from a concussion, will lend his expertise as an analyst during NBCSN's coverage this Sunday from Talladega Superspeedway, as well as the following Sunday from Martinsville Speedway. Inside the NBCSN broadcast booth, Earnhardt will reunite with his former crew chief Steve Letarte, and work alongside race announcer Rick Allen and fellow analyst Jeff Burton. Sunday marks Earnhardt's first ever NASCAR Sprint Cup broadcasting assignment. "I'm excited to see these races from a different vantage point and hopefully offer some insight to the viewers," said Earnhardt. "I thoroughly enjoyed my opportunity to broadcast the XFINITY race at Michigan earlier this year, so I expect getting to spend time in the booth with the NBC team to be just as fun."(NBC Sports)(10-20-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr. says he will race the #88 in 2017: Dale Earnhardt Jr. reiterated on Wednesday that he continues to have every intention of returning to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to drive the #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy in 2017, beginning with the season-opening Daytona 500 next February. Earnhardt, who has been sidelined since early July because of a concussion and will not return for the remainder of this season, spoke at a promotional event (Jeansboro Day) Wednesday at the corporate headquarters of Wrangler.(FoxSports)(10-19-2016)

  • Camo on the #88 at Talladega: There's no hiding the new paint scheme that Alex Bowman will pilot next weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. The design of the #88 Mountain Dew Take it Outside Chevrolet SS was unveiled Wednesday on Hendrick Motorsports' Facebook page. In addition to the brand new design, fans will soon be able to see a new Mountain Dew commercial as well.(Hendrick Motorsports) see an image of the car on the #88 team paint schemes page.(10-12-2016)

  • Stewart subs for Earnhardt Jr. in Charity event: Dale Earnhardt Jr. was at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday for a Dale Jr. Foundation charity ride-along event. The problem: Earnhardt Jr. has not been cleared to drive by his doctors as he recovers from concussion-like symptoms. The event raises "quite a bit of money," Junior said in a video posted to Twitter. Never fear, 'Smoke' is here. The three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion volunteered to fill the seat so Tuesday's event could go off without a hitch. Earnhardt Jr. posted a thank-you video, calling Stewart a "good dude" for filling in.(see video at NASCAR.com)(10-5-20106)

  • Earnhardt Jr. driving simulator but not ready for a race car: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has driven a racing simulator as part of his rehabilitation for a concussion, and he said Saturday that the next eventual step would be to get into one of his late model stock cars. When that would be has not been determined as the Hendrick Motorsports driver continues to recover from a concussion suffered June 12 at Michigan that has kept him out of the car since July 9 at Kentucky. "I'm not ready [to get in a car]," Earnhardt said Saturday. "I know that. I'll know when I'm ready and it's not one of them things that has a schedule. You don't know when you're going to be, 'All right, I'm good, let's go do this.'
    "I have been driving a simulator a little bit. That is not the same thing as driving a real race car, but it does challenge me mentally and does challenge the issues and symptoms."
    Earnhardt is attending the Sprint Cup practices and Xfinity race Saturday as well as the Cup race Sunday at Dover. The noises and the commotion of a race weekend is part of his rehab to see whether it will trigger the balance issues he continues to battle. "Walking through the garage and signing autographs is tough," Earnhardt said as he walked through the Sprint Cup garage Saturday and down pit road to check on his Xfinity Series team. "My balance gets bad. You've got a lot of things happening in your peripheral [vision] and stuff -- that is something that is going to challenge it. That's pretty much it. My eyes have gotten a lot better. I don't really notice issues with my eyes quite as much anymore. But the balance stuff is still needing some work." At the point where he can walk through the garage and not have a reaction, Earnhardt said he would feel 100 percent normal. And then he would work on having the reaction time needed to race. "I feel so much better than I did five weeks ago," Earnhardt said. "I would have never thought about coming to the race track five weeks ago."(ESPN.com)(10-2-2016)

  • Earnhardt, Jr says he's improving; will be at Dover: Dale Earnhardt Jr. won't be back in the car this weekend, but he'll return to the track to cheer on his NASCAR teams at Dover International Speedway. Earnhardt, who is out for the season after being sidelined since mid-July with a concussion, said on his Dale Jr. Download podcast Monday that he will be watching the Xfinity and Sprint Cup races from the pit box Saturday and Sunday. "It's going to be different and tough and maybe not a ton of fun," he said. "It's a bit weird to not be in the car but at the track. When you're a driver, you don't know what to do with yourself. I'll try to support the guys and learn a thing or two. Excited to see how Jeff [Gordon] does, he usually runs great at Dover. It's going to be different. We'll see how it goes." During the podcast, the Hendrick Motorsports driver also provided an update on his health, which he said is improving. Earnhardt suffered from vision and balance problems since sustaining a concussion in a June crash at Michigan International Speedway. He said the vision issues mostly had subsided, and his rehabilitation exercises no longer are provoking symptoms that they are designed to cause.(NBC Sports)(9-27-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr continues to feel better: An animated and upbeat Dale Earnhardt Jr. spoke with NASCAR on NBC analyst Steve Letarte, his friend and former crew chief, about his concussion and recovery in a candid, in-depth interview. The full version of the interview will air during Saturday's NASCAR America. The show airs at 5:00pm/et on NBCSN. "I feel better," Earnhardt told Letarte. "I've made some huge gains over the last five weeks. We've worked really, really hard to get there, and there's still a lot of work to do. I still don't feel like a regular person. The race car driver is even much further, the things that I need to tune and improve and fix are far beyond just getting where I can feel normal every day." Earnhardt also told the story about his improvement. "For a while I had the issue with my gaze stability, which means while I'm walking, riding in a car, anytime my head is moving, objects off in the distance are going to shake and bounce," he said. "For weeks and weeks it didn't improve, but we were fixing my balance. My balance was getting better and better and better. I'm calling the doctor every other day, I'm like 'Doc, my balance is getting better but my freaking eyes, man, give me some stuff to work these eyes.' He's like just be patient." Earnhardt also shares an element of his treatment that is important to his recovery.(NBC Sports)(9-10-2016)

  • Earnhardt, Jr on College GameDay Saturday: Who better than Dale Earnhardt Jr. to pick the winner of the inaugural Battle at Bristol college football game at Bristol Motor Speedway? Earnhardt Jr. will join ESPN's College GameDay broadcast live this weekend from the .533-mile Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn., where he will be the celebrity guest picker for games this weekend. The last game he'll pick will be Battle at Bristol, where the 17th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers will take on the Virginia Tech Hokies on a specially constructed playing surface in the middle of the famed venue. Earnhardt Jr., recovering from a concussion sustained earlier this summer, will join GameDay host Rece Davis, former college coach Lee Corso, former players Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack and contributor Samantha Ponder on the set. It's a place he's very familiar with, having started 33 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races there. In those starts, Earnhardt Jr. has a victory in the fall of 2004, eight top-five and 16 top-10 finishes, and finished second in the spring race there earlier this season. The 8:00pm/et game on ABC between border-state rivals should reset the record for attendance at a single college football game, too. BMS has a seating capacity of more than 150,000, far greater than the current record of 115,109 set in 2013 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., when the Wolverines played Notre Dame. Earnhardt Jr. is the first NASCAR driver to appear as a guest picker on the long-running show, but some of the previous guests have ties to the sport. Roger Staubach, the 1963 Heisman Trophy winner out of Navy and Dallas Cowboy legend, was a co-owner of Hall of Fame Racing with former Cowboy quarterback Troy Aikman. Willie Robertson and his brother Jase, of the Duck Dynasty clan, have both appeared as guest pickers, prior to their company, Duck Commander, sponsoring NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Texas Motor Speedway, and Will Ferrell was the star of the NASCAR-themed movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.(DaleJr.com)(9-9-2016)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. gives medical update: #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. met with members of the media Sunday afternoon at Darlington Raceway. He was joined by team owner Rick Hendrick and Dr. Mikey Collins. Some notes:
    Earnhardt, Jr.:
    Recovery is going good and he's noticing improvements.
    His balance is miles better than it was.
    He's looking forward to getting well and definitely on the right track.
    He expected a shorter recovery time, but says he still doesn't belong in a racecar by any stretch of the imagination.
    There's no reason to risk getting back in the car and getting into a situation where all the hard work is reversed.
    He is doing all sponsor commitments. The only thing he can't do is race.
    "I haven't really put a lot of thought into the future until I get well. My heart wants me to continue. I'm only 41. I have some good years left. I'm as good as I've ever been, inside the car."
    Dr. Collins:
    Concussion research has come a long way. When he first saw Earnhardt, Jr. he "was pretty sick", but he has been a model patient.
    Earnhardt, Jr. is feeling better and having fewer symptoms, but is not back to normal.
    Taking him out of the car the rest of the year will reduce stress. "Stress and concussion don't get along well.
    They are starting to see a lot of progress since the decision was made to sit out the remainder of the season.
    He says, "I am positive we will get Dale back to being a race car driver."
    "We're excited about Dale Earnhardt being in the car at Daytona," and the team is looking forward to long future with him.
    There's a lot of time between now and Daytona, when it comes to figuring out the future of the #88.
    Sponsors have been good to work with. They care about Earnhardt, Jr. personally and want to see him get better.
    Transcript see a full record of the press conference on the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. press conference transcript page.(9-4-2016)

  • Gordon explains #88 driver schedule for rest of year: Sunday's race will mark the fifth for Jeff Gordon in place of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is out for the rest of the season while recovering from a concussion. Hendrick Motorsports announced Friday the #88 Chevrolet will be split for the final 12 races between Alex Bowman and Gordon. The four-time series champion will race Earnhardt's car in the next two races at Darlington and Richmond before turning the car over to Bowman for 10 of the last 12 races. Gordon will race again at Dover and Martinsville - tracks where he has combined for 14 victories. Though the schedule lines up well with his strengths, Gordon said it wasn't solely set by his preference. Bowman will race New Hampshire Motor Speedway because he already filled in for Earnhardt there in July. Because of schedule conflicts, Gordon can't race at some 1.5-mile tracks, so it made more sense to keep Bowman at all of them.
    "It'd be best for the team for him to be in all of those," Gordon said. "We know he's a talented driver, too, and want to see what he's capable of doing. He does a lot of work in the simulator for us. Matching up actual race data and conditions to the simulator helps us develop the simulator, too." Making the schedule was a collaborative effort involving The input from multiple sources. "It's a combination of what's best for the team, what's best for the sponsors and sort of Junior's wishes as well," Gordon said. "He's big on Alex Bowman, and the team has really enjoyed having him in the car. We want to make sure our sponsors are getting everything out of it as well. They do a lot for us.(NBC Sports)(9-4-2016)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. to miss remainder of the season: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports, has not been medically cleared to compete for the remainder of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season as he continues to recover from a concussion. Earnhardt has missed the last six Sprint Cup races while undergoing treatment. He has been regularly evaluated at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program under the direction of Dr. Micky Collins and with Charlotte neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty.
    "I wish I could return to the #88 team this season," Earnhardt said. "To say I'm disappointed doesn't begin to describe how I feel, but I know this is the right thing for my long-term health and career. I'm 100 percent focused on my recovery, and I will continue to follow everything the doctors tell me. They're seeing good progress in my test results, and I'm feeling that progress physically. I plan to be healthy and ready to compete at Daytona in February. I'm working toward that.
    "The support from both inside and outside the race team has been overwhelming. Everyone has been so encouraging and positive, from my teammates and sponsors to my family, friends and fans. It's motivating and humbling at the same time."
    Jeff Gordon and Alex Bowman will drive for the #88 team in the season's 12 remaining races. In Earnhardt's absence, four-time Cup Series champion Gordon, 45, filled in at Indianapolis, Pocono, Watkins Glen and Bristol. Bowman, 23, drove at New Hampshire and Michigan.
    "I know how hard Dale has worked and how frustrating this is for him," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "He wants to be back, and we want him back, but we want it to be for the long haul. We've had incredible support from everyone involved with the team, including all of our sponsors. They've put Dale's health first every step of the way."
    "Jeff and Alex will give us a great opportunity over the rest of the season. Jeff is one of the best of all time and knows our system. He brings things to the table that no one else can. Alex is a young driver with a lot of talent, and he will give us a fresh perspective. We know they're not only capable of running up front and giving us a chance to win, but they'll help us get better."(Hendrick Motorsports)(9-2-2016)

  • Bowman grateful for a chance to drive: Though he would prefer to be in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car under other circumstances, Alex Bowman hopes to make the most of his second chance to drive the #88 Chevy of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is still awaiting medical clearance after suffering concussion-like symptoms that have kept him out of the car. Bowman subbed for Earnhardt at New Hampshire in July, running in the top 10 for much of the race, before a crash relegated him to 26th. Jeff Gordon took over the seat for the next four races, but a scheduling conflict kept Gordon out of the car at Michigan and gave Bowman his second shot. "Honestly, for me being as close of friends as I am with Dale, I have just been hoping he gets to feeling better more than anything," Bowman said Friday at Michigan. "Obviously, I'm more than happy to fill in whenever I can. New Hampshire was a lot of fun. Obviously, we ran a lot better than we finished. I hated that the race team didn't get the finish they deserved. Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports and Chevy and everybody-they have been so welcoming and easy to work with. It's just been fun. Off the truck today we were really fast (14th in opening practice) and didn't really get the qualifying run speed that we really wanted. But I feel like we have a good shot at it this weekend. It's just so much fun to be able to come to a (Sprint) Cup race and be able to say that. I'm just really enjoying it and trying to make the most out of it."(NASCAR Wire Service)(8-27-2016)

  • University of Michigan scheme on the #88 at MIS: Alex Bowman will return behind the wheel of the #88 Axalta/University of Michigan Chevy this weekend. The 23-year-old will fill in for Earnhardt for the second time this weekend in Michigan. He previously subbed for Earnhardt at New Hampshire and was running solidly inside the top 10 before a flat tire relegated him to a 26th-place finish. Axalta and the University of Michigan recently partnered to support engineering and business students in addition to coatings research and other projects, leading to a joint paint scheme that Bowman will run this weekend at Michigan. The maize and blue #88 Axalta/University of Michigan Chevy was unveiled in June at Axalta's Mt. Clemens manufacturing plant in honor of the organization receiving the General Motors Supplier of the Year award for the second consecutive year.(HMS), see images of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page (8-25-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr. to miss next two races: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports, has not been cleared by physicians to compete in at least the next two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events as he continues to recover from a concussion. Earnhardt, who will miss the races at Michigan (Aug. 28) and Darlington (Sept. 4), underwent further evaluation today at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program. "We know how hard Dale is working to get back," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "He's following what the doctors are saying, to the letter, and doing exactly what he needs to do. Everyone wants to see him in a race car, but his health is first and foremost. We're behind him." Alex Bowman, who drove the #88 Chevrolet in Earnhardt's absence July 17 at New Hampshire, will be the team's substitute driver this weekend at Michigan. He has four career Sprint Cup starts at the track. Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will return to the #88 team at Darlington, where his seven wins lead all active drivers. Gordon has driven the last four races for Earnhardt -- at Indy, Pocono, Watkins Glen and Bristol.(Hendrick Motorsports)(8-24-2016)

  • Rick Hendrick is pleased with Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s progress UPDATE: Team owner Rick Hendrick made two things abundantly clear during a press conference at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon to discuss the signing of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series leader William Byron. First, Hendrick had no specific update as to the status of Dale Earnhardt Jr., other than to say that Earnhardt is progressing in his recovery from concussion-like symptoms and wants to return to the #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet as soon as possible. "Dale looks great," Hendrick said. "I had lunch...he and the road crew went to lunch on Wednesday - and I think you've seen the (video) of him playing basketball. We are taking extra effort with the doctors, making sure he's going to be 100%. He's got a doctor's appointment next week. He's doing great, and he wants to get back in the car. Beyond that, I don't know anything to tell you about him."
    Second, Hendrick stressed that the signing of Byron to drive for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR XFINITY Series next year was not a reaction to the uncertainty of Earnhardt's timetable for a return to racing. "William has nothing to do with Dale at all," Hendrick said. "William has all to do with our future, down the road. What's going to happen three to five years from now, nobody knows." Hendrick confirmed that, if Earnhardt is unable to compete next weekend at Michigan, Jeff Gordon will not be in the #88 Chevy because of a prior commitment. If Earnhardt is not cleared to drive, Alex Bowman will fill seat for a second time, having driven in Earnhardt's stead at New Hampshire in July.(NASCAR Wire Service)(8-21-2016)
    UPDATE - No announcement about a driver for MIS before Wednesday: Hendrick 88 Team tweeted this: "We don't expect to make an announcement regarding @MISpeedway before Wednesday afternoon."(Hendrick 88 Team Twitter)(8-22-2016)

  • Gordon will not race at Michigan: NBC Sports Dustin Long tweeted that Jeff Gordon says he will NOT race the #88 car next week at Michigan because of a prior commitment.
    UPDATE: Jeff Gordon says he will not drive the #88 Chevy for Dale Earnhardt Jr. next weekend at Michigan because of a prior commitment. "I didn't know I was going to be doing all of this," Gordon said. Gordon would not say what the commitment was but said he would only be at Michigan on race day. Hendrick Motorsports confirmed that Alex Bowman will drive the #88 at Michigan if Earnhardt is unable to race. Bowman drove for Earnhardt last month at New Hampshire and finished 26th. Earnhardt has not said what his status for Michigan is. Thursday, Earnhardt posted a series of pictures and videos on his Instagram account showing some of the physical and mental exercises he is doing to aid his recovery. Gordon said it's simple why he's not driving at Michigan. "I can't be there all weekend," he said. Gordon said he would be available to run in the Southern 500 at Darlington if Earnhardt was still unable to be back in the car by the Sept. 4 race.(NBC Sports)(8-19-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr. shares detail on concussion treatment: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss his fifth consecutive race this week as he recovers from a concussion, and he gave his Instagram followers a peek into his rehab Thursday. Earnhardt posted a series of videos that he said are to help with his balance and gaze stability -- the ability to focus on an object in the distance while moving his head. One of the videos shows him doing steps as well as having someone throw a ball at a wall behind him, and then he turns and catches the ball on the rebound. In the post showing some of the physical exercises, Earnhardt wrote: "Simple stuff but it's really helping." Other posts included eye charts he is supposed to read while shaking his head -- "Bout got them memorized," he wrote in a post -- and in another, he talks about a computerized three-dimensional program, which crosses his eyes and trains his eyes to work together. The results are sent to his doctors online. Earnhardt is expected to see doctors next week, which could determine when he returns to racing. See full article at ESPN.com.(8-19-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr. still recovering, Gordon in the #88 at Bristol: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports, will miss his fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event as he continues to recover from a concussion. He was not cleared by physicians to compete in this weekend's event at Bristol Motor Speedway. Another update will be provided by Hendrick Motorsports next week. Jeff Gordon will continue to drive the #88 Chevy for the fourth race in a row. Gordon has earned five victories at the 0.533-mile short track, placing him in a three-way tie for first among active drivers with #41-Kurt Busch and #18-Kyle Busch.(HMS)(8-18-2016)

  • Hendrick helps Summer Camp Fund reach its goal: NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick has donated $34,000 to The Charlotte Observer's Summer Camp Fund, the amount needed to help the fund reach its goal to give more children a chance to go to camp next year. Hendrick, last year's honorary chairman of the annual fundraising drive, said he came to realize how important it is to give children from low-income families the experience and opportunities that summer camp offers. "Over the last few years, our family has learned so much about issues impacting our young people," Hendrick said in a statement. "The success of the Summer Camp Fund really highlights the generosity and compassion of our community, and we've been proud to join with so many of our neighbors in supporting it." As of Friday, the Summer Camp Fund received donations totaling more than $190,000, which enables the non-profit to qualify for an additional $25,000 grant from the Leon Levine Foundation.(Charlotte Observer)(8-6-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr. to meet with the media at Watkins Glen UPDATE2: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Chevy, is scheduled to meet with the members of the media on Friday, Aug. 5, at 12:00pm/et in the Watkins Glen International media center. Earnhardt Jr. has missed the last three races, suffering from a concussion.(HMS)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. talked to the media at Watkins Glen to answer questions about his situation, missing races and getting back in the car. He said it is great to be back at the track and see everybody and is super nervous coming back but haven't been to the track and miss my team. DaleJr says his intentions are to get cleared and get back in the car, but no set timeline yet. He would like to get in a racecar once cleared from concussion symptoms, maybe a late model or whatnot, and run for a day, before he deals with a race weekeend. He is surprised he has missed this many races. Earnhardt says he is not read to quit or stop racing but he will not get back in a car until his doctors clear him. He plans to stay thru practices visit his team and head back home today.(8-5-2016)
    UPDATE2: Dale Earnhardt Jr. made it clear on Friday. He doesn't want to talk about the "R" word, as in retirement. Earnhardt's recent struggle with concussion-like symptoms, a malady that will cause him to miss at least five NASCAR Sprint Cup races this season, has fueled speculation that concern over health issues might persuade him to exit the #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy permanently. But Earnhardt had an emphatic reply when that issue was raised in a question-and-answer session with reporters on Friday at Watkins Glen International, host venue for Sunday's Cheez-It 355. "I have every intention of honoring my current contract (which runs through 2017)," Earnhardt said. "I sat with (team owner) Rick (Hendrick) before this happened a couple of months ago to talk about an extension. That's the direction that we are going. As soon as I can get healthy and get confident in how I feel and feel like I can drive a car and be great driving it, then I want to drive. I want to race. I miss the competition. I miss being here. I miss the people and, as Rick likes to say, 'We've got unfinished business.' I'm not ready to stop racing. I'm not ready to quit. It's a slower process, I wish it wasn't. I don't know how long it's going to take."
    Until Earnhardt receives medical clearance, he won't be allowed to race, and he's working diligently with his doctors to suppress the symptoms that forced him out of the car for the mid-July Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire and will keep him on the sidelines at least through the Aug. 20 event at Bristol Motor Speedway. "I'm not going to go in the car until the doctors clear me," Earnhardt said. "The doctors won't let me race. This is not my decision, but it's the right decision, and I trust what my doctors are telling me. When they say I'm good to go, I believe them. If they say I'm healthy and I can race, I'm going to race."
    Doctors concluded that the onset of Earnhardt's concussion-like symptoms, which involve issues with gaze stability, dizziness and balance, began with a wreck at Michigan in mid-June, though Earnhardt said the intensification of the symptoms was gradual. After he raced at Kentucky Speedway on July 9, Earnhardt sought medical attention, and what he thought might be a sinus infection instead resulted in the diagnosis that forced him out of the car. Earnhardt receives medical evaluations every two to three weeks and will continue to do so until he is symptom-free. In the meantime, doctors are encouraging him to participate in higher-stress public situations-such as a press conference-to exacerbate the symptoms with an eye toward getting them under control.
    "That's just part of the process," Earnhardt said. "You don't want to go anywhere where you're going to feel worse. And this situation, my doctor tells me, is good therapy to go somewhere that makes you feel worse. Go in there and get exposure and then get out and go somewhere where you can kind of get calmed back down and then repeat the process. And so, I've been going and eating and having lunch with my family. I go to (sister) Kelley's house and get in the living room with her kids; boy that drives up the symptoms pretty good. But, it's been great to spend time with them." But it's all with one thing in mind.
    "I just want to get better," Earnhardt said. "Our intentions are to get cleared and get back to racing. We are just taking it one evaluation at a time. It's frustrating to have to do it that way, but that's the process, and we hope and expect that, when we go back for the next evaluation, we are symptom-free and can start to see a timeline develop."(NASCAR Wire Service)(8-6-2016)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. Watkins Glen Press Conference Transcript: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., met with members of the media at Watkins Glen International to discuss his health, a potential timeline of his return to racing and many other topics. Full Transcript:
    Earnhardt Jr.: "It is great to be back and seeing everybody. I'm super nervous coming back. Hadn't been to the track. I miss my team and my teammates. Amy (Reimann, fiancé) is gone on a trip for the weekend, so I was at the house by myself and was just looking for some things to do. Figured coming to the track wasn't a bad idea. Get to hang out with my guys a little bit. It just felt so weird not being there, so here we are."
    Earnhardt Jr.: "I think my doctors have a good understanding of my history and what I have been through and with their own personal knowledge that they have throughout their careers to give me a clear understanding of when I will be ready to go back and get into a race car. Our intentions are to get cleared and get back to racing. We are just taking it one evaluation at a time. It is frustrating to have to do it that way, but that is the process, and we hope and expect that when we go back for the next evaluation that we are symptom free and can start to see a timeline develop. Until then, we are just taking it one evaluation at a time. Those are typically every two to three to four weeks."
    Earnhardt Jr.: "I just want to get better. You put everything... nothing else is really a priority except for just getting the symptoms to clear up and get back to feeling like yourself. That is all that I am thinking about. The process isn't as fast as you would like it to be. I talk to my doctor every other day, sometimes for an hour or two about the psychological side of it because it can become very frustrating and obviously being a race car driver, we don't have a lot of patience to begin with. This is a challenge. But we've got some great doctors, and I really believe and trust what they are telling me. I am confident and positive that they tell me without question that we are going to get back to normal. I just have to do what they tell me. There are a lot of activities every day. There is about two to three hours' worth of physical and mental therapy that I do each day. Not a lot of fun. Probably some of it, just trying to describe it, it pretty mundane. But they really stress your symptoms, and that is what they want. They want you to do things that really push your mind, and bring out the symptoms. So, in the last evaluation, we really ramped up the therapy to make it a little more strenuous. We will continue to work. I will work every day and listen to my doctors and hopefully continue to see progress."
    Earnhardt Jr.: "No. My doctor thinks that to get through the therapy and to get through the symptoms you don't need to be adding stress to your life. The stress will slow down the process. So, going into those kinds of conversations aren't even necessary at this particular point. The point right now is just to get healthy. Just to get right. I'm not thinking about the what-ifs. I'm just listening to my doctors. We went into this with the intentions of getting back in the car when we get cleared. I think that is a possibility and so do my doctors. So I am excited about that. Whenever it happens; it happens. It is frustrating that we've had to miss this many races. When we first went into the doctor's office, we never anticipated being out this long. Unfortunately it is a slower process. There are no guidelines or rule book, or consistent history on how long this stuff really takes to clear up. So, we just have to be patient. My doctors feel great about the opportunity that I will not only be healthy again, but they can actually make my brain stronger to be able to withstand these common events. The event that I had at Michigan which they have tied this concussion to I shouldn't have had a concussion from. I should be able to get through events like that without having any issues. So, they are not only working to get me healed up, but are working to make it to where I can compete and go through events like that without any concern."
    Earnhardt Jr.: "I think the podcast was just a great outlet for us to give updates. People are wondering; people are curious so that was a great avenue for us. It is effective. I don't mind being honest about what is going on and I think that is maybe helped some people to when they are going through the same situation. The one thing I worry the most about and I think I said on the podcast is that I don't like people to make assumptions on where I am at and how I am doing and what I am up to. So it is best for my peace-of-mind to give me peace of mind and to bring down any stress and anxiety through the process is to just open up and be honest about what is going on and how we are doing. That is what we've done. It is just a coincidence and a fortunate situation to have that avenue. So we will probably continue to use that."
    Earnhardt Jr.: "Yes, because you don't when they are going to quit. You just don't know when the symptoms will stop. Every day I am doing these exercises to sort of retrain the brain to fix the issues that I have with the balance and to gain stability. It will fix itself when it decides to. There is no common history that will tell you that 'man, this is going to last a month', or this is going to last...because I've had situations that...and I've talked to other people with this history that didn't last this long. That is why it is frustrating. My past history didn't take this long and cleared up... and you could see the progress, feel the progress every day. It is a little bit different. The symptoms I am having this time are different, but not uncommon. So my doctor is very positive and I feed off of that. I talk to him every other day like I said for him to keep reinforcing that positive energy so I can get in there and believe in the rehabilitation and the work I'm doing because it is really tough for me to get in there and do it. I just don't want to do it, but I know I have to. I just don't know when this is going to stop; and when things are going to fix themselves. That's why it has to be from one evaluation to the next. That is the best I can do for everybody."
    Earnhardt Jr.: "I don't know what the doctor would choose there. Whether you could go symptom free and go immediately back in the car. Or if they would maybe want you to be symptom free for a week or two weeks. I don't know what he will do. We haven't really talked about that. I personally would like to get in a race car and drive it at a closed course somewhere. Whether that is one of my late models, or if NASCAR would lift the restrictions on the testing policy to go to Gresham or someplace I want to get in the car and run for a day. I think I should do that. That would be the smartest thing to do before actually trying to accomplish an entire race weekend."
    Earnhardt Jr.: "I'd love to speak on the support. It's been awesome. All the NASCAR fans are supportive of all the drivers when they find themselves in situations that are challenging. It's been no different. That's helped me a lot and gave me a lot of motivation to get back and get back in the car. Even hearing from not only the fans, but also the other drivers and my peers is such a positive motivation. The more of that I see, the better. I think it helps me keep going and keep working hard and take my therapy seriously. As far as anxiety, with 2012 it was just about resting and not doing anything that would drive the symptoms and really letting your mind and your head rest to heal. For whatever reason, my doctor wants to push me into situations that drive the symptoms and that's basically going somewhere that I'm not familiar with, or being in busy places. Going out to eat or going to lunch or coming here, my doctor calls that 'exposure'. This is probably the worst situation (laughs) as far as making my symptoms go haywire, but that's what he wants. He wants me to do anything whether it's going places and pushing myself to get into areas that give me anxiety and drive the symptoms. All the rehab drives the symptoms. They want me to push the symptoms so my body gets used to them and they become suppressed and then it's no longer an issue.
    I kind of had the same thing with the old concussion. I could go places. The anxiety was bad and it would drive up the symptoms, too. That's just part of the process. That's a common occurrence with situations like this. You don't want to go anywhere where you're going to feel worse. And this situation, my doctor tells me, is good therapy to go somewhere that makes you feel worse. Go in there and get exposure and then get out and go somewhere where you can kind of get calmed back down and then repeat the process. And so, I've been going and eating and having lunch with my family. I go to Kelley's house and get in the living room with her kids; boy that drives up the symptoms pretty good (laughter). But, it's been great to spend time with them. It's unusual, the time that I've been able to spend with them since we're not racing.
    There are six types of concussions as far as what part of the body they really affect. Mainly I've got ocular imbalance issues. They are all connected. And so, you can have an injury to the ocular or the balance and it will affect the emotion. And it is all sort of tied together. So, if you injure one part of your brain, all of them get deficient in some way, shape, or form. So, you have all these other symptoms. And you've just really got to corral and fix that one area and it stops affecting the rest of it. So, we're working on it."
    Earnhardt Jr.: "It's really hard, as a driver, to say that you've got a problem. And it's hard to tell someone what to do in that situation. If you're not feeling good; for me, I was sort of scared straight into getting checked out. When I got hurt in 2012, it was so severe and my body changed and my mind changed so much, I just had to get it looked at. I couldn't go every day trying to self-manage my issues. And I just feel like, hopefully, anytime anybody gets dinged-up, or realized that they're just not right, or they're foggy, or whatever their symptoms are, that they would reach out to a neurologist and get checked out. And there's easy access with our sport. We've got a lot of great people that are part of the sport and who have been part of the sport for a long time, that handle those issues and can get you to the right people.
    It's hard because you basically put yourself out there to be pulled out of the car. But man, your quality of life is so important. Your health beyond your driving career is so important. If you plan on having a family, or have a family already, those things are going to be a priority. There are so many reasons to do the right thing and go ahead and get the help you need and get back in the car, when you're healthy. I've learned a lot through this experience in the last three or four years and feel like it's a hard decision to make. And I feel like it would be even harder, the younger you are, and the situation you're in when you're trying to get a career going and just trying to make a living driving cars, it would be tougher. Being in the situation I'm in now, having ran for so long, maybe it wasn't as challenging or as hard a decision to make, to make the right choice. But if I was 21 and just getting started or very young, it would be so hard to make that decision. So, I can definitely understand the point of view from the drivers."
    Earnhardt Jr.: "I don't know. I just know I'm trying to take care of myself. I've talked to a lot of drivers. I've talked to a lot of people. You get in this situation and a lot of people reach out and a lot of people have their own experiences that they want to share. And when you're going through that, you definitely want to share your experience with people who have had a common experience. It's so frustrating trying to explain your symptoms to somebody who's never had a concussion. And it's so frustrating trying to explain to somebody what just regular day-to-day life is like when you've got these symptoms. Nobody can see it. You can't scan and see it. Doctors can't see it. They really rely on the patient to be honest and upfront. So, when you can talk to someone who has been through it, it's a great experience and it helps both of you, to be honest with you. So, there's been a lot of that. And I really appreciate those calls and relationships I have with those guys."
    Earnhardt Jr.: "I think about that. I'm so thankful that there is knowledge and there is rehabilitation that is specific to what I have going on. There is just not this umbrella of treatment that they sort of give to everybody. They have specific ways to help and heal specific types of concussions and certain symptoms. That is why I think I enjoy talking to my doctor so often and going to see him so often is because you have so many questions. Every day you get a new concern or a new question and you really can't wait to get in the room and be able to talk to him about it. For them to have the knowledge they have today versus where we were 10 or 20 years ago is something I am very thankful for and I feel very fortunate when I got to see my doctor he will put me in front of four or five different specialists that handle a lot of different things as far as my rehabilitation and medication and so forth. There is so much to grab on to. There is so much to learn and so much positive things to take back from the evaluations when you are able to get in front of all those people and hear all the specific things that are happening to you and what you need to do and why it's happening and how you can help it. We didn't know all that stuff before and there is still a lot to be learned. I like to see my doctor and I like to get in there and learn as much as I can and try to understand the progress we are making and what to expect. There is still a lot to be learned though. There have been so many advances and I feel so fortunate to have the treatment and the access to the treatment that I have."
    Earnhardt Jr.: "No that is not the conversation your doctor is going to have with you when he is trying to get you right. You are just worrying about getting normal. You go in there and you see your doctor and all you and him talk about and all he cares about is fixing you. He doesn't care about my racing or whatever I do as a profession. He is just trying to fix what is wrong with me. That is his job. He is not a counselor or a psychologist. That is not his profession so he is just telling me do this treatment, take these medications, do this every day and I promise you we are going to get you right. And that is not the conversation you are going to have in the middle of treatment with someone who is suffering or someone who is going through that process. The conversations I have had with him is that he believes we are going to fix it. He believes that he can make me stronger and that I will be able to pick up where I left off."
    Earnhardt Jr.: "I doubt I will get too in depth with that. I just wanted to come and see everybody. I got to go see my guys they would be really upset if I didn't. I am real happy to see all you guys and just whoever I run into on the way from A to B. It's been so weird not to be at the track. You don't really realize how many relationships and friendships you have and how much you appreciate them until you are not able to have access to it. Just to be able to come to the track was something I was excited about. I'm going to go into the garage to the hauler and I will stick around until after practice is over and things kind of calm down, so I can see my guys when they are not working. Then I'm probably going to go back home."
    Earnhardt Jr.: "What? You didn't say the word. (Laughs)"
    Earnhardt Jr.: "When I went to see Dr. Petty for the first time in 2012 and then he set me up with the guys in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) they told me that our process was to get better and go back to racing. This one is no different. When I first went to see my doctor in this particular instance it was I need to get right because I need to get back in the car as soon as I can. I'm surprised that I've missed this many races. I never thought this would take this long. I didn't have a massive accident and I didn't have really crazy symptoms. This thing happened so awkward where we had the accident in Michigan and then the symptoms crept in very slowly like two weeks later. I didn't think this was that serious, but it had gotten to a point to where I definitely didn't need to be in the racecar. At that point you've got to go get checked out and get ahold of it and figure out how to fix it. But, from the very onset of this it was 'man this will go away in a couple of weeks. I'm going to have to miss a race or two and we will get back in the car and we will get going again.' I'm thinking about, well it's going to put more pressure on me to win a race to get in the Chase and all that stuff. I have every intention of honoring my current contract. I sat with Rick (Hendrick) before this happened a couple of months ago to talk about an extension. That is the direction that we are going. As soon as I can get healthy and get confident in how I feel and feel like I can drive a car and be great driving it then I want to drive. I want to race. I miss the competition. I miss being here. I miss the people and as Rick likes to say 'we've got unfinished business.' I'm not ready to stop racing. I'm not ready to quit. It's a slower process, I wish it wasn't. I don't know how long it's going to take. As impatient as I am I worry about everyone else's patients as well. But, I'm not going to go in the car until the doctors clear me. The doctors won't let me race. This is not my decision, but it's the right decision and I trust what my doctors are telling me. When they say I'm good to go I believe them. If they say I'm healthy and I can race I'm going to race."(Team Chevy)(8-5-2016)

  • Gordon to make 800th Cup start: Jeff Gordon, who will be driving the #88 Axalta Chevy at Watkins Glen, will make his 800th career NASCAR Cup Series start this weekend, which is 9th all-time. He has made all 799 of his career Cup starts while driving for car owner Rick Hendrick. In addition to his four championships (1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001), Gordon has earned 93 Cup victories, which ranks him third on the all-time wins list. He's a three-time Daytona 500 winner, a record five-time Brickyard 400 winner and has seven wins at Darlington Raceway. He has racked up 81 poles, which also ranks him third on the all-time pole award winner's list, 325 top-five finishes, 475 top-10s and has led a total of 24,929 laps in his 24-year career.(HMS), see full all-time list on the All-Time / Consecutive Starts page.(8-4-2016)

  • Earnhardt, Jr believes concussion happened at Michigan UPDATE: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. said his doctors believe his concussion-like symptoms started with his June 12 crash at Michigan International Speedway. "Obviously with my history of concussions, knowing the event I had in Michigan, that wreck right there is where they believe I picked up this issue," Earnhardt said Monday night on his weekly Dale Jr. Download podcast. "I didn't feel anything that next week. The off week, I went to Germany (on vacation), went to Sonoma, ran good, felt awesome. It was strange these symptoms came out of nowhere. But we started doing a lot of digging, and they seem to feel confident this occurred in Michigan."
    "This is scary for me because of the way it's been different. I'm having balance issues. I've never had balance issues before. The eye issues with the stability, I've never had that before. It started very slowly, gradually and continued to progress until it stopped and stayed where it is. I don't know what tells me about how long this process is going to be. I felt I had a good understanding of concussions in the past, but this is certainly a new one. They all have different symptoms and own time and length of recovery is different."(NBC Sports)(8-2-2016)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports, has not been cleared by physicians to compete in at least the next two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events as he continues to recover from a concussion. He will miss the races at Watkins Glen International (Aug. 7) and Bristol Motor Speedway (Aug. 20). Earnhardt underwent further evaluation today at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program. The driver said Monday on his weekly "The Dale Jr. Download" podcast that he continues to experience issues with balance and gaze stabilization. "We have a break in the schedule after Watkins Glen, so the extra week of recovery time will certainly be a benefit," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "Dale will be back when he's ready, and we're looking forward to that happening, but the priority continues to be his health and well-being. We'll keep our focus on that and let the doctors guide us." Jeff Gordon will be the team's substitute driver at the Watkins Glen road course, where he will make his 800th career NASCAR Cup start, and Bristol. He is NASCAR's all-time leader with nine road course victories, including four at Watkins Glen. The four-time series champion, who has five wins at Bristol, has made all 799 of his career Cup starts while driving for car owner Hendrick.(HMS)(8-2-2016)

  • Gordon unsure what caused seat belt problems: Jeff Gordon was looking for a good finish in the Pennsylvania 400 subbing for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet when his day came undone. Literally. Gordon had overcome a pit-road speeding penalty at Pocono Raceway and was restarting in seventh-place on Lap 110 when he had an extremely unusual problem: His right-side seat belt came undone in the cockpit of his racecar. With no choice other than to slow way down to fix the problem, Gordon fell all the way from seventh back to 27th as he reached around to connect the errant belts in his car. And that's where he finished.
    "It's the first time I've ever had that happen with this type of mechanism where you just plug it in and it latches," said Gordon. "I thought I had it latched because it happened actually on pit road one time," said Gordon. "And I got it latched and lost some time. And then we were in a pretty good position on the restart and went to take off and as soon as I went into second (gear) and third, just that little bit of a side movement just pulled it out. It would go in and sort of latch, but when you wiggled it from left to right, it would pop right out."
    "I knew I couldn't go down into Turn 1 on these crazy restarts without a right-side seat belt," said Gordon. "So, I came in under that stop. We worked on it and now it's good. I have no clue. It's unfortunate."(Fox Sports)(8-2-2016)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. says "no change lately": #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. tweeted Saturday morning, "Update: No change lately. Symptoms have plateaued over the last week. Balance/Gaze Stabilization are only issues. Docs preaching patience."(7-30-2016)

  • Gordon says he will remain in #88 if needed: Jeff Gordon met with the media at Pocono Raceway Friday morning:
    How long are you prepared to fill-in? Is there a plan for Watkins Glen
    Gordon: "Well, we have to cross that bridge when we get there. It seems like... it was great last Friday to see him say 'hey I feel good today and made some progress.' We want to just keep going with how he is feeling. The doctors are evaluating. I'm not speculating anything at this time. I wouldn't be here in Pocono if I wasn't committed to be there for Hendrick Motorsports and this team in any way that they need me. I think there is a balance between trying to make this transition. First of all you want Dale to have the comfort of knowing that somebody is there for him. He doesn't have to worry about that aspect of it through this process. Just get well at the pace that is the right pace to do it. So, nobody is putting any pressure or time frame on that. He may be putting that on himself more than anybody else. Then there is the side of who is the best person to be in the car to get the most points. And then there is the sponsorship side of it as well. So far from what Rick (Hendrick) is telling me that seems to be me. That is why I was at Indy and that is why I'm here. I thought Alex Bowman did an excellent job at New Hampshire. I tell you after going through what I went through at Indy I have a much greater appreciation for him because that was one of the toughest things I ever did. Not just getting in the race car after eight months, but trying to fill-in for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. knowing the kind of attention that it gets. My heart was beating out of my chest because of the pressure and the eyes that were on you as much as just not being in the car. Great job to Alex. I will be here as long as they need me. I say that very loosely." (Chevy PR)(7-29-2016)

  • NASCAR's #88 driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Carolina Panthers #88 tight end Greg Olsen - together with presenting sponsor New Era - have teamed up to raise money for the Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina. Now in its third year, the fundraiser is appropriately dubbed "Weekend with the 88s," and offers one lucky winner and their guest an unprecedented experience in sports spectating. "Greg is a standup guy," Earnhardt Jr. said. "What he does on the field is incredible, and the work he does off the field to raise money and awareness for Levine Children's Hospital makes him that much more impressive. We have enjoyed being able to team up with him and his foundation for the past few years. This year, having the race in Charlotte on Saturday night and the Panthers playing on Monday Night Football will be a very unique experience for the winner."
    "Weekend with the 88s" runs Friday, Oct. 7 through Monday, Oct. 10. The winning fan and their guest will experience a world-class weekend in sports:
    Friday, Oct. 7
    Behind-the-scenes tour of JR Motorsports
    $200 gift certificate for the JR Nation retail store
    Swag bag with NASCAR gear
    Two garage passes and two Grandstand tickets to the Drive for the Cure 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway
    Saturday, Oct. 8
    Behind-the-scenes guided tour of Bank of America Stadium
    Meet and Greet and photo opportunity with Greg Olsen
    Assorted Carolina Panthers gear for two
    Two garage passes and two Grandstand tickets for the Bank of America 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway
    Meet and Greet and photo opportunity with Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Charlotte Motor Speedway
    Sunday, Oct. 9
    Two tickets to the NASCAR Hall of Fame
    VIP Booth at Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Whisky River restaurant and bar
    $100 gift card to Whisky River
    Monday, Oct. 10
    Premium Tickets to Carolina Panthers Monday Night Football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    Parking pass at Bank of America Stadium
    Pre-game sideline passes to watch the Panthers warmup in close-up action
    Double-occupancy room at The Ritz Carlton in Charlotte, N.C., for three nights
    $100 gift card to BLT Steak Charlotte Restaurant

    "I'm excited to team up with Dale Jr. again to give another fan a full-throttle, over-the-top weekend of their life," Olsen said. "The best part about this event is that all proceeds benefit Levine Children's Hospital - a place very near and dear to my heart and that of our greater Charlotte community." Only 8,888 raffle tickets valued at $18.88 will be sold. The raffle kicks off at 10 a.m. ET, July 27 and runs through Sept. 18 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The winner will be drawn on or about Sept. 20. All proceeds will benefit the Levine Children's Hospital. Fans can learn more about the raffle or purchase a ticket at www.weekendwiththe88s.com.(7-27-2016)

  • Top-20 drivers in merchandise sales released: This race weekend at Pocono Raceway marks the first anniversary of the Fanatics Trackside Superstore - the reimagined and improved at-track shopping experience. The Trackside Superstore offers fans a one-stop-shop every race weekend with the largest selection of in-store NASCAR merchandise in the world. Halfway through 2016, photo finishes, side-by-side racing and record passing as the Chase spots are clinched has driven interest in the telecast and engagement on digital and social as well as in driver merchandise sales. NASCAR fans take pride in flying the colors of their favorite drivers and the first-half merchandise sales results are officially tallied. The top three drivers are no surprise with #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. leading the rankings, followed by six-time Sprint Cup Series champion #48-Jimmie Johnson and defending champion #18-Kyle Busch. With rising stars like Austin Dillon, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney, there are currently five drivers in the top-20 list who are 26 years of age or younger. The most popular products available at the Trackside Superstore include apparel, headwear and novelty items. Lionel's 1:64 scale die-casts are up 77 percent year-over-year, one of the largest growth trends across all categories at the Trackside Superstore.(NASCAR) The top 20: #88-Earnhardt, Jr., #48-Johnson, #18-Busch, #24-Elliott, #4-Harvick, #14-Stewart, #10-Patrick, #19-Edwards, #2-Keselowski, #5-Kahne, #22-Logano, #11-Hamlin, #20-Kenseth, #78-Truex, Jr., #41-Busch, #42-Larson, #31-Newman, #3-Dillon, #21-Blaney, #1-McMurray.(NASCAR)(7-27-2016)

  • Earnhardt, Jr gives update on his status: Dale Earnhardt Jr., on his weekly The Dale Jr. Download, said "I miss the people more than the driving" while sitting out with concussion-type symptoms such as balance issues and nausea. He said he has been working on the physical and mental exercises for 2-2.5 hours a day. "This process is going to take a little bit longer. ... With my history, I don't need to get cute (in returning)," said Earnhardt, who indicated he will see doctors soon to make a determination about Watkins Glen next week. He said it must have been a challenge for Jeff Gordon because of the changes to the cars since Gordon last drove them. On Kyle Busch's win: "You have to hand it to Gibbs. Good Lord, their stuff is so fast."(ESPN.com)(7-25-2016)

  • Hendrick Motorsports looking for 1000th top-5 UPDATE: Cars fielded by Hendrick Motorsports have recorded 999 top-five finishes since the team was founded by Rick Hendrick in 1984. The owner's first Sprint Cup top-five also was his first win -- with driver Geoff Bodine on April 29, 1984, at Martinsville Speedway. This season, the organization has recorded 19 top-fives among its four drivers. Hendrick Motorsports posted a team record 57 top-five finishes in 2007.(Hendrick Motorsports)(7-21-2016)
    UPDATE: #48-Jimmie Johnson's 3rd place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday was Hendrick's 1000th top-5.(7-25-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr. sensing improvement: #88- Dale Earnhardt Jr. indicated Friday he is feeling a little better as he battles balance issues and nausea believed to be from concussions. Earnhardt, who has been working with doctors for the past 10 days, will miss his second consecutive race this weekend. "Today is the 1st day in many that I sensed improvement," Earnhardt tweeted Friday morning. "Seen small gains during my physical therapy as well. Light at the end of the tunnel." Earnhardt was replaced by one his Xfinity Series drivers, Alex Bowman, last week at New Hampshire and will be replaced by four-time Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon this weekend at Indianapolis and next week at Pocono. There is no timetable for Earnhardt's return.(ESPN.com)
    AND: Hendrick Motorsports held a press conference Friday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick. A few notes:
    • Gordon says he has done everything he can do to prepare for the race this weekend. Heat will a concern, but he feels ready.
    • Hendrick says Earnhardt, Jr. is "getting antsy" but he is going to follow doctor's orders.
    • Gordon say he "didn't have to think twice" about filling in for the team.
    • Gordon has not made a commitment for any races beyond Pocono. They will wait and see Earnhardt, Jr's status.
    • Gordon was asked to fill in for Tony Stewart at Daytona, but could not do it because of his commitment to Fox.
    • The biggest issue for Gordon will be to remember to pull into the #88 pit on Sunday and not into the #24 out of habit.
    • Gordon had planned to drive the pace car on Sunday before the opportunity to drive came up.

  • Gordon's return could impact Hall of Fame admission: Jeff Gordon's return to Sprint Cup racing could impact his NASCAR Hall of Fame eligibility. He was on track to be nominated, after the required two years of retirement for a driver under 55, in 2018 for the 2019 class. NASCAR will have to determine if this two-race (at least) substitute role in place of Dale Earnhardt Jr. will push him into first being eligible to be nominated in 2019 for the 2020 class.(ESPN.com)(7-21-2016)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. to miss at least two more races; Gordon to sub: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports, has not been cleared by physicians to compete in at least the next two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events as he continues to recover from concussion-like symptoms. He will miss the races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway. Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will be the team's substitute driver at Indianapolis and Pocono. He most recently raced in the 2015 Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Gordon, who grew up in Pittsboro, Indiana, ranks third all-time with 93 career victories in the series, including six at Pocono and five in the Brickyard 400 - both records. Earnhardt underwent further evaluation Tuesday at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program. The driver said this week on his "The Dale Jr. Download" podcast that he has been experiencing issues with balance and nausea. He will not travel to Indianapolis or Pocono. "Our focus is giving Dale all the time he needs to recover," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "There's nothing we want more than to see him back in the race car, but we'll continue to listen to the doctors and follow their lead. What's best for Dale is what's best for Hendrick Motorsports and everyone involved with the team. We're all proud of him and looking forward to having him racing soon." Gordon, 44, has made all 797 of his career Cup starts for car owner Hendrick. He competed in his 23rd and final full-time Sprint Cup Series season in 2015. "Jeff's a team player," Hendrick said. "I know he'll be ready, and I know Dale has incredible trust in him. It's going to be an emotional weekend (at Indianapolis) with Dale not being there and seeing Jeff back behind the wheel. Greg (Ives) and the team did a great job at New Hampshire, and they have the full support of our organization."(Hendrick Motorsports)(7-20-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr. battling balance, nausea issues: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is suffering from balance issues and nausea, but a test that measures his cognitive function showed optimistic results, the Hendrick Motorsports driver said Sunday night. Earnhardt, speaking on his weekly race recap podcast "The Dale Jr. Download" released Monday, described what kept him out of the race car this past weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He did not give a timetable for his return from concussion-like symptoms, possibly caused by wrecks June 12 at Michigan and July 2 at Daytona. Earnhardt said the results of his ImPACT test, a 20-minute test that measures memory, reaction time, attention span and other cognitive skills, have matched his baseline, so that is encouraging.
    "My results matched my baseline, which made me feel confident that my brain is pretty sharp; it feels good," Earnhardt said. "The symptoms I have are balance and nausea. I struggled with my balance over the last four, five days and I definitely wouldn't be able to drive a race car this weekend."
    "They can give me a lot of exercises that retrain my brain to handle what I need to handle -- it's just going to take a lot of patience," Earnhardt said. "I take my health and quality of life as a top priority. ... I am going to take this slow and strictly take the advice of my doctors."(ESPN.com)(7-18-2016)

  • Hendrick talks about Earnhardt, Jr.: Hendrick Motorosports' owner Rick Hendrick met with media prior to the start of the New Hampshire 301 to talk about Dale Earnhardt, Jr's possible concussion:
    "I'm not a doctor, but he's running through a bunch of tests and he's going to have some more tests the first of the week. He's doing good. He wants to be in the car. The doctors are going to tell him when it's okay for him to be back. And so, I know he's anxious. We want him back as soon as the doctors give him clearance."
    "I would think so. I haven't talked to him about it. We're just taking it a week at a time. Hopefully Dale's going to be back next week and it's not even something that we really think is going to happen. But if it does, Jeff is a team player and he wants to support the organization, and I'm sure he'll do whatever he has to do."
    "I don't think so. He and I talked about years beyond next year. And just around, I guess it was Daytona, if there was something major wrong, I think they would have seen it already. So, I'm very hopeful and he's very hopeful. And I think the doctors want to err on the side of being sure because we want him for a long time. He loves the fans. He loves the sport. He loves to race."
    "I think probably by late Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday morning we've got to know. So, we will get that decision then and then we will go to plan B."
    See the full interview transcript on the Rick Hendrick transcript page. (Chevy Racing PR)(7-18-2016)

  • Hendrick Motorsports talks about Dale Jr's status: Hendrick Motorsports general manager Doug Duchardt, #88-Crew Chief Greg Ives and Alex Bowman talked to the media at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Friday morning. Some notes:
    After Earnhardt, Jr. continued to feel bad last weekend at Kentucky, the initial plan was for him to start this weekend's New Hampshire race and be relieved by Alex Bowman;
    Friday afternoon it was determined that Earnhardt, Jr. would not be able to race at all this weekend;
    Duchardt says they won't speculate on the long term impact of this on Earnhardt, Jr's career;
    Should Earnhardt, Jr. not be able to race next week, Jeff Gordon will drive the #88 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway;
    The #88 driver after Indianapolis (if needed) has not been determined. A decision will be made around Wednesday next week.;
    Earnhardt, Jr. will need approval from a independent, board-certified neurologist before he is allowed to return.(7-15-2016)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. will not race at New Hampshire: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will not compete in the July 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after experiencing concussion-like symptoms. Earnhardt, driver of the #88 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, was evaluated this week in Charlotte and today was not cleared by physicians to race. Alex Bowman will be the team's substitute driver this weekend at New Hampshire.
    "I wasn't feeling great the week going into Kentucky (Speedway) and thought it was possibly severe allergies," Earnhardt said. "I saw a family doctor and was given medication for allergies and a sinus infection. When that didn't help, I decided to dig a little deeper. Because of my symptoms and my history with concussions, and after my recent wrecks at Michigan and Daytona, I reached out and met with a neurological specialist. After further evaluation, they felt it was best for me to sit out."
    "I'm disappointed about missing New Hampshire this weekend. I'm looking forward to treatment with the goal of getting back in the race car when the doctors say I'm ready."
    A timetable for Earnhardt's return has not been established. Hendrick Motorsports will provide an update next week regarding plans for the July 24 event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
    "I'm proud of Dale for standing up," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "The number-one priority is his health, so we're going to give him all the time he needs. We completely support the decision by the doctors and will be ready to go win races when he's 100 percent. In the meantime, we have full confidence in Greg (Ives) and the team, and we know they'll do a great job."(Hendrick Motorsports)(7-14-2016)

  • Special scheme for Earnhardt Jr. at Kentucky: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the #88 Nationwide Children's Hospital Chevy this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. The special paint scheme features the Nationwide Children's Hospital (NCH) logo as well as the names of fans (on the hood) who donated to the hospital through a special fundraising platform. The blue car will be adorned with butterflies, as they are recognized as the hospital's ambassadors of hope and optimism. As America's largest pediatric hospital and research center, NCH is dedicated to making sure that all patients are given the care they need, regardless of the family's ability to pay. Families travel from around the nation - and some even come from other countries - to gain access to the Columbus, Ohio-based hospital's life-saving treatments. On race day, Earnhardt and Nationwide will host the Patient Champions and their families at the track to show appreciation for the bravery the kids show as they battle their illnesses. As previously announced, The Dale Jr. Foundation has partnered with Nationwide and NCH on the Driven to Give Gloves program and has dedicated four pairs of Earnhardt's gloves to four different Patient Champions at NCH. The money raised from those four pairs of gloves will go to NCH to support their mission of helping kids everywhere. More than 1,000 Nationwide associates will be in attendance at Kentucky Speedway on July 9 to support the Patient Champion Program.(HMS), see image of the scheme on the #88 Teams Schemes page.(7-7-2016)

  • The Sprint Cup Drivers Council meets Thursday night: The Sprint Cup Drivers Council will meet Thursday night with large packs and safety on the agenda. That might seem appropriate at Daytona International Speedway, but this discussion with NASCAR officials won't center on the tight clusters of cars clogging the banking of the 2.5-mile track. The topic, instead, will be the large throngs of people mingling in the pits before Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 in the wake of a prerace pit atmosphere at Sonoma Raceway that seemed less than orderly for some. "I thought that the security on pit road (at Sonoma) was pretty bad during prerace, and we'll talk about that some," council member Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Thursday afternoon before practice. "Some of the drivers were concerned with how messy that's getting, considering what's going on and when we're trying to get in the cars. It was pretty crazy down there. It's great to see that much energy, but some tracks seem to be able to corral it and control it better and give the crews their space to work around the cars and so forth. So that's something I think some of the drivers are real concerned with; nothing too out of the ordinary that is going to change the sport too much."
    Fellow Drivers Council member Denny Hamlin also said that Sonoma "was a mess to say the least. It was hard to even just walk to your car, and it's a very small pit road. There's some things that definitely could get done. I think really each team should have a 10-foot square space around their car that is designated for just driver and team. I think we definitely could work on that. I think a lot of tracks are working on that." Hamlin raised the possibility that a fan could put a car out of compliance in a manner that NASCAR might suspect a team intentionally had done.
    Earnhardt said there weren't any "big-ticket" items to be hashed out at the meeting, which was the first since April 29 at Talladega Superspeedway. Also on the docket are the future of the Sprint Unlimited (the preseason exhibition event at Daytona will have a new name at a minimum in 2017 because of a new title sponsor) and the Sprint All-Star Race format (which was met with mixed reviews last month).(NBC Sports)(6-30-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr. looking to repeat at Daytona: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the defending champion of the Coke Zero 400. Earnhardt Jr. will try to join the back-to-back club of Coke Zero 400 champions including Fireball Roberts (1962-63), A.J. Foyt (1964-65), Cale Yarborough (1967-68), David Pearson (1972-74) and Tony Stewart (2005-06).(NASCAR)(7-2-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 to run Michigan scheme in August: The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series just finished up its first trip to Michigan International Speedway of the season last weekend. And when the series returns MIS in August, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will have a special scheme on the #88 Chevy. Monday (6/13) afternoon, Axalta unveiled the joint paint scheme it will share with the University of Michigan. The unveil came at an event at Axalta's Mt. Clemens manufacturing plant in honor of the organization receiving the General Motors Supplier of the Year award for the second consecutive year. In addition, Axalta and the University of Michigan recently partnered to support engineering and businesses students in addition to coatings research and other projects. The #88 Axalta-University of Michigan Chevrolet SS will hit the track for the Aug. 28 race at Michigan.(HMS), see images of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page (6-15-2016)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. says drivers want more practice time: #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished 2nd Monday at Pocono Raceway. After teh race he talked about the team's need for more practice time:
    Earnhardt, Jr. "[I] Don't really know exactly how much better we got it compared to the competition, but we certainly made it more competitive. We just didn't get any practice. The drivers have been asking NASCAR to take away the morning practice and add a little bit to the second one to make that Saturday practice an hour and a half, and we didn't - it was just an hour. It takes you a minute to run around this track. You can't get but 13 damned laps in practice. I don't know how you're supposed to figure out what your cars are doing. So we came into this race with no idea. We made a lot of changes last night. We basically put in an old setup that worked in the past, and it started off missing the mark pretty bad, but we worked on it and got it better, and we'll take the points. We've had a rough month, so this is a decent finish for us.(Chevy PR)(6-7-2016)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. comments on his contract:
    Q: As you get older in your career, you see guys like Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, your contemporaries calling it quits. Do you see yourself racing past your current contract with Hendrick Motorsports once it expires after 2017?
    Earnhardt: Well, I think that I have some interest to do that. It's something that we haven't started to sit down and talk about. We will see what Rick wants to do with his direction, what his future is for the team. We will see if that lines up with what I want to do. I don't think I will race as long as my dad did, but I have been having a lot of fun over the past couple of years. I would hate to walk away from such a good opportunity prematurely, but when it comes down to it, Rick is the boss and what his future and direction of the team is important to me. I'm sure we will get talking about what we want to do past this contract in the next six months.
    Q: I know before you've mentioned that you would like to race XFINITY and Trucks once you walk away from Cup. Do you still want to do that?
    Earnhardt: I want to run in the XFINITY Series for JR Motorsports as long as it helps the company. I think it would be racing a late model race here and there with the late model program. That's reasonably affordable and would probably enjoy doing that on and off into my 50s and 60s if that's what you wish. I think if I had an itch to scratch, that would be a good way to do it. (Frontstretch)(6-4-2016)

  • Drivers ranked on ESPN World Fame 100: It started off with a simple question: Who's the most famous athlete in the world? Ben Alamar, ESPN's director of sports analytics, devised a formula that combines salary and endorsements with social media following and Google search popularity to create the ESPN World Fame 100 rankings. The names might be familiar, but where the planet's biggest stars land on the list could surprise you. The #1 athlete is soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo. Motorsports drivers on the list include:
    57. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR)
    58. Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR)
    59. Lewis Hamilton (Formula 1)
    63. Danica Patrick (NASCAR)
    75. Fernando Alonso (Formula 1)
    77. Tony Stewart (NASCAR)
    94. Kyle Busch (NASCAR)
    97. Kimi Raikkonen (Formula 1)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes a side in family feud: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is not happy with his stepmother - again. Earnhardt told Scott Fowler as part of an exclusive Charlotte Observer interview Thursday that he was siding with his half-brother over his stepmother in a legal dispute. The issue: Whether Kerry Earnhardt can use his last name to market homes that he and his wife Rene helped design as part of a series of houses to be built by Schumacher homes. "Obviously, I'm in support of my brother," Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. Kerry Earnhardt plans to call the homes "The Earnhardt Collection." Teresa Earnhardt - Kerry and Dale's stepmother and the widow of Dale Earnhardt Sr. - doesn't want that name used because she believes it could be confused as an endorsement or sponsorship by the estate of her late husband. A legal fight has dragged on for several years about this. Teresa Earnhardt's lawyers recently filed an appeal in federal court after a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruling denied Teresa Earnhardt's challenge to the "Earnhardt Collection" trademark applied for by Kerry Earnhardt. Dale Earnhardt Jr. said that Kerry deserves to be able to use his own last name on the line of homes. "This is a business venture that he's put a lot of effort and heart and soul in that I think he deserves," Dale Jr. said of Kerry. "So in this particular case, I side with my brother and his belief to be able to use the name as is - without any alterations or changes."(See full article / interview at the Charlotte Observer)(5-28-2016)

  • Hendrick Family Foundation to launch with event: Rick and Linda Hendrick have established the not-for-profit Hendrick Family Foundation, which is rooted in the belief that people working together can transform the lives of those in need and have a meaningful impact on our communities. The sold out "Learn Live Hope" celebration will represent the new foundation's first formal fundraising initiative. Scheduled for May 22 at The Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina, the annual charity event will benefit Be The Match, Levine Children's Hospital and Together We Feed Charlotte. In 2015, Learn Live Hope generated more than $1.6 million to support multiple organizations. The Hendrick Family Foundation will consolidate the philanthropic efforts of the Hendrick organization, including Hendrick Motorsports and Hendrick Automotive Group. It will absorb the Hendrick Marrow Program, which Rick Hendrick founded in 1997 and has raised more than $15 million in partnership with Be The Match to support patients in need of life-saving marrow or cord blood transplants. The Hendrick Family Foundation will continue to work with Be The Match.(Hendrick Motorsports)(5-21-2016)
    UPDATE: Last weekend's sold out "Learn Live Hope" event was the first formal fundraising initiative for Rick and Linda Hendrick's not-for-profit Hendrick Family Foundation. The annual event was held May 22 at The Fillmore, with Bank of America returning once again as the title sponsor. Among the guests were drivers Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson, broadcasters Jeff Gordon and Darrell Waltrip, and former New York Yankees slugger Reggie Jackson. The beneficiaries were Be The Match, Levine Children's Hospital and Together We Feed Charlotte. And "Learn Live Hope" raised $1.3 million in 2016 - one year after generating more than $1.6 million to support multiple organizations in 2015 when a golf tournament was featured as a portion of the event. The golf tournament was not held in 2016 as the course was under construction. At this year's function, Bank of America Chief Administrative Officer Andrea Smith presented Hendrick with a $100,000 donation. Bank of America has supported "Learn Live Hope" for more than a decade as its title sponsor.(HMS)(5-28-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr. discusses the new All-Star race format: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 3rd in the Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Earnhardt Jr. comments after the race;
    Q). NASCAR kind of wanted to change the format to try to increase excitement. Did you feel you increased excitement? There seemed to be a lot of confusion out there about exactly how things would work, and then with only two cars on old tires on that last
    Earnhardt Jr.: "Yeah, wasn't -- you know, I think that the intent was really positive, and the ideas were great. But I think the simpler we make it, the easier it is to follow. You just have to worry about rooting for your guy. I was pretty confused right up until it was 13 laps to go, and then I knew, well, we're racing from here to the end, and this is all the normal rules. But everything before that was really out of my -- I was out of my element. But NASCAR did a good job making sure -- even though all the pitting was confusing and how the lap cars were pitting with the leaders, people weren't really where they were supposed to be, NASCAR did make sure all the lineups were correct before we went back to green. So you can't really complain about that too much. It was just an unorthodox way of doing it. I don't know. I think they ran into some scenarios tonight that they didn't really anticipate and got caught off guard. I think the 20 obviously not pitting, however that worked out, that threw them for a loop and everybody was confused from that minute on."
    Q. What made you think if the All-Star Race became a race of innovation and you guys just raced whatever you brought to the track?
    Earnhardt Jr.: "Well, I don't know. We probably wouldn't pass too much because we'd all be wide open. We would all be full throttle. I just think they ought to go back to the original formats that they started with that are simple and make the cars race better, you know? Gimmicks and all that stuff, trying to trick up the race is going down the wrong path. The way to make the racing exciting is to make the cars exciting.
    Q). Along those lines, the changes that were implemented, could you tell from the driver's seat, did they have much effect in this race on the racing in general?
    Earnhardt Jr.: "There was a lot of -- yeah, I mean, we gained some track position somehow. You know, all the mandatory stops during the segments, then the mandatory stops in between the segments. Somehow or another Greg did some magic and got us into the top 5. Guys were struggling, and I don't know. You know, it came down to the 22, the 42. That was pretty exciting, and I don't think that had anything to do with any format, so that was just two guys going at it, and that's what you really want."(Team Chevy / ASAP Sports)
    Earnhardt Jr.: "Yeah, I didn't know what way up and what way was right and left. Lap-down cars were pitting with lead-lap cars and wave-by cars were up front and in the middle. NASCAR did a good job of sorting the lineups out. Everybody was where they were supposed to be when we went back to green so you can't complain. They were doing it unlike any other way they were doing it before. I'm sure they ran into some scenarios they weren't really anticipating. That really was probably part of it; guys getting caught a lap down, the 20 not pitting within the first 50 laps. They weren't anticipating all that. As far as our Mountain Dew and Nationwide Chevy, we got it better. A lot of the setup is new and some stuff we're trying to find some speed with. We still have some gains to make. We didn't win the race but we outran a lot of guys who had been outrunning us the last few weeks. We didn't get to practice so we worked really hard during the race changing a lot of stuff, and I hope Greg (Ives) learned a lot. Next weekend we'll actually get to practice some and make some changes to see if we can't get our car better for the 600. I'd love to win that race before I retire."(Team Chevy / ASAP Sports)(5-22-2016)

  • Hendrick Family Foundation to launch with event: Rick and Linda Hendrick have established the not-for-profit Hendrick Family Foundation, which is rooted in the belief that people working together can transform the lives of those in need and have a meaningful impact on our communities. The sold out "Learn Live Hope" celebration will represent the new foundation's first formal fundraising initiative. Scheduled for May 22 at The Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina, the annual charity event will benefit Be The Match, Levine Children's Hospital and Together We Feed Charlotte. In 2015, Learn Live Hope generated more than $1.6 million to support multiple organizations. The Hendrick Family Foundation will consolidate the philanthropic efforts of the Hendrick organization, including Hendrick Motorsports and Hendrick Automotive Group. It will absorb the Hendrick Marrow Program, which Rick Hendrick founded in 1997 and has raised more than $15 million in partnership with Be The Match to support patients in need of life-saving marrow or cord blood transplants. The Hendrick Family Foundation will continue to work with Be The Match.(Hendrick Motorsports)(5-21-2016)

  • Kerry, Teresa Earnhardt in battle over last name UPDATE: Teresa Earnhardt, known for being staunchly protective of the Dale Earnhardt brand and marks, is trying to keep a couple from using "Earnhardt" in the name of homes they developed. That couple? Dale Earnhardt's son Kerry Earnhardt and Kerry's wife, Rene. Teresa Earnhardt, Kerry's stepmother and Dale's widow, doesn't want the couple to use the name Earnhardt Collection and filed an appeal last week in federal court over a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruling that denied Teresa's challenge to the "Earnhardt Collection" trademark applied for by Kerry Earnhardt Inc.
    "Rene and I have worked extremely hard to develop the Earnhardt Collection brand and make it uniquely ours," Kerry Earnhardt said in a statement to ESPN.com "I chose to leave a successful career in racing and could not be happier with what we've been able to achieve in the five years we've been building our home lifestyle brand inspired by our love of the outdoors."
    Teresa Earnhardt didn't testify in the [trademark] case but states in her appeal that the name Earnhardt Collection is likely to deceive or cause confusion among people that the homes and products are endorsed by Dale Earnhardt or by her. Kelley Earnhardt-Miller, daughter of Dale and second wife Brenda Jackson, testified that no one has confused the Earnhardt Collection of being associated with her brother, Dale Earnhardt Jr.(ESPN.com)(5-7-2016)
    UPDATE: Teresa Earnhardt has battled for four years to try to get her stepson Kerry Earnhardt to change the name for a collection of homes Kerry and his wife design and promote through the "Earnhardt Collection" brand. Why? Her attorneys issued a statement approved by Dale Earnhardt Inc., which has been solely owned by Teresa since the seven-time Sprint Cup champion's death on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. "The naming of any project called 'Earnhardt Collection' causes confusion as being associated with Dale Earnhardt, as the Dale Earnhardt brands and marks are so diverse across multiple industries and philanthropic causes. ... [And it] could be used to exclude Dale Earnhardt Inc., the designated steward of Dale's legacy, from the same use," law firm Alston & Bird said in its statement. It went on to say it has not requested any payment from Kerry Earnhardt. "By not coordinating these [trademark] activities rightfully, these individuals and entities fail to recognize the true legacy of Dale Earnhardt," the statement said about anyone who attempts to use the Dale Earnhardt and Earnhardt marks. Could there be a settlement? Well, take this for what it's worth: A Kerry Earnhardt filing Thursday stated that Kerry and his wife are open to mediation. Teresa? Her filing states: "The parties have to date been unable to settle their dispute. Further mediation would not be fruitful."(ESPN.com)(5-14-2016)

  • Special Mountain Dew scheme for Earnhardt, Jr. in All-Star Race: When the lights go on at Charlotte Motor Speedway for this year's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, Dale Earnhardt's Jr.'s Chevy will have a brand new look. The #88 Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS will sport a patriotic paint scheme for the event with a $1 million payday. As a race-winner in 2015, Earnhardt is already qualified for the All-Star Race, which will undergo a format change this year. Teammates Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson are also eligible to participate, while Rookie of the Year contender Chase Elliott is vying for a shot to race via fan vote.(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #88 team paint schemes page.(5-10-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr. won't race "Amelia" again: Earnhardt's favorite car, which he drove to wins at both Talladega and Daytona in 2015, will rest on his property in the woods with a collection of torn-up race cars he has collected from his team and others over the years. Earnhardt said Tuesday that the car, which he also drove to finishes of second and third in the other two points events, was damaged beyond repair in two accidents on Sunday at Talladega. "Amelia's done," Earnhardt said of the car, which he named after Amelia Earhart. As far as the wrecks Sunday, Earnhardt said the threat of rain throughout the race forced drivers to race with greater intensity and that that likely added to the number of crashes. He said drivers are not in an uproar over two cars getting upside-down. "One thing I think is true is none of us know what we would do to change it, and I don't think anybody in the sport does," Earnhardt said. "We've altered the package over the years a hundred different teams and never really seen a big, big difference in the type of racing we see there."(ESPN.com)(5-4-2016)

  • Special look for Earnhardt, Jr at Kentucky: Earlier Tuesday morning, Kasey Kahne revealed a brand new paint scheme for the #5 Chevrolet SS. Tuesday afternoon, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. got in on the action. The driver of the #88 Chevrolet SS unveiled a new scheme of his own -- this one for the race at Kentucky Speedway. The #88 will feature Nationwide Childrens Hospital.(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #88 team paint schemes page.(5-4-2016)

  • NASCAR will examine Talladega accidents; Dale Jr's steering wheel: NASCAR is looking into what led cars to get airborne Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway and will investigate what caused Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s steering wheel to detach after his second wreck, a NASCAR executive told "The Morning Drive" on Monday. "Some really intense racing all throughout the day, and some things we didn't like with cars getting up in the air and we're already fast at work at the R&D Center, looking at all the video we have," Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "We'll reach out to the teams to see what we can do to immediately take some action to work towards correcting that." Chris Buescher's car tumbled down the backstretch after being hit by another car, and Matt Kenseth's car was sent airborne after contact turned his car sideways and the air picked his vehicle up. Neither driver was injured in the separate incidents. "You never want to see that," O'Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio about those incidents. "So you immediately work on is everybody safe, did the safety equipment do it's job and what we can learn from that. The immediate steps are to review all the media shots that we have of those incidents, work with the race teams and then look at what may or may not be different from when we've been not only at Talladega but any other race track.
    "That will be all of our process in sitting down and reviewing that," O'Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. That also will include looking at what happened to Earnhardt's steering wheel. Earnhardt's teammate, Jimmie Johnson, had a steering wheel come off at Phoenix, leading to his crash in qualifying there. O'Donnell was asked if Earnhardt's issue was isolated or something more.
    "Even if it is an isolated incident, we'll look at it," O'Donnell said. "It could be something that could cause issues down the road if it was a trend. We'll talk to (Earnhardt) and his team and make sure hopefully that was just what you said initially an isolated incident and go from there, but if there is anything we can take from that, we will certainly communicate that to all the teams. It's not something you want to see, especially potentially at speed."(NBC Sports)(5-2-2016)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. loses steering wheel during second accident: Dale Earnhardt, Jr's day at Talladega ended for good after an accident with Carl Edwards on Lap 110. He finished the race in 40th. During the accident, the steering wheel came off.
    "Yeah, the steering wheel came off and I was trying to get it back on and the car was headed toward the wall. Well I wasn't going to let it hit the wall so I grabbed the column and steered it with that. Tore my hands all up, but didn't hit the wall. We have to look at something to keep that from happening anymore. We were just out there riding around and something broke on the #19 and he came over and got into us. We just had no luck this weekend."(Chevy Racing PR)(5-2-2016)

  • Hendrick named Charlotte Chamber 2016 Citizen of the Carolinas: The Charlotte Chamber has named local car dealer and NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick its 2016 Citizen of the Carolinas. The chamber said that Hendrick was chosen for the honor for his contributions to Charlotte's business community, his influence within NASCAR and his work with local organizations, including Levine Children's Hospital and Together We Feed Charlotte. "Rick embodies the collaborative spirit that sets Charlotte apart from any other major city in the United States," chamber CEO and President Bob Morgan said in a statement. Last year, the chamber gave the award to former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles. Other past honorees include former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan. Hendrick, at age 26, became a Chevrolet dealer in 1976 with his first franchise in Bennettsville, S.C. By 1978, he moved to Charlotte and purchased City Chevrolet, which now serves as the flagship location for Hendrick Automotive Group. The privately-held dealership group employs more than 10,000 people and operates more than 130 retail franchises across 14 states. In a statement, Hendrick said he was humbled to receive the award. "We've been fortunate to call Charlotte home for nearly 40 years," he said. "It's been such a wonderful place for our family, and now our grandchildren are growing up here. I cannot imagine a more giving community or a better city to live and do business." The chamber will present Hendrick with its most prestigious honor at the organization's annual meeting in December.(Charlotte Business Journal)(4-30-2016)

  • "Amelia" returning for Earnhardt, Jr at Talladega: It's official: one of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s favorite cars will make its return this weekend. "Amelia" is back. In 2015, Amelia earned three wins -- a Duel at Daytona International Speedway, the May race at Talladega Superspeedway and the July race at Daytona - in addition to a third-place finish in the Daytona 500 and a second-place result in the second Talladega race. Earnhardt's average finish of 1.75 while driving Amelia in the four superspeedway points races last season led all competitors. So it was no surprise that the chassis would make its return this season for the Daytona 500 this season. It looked like another successful run was in the works, but as Earnhardt looked to jump back into the top five with 30 laps remaining, the #88 Chevy SS was caught up in an incident that sent him to a 36th-place finish. Last month, Earnhardt hinted that it was posible Amelia could make a comeback for Talladega Superspeedway, but it was up to #88 crew chief Greg Ives and the team whether the car would be the backup or the primary. Ives answered that question Monday morning.(Hendrick Motorsports)(4-26-2016)

  • Special Mountain Dew schemes at RIR for 3 Hendrick cars: This summer, Mountain Dew is bringing back two all-time fan favorite flavors -- Pitch Black and Baja Blast. It's up to America to decide which flavor will take the honors. There are three ways to vote online -- cast your vote at MountainDew.com/DEWcision, complete one of DEW's video and photo challenges or simply tweet #VotePitchBlack or #VoteBajaBlast (HMS) The cars of #5-Kasey Kahne, #24-Chase Elliott and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will all run special Mountain Dew paint schemes at Richmond International Raceway in the Toyota Owners 400 Sprint Cup Series race this coming weekend. See images of the cars on the #5 Team Schemes page, #24 Team Schemes page and #88 Team Schemes page.(4-18-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr. finishes runner-up for 2nd straight race: Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s second straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series runner-up effort in the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS was impressive, but didn't come easy at Bristol Motor Speedway. Earnhardt suffered an issue with the ECU unit right after the start of the race and lost two laps to the leaders. But by lap 146, he had moved back to the lead lap in 27th position. "Junior" methodically made his way back to the front and had a shot at the win in the waning laps before finishing second. This was the fifth top 10 finish in eight races so far for Earnhardt and the #88 team. Some Q&A's:
    THE MODERATOR: "We are also joined by our second-place finisher, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. This is second runner-up finish. Could you talk a little bit about that great come back?"
    DALE EARNHARDT JR: "Yeah, we got the Roush system on our cars for the stuck-throttle issue, and just warming the brakes up, I engaged that system to kill the throttle. I was warming the brakes up like I always do, and apparently I applied too much pressure and it killed the motor. We'll work on that and maybe raise that threshold a little bit because I wasn't really using the brake that much. So I just needed to cycle the ECU, reset that, came to pit road and did that. I probably could've done it on the track and saved ourselves a lot of trouble, but you don't know what's going on at that particular point, and you listen to the first thing anybody tells you when it comes to direction, and the first thing that my spotter said was that if I need to pit, I need to come on now. We got on pit road, cycled it, lost a couple laps. Greg did a good job getting the wave-arounds and knowing when to take them and stuff, and we got back on the lead lap. We had about a 10th-place car. We weren't really that good all day. We tried a setup that we've never really ran here before, just trying to learn a little something going forward, and we'll go home and science it out a little bit. We got real lucky the last three restarts to be on the outside line. We restarted 10th, 6th and 4th, and when you restart 4th you're typically going to come out in second place after that. I was hoping we didn't have any more cautions after that. So it was good. We'll take it.
    Q. So it's a system where if you brake really hard, it kills the engine?
    EARNHARDT JR.: "Yes. If your throttle is stuck and you mash the brake to a certain, you're going to mash the (expletive) out of that brake when the throttle sticks, it'll shut the motor off. That's a system, that's one of the two systems that you have to choose from in this sport. The other is a button on the steering wheel. I don't like the button on the steering wheel, because when the throttle sticks, I ain't going to think mash a button. I'll be in the fence before it's over with. So the brake thing works too good."
    Q. How did you keep yourself from just panicking when you had the problem and you tried several times to get a lap back and it took several times?
    DALE EARNHARDT JR.: "Yeah, I turned 40. Quit panicking. It is what it is these days. You know, as I got older, I tried harder to enjoy what I'm doing, and not get really upset and too out of shape when things aren't going our way, plus I know Greg and them guys are on the pit box trying everything they can, and for me to -- they're the only ones I'm going to be able to yell at, so for me to -- it doesn't do any good to be hollering at them or upset or just lose your mind, and the over-the-wall guys especially, we don't really spend a ton of time with the over-the-wall guys, and they're real sensitive. They're big ol' guys and athletes, but they've got big hearts, too, so you can't be screaming and coming unglued because they don't want to work for people like that."(Team Chevy)(4-18-2016)

  • Autistic child's name featured on #88 car: Through The Dale Jr. Foundation's Driven to Give Gloves program, 8-year-old Aiden VanWagner will have his name featured above the passenger door of Dale Earnhardt's #88 Nationwide Chevy this weekend. Aiden was diagnosed with autism at an early age but under the care of Nationwide Children's Hospital's (NCH) Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Aiden has received individualized and comprehensive interventions and is enjoying school in a mainstream classroom. The Driven to Give Gloves program has been revamped for 2016 and focuses on four NCH Patient Champions. This month, Earnhardt is wearing gloves accented in blue, representing autism. Earnhardt's race-worn gloves will be auctioned off to raise funds for NCH's clinical and research programs. NCH is America's largest pediatric hospital and research center with all care provided regardless of a family's ability to pay. All four 2016 NCH Patient Champions will be attending the Kentucky Speedway race as special guests of Earnhardt and the #88 team.(HMS)(4-17-2016)

  • CARSTAR North America partners with Axalta, to be featured on #88 at Kansas: CARSTAR North America, the continent's largest network of collision repair shops and a member of the Charlotte-headquartered Driven Brands family, will make its debut in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kansas Speedway this May. This opportunity is thanks to a joint promotion with CARSTAR's new paint partner Axalta Coating Systems. The #88 Axalta/CARSTAR Chevy, driven Dale Earnhardt Jr., will race on Saturday, May 7, in Kansas City, KS. The CARSTAR logo will be featured prominently on the car. "I've enjoyed working with Axalta this season," said Earnhardt. "It's great to see how they've rallied behind the 88 team and how they are bringing new partners like CARSTAR into the sport. I'm looking forward to having CARSTAR on our Axalta Chevy at Kansas. I expect to run very well there, so we'll do our best to give the CARSTAR folks plenty to cheer for." As part of the race weekend, Axalta and CARSTAR will host top CARSTAR franchisees from across North America, along with prospective franchisees and corporate team members.(VMG PR), see images of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page (4-15-2016)

  • Dale Jr. says he'll be nervous to meet Peyton Manning: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. has met Peyton Manning before, but that doesn't mean he won't get nervous when he meets the recently retired Super Bowl champion quarterback Sunday. Manning is scheduled to join Earnhardt during driver introductions before the Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Just like fans often get when they meet NASCAR's most popular driver, Earnhardt expects to get a little tongue-tied when around Manning as they ride around in the pickup truck waving to fans following driver introductions. "We'll see how that goes," Earnhardt said Wednesday. "That will be pretty interesting to have him there in that process and ride around in the back of the truck. I'm sure I'll lock up and get stage fright and get all nervous around him -- that's normally what I do around celebrities." Manning will be an honorary race official for the Food City 500 as the track tries to cross-promote the race as well as the Sept. 10 football game between Tennessee and Virginia Tech. Earnhardt and Manning both are spokesmen for Nationwide.(ESPN)(4-14-2016)

  • Three drivers appear on "Dude Perfect" tonight: Texas Motor Speedway will serve as the backdrop for the NASCAR-themed episode of Thursday evening's The Dude Perfect Show on CMT. The Dude Perfect crew of Tyler Toney, Garrett Hilbert, Cody Jones and twin brothers Coby and Cory Cotton filmed at Texas Motor Speedway during last November's AAA Texas 500 NASCAR tripleheader weekend that included guest appearances by drivers as well as Dude Perfect in an honorary race role. The episode, which airs at 9:30pm/et, is the second in the show's debut season for the five Texas A&M University friends that became YouTube sensations over seven years ago with incredible basketball trick shots. This episode revolves around Dude Perfect being named by Texas Motor Speedway to drive the honorary pace car for the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge XFINITY Series race on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. With only one seat up for grabs, Toney and Hilbert have some fierce competition to determine who will drive the Chevrolet Camaro official pace car that will lead the XFINITY Series field to the green flag. Hilbert ultimately prevails, but the Camaro has a stick shift and he needs to enlist the likes of NASCAR drivers Chase Elliott and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to get him situated for his honorary role.(TMS)(4-14-2016)

  • Dale Jr. unveils special Buddy Baker scheme at Darlington UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Nationwide unveiled a #88 special paint scheme for the Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Wednesday, April 13th. Earnhardt will drive a paint scheme version of Buddy Baker's #28 Gray Ghost car that Baker drove in 1980, winning the Daytona 500. Earnhardt ran a similar scheme to pay tribute to the National Guard and Baker's "Gray Ghost" car in the 2008 All Star race. See images of the 2016 scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page (4-13-2016)
    UPDATE: In partnership with Darlington Raceway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Nationwide revealed the #88 Nationwide Insurance Gray Ghost Chevy that Earnhardt will drive in the Southern 500 during Labor Day weekend in September. The 2016 throwback car design honors Buddy Baker's #28 Gray Ghost paint scheme, which was made famous by Baker when he won the 1980 Daytona 500. "The track is the perfect place to unveil our throwback weekend paint scheme. This place has so much history and has served our sport so well," said Dale Earnhardt Jr. "I appreciate Nationwide's enthusiasm to be involved and their appreciation for the history of the sport as well. It certainly shines through with this paint scheme. It's my favorite paint scheme."
    While Earnhardt uses this opportunity to honor NASCAR's storied heritage, this paint scheme is also a way for Nationwide to pay homage to its own past. This year, Nationwide celebrates its 90th anniversary on April 14. Earnhardt's throwback paint scheme for the Southern 500 features colors and logos used by Nationwide during the same time that Baker's original Gray Ghost was on the track, keeping in line with this year's Darlington throwback theme. The orange Nationwide Insurance logo with the "Nationwide is on your side" tagline was used in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and also matches up with the original orange logo from the Gray Ghost that ran during the same time period.
    "Nationwide is excited to take part in this year's throwback paint scheme program," said Jim McCoy, Director of Sports Marketing for Nationwide. "We hope it reminds people that Nationwide has a long history of being there for our members when they need us most. We take great pride in being able to protect their needs just as we protect the needs of Dale and the Earnhardt family. We look forward to seeing the Gray Ghost on the track, and hopefully in Victory Lane, on September 4." This year's Southern 500 will focus on the 1975-84 era of NASCAR, a revolutionary time period when iconic drivers such as Baker, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Darrell Waltrip left their imprints on stock car racing. "We're so appreciative of Dale, Nationwide and Hendrick Motorsports for their support of our throwback race weekend," Darlington Raceway President Chip Wile said. "Dale's Gray Ghost paint scheme is a wonderful reminder of our sport's storied history. To honor a NASCAR legend like Buddy Baker in this way is what our Tradition Continues throwback weekend is all about."(PR)(4-13-2015)

  • Hendrick Motorsports and Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence partner up: Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence and Hendrick Motorsports announced a landmark technology partnership. The two-year agreement effectively merges metrology expertise and technology with the brightest engineering minds in auto racing. The relationship will expand Hendrick Motorsports' in-house capabilities with additional measurement systems, training and expert technical support. The team is a longtime user of ROMER Absolute Arms and GridLOK volume-expansion systems, as well as Hexagon coordinate measuring machines. These solutions are used to inspect and assemble auto bodies, chassis and engine components for pre-race fine tuning and post-race evaluation. Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence will partner in collaborative technology development and problem solving with Hendrick Motorsports' engineering team. As Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence develops new concepts in metrology, Hendrick Motorsports will have the opportunity to preview those advancements before the technology reaches the marketplace. The team will also have the option to participate in beta testing and provide user feedback during the course of development projects. With multi-disciplinary expertise, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence will benefit from those early stage metrics and gain valuable insight into the intricate performance and manufacturing challenges found in NASCAR.(HMS)(4-13-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr. to donate brain for concussion research UPDATE: Following in the footsteps of many NFL players and extreme sports athletes, Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Saturday [via Twitter] he plans to donate his brain for concussion research. It's a major announcement, because Earnhardt is NASCAR's most popular driver - and has been the past 13 years. Earnhardt, 41, like many veteran NASCAR drivers, is no stranger to hard crashes and head injuries similar to what football players endured before being diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) post-mortem.(Sporting News), Earnhardt missed two races in October 2012, at Charlotte and Kansas after being diagnosed with a concussion following the Oct. 7, 2012 race at Talladega.(3-27-2016)
    UPDATE: #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. discussed his decision more in-depth Friday at Martinsville:
    Earnhardt, Jr. "Hopefully, they don't have to look at my brain whenever I pass away they have learned enough science to study the brains of living adults. Hopefully, the science has advanced enough to where they no longer need to be poking around inside my brain. I was inspired really by Brandi Chastain (professional soccer player) and the Raiders guys that donated their brains in honor of their teammate. I went through my experience in 2012 and met some amazing doctors at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; Mickey Collins was one of those guys. They gave me the confidence going through that process that I could be successful and get through it. I have. I have been healthy and successful and I learned a ton. I may be even a better race car driver today and I'm definitely getting the results on the track that I've always wanted. I will be donating or pledging my brain is what they like to say to the Concussion Legacy Foundation. They are in partnership with Boston University where the brain bank is. I was a donor already for many years, as my driver's license would attest. It seemed like a reasonable thing to do for me. Anything that I can do to help others, but hopefully the science has advanced far beyond where it is today and they don't need it. It was something that I didn't have to ask myself whether I wanted to do it or not. Going through that process in 2012 I learned so much and have so much respect for the work that those doctors are doing and really were inspired by some of the athletes that have pledged their brains before me."
    Earnhardt, Jr. "I saw a story, we obviously had the week off, and I was just sitting around reading Twitter and saw that story about the Raiders donating their brains. I just thought that was amazing that those guys did that in honor of their teammate. I read where Brandi (Chastain) had done that maybe a month ago. That just was really inspiring and I saw someone mention, I don't even know what the context of the Tweet I was responding to was. I probably should have, Mike Davis (JR Motorsports Public Relations) would prefer me to have done that in a more put together fashion where we could have put together a release or whatever. I just was in the moment of conversation and that is sometimes the comfort that you find yourself in on Twitter sometimes and I didn't expect it to turn into the story it did, but by all means if it raises more awareness and inspires people to donate their brains and pledge their brains. They don't need just athletes. They need everybody. I'm going to give up all the organs that are worth anything when it's over with. They can have it all."
    "I got in touch with the Concussion Legacy Foundation and they help me understand exactly what the process is and it's very straight forward. You get a card, basically like you would carry around a driver's license where it says you are a donor on the license. There will be a card in your pocket that you carry like your driver's license. Your family can refuse. Nothing is binding so it's really just a promise in a way."(Chevy Racing PR)(4-2-2016)

  • NASCAR's Richest Teams and Drivers: Forbes has released its annual ranking of Sprint Cup teams and drivers based on earnings. Once again, Hendrick tops the charts. The top 10 teams and drivers and their estimated value:
    Highest earning NASCAR teams:
    Hendrick Motorsports $375 million
    Joe Gibbs Racing $256 million
    Stewart-Haas Racing $195 million
    Richard Childress Racing $175 million
    Roush Feneway Racing $155 million
    Team Penske $140 million
    Chip Ganassi Racing $75 million
    Richard Petty Motorsports $55 million
    Front Row Motorsports $26 million
    BK Racing $24 million
    Highest earning NASCAR drivers:
    #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. $23.5 million
    #48-Jimmie Johnson $22.2 million
    Jeff Gordon $21.6 million
    #4-Kevin Harvick $15.5 million
    #11-Denny Hamlin $15.1 million
    #18-Kyle Busch $15.0 million
    #10-Dania Patrick $13.4 million
    #14-Tony Stewart $12.8 million
    #19-Carl Edwards $12.1 million
    #20-Matt Kenseth $11.9 million
    Total earnings equals salary/winnings plus endorsements and licensing
    In addition, Forbes estimates the actual cash value of a NASCAR charter to be $15-$17 million.(Forbes)(4-1-2016)

  • Special Axalta scheme for Earnhardt, Jr. at Michigan: Four-time Sprint Cup Series champion and FOX NASCAR analyst Jeff Gordon visited the University of Michigan on Wednesday to announce a new research partnership between the school, Axalta Coating Systems and Hendrick Motorsports. The partnership is a five-year agreement will allow students of the Walter E. Wilson Student Team Project Center to explore the professional racing world, as well as conduct research involving the coating industry. The research will be financially supported by Axalta, which will give students the chance to learn more in-depth about various elements of coating technology. The partnership will be officially launched when NASCAR visits Michigan International Speedway in August. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will also drive a special Michigan Wolverines-themed paint scheme sponsored by Axalta for that race weekend.(FoxSports)(4-1-2016)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. adds to his car graveyard: On Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s return from the #NASCARGoesWest tour, he lit up Twitter with a marathon Q&A session with fans. When asked about his race car graveyard at Dirty Mo' Acres - Earnhardt's compound north of Mooresville, N.C. The driver revealed the recent acquisition of two new wrecks:
    "I just got the @PhoenixRaceway @JimmieJohnson qualifying car. @KyleBusch sent me the 4 truck from @DISupdates"
    The last time we saw the remains of the #4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Tundra, it was on a tow truck. Fortunately, Christopher Bell climbed out of his vehicle after flipping nine times down the front stretch entering Turn 1 on the final lap of the Camping World Truck Series season opener on Feb. 19. Earnhardt's latest contribution came from his own teammate - Jimmie Johnson. The freshly wrecked #48 Chevy did not make it through Friday at Phoenix International Raceway following the six-time champion's mishap in time trials.(Motorsport)(3-27-2016)

  • Sports Business Journal Awards have several NASCAR nominations: NASCAR has been nominated in multiple categories in the Sports Business Journal's ninth annual Sports Business Awards. The sanctioning body has been nominated for "Sports League of the Year" with the American Athletic Conference, MLB, MLS, NBA and PGA Tour.
    NASCAR CEO and Chairman Brian France has been nominated for "Sports Executive of the Year." The other nominees are Stan Kroenke from Kroenke Sports and Entertainment; Joe Lacob, owner of the Golden State Warriors; Rob Manfred, commissioner of Major League Baseball and Mark Parker, CEO of Nike.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr., the 13-time most popular driver, is a nominee for "Best in Sports Social Media." Last May, Earnhardt became the second NASCAR driver after Danica Patrick to reach 1 million followers on Twitter. They have both since been passed by Jimmie Johnson.
    Daytona International Speedway is nominated for "Sport Facility of the Year" along with Avaya Stadium, Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Kyle Field and Petco Park. Daytona unveiled its completed $400 million "Daytona Rising" renovations in February in time for the 58th running of the Daytona 500.
    Both Toyota and Xfinity from Comcast were nominated for the "Sports Sponsor of the Year." The awards will be presented May 18 in New York City.(NBC Sports)
    AND: Darlington Raceway's successful 2015 Bojangles' Southern 500 Tradition Returns throwback event is among the final nominees for "Sports Event of the Year." The throwback campaign was a collaborative industry-wide effort to celebrate the history and heritage of the sport and featured a celebration of the early 1970's (1970-74). The nominees were announced by SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily, one of the most respected business publications in sports. Winners will be announced LIVE at the Sports Business Awards on May 18 in New York City. Other nominees for "Sports Event of the Year" are the 2015 Belmont Stakes, 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Final, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, and Super Bowl 50. Launched in 2008, the Awards were established by SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily to celebrate and recognize the leaders, visionaries and day-to-day practitioners who personify excellence in the business of sports.(Darlington Raceway)(3-15-2016)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. featured on 'Treehouse Masters' Friday night: This Friday, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s very own getaway-in-the-sky will be featured on "Treehouse Masters," the very show from which he gleaned the inspiration for his project. Earnhardt revealed his plans for the project following the end of the 2014 season and the construction was completed in time for the beautiful summer months. To catch Earnhardt's episode of "Treehouse Masters" and get an inside look at his handiwork, tune in to Animal Planet Friday, March 11 at 10:00pm/et.(Hendrick Motorsports)(3-11-2016)

  • Axalta debuts on the #88: Axalta Coating Systems will make its debut as primary sponsor of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and the Hendrick Motorsports #88 team this weekend at Phoenix, marking the first time the new red, orange and yellow "Solar Flare" paint scheme will be featured on the #88 Axalta Chevrolet SS. Axalta Coating Systems, a leading global manufacturer of liquid and powder coatings, is continuing its longstanding, 24-year partnership with Hendrick Motorsports after a contract extension that expanded its presence and takes one of the longest sponsorships in NASCAR through 2018.(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #88 team paint schemems page.(3-9-2016)

  • Hendrick plane makes emergency landing in Memphis UPDATE: A plane headed from Las Vegas to Charlotte, North Carolina made an emergency landing in Memphis. The plane belonged to Hendrick Motorsports and was carrying team members home from the NASCAR race in Las Vegas. A Hendrick Motorsports representative said the plane landed safely in Memphis after someone noticed smoke in the cabin. No one was injured or breathed in too much smoke. The plane is being evaluated for issues. The passengers will return to Charlotte on another flight.(WMC Action News)(3-7-2016)
    UPDATE: Just hours after smoke in the cabin forced a Hendrick Motorsports plane to make an emergency landing early Monday morning, a passenger on the aircraft discussed the situation with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Earl Barban, the spotter for Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson, was one of multiple passengers on the plane, which was en route back to Charlotte, North Carolina from Sunday's race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. None of Hendrick's drivers were on board the aircraft, and there were no injuries. Speaking with SiriusXM on Monday after returning home to Charlotte, Barban described the events that led to the emergency landing in Memphis after the plane had made a fuel stop in Oklahoma City.
    "On our second leg we had like an hour and 50 minutes left and had a little smoke in the cabin there and they decided they should probably land, and we landed in Memphis, and they got us off the airplane and all the procedures and safety stuff was done," Barban told SiriusXM. "After they checked it out and things were good, we got all our stuff off the plane, sat in the FBO for a couple hours until our other plane could get refueled back in Concord (N.C.) and come get us, so it was a little bit of a delay getting home, but everybody was safe."(Fox Sports)(3-9-2016)

  • Atlanta Post-Event Penalties announced: NASCAR released the Post-Event Penalty & Warning Report from Atlanta on Wednesday, among the penalties announced:
    #78 Furniture Row Racing crew chief Cole Pearn has been fined $50,000, suspended from the next NSCS championship event [Las Vegas] and remains on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31; team has been assessed with the loss of 15 championship owner and 15 championship driver [Martin Truex Jr.] points for a roof flap violation at Atlanta.
    #78 Team Statement: The following statement is attributed to Joe Garone, president of Furniture Row Racing. "Due to the severity of the P3 penalty levied against Furniture Row Racing and its crew chief Cole Pearn today (Wednesday), the #78 Sprint Cup team has informed NASCAR it will appeal the decision. The infraction, which was immediately corrected following technical inspection at Atlanta Motor Speedway last week, was safety related and not competition related. We sincerely appreciate that NASCAR has an appeal process so we can review the level of the penalty. The one-race suspension to Cole Pearn and monetary fine are temporarily deferred until the conclusion of the appeal hearing (FRR).
    #47 JTG Daugherty Racing crew chief Randall Burnett has been fined $15,000 and placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31; team has been assessed with the loss of 10 championship owner and 10 championship driver [AJ Allmendinger] points for illegal body attachment mounts/supports.
    Crew chiefs from the #3 (Slugger Labbe), #27 (Jason Alexander) & #31 (Luke Lambert) Richard Childress Racing teams and #95 Circle Racing - Leavine Family Racing team (Dave Winston) have been fined $15,000 and placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31; teams have been assessed with the loss of 10 championship owner and 10 championship driver (Austin Dillon, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman, Michael McDowell) points for illegal body attachment mounts/supports.
    #32 Go Fas Racing team of Jeffrey Earnhardt failed template inspection three times, pre-qualifying and received a written warning/loss of 15 min. practice time.
    #83-Matt DiBenedetto, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #98-Cole Whitt failed template inspection twice, pre-qualifying and received a written warning.(NASCAR)
    Pearn has appealed the suspension and will be at Las Vegas this weekend.
    see full report on the Atlanta Post-Event Penalties Page (pdf).(3-2-2016)

  • Bosch renews Hendrick partnership: Bosch Automotive Aftermarket North America has announced a multi-year renewal of its technical partnership with 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports. Dating back to 2001 with an agreement to supply spark plugs to the racing powerhouse, the scope of the relationship has since expanded to include alternators, starters, oxygen sensors, fuel injectors and fuel pumps. Entering its 16th season, this partnership has yielded seven Sprint Cup Series championships and a wealth of knowledge and insights. Hendrick Motorsports engine builders have worked closely with Bosch engineers over the years to develop some of the most powerful vehicles on the track.(Hendrick Motorsports)(3-1-2016)

  • Positive response to aero package from drivers: For a race with a mere three cautions, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. found Sunday's event with the new low-downforce competition package exhilarating. "I loved it," Earnhardt said. "We were sliding around and driving the hell out of the car. I had a blast! I had some good races there on the track with the #2 (Brad Keselowski) and the #18 (Kyle Busch) and a bunch of guys. Man, it was so much fun. And I post old pictures online all the time of the '80s and '90s, and that's when racing was racing. That's when it was good. That's what they saw today."
    Ninth-place finisher Brad Keselowski echoed Earnhardt's sentiments. "I loved the way the cars drive," said Keselowski, who had the top-finishing Ford. "I understand that it takes more than my opinion to make the sport go round, but I thought it was awesome."
    #19-Carl Edwards, a long-time advocate of the new aerodynamic package, would like to see NASCAR take even more downforce away. "They just need to keep taking more," said Edwards, who drove his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to a fifth-place result. "This is real racing. We're driving hard. You can see the guys out here just digging for everything they're worth. I'm worn out. That's a tough race and just a lot of fun. I just can't thank NASCAR enough and Atlanta - don't ever pave this place - it's a perfect race track. I hope the fans enjoyed the show. The thing is, just know that in that car we're driving as hard as we can."(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-29-2016)

  • Hendrick will not look to replace Stewart-Haas business: Hendrick Motorsports won't look to replace the engine lease program and the chassis business it will lose when Stewart-Haas Racing moves to Ford starting next season, but it also does not plan to lay off any employees. Team owner Rick Hendrick said Sunday that the decision "kind of caught me by surprise" but it was no surprise that another manufacturer would go after SHR. It will make for an interesting year as SHR remains a customer but one that will start building its own chassis and leasing engines from Roush Yates Engines next year. Hendrick, speaking prior to the Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, said his team is committed to working with SHR this year and will move on after the season. That doesn't mean looking for new people to sell chassis and lease engines. HMS leases engines to two-car organizations HScott Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing. It also supplies engines and support to JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. HScott Motorsports plans to remain a Hendrick affiliate next year, said team owner Harry Scott, whose team also has an affiliation with Stewart-Haas Racing this season. "We've been pretty much taxed to keep up with all the customers we have," Hendrick said. "I think what we're going to do now is turn our efforts inward and do more R&D and give us a chance to do more, really, research and development than we've been doing in the last couple of years because our guys have been flat-out. While the team will fulfill the terms of its contracts with SHR, Hendrick said he expects SHR to begin the process of working on its own chassis this year. Losing the SHR business likely would cost Hendrick tens of millions of dollars, but Hendrick said his company has the ability to compensate for the lost business.(ESPN.com)(2-29-2016)

  • DHS And NASCAR Release New "If You See Something, Say Something" PSA: The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) "If You See Something, Say Something" public awareness campaign and NASCAR today released two new Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and new campaign materials. The new PSAs, which feature Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr., will be on display this weekend at the Daytona 500 International Speedway. Fans using their smart phones will also see messaging that highlights the individual role of everyday citizens to protect their neighbors and the communities they call home, by recognizing and reporting suspicious activity when using mobile applications. In addition to these efforts, the "If You See Something, Say Something"" campaign will also display public awareness materials at the Daytona Beach International Airport, on billboards throughout the area, and at gas stations around Daytona Beach, FL. Since 2011, DHS has partnered with NASCAR to create public service announcements and digital awareness products through the "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign. This year, fans can see the "If You See Something, Say Something" message in English and Spanish at the track. Previously, DHS and NASCAR created two public service announcements featuring NASCAR drivers Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth. For more information, watch these public service announcements by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch or visit www.dhs.gov.(DHS)(2-21-2016)

  • Goodyear, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Expand Relationship: The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company announced that #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be the featured expert who chooses Goodyear tires on and off the track in a series of broadcast, digital and print ads. "We've already had a relationship due to the confidence that I have in Goodyear tires on the track with the 88 car and on the street with my own personal car," said Earnhardt Jr. "There's a huge trust factor that we've had for a really long time, so this feels like a continuation of something that has been going on for a while." Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR's most popular driver 13 years running and one of America's favorite athletes, has accomplished his significant racing achievements on Goodyear tires including his first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory in 2000 and Daytona 500 victories in 2004 and 2014. The creative materials draw on Earnhardt Jr.'s deep personal connection with the Goodyear brand. In the television spot, through a heartfelt message about hard work, tradition and pride, Earnhardt Jr. highlights the tenets of Goodyear's involvement in NASCAR - the continuous learning that is achieved through all of the drivers and the ability to deliver superior performing tires both on and off the track. Goodyear will amplify the creative with a robust media plan and social media support.(Goodyear)(2-20-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr. wins first Can-Am Duel 150: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the first Can-Am Duel 150 Qualifying race for the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway followed by #22-Logano, #21-Blaney, #4-Harvick, #5-Kahne, #16-Biffle, #34-Buescher, #17-Stenhouse Jr., #3-Dillon, #6-Bayne, #2-Keselowski, #59-McDowell, #7-Smith, #23-Ragan, #30-Wise, #15-Bowyer, #32-Labonte, #44-Scott, #27-Menard and #98-Whitt.
    #21-Blaney was the highest finishing Open Team (non-chartered team), finishing 3rd. The other three Open teams: #59-McDowell finished 14th, #30-Wise finished 17th and #98-Whitt finished 22nd/last, after spinning out and leaving the race. #21-Blaney gets in the race as the highest finishing Open team and will start 7th. #59-McDowell gets in the race via his qualifying speed. #30-Wise and #98-Whitt will not make the race.
    There were two incidents, on lap 43, #98-Whitt was trying to pass #59-McDowell and spun out, doing enough damage to the car that he could not finish. As the leaders were coming to the checkered flag, #44-Scott spun and was credited with 20th, the team will go to a backup car, so Scott will have to start at the rear of the field on Sunday.
    The finishers of the 1st Can-Am Duel 150 will line up on the inside (odd number) line. #24-Ellott starts on the pole and #88-Earnhardt Jr. will start 3rd. #59-McDowell, in on speed, will start 39th.
    See results on the First Can-Am Duel 150 Results page (pdf).(2-18-2016)

  • NASCAR's Highest-Paid Drivers: NASCAR has undergone big changes over the past decade with how the sport crowns a champion, sells its merchandise and broadcasts its races on TV. The latest overhaul is a "charter" system that transforms 36 Sprint Cup teams into franchises, with similarities to other sports leagues liked shared revenue. The new system means adjustments to how drivers are paid. Drivers traditionally received a salary, as well as a percentage of the race purse winnings. But purse winnings will no longer be publicly released weekly with charter teams now guaranteed a certain amount of money annually distributed from a fund. Owners are currently reworking driver contracts and are expected to cut deals where the drivers won't lose money under the new charter system.
    Leading the way for the eighth straight year is #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. who made an estimated $23.5 million in 2015. Second was #48-Jimmie Johnson at $22.2 million and Jeff Gordon at $21.6 million. Rounding out the top five are #4-Kevin Harvick at $15.5 million and #11-Denny Hamlin $15.1 million.(See full story and more at Forbes.com)(2-18-2016)

  • TaxSlayer.com debuts for Earnhardt Jr in the Sprint Unlimited: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is slated to drive the red-and-black #88 TaxSlayer.com Chevy in Saturday night's Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway. TaxSlayer.com marks the company's first race as a primary sponsor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with Earnhardt, and associate brand placement on the #88 Chevy throughout the remainder of the year (HMS), see images of the car on the #88 Team Schemes page (2-11-2016)

  • Earnhardt, Jr's car chief delivers his own daughter: When you sign up to be the car chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. 's #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, there's quite a bit of understood pressure that comes along with the job. Sometimes there's even more pressure that comes along with being a husband, as Travis Mack learned early Wednesday morning. According to Mhis Twitter account, Mack, who heads into his second season as Earnhardt's car chief under crew chief Greg Ives, delivered his own baby girl at 3:15 a.m. in his home bathroom. "I delivered my baby girl at 3:15 this morning in our bathroom! Amazing experience. #GodIsGood My Wife is so strong." Mack tweeted.(NASCAR.com)(2-4-2016)

  • Retirement not on the radar for Earnhardt Jr.: Despite his peers Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart announcing their own retirements, #88-Dale Earnhardt's improvement on the track makes it difficult to answer one of the biggest questions that confronts the 41-year-old driver: When will he hang up his fire suit for good? For Earnhardt, it's a delicate balance. "I don't want to be here too long, (but) I don't want to (retire) too early," Earnhardt said. " You want to feel like the time's right. "(Gordon and Stewart) felt like the time was right. And hopefully I'm in the same position. I've said before, that you want it to be your decision. You don't want to be fired out of the sport. You want it to be on your terms." Earnhardt's own terms deem that the retirement process also be steady, well thought-out -- he wants to avoid saying "what if?" when the curtain does eventually fall. "I'd be a fool to turn this off right now," Earnhardt said. "To slow down this machine would take about a two-year plan. I will talk to Jeff and I'll talk to Tony about how they went about that decision and structured it. "But I can't even imagine when that would be because things are going so well ... We've got a job to do. Every year we keep getting better, we're racing better, we're winning. I feel like I've got to be here in that next step. If it flat lines, or I feel like I've flat lined or I feel like I'm part of the problem or I'm holding the team back, then we've got to start thinking about it. But everything's going in the right direction right now." The day Earnhardt decides to step aside from racing is yet to be determined. But it doesn't appear to be happening any time soon.(NASCAR.com)(1-23-2016)

  • Hero Face Off: #48 and #88 cars to feature Batman and Superman UPDATE: images started popping up on some websites (then were taken down) but lived on Twitter. The images were grainy images of the #48-Lowes / Superman and #88 Nationwide / Batman schemes. Hendrick Motorsports tweeted that "The masks will come off Jan. 19." Also Lowe's Racing and Nationwide each made a tweet on the subject. The images can be seen on the #48 Team Schemes page and the #88 Team Schemes page.(1-18-2016)
    UPDATE: Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) and 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports today unveiled the latest pairing in their ongoing partnership, featuring two special paint schemes for drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson, to promote the upcoming and highly anticipated Warner Bros. Pictures film "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." Batman will be represented on Earnhardt's #88 Nationwide Batman Chevy and Superman will be featured on Johnson's #48 Lowe's Superman Chevy when the teammates square off during the March 20 Auto Club 500 Sprint Cup Series race in Fontana, CA. The "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" paint schemes were co-developed by Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Hendrick Motorsports. Earnhardt's paint scheme will showcase the Batman emblem and textures of the Caped Crusader's suit, while Johnson's car will feature the iconic S-shield and Superman suit textures. Additionally, Earnhardt and Johnson will wear custom-designed fire suits during the race weekend that feature the respective Super Hero logos.
    "Hendrick Motorsports is the ultimate team in racing, with championship-caliber drivers and a proven track record of success, and we are thrilled to continue working with them to build out innovative activations that pair their drivers with the world's most recognized Super Heroes," said Dave Hedrick, senior vice president, Global Promotions, Branded Foods, Studio Licensing, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. "Fans of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson will love seeing their heroes face off as they take on the personas of DC Comics' legendary characters from 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.'"
    Hendrick Motorsports, along with its partners Nationwide and Lowe's, have also teamed with WBCP to create "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" at-track activations for fans of all ages during the California race weekend. In addition to giveaways and themed activities, select costumes from the film will be on display. Licensed merchandise featuring the "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" paint schemes for the #48 and #88 cars will be available at participating retailers and online beginning Jan. 22.
    "Nationwide is excited to join forces with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Batman, two iconic figures in their respective worlds, to create this incredible duo," said Mike Boyd, Nationwide's senior vice president of marketing. "We're looking forward to seeing our #88 Nationwide Batman paint scheme on the track and are sure it will be big fun for millions of race and Batman fans alike." As part of its involvement, Nationwide is offering one lucky fan a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the premiere of the film. The prize package includes airfare, lodging, two tickets to Sunday's race, a meet-and-greet opportunity with Earnhardt, two tickets to the red carpet premiere and more. Fans can visit nationwidebatman88.com to enter the contest.
    "Jimmie has long been a Super Hero to the 265,000 Lowe's employees nationwide," said Lawrence Lobpries, Lowe's vice president of consumer marketing. "In addition to putting a bold, unique paint scheme featuring Superman, one of the world's greatest Super Heroes, in front of our passionate Team 48 fans, this partnership allows us to engage a new audience by bringing the thrill and action of the movie and NASCAR to our stores across the country."
    On March 24, the eve of the "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" release, Lowe's stores nationwide will host a free Superman-themed Build and Grow clinic, where families can build a wooden replica of Johnson's Superman race car. Parents can register their children at lowes.com/buildandgrow beginning in March.
    Announced in 2014, WBCP and Hendrick Motorsports are engaged in an ongoing strategic partnership to build on- and off-track programs teaming star drivers Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott, Johnson and Earnhardt with the most recognized characters in DC Comics Super Hero lore. Team partners have exclusive opportunities to align with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Comics-inspired releases. Collaborations have since taken place around Sprint Cup events at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Michigan International Speedway.
    "Delivering more value to our relationships is something we think about every single day," said Patrick Perkins, Hendrick Motorsports' vice president of marketing. "The ability to bring together tremendous partners like Lowe's and Nationwide and align them with arguably the year's biggest action adventure film is an extraordinary opportunity. It creates ways to excite and entertain our current fans, reach new audiences and build special programs around everything from licensed merchandise to sweepstakes. When we began working with DC Entertainment, this is exactly the type of program we all envisioned, and we're proud to be involved."(Hendrick Motorsports)(1-19-2016)

  • WIX Filters joins Hendrick as technical partner: WIX Filters has joined Hendrick Motorsports as a key technical partner with an agreement that will supply innovative filtration products and provide critical development support to the 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions through 2019. With a four-year pact, WIX's air and oil filters will be used in competition by the four Sprint Cup Series teams of Hendrick Motorsports with drivers Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Its logo will be featured on team equipment, transporters and underneath the hood of Hendrick Motorsports' Chevrolet SS race cars. "Since the early 1960s when Richard Petty began using our filters, generations of motor sports champions have driven to victory lane with WIX," said Jennifer Gibson, brand manager for WIX Filters. "Adding a team like Hendrick Motorsports only further positions us as the number-one filter in motor sports, and we couldn't be more excited to see what that means on the track this season."(Hendrick Motorsports)(1-19-2016)

  • Mountain Dew sponsoring Earnhardt, Kahne, Elliott: Fans will be seeing a lot more Mountain Dew at the racetrack starting this season. Thanks to a three-year extension of PepsiCo's longstanding partnership with 11-time Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports, Mountain Dew is continuing as a primary sponsor of #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and welcoming drivers #5-Kasey Kahne and #24-Chase Elliott to its lineup beginning in 2016. The next phase of PepsiCo's racing program comes after 15 seasons of partnership with Hendrick Motorsports, including eight years of Earnhardt paired with Mountain Dew. In an unprecedented move, 2016 marks the first time the DEW brand will field a three-driver lineup. Mountain Dew will be primary sponsor of Earnhardt's #88 Chevrolet SS team for three races each season through 2018. Alongside him will be Elliott, whose #24 team will feature Mountain Dew as primary sponsor in two races annually. Kahne's #5 Chevy will have Mountain Dew as a primary sponsor in one race per year. All three teams will also showcase DEW as an associate-level sponsor. More details about the partnership and the 2016 race schedule will be shared in the coming weeks.(Hendrick Motorsports)(1-16-2016)

  • Grubb talks about leaving Gibbs: Darian Grubb told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Thursday that he was surprised that he wasn't back as #19-Carl Edwards' crew chief at Joe Gibbs Racing. "I guess fifth in points just wasn't good enough in some people's eyes and five points away from running (for the title at) Homestead," Grubb said on the show "Tradin' Paint." Grubb said he was told during last year's Chase that changes could be coming, nearly mirroring a situation he had in 2011. He was told during that year's Chase that he would not return as Tony Stewart's crew chief. Grubb then went on to help Stewart win the title, beating Edwards. "I was somewhat surprised," Grubb said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio about finding out his position could be in jeopardy last year at JGR. "The first conversation I had was one weekend of the Chase I was told at that point that I needed to get nine more solid weeks in, and I was like 'I've been through this before.' Last time it was six weeks. This time was nine. I knew something was going to come up with the change. I knew I was going to be making some changes. I didn't know what it was going to be. Then went on and found out it wasn't going to be a crew chief position, so I had to explore some options." Joe Gibbs Racing replaced Grubb with Dave Rogers, who moved over from #11-Denny Hamlin's team. Hamlin's new crew chief is Mike Wheeler. Those moves led Grubb, who has 23 career Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, back to Hendrick Motorsports. Grubb's new role is as vehicle production director at Hendrick Motorsports. He'll have responsibility for production operations in the chassis and body groups and work alongside technical director Kenny Francis.(NBC Sports)(1-8-2016)

2015 News

  • Nationwide Insurance [21+2 races] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following 2015 races:
    Daytona, Sprint Limited* - 2/14
    Daytona, Budweiser Duel* - 2/19
    Daytona - 2/22
    Las Vegas - 3/8
    Phoenix - 3/15
    Auto Club - 3/22
    Texas - 4/11
    Richmond - 4/25
    Talladega - 5/3
    Kansas - 5/9
    Charlotte - 5/24
    Dover - 5/31
    Pocono - 6/7
    Daytona - 7/5, Stars & Stripes
    Kentucky - 7/11
    New Hampshire - 7/19
    Indy - 7/26
    Watkins Glen - 8/9
    Bristol - 8/22
    Richmond - 9/12 (added?)
    New Hampshire - 9/27 (added?)
    Dover - 10/4, Plenti
    Charlotte - 10/10 (added?)
    Martinsville - 11/1
    Phoenix - 11/15
    Homestead - 11/22

  • Diet Mountain Dew / AMP Energy [5+1 races] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following 2015 races:
    Martinsville - 3/29, Diet Mountain Dew
    Bristol - 4/19, DewShine
    Charlotte, All-Star race* - 5/16, Mountain Dew Baja Blast
    Michigan - 6/14, AMP ENERGY Passion Fruit
    Chicago - 9/20, Diet Mountain Dew
    Talladega - 10/25, Diet Mountain Dew

  • Microsoft Windows 10 / Halo [4 races] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following 2015 races:
    Sonoma - 6/28
    Pocono - 8/2
    Michigan - 8/16
    Kansas - 10/18, Xbox / Halo 5: Master Chief

  • Kelley Blue Book [2 races] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following 2015 races:
    Atlanta - 3/1
    Texas - 11/8

  • Valvoline [1 race] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following 2015 races:
    Darlington - 9/6, throwback

  • Contract Status: (if known)
    Driver: 2017; Primary Sponsors: Nationwide 2017; Diet Mountain Dew/AMP 2016; Kelley Blue Book 2015

  • Darian Grubb returns to Hendrick Motorsports: Hendrick Motorsports has named Darian Grubb to the newly created role of vehicle production director, where he will oversee every aspect of race car manufacturing for the 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions, effective immediately. Grubb, 40, assumes responsibility for production operations in the Hendrick Motorsports chassis and body groups. He will work alongside vehicle technical director Kenny Francis to support and grow the company's overall car development capabilities while collaborating across vehicle engineering, vehicle production and four Sprint Cup teams. Both Grubb and Francis report to general manager Doug Duchardt.
    "We're excited to welcome Darian back to Hendrick Motorsports," Duchardt said. "His résumé speaks for itself, and he already has a deep understanding of our people, processes and culture. Teaming him with Kenny on our vehicle efforts mirrors the management structure of our engine operation, which has been very effective, and it adds more depth to the organization as a whole. Darian brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, and we know he will make us stronger."
    A native of Floyd, Virginia, with a mechanical engineering degree from Virginia Tech, Grubb originally joined Hendrick Motorsports from Petty Enterprises in January 2003. He served as lead race engineer for the #48 Sprint Cup team from 2003-2006 and was interim crew chief during the first four races of its 2006 championship-winning campaign, leading Jimmie Johnson to a pair of victories, including the Daytona 500.
    Grubb earned one win as crew chief for driver Casey Mears (#25 Chevy) in 2007 before being named engineering manager for the #5 and #88 Hendrick Motorsports teams for 2008. In 2009, he moved into a crew chief role at Stewart-Haas Racing, where in three seasons he won 11 races and the 2011 Sprint Cup championship with #14-Tony Stewart. Grubb then joined Joe Gibbs Racing, winning nine races with multiple drivers from 2012-2015. As a crew chief, he has 23 career Sprint Cup victories.
    "It means a lot to come back to Hendrick Motorsports," Grubb said. "This is a role that will allow me to contribute to the success of the entire organization, which was very important to me. Kenny is someone I greatly respect, so the chance to work side-by-side with him was a big factor. Everything is familiar, and I think that will make for a smooth transition. The more we talked about the opportunity, the more it felt right. I'm ready to get started."(Hendrick Motorsports)(1-4-2015)

  • Dale Jr. heads to TaxSlayer Bowl UPDATE: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will once again head to the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. to participate in the coin toss to begin Saturday's [Jan 2nd] game between the Georgia Bull Dogs and Penn State Nittany Lions. TaxSlayer.com is beginning its seventh year as a sponsor at JR Motorsports and will extend that relationship to the Sprint Cup Series with Hendrick Motorsports in 2016. "I enjoy working with TaxSlayer and I think it's neat where we cross promote and sort of mix the two together where their involvement with the Bowl brings me to the Bowl," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I get to enjoy that experience. I had never been to any college games in my life until I started going to the TaxSlayer Bowl, even being a fan of the sport. It's fun for me and we are typically in the neighborhood that time of year being on vacation."(MRN)(1-2-2016)
    UPDATE: It may be the NASCAR offseason, but Hendrick Motorsports and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were busy this weekend, taking part in the Tax Slayer Bowl between Penn State and Georgia on Saturday afternoon. The #88 TaxSlayer.com Chevy was on hand for fan photos, while Earnhardt took part in a Q&A outside the Jacksonville, Florida stadium. Prior to the game, Earnhardt took in the attention before driving onto the field to perform the opening coin toss.(FoxSports)(1-3-2016)

  • #88 team gets new chief engineer: Hendrick Motorsports confirmed the hiring of Tim O'Brien as the new engineer of the #88 Chevy for Dale Earnhardt Jr next season. O'Brien joined Hendrick in late November after a stint at Michael Waltrip Racing, which included serving as the lead engineer for the #55 Toyota this season. The Fort Wayne, Indiana native joined MWR and driver Clint Bowyer in 2012 after a healthy tenure at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates from 2005 to 2011. He earned a mechanical engineering degree from Purdue University and soon joined Ganassi's IndyCar program before leaping to his XFINITY Series program with driver Reed Sorenson. He has worked alongside veteran crew chief Brian Pattie for the past 10 seasons. O'Brien replaces Kevin Meendering who left HMS for a crew chief role at JR Motorsports and driver Elliott Sadler next season.(Catchfence)(12-15-2015)

  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr. wins Most Popular Driver Award: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. collected his 13th consecutive NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver award Friday during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' annual Awards Ceremony held at the Wynn Las Vegas. Earnhardt is the only driver to have won the award since 16-time winner Bill Elliott was named the recipient at the conclusion of the 2002 season. Earnhardt was awarded the trophy and the National Motorsports Press Association will donate $10,000 in Earnhardt's name to the charity of his choice. NASCAR fans cast 410,000 votes during the year's 11-week voting window that ended with the Sprint Cup Series finale race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22. The NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver award completed its 63rd season, making it one of the oldest awards presented in NASCAR. The fan-driven contest is the only major award in NASCAR determined solely by race fans. "NASCAR fans are the greatest in all of sports," said NMPA President Brian Nelson, "and I'm delighted that Sprint and the NMPA have given them an opportunity to voice their support. The fans spoke loud and clear, and it's obvious they support Dale Jr." Voting totals increased 14 percent over 2014 in spite of a shorter voting window, and more than 40 Sprint Cup Series drivers received one or more votes this season. Race fans were encouraged to vote daily online and using the NASCAR Mobile app. "It is our duty as an organization to provide NASCAR fans with the best possible platform in which to participate, and to provide them with the best possible experience," said Nelson. The award is sponsored by Sprint, the entitlement sponsor and official wireless partner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.(NMPA)(12-5-2015)

  • Dale Jr.'s wedding will be after 2016 season: Dale Earnhardt Jr. won't be having a June 2016 wedding. Although NASCAR's Most Popular Driver tried to use his influence with the sanctioning body to expedite the release of the 2016 Sprint Cup schedule to select a date for his upcoming nuptials, Earnhardt and his fiancee Amy Reimann are likely looking at a winter wedding. "We haven't set a date," Earnhardt told Motorsport.com. "We know what time of year we want to do it - and it's probably going to be in next year's off-season. We have a long-time to plan things out. We've just kind of small-talked some venues - where and when - but we haven't sat down and talked about real plans. We've got to start soon though because it's going to be here before you know it. We were thinking about doing it next summer but then the schedule changes every year and we didn't want the race to fall on our anniversary. So we're going to do it in the off-season so we'll have the opportunity to celebrate it however we want."(Motorsport)(12-5-2016)

  • Hendrick Motorsports receives MAHLE Engine Builder of the Year Award: The NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers 2015 Awards Luncheon was a big one for Hendrick Motorsports. First, Jeff Gordon was presented with the very first Chevrolet Lifetime Achievement Award. #88 crew chief Greg Ives was then named the MOOG Steering and Suspension Problem Solver of the Year. In between both awards, Hendrick Motorsports was honored with the MAHLE Engine Builder of the Year Award for the 19th time. In particular, engine assembler Sam Vernatter was singled out as the winner of the award. Points toward the Engine Builder of the Year Award were granted after every race based on qualifying and finishing position, with bonus points for the team that led the most laps. "Randy Dorton started the legacy of Hendrick Motorsports and it lives daily in Jeff Andrews, Jim Wall, Scott Maxim and David Evans," Vernatter said. "Their leadership paves the way for our success." Hendrick Motorsports engines powered five of the top 12 finishing teams at the end of the 2015 season, including two of the top three.(Hendrick Motorsports)(12-4-2015)

  • Greg Ives receives MOOG 'Problem Solver of the Year' Award: Greg Ives, crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the Hendrick Motorsports-owned #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, received Federal-Mogul Motorparts' prestigious MOOG "Problem Solver of the Year" Award - including a handcrafted MOOG ball joint trophy and a check for $100,000 - during the NASCAR Sprint Cup NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas. Ives is the eighth recipient of the award, which honors the crew chief with the best overall performance during the Sprint Cup season. MOOG is the Official Steering and Suspension of NASCAR. Ives won the year-end MOOG award after earning a series-leading five weekly MOOG "Problem Solver of the Race" Awards. The weekly Problem Solver award is presented to the crew chief whose car delivers the greatest second-half improvement in average lap time while finishing on the lead lap. Runner-up for the Problem Solver of the Year award, with four weekly MOOG wins, was Justin Alexander, crew chief for Paul Menard and the #27 Chevrolet SS. A record 20 different crew chiefs won at least one weekly Problem Solver award. The MOOG brand, celebrating its 50th year of Cup racing, is the preferred choice of professional technicians and NASCAR crew chiefs. In recognition of the vital importance of steering and suspension components in overall vehicle safety and performance, NASCAR now mandates that Cup teams use MOOG Problem Solver parts, specifically ball joints and tie rod ends.(Federal-Mogul Motorparts)(12-4-2015)

  • Hendrick Motorsports names new Manager of Aerodynamics: Diane Holl is the new manager of aerodynamics for Hendrick Motorsports. Holl, 51, joined HMS last month after eight seasons at Michael Waltrip Racing where she served as Director of Vehicle Design. After earning her degree in mechanical engineering, the Guildford, England native's career started in Formula 1 with Ferrari as a chassis designer in 1987. Holl returned to England in 2002, where she worked with the McLaren Group as Principle Engineer. She returned to the U.S. five years later to join MWR. Holl replaces Kurt Romberg, who has since taken a similar role at Roush Fenway Racing.(Motorsports)(12-3-2015)

  • Axalta to sponsor Dale Jr. in 2016 IMAGE: Axalta Coatings Systems will continue its long-standing partnership with Hendrick Motorsports after agreeing to a contract extension that will expand its presence and take one of the most enduring sponsorships in NASCAR through 2018. Beginning in 2016, Axalta will become a primary sponsor of the #88 Chevy team of driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. for 13 Sprint Cup Series races annually, an increase of three per season. Axalta will also be featured as a major associate sponsor during all non-primary events.
    The agreement extends a multi-faceted partnership -- now in its 23rd full season -- that began in November 1992 when the company (as DuPont) first sponsored driver Jeff Gordon and the #24 Hendrick Motorsports team. Gordon, who is in the midst of his final full-time Sprint Cup campaign, will continue to work with Axalta as a spokesperson and global business advisor. The multi-year relationship was announced earlier this year.
    "We began a journey 23 years ago with Hendrick Motorsports and a young driver named Jeff Gordon. Eighty poles, 92 wins and four championships later, we are proud of the run we've had with Jeff," said Nigel Budden, Axalta vice president and head of its North America business. "Now, we are delighted to continue our relationship with Hendrick Motorsports and to adorn the hood of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevy SS with the Axalta logo in 2016. As our slogan says, 'We Paint Winners,' and by joining Dale we will continue to do so for years to come."
    On the racetrack, Axalta's relationship with Hendrick Motorsports has yielded four Sprint Cup Series championships and 92 victories. Axalta has hosted thousands of customers at events and fashioned some of the most iconic paint schemes in NASCAR history. Earlier this month, the two companies broke ground on Axalta's 45,000-square-foot Customer Experience Center that will be located on the Hendrick Motorsports campus in Concord, NC.
    "Axalta has built a model sponsorship program," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "For 23 years, they've recognized the opportunities NASCAR provides and understood how it drives value for their business. It's a unique relationship that's evolved with the times and has been consistently effective. We're very proud of what we've accomplished as partners and look forward to more successes together with Dale and the #88 team."
    "Axalta and Hendrick Motorsports have an incredible story," Earnhardt said. "For me, it's meaningful to work with a sponsor that's been so committed to our sport and has such a rich history in NASCAR. Continuing the partnership is special for all of us, and I'm already excited about what the car will look like. I'm really looking forward to the opportunity."(Hendrick Motorsports)(10-6-2015)
    IMAGE Axalta Racing debuted the #88 Axalta Chevy Tuesday afternoon at the Cromwell in Las Vegas. See images of the car on the #88 team paint schemes page.(12-2-2015)

  • Teammates to pay tribute at Homestead with 'Jeff Gordon yellow' numbers: Sunday will mark a momentous occasion in the history of Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR as a whole. Jeff Gordon will make his final start behind the wheel of the #24 Chevy. To honor the event, Axalta has provided a special paint scheme for Gordon to drive as he attempts to win a fifth NASCAR Cup Series championship in the final race of his final full-time season. But the remaining three Hendrick Motorsports cars will also celebrate the close of an iconic career. In a collaboration Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick announced Tuesday morning on Twitter, Gordon's teammates and their partners worked together to run the familiar "Jeff Gordon yellow" for the car numbers on the #5, #48 and #88 Chevy as well. See the behind-the-scenes gallery of the application of the yellow numbers inside the race shops.(Hendrick Motorsports) and see images of the four cars on Jayski.com's:
    #5 Team Schemes page;
    #24 Team Schemes page;
    #48 Team Schemes page;
    #88 Team Schemes page.(11-17-2015)

  • Earnhardt Jr. wins at Phoenix: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Quicken Loan's for Heroes 350(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Jeff Gordon Raceway (Phoenix International Raceway) for his 3rd win of the season, 3rd win at Phoenix and 26th career win. Earnhardt Jr. led 22 of the 219 laps.
    The race was rain delayed for over six hours, getting the command to start engines at 9:00pm/et and taking the green flag at 9:27pm/et. During a late race caution on lap 195, it started raining again, just after NASCAR red flagged the event at 11:30pm/et on lap 219, the rain came down hard. With more rain in the forecast, NASCAR decided to call the race and made it official. It is only the second Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix in 39 races to be rain shortened and the first since October 25, 1998 when Rusty Wallace won a race shortened to 257 of 312 laps.
    #4-Harvick finished 2nd (for the 12th time in 2015 and 43rd runner-up finish in his career) followed by #22-Logano, #18-Busch, #48-Johnson (pole winner), #24-Gordon, #41-Busch, #11-Hamlin, #2-Keselowski and #43-Almirola.
    The four drivers advancing to the CHAMPIONSHIP RACE of The Chase at Homestead-Miami Speedway are:
    #24-Jeff Gordon (4 Championships)
    #4-Kevin Harvick (1 Championship)
    #18-Kyle Busch (0 Championships)
    #78-Martin Truex Jr. (0 Championships)
    Four drivers failed to win or score enough points during the Eliminator Round(3) to advance to the Championship Race:
    #19-Carl Edwards
    #2-Brad Keselowski
    #41-Kurt Busch
    #22-Joey Logano
    There were 8 lead changes among 7 drivers and only 2 cautions for 29 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 106.512mph.
    See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
    See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf). (11-15-2015)

  • Hendrick Motorsports and Freightliner Trucks extend deal: Freightliner Trucks has announced a five-year contract extension with 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports. In addition, the company announced a new five-year contract with defending NASCAR XFINITY Series champions JR Motorsports. Both racing teams now have agreements with Freightliner through the 2020 NASCAR season. With the Hendrick Motorsports partnership renewal, the team's over-the-road drivers will continue to stay behind the wheel of their custom Freightliner trucks to carry race cars, supplies and equipment to Sprint Cup events across the United States.(HMS)(11-14-2015)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. could be offered F1 ride: Tavo Hellmund who helped bringing Formula One racing back to the United States and his hometown of Austin, TX and to his father's homeland, Mexico, is now involved with a pair of F1 projects. If he and his group of investors succeed in acquiring a struggling F1 team, Manor Marussia, Hellmund said he'll offer a ride to none other than NASCAR's ultrapopular Dale Earnhardt Jr. He's also involved in a plan to create an F1 track in California, a project different from the urban street race in Southern California that Hellmund said F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is currently pursuing. Hellmund's investor group is looking to purchase at least a controlling interest in the Manor Marussia race team from British businessman Stephen Fitzpatrick. If that does happen, a big goal of the team would be to put an American driver on the grid. Hellmund said he's serious about his first choice being Dale Jr., even if that seems like a pie-in-the-sky idea. A more realistic option would be his second choice, Alexander Rossi. He raced in the U.S. Grand Prix this year and has competed successfully in a couple of series that are considered steppingstones to F1.(Culled from an article at the Austin American-Statesman)(11-13-2015)

  • Meendering leaving Earnhardt's Cup team to crew chief in XFINITY: Kevin Meendering currently serves as the chief engineer on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 Sprint Cup Series team. In 2016, he will move to the Xfinity Series next season as a crew chief. Meendering will serve as crew chief for driver Elliott Sadler next season at JR Motorsports, sources familiar to the move confirmed. Sadler, 40, joined Roush Fenway Racing this season after spending the two previous seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing. He is currently sixth in the series standings with four top-five and 10 top-15 finishes in 30 races.(Motorsport)(11-8-2015)

  • Earnhardt Jr comments on final restart: #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. met with the media after Sunday's race at Talladega:
    Walk us through the final restart and your take on it:
    Earnhardt, Jr. "I couldn't believe he (Joey Logano) gave me the bottom. I was like 'man this is a gift.' I was going to win the race for sure, but that caution came out. I'm fine with the new rule. Everybody is going to debate that we were thinking before the race that they made a good change on the green-white-checkered to go to one and I still feel that way. Per the rules we run second. I can live with that. The #22 (Joey Logano) did a great job. He had a hell of a round winning all three races. If he wins the championship he can look back on this round here as the one that set him up."
    "I'm proud of what we did today. We did everything we needed to do, just fell about the width of the splitter. You know how I hate that splitter, so, another reason (laughs)."
    Should NASCAR have let you run longer under that green-white-checkered before throwing the caution?
    Earnhardt, Jr. "Another 100 yards I would have been in the lead, but NASCAR makes the calls. They are the governing body and I have 100 percent faith in the choices that they make. I'm not going to be too upset about it. I did everything I could. I'm proud of myself. I'm proud of my team. My guys did a good job on pit road. We had a little issue, but if this group sticks together we are going to do great things next year. I believe in all of them. I'm proud of what we did. We can sit here and pout about this day, but we didn't do good enough in the first two races of this round. If we had done better in those first two races of this round we would not be worried about losing by a splitter. We didn't do a good job in those first two races. We've got to try to win another race before the year is out, have some fun. Martinsville is coming up. I'm excited about that. We've got a great team. This is my first year with Greg and we are just going to get better. He is just going to get better. We've got a lot to look forward to. It's disappointing, but I'm proud of the car. We really worked hard and we did a hell of a job today."(Chevy Racing)(10-26-2015)

  • College athletes on pit road: So who and how many college athletes are now on NASCAR's pit road? As the pit crews evolves so do the athletes that pit. That being said, the influx of college athletes to pit road has been a huge topic of conversation over the last few years. Getting the exact names and numbers of the guys on pit road is an extremely hard stat to get. The turnover is high so no stat is going to be 100% correct. So here ya go...the most in-depth article you'll find on ex college athletes on pit road circa Fall of 2015.
    The best way to start this is to give some basic facts. We based our stats off of 39 full time running Cup teams. That gives us a total of 234 total crewmen on pit road. Out of those 234 total crewmen, 62 of them played college ball. That's a total of 26%. That number might seem low for what you were thinking, but we think it's right on track. If we were to do that same stat for developmental crewmen then we're guessing it would be more into the 80% range. Taking those 62 pit crew members and breaking them down into what position they pit looks like this. Leading the way is the Carriers with 21 at (34%), followed by Jackmen 16 (26%), Gasmen at 16 (26%), and Changers with only 9 representing 15%. The interesting thing about this is that your Changers are the most important position on pit road and they have the least amount of college athletes.
    Looking into these stats even more we find that 49 (79%) played football followed by Baseball with 8 (13%). Basketball, Wrestling, and Soccer make up the remaining 8%.
    As far as where these athletes pit, the breakdowns look like this. HMS leads the way with 16 (26%) followed by JGR with 8 (13%). The next two companies with the most would be SHR and MWR with 5 each representing (8%) for each company. Take into consideration we are comparing some 4 car teams to those with 2 or 3 cars so the stats might look a little skewed but the numbers are what they are.(PitTalks)(10-26-2015)

  • Warnings issued after Kansas: NASCAR handed out warnings to teams Wednesday afternoon for issues discovered in technical inspection last weekend at Kansas Speedway, where the Sprint Cup Series competed in Race #2 of three in the Chase Contender Round. Of the four teams issued a warning, only one -- the Hendrick Motorsports team of driver #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- is in the Chase. Earnhardt's #88 group received its warning for twice failing pre-race inspection for Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400. The non-Chase team of driver #7-Alex Bowman was given a warning for likewise flunking pre-race inspection twice. The #83 team of driver Matt DiBenedetto, meanwhile, was given a warning for failing pre-qualifying inspection twice at Kansas. The #21 Wood Brothers Racing team of part-time Sprint Cup driver Ryan Blaney was hit with a warning for failing to comply with Section 10.7.2.b of the NASCAR rulebook. This is the second consecutive week that NASCAR has issued a written warning to the teams of Earnhardt and Blaney.(Fox Sports)(10-22-2015)

  • Earnhardt Jr. looking to tie record at Talladega: When #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes the green flag in the CampingWorld.com 500 on Sunday, Oct. 25, he'll not only be looking to sweep into Victory Lane at the Talladega Superspeedway for the second time this season, he'll also be trying to write his name into the track record book in a special way alongside his Dad - Dale Earnhardt Sr. - and Pete Hamilton. With a win, Earnhardt Jr. would join the duo as the only drivers in NASCAR history to win three of the four races run at NASCAR's "Super" superspeedways - Talladega and the Daytona International Speedway - in a single season. Earnhardt Jr. finished third in the season-opening Daytona 500, but won the GEICO 500 at Talladega in May after leading 67 of 188 laps and the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona in July to set up his shot at racing history. He'd love nothing more than to join the elite company of his father (accomplished feat in 1990), who was driving for Richard Childress Racing, and Hamilton (1970), who was driving for Petty Enterprises.
    Hamilton and Earnhardt Sr. both came close to achieving NASCAR's version of a Grand Slam only to have strange strokes of misfortune cause them to come up just short. In 1970, Hamilton won the Daytona 500, swept the two races at Talladega and had a competitive car in the early going in the July 4th Firecracker 400 at Daytona before a strip of insulation broke loose and went down the carburetor, choking the life from the engine and putting him out of the race after only 46 laps. Twenty years later, Earnhardt Sr. appeared well on his way to winning his first Daytona 500 when he, while leading, ran over some debris and cut a tire going into Turn 3 on the last lap and Derrike Cope sailed by for the victory. Earnhardt Sr. went on to sweep the two Talladega races and the July race in Daytona in 1990 to come oh-so-close to perfection.
    Earnhardt Jr. holds the mark for consecutive victories at NASCAR's biggest, baddest track with wins in four straight races from 2001 to 2003, including a sweep of both races in 2002. He has six wins at the track in 31 career starts and has recorded 11 top-five finishes and 15 top-ten finishes. The six wins tie him with Jeff Gordon for second on Talladega's all-time victory list behind only Earnhardt Sr. (10).(TSS)(10-22-2015)

  • New look for #88 Nationwide Chevy in 2016 UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in the midst of the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. But that doesn't mean it's too early to look ahead to the 2016 paint scheme for his #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS. Nationwide did just that, surprising 10 fans with the experience of a lifetime. See the video on the Hendrick Motorsports website and see an image of the car on the 2016 #88 team paint schemes page.(10-13-2015)
    UPDATE: A late friend will be honored by the newly released paint scheme on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevy for the 2016 NASCAR season. The side panels of Earnhardt's #88 Chevy will be painted gray - a nod to the car known as the "Gray Ghost" once driven by Buddy Baker. Baker, who died in August, won the 1980 Daytona 500 in an Oldsmobile painted gray, silver and black - hence its nickname. "It's my all-time favorite paint scheme," Earnhardt said recently at his Hendrick Motorsports shop. "So we've put a touch of the 'Gray Ghost,' on this car. With Buddy's passing, it made me want to do it even more, to acknowledge him and what he's done. It turned out to be a good-looking car. It looks good on paper, but you never know until it's on the track."(Charlotte Observer)(10-15-2015)

  • Earnhardt Jr. says no retaliation against Edwards: If you thought #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was considering any sort of payback on #19-Carl Edwards for a racing incident Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, you thought wrong. Earnhardt used his forum on the "Dale Jr. Download" - a weekly podcast on the driver's Dirty Mo Radio network - to explain to fans why he won't be retaliating against Edwards. "A lot of people want me to go wreck Carl," he said. "I'm not going to do that, because if I'm trying to wreck Carl, I'm not winning Kansas, I'm not winning Talladega. You can't go chase after a guy and put him out of the race and accomplish what your goals are. Our goals are to go to those races and win, that's what we're going to do." Two laps prior to the incident, Earnhardt had thrown a big block on Edwards while racing for position. Earnhardt said he didn't want to give up a spot in the Chase, and was racing hard at that point in the race. But when he tried it again two laps later, Edwards held his ground. The cars made contact and Earnhardt hit the wall, but Earnhardt said it was "both of our responsibility." "We're not going to worry about Carl or start some (bull) show between me and him," he said. "It's over and done."(USA Today)(10-13-2015)

  • Drivers not happy with track cleanup UPDATE NASCAR comments: #18-Kyle Busch and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. were angry at NASCAR for what they felt was a lousy job cleaning up the track in the top of the groove between Turns 1 and 2 from a #51-Justin Allgaier oil spill on lap 182 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Both drivers hit the wall as they tried to put themselves in position to finish on the lead lap. Earnhardt, one lap down, ended up in the wall shortly before lap 200 and wound up four laps down in 28th. Busch hit it about 15 laps later, finishing one lap down in 20th. "You can't pass anybody -- it's a single-lane race track and then [a driver] put oil on the top lane [where we] to try to make anything happen and then you put yourself in the fence -- so thanks to NASCAR for cleaning that up," Busch said sarcastically.
    NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director Richard Buck said NASCAR had cleanup workers actually walk the areas where drivers complained about oil, and they felt no oil, just the kitty litter-type absorbent. Earnhardt said NASCAR might have missed the oil because of shadows on the track, but Buck said workers and the pace-car driver did not feel any oil. "I've raced this [stuff] for 20 years," Earnhardt said. "I know what oil and [the absorbent] Speedi Dri is. We hit fluid, flew into the freaking wall hard. That's not Speedi Dri. There was oil up there. ... I hit the f---ing wall. I know I hit oil. I hit it. I promise. I'll argue with them all day long because I know I'm right."(ESPN)(10-11-2015)
    UPDATE: A NASCAR executive said Monday that officials will talk to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch about their insistence they hit oil in Sunday's Bank of America 500 after the track surface had been examined. Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive VP and chief racing development officer, addressed the matter on "The Morning Drive" on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "In this case, we did not see oil,'' O'Donnell said. "I can't debate Kyle and (Earnhardt), they're in the race cars. If they say they hit it, it's not something that we saw out there. We'll continue to talk to them and see what maybe we can improve on in the future. We had personnel even out on the track, getting down on almost their hands and knees to make sure there wasn't any.'' O'Donnell said series officials thoroughly examined the track during the cautions. "Under any caution and condition, we obviously send out all the safety equipment to look and see if there is any oil from their perspective on the track,'' O'Donnell said. "We did that in this case. We had (pace car driver) Brett Bodine run through it multiple times and confirm back up to race control that the track was in good shape to go ahead and restart. Hopefully, there wasn't any. We go out there and we go check and did our process multiple times and they did not see any. Ultimately, we're not in the car and driving the car. From our view, the race was in good shape to get restarted and it always has to be before we go back green. That's where we were and felt like we did everything we could to ensure that the race track was in a safe condition.''(NBC Sports)(10-13-2015)

  • Earnhardt Jr. WAS going for a win on his birthday BUT...rain: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. turn 41 today, October 10th. He will attempt to become only the 4th driver to win a Sprint Cup Series race on their birthday. Cale Yarborough, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth are the only NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers to ever win a points paying race on their birthday. Yarborough's birthday March 27, won in 1977 at North Wilkesboro Speedway and a second time in 1983 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
    Kyle Busch won at Richmond on May 2, 2009, to become only the 2nd driver to win on their birthday, and only the third time ever.
    Matt Kenseth won at Las Vegas on March 10, 2012, to become only the 3rd driver to win on their birthday, and only the 4th time ever.(10-10-2015)
    BUT with the race being postponed by rain until Oct 11th, this will not happen.(10-11-2015)

  • Special Halo schemes at Kansas for #1 & #88: Guardians having gone gold, Microsoft's marketing efforts for the blockbuster shooter are shifting into high gear--literally. Microsoft and 343 Industries have announced that two cars in next weekend's Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR event in Kansas City will be decked out with Master Chief and Spartan Locke paint jobs. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the Chief car, while #1-Jamie McMurray rides with Locke. The Hollywood Casino 400 race takes place on Sunday, October 18. The battle between Chief and Locke is at the heart of Halo 5's galaxy-changing story. "We have many NASCAR fans at the studio--myself included--and we're excited to see both cars compete at Kansas Speedway," 343 boss Kiki Wolfkill said in a statement. This is the first event in NASCAR history that Halo has sponsored. But it's not the first time video games have showed up on the race track, as Nintendo promoted Mario Kart with a custom car, while retailer GameStop regularly sponsors drivers.(GameSpot), see images of the schemes on the #1 Team Schemes page and #88 Team Schemes page.(10-8-2015)

  • Earnhardt Jr. wants to keep pit crew for 2016: When it comes to keeping his pit crew intact throughout the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a strong proponent of the status quo. Never mind that Earnhardt's #88 team picked up front tire changer Scott Brzozowski from Jeff Gordon's #24 squad after the 24 hired free agent Nick O'Dell, late of Joe Gibbs Racing. That change aside, Earnhardt wants to keep his over-the-wall gang as is-for strong reasons-even though some have suggested Earnhardt might benefit from the temporary reassignment of some of Jimmie Johnson's crew, with Johnson eliminated from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in last Sunday's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway. "I really would like to keep my guys-I'll be honest with you," Earnhardt said on Tuesday during a Chase Contender Round question-and-answer session with reporters at the NASCAR Hall of Fame heading into the round's opener Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "I don't think you build a guy's trust ... he needs to know you believe in him. The same way for the driver. The driver needs to know the team believes he can do it. I think the carrier, the changer, all those guys want to know that the driver and everybody involved believe in them when they go over the wall. If I take the 48 guys because I think they're better, then what am I going to do next year? I'll have to start from scratch again. All those guys that are on my car now are going to be (ticked) off because I didn't believe in them, because I took the 48 guys when the going got tough. So I don't believe in doing that. I believe that my guys can do it. I think that we'll find a combination that works for the rest of the year and beyond."
    Now that Brzozowski is on his team, Earnhardt would prefer to keep him, too. The front tire changer has been a mainstay on Gordon's team since 2013. "I hope that Scott wants to stick around beyond this season," Earnhardt said. "I actually talked to him a bit today. It's not like we need too many changes. We just need one key guy that can come in and elevate the standard and push everyone. Over the past couple years, when we've had great crews, a lot of the guys that we've been working with this year have been on those teams. But if you get one guy in there who's kind of a key player, or a bit of a superstar, like a wide receiver or a quarterback is to a football team, he can really elevate the play of everybody around him and boost the entire crew-just the confidence those guys having going over the wall when he's a part of it changes the whole consistency of the team. We really want Scott to wrap his brain around staying with us."(NASCAR Wire Service)(10-7-2015)

  • 2016 #88 TaxSlayer.com scheme unveiled: Last month, TaxSlayer.com announced that it had expanded its relationship with Dale Earnhardt Jr. to include an affiliation with Hendrick Motorsports. As part of the partnership, TaxSlayer.com will receive primary placement on Earnhardt's #88 Chevy for one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race next season. The Sprint Cup race in which Earnhardt will drive the #88 TaxSlayer.com Chevy is still to be determined. But the brand new paint scheme for 2016 has been revealed. The red and black design received a makeover, and Earnhardt himself spearheaded the redesign. To celebrate the occasion, fans will have the opportunity to win a limited-edition, vintage Earnhardt and TaxSlayer T-shirt (more info at HMS site), see an image of the car on the 2016 #88 Team Schemes page.(10-7-2015)

  • Axalta to sponsor Dale Jr. in 2016: Axalta Coatings Systems will continue its long-standing partnership with Hendrick Motorsports after agreeing to a contract extension that will expand its presence and take one of the most enduring sponsorships in NASCAR through 2018. Beginning in 2016, Axalta will become a primary sponsor of the #88 Chevy team of driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. for 13 Sprint Cup Series races annually, an increase of three per season. Axalta will also be featured as a major associate sponsor during all non-primary events.
    The agreement extends a multi-faceted partnership -- now in its 23rd full season -- that began in November 1992 when the company (as DuPont) first sponsored driver Jeff Gordon and the #24 Hendrick Motorsports team. Gordon, who is in the midst of his final full-time Sprint Cup campaign, will continue to work with Axalta as a spokesperson and global business advisor. The multi-year relationship was announced earlier this year.
    "We began a journey 23 years ago with Hendrick Motorsports and a young driver named Jeff Gordon. Eighty poles, 92 wins and four championships later, we are proud of the run we've had with Jeff," said Nigel Budden, Axalta vice president and head of its North America business. "Now, we are delighted to continue our relationship with Hendrick Motorsports and to adorn the hood of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevy SS with the Axalta logo in 2016. As our slogan says, 'We Paint Winners,' and by joining Dale we will continue to do so for years to come."
    On the racetrack, Axalta's relationship with Hendrick Motorsports has yielded four Sprint Cup Series championships and 92 victories. Axalta has hosted thousands of customers at events and fashioned some of the most iconic paint schemes in NASCAR history. Earlier this month, the two companies broke ground on Axalta's 45,000-square-foot Customer Experience Center that will be located on the Hendrick Motorsports campus in Concord, NC.
    "Axalta has built a model sponsorship program," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "For 23 years, they've recognized the opportunities NASCAR provides and understood how it drives value for their business. It's a unique relationship that's evolved with the times and has been consistently effective. We're very proud of what we've accomplished as partners and look forward to more successes together with Dale and the #88 team."
    "Axalta and Hendrick Motorsports have an incredible story," Earnhardt said. "For me, it's meaningful to work with a sponsor that's been so committed to our sport and has such a rich history in NASCAR. Continuing the partnership is special for all of us, and I'm already excited about what the car will look like. I'm really looking forward to the opportunity."(Hendrick Motorsports)(10-6-2015)

  • Late caution saves Earnhardt, Jr's. Chase chances: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #1-Jamie McMurray had a "game seven" moment in the third race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Earnhardt Jr. outran McMurray in a late-race battle that could be the dividing point between an ultimate payday of millions of dollars. Earnhardt Jr. finished third and McMurray fourth in the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway, and that one position kept Junior in the running for the championship and closed the door on McMurray. Earnhardt Jr. passed McMurray on the outside on the race's final restart and stayed in front of him the rest of the way to drive into the 12th and final Chase spot going into Race Four next weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Earnhardt Jr. and McMurray tied in points (2,098) after the first three Chase races, but Junior won the tiebreaker (best finish in the round). The last green flag flew on lap 377 (of 400) after a caution for oil on the track. Twenty laps earlier, Earnhardt Jr. got a season-saving break when #34-Brett Moffitt hit the wall and caused the race's next-to-last caution. Junior had reported a loose wheel to his pit and later said he would have had to pit under green if the caution had not flown. "The left rear was falling off," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I was a couple laps from coming in. It was shaking real bad in the corner, and it started shaking on decel(eration), and I knew it was a matter of time before it was coming off. It wasn't going to make 50 laps. We had 50 to go at that point, and I wasn't going to bash my head against a concrete wall somewhere for a damn loose wheel, so we just came in sooner than later."(USA Today)(10-5-2015)

  • #18 JGR team makes pit crew change UPDATES: The #18 Joe Gibbs Racing team and longtime front tire changer Nick Odell have parted ways. Odell was changing this past weekend in the Chase opener at Chicagoland in a race in which Kyle Busch finished ninth. This is an unusual development considering the timing and that the #18 pit crew has been intact for eight years and is a tightly knit group. This has been regarded as one of the best pit crews for years, and Odell is a great talent. Josh Lesley will replace Odell as the front changer this weekend in the second race of the Challenger Round at New Hampshire (NASCAR.com/PitTalks)(9-22-2015)
    UPDATE Odell to the #24? Ex #18 Joe Gibbs Racing tire changer Nick Odell is close to a deal with Hendrick Motorsports and the #24 team. After the news last Monday that Odell had been released by JGR, almost every team on pit road had some level of interest in talking with him. After sitting out Loudon, PitTalks sources say Odell is very close to finalizing his deal with HMS. If this deal goes down, then front tire changer Scott Brzozowski of the #24 becomes the man in question. Brzozowski came over to HMS a few years back after spending time on the #39 of Ryan Newman. HMS has four teams and Brzozowski is a top talent, seeing where he fits in will be the next piece in the puzzle. As far as when Odell starts changing tires for the #24, no idea. Supposedly the deal is almost done but we have not confirmed with HMS to verify.(PitTalks)(9-29-2015)
    UPDATE 2: Nick Odell, who had served as #18-Kyle Busch's longtime front tire changer, will be #24-Jeff Gordon's front tire changer this weekend at Dover International Speedway. Front tire changer Scott Brzozowski, who had been on Gordon's team, moves to #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s pit crew. Brzozowski replaces Dave Mayo, who returns to a backup role. Mayo was elevated to Earnhardt's pit crew before the Chase.(NBC Sports)(10-3-2015)

  • Different look for Earnhardt, Jr. at Dover: Nationwide is the exclusive insurance partner of Plenti, the rewards program that lets consumers earn Plenti points at one place and use them at another, all with a single rewards card. Anyone who joins Plenti is able to collect and combine points across brands, making it easier and faster to earn and use rewards points. For a limited time, Plenti members can earn 888 points for completing an eligible auto quote in participating states. The Plenti campaign will also highlight Nationwide's Race to Vegas promotion so fans can enter to win a trip to the 2016 Las Vegas race weekend, where they will attend the race and meet Earnhardt. Visit nationwide.com/NW88JR for offer and program details. The #88 Nationwide Plenti car and campaign are examples of how Nationwide is leveraging the sponsorship to promote key initiatives that are important to growing its business and delivering tangible, distinct benefits to its members. Earnhardt has one win at the "Monster Mile," which came in the 2001 fall race, when he led the final 39 laps en route to victory. He's earned four top-five finishes and eight top-10s at the concrete oval since his trip to Victory Lane in 2001, and had a notably good weekend in the fall of 2013, starting from the pole and finishing second.(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #88 team paint schemes page.(9-30-2015)

  • Dale Jr. to serve as TV analyst for XFINITY Series in 2016 UPDATE oops: During an interview with "FOX Sports Live" co-hosts Dan O'Toole and Jay Onrait, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. revealed he'll join the FOX NASCAR team in the booth as a driver analyst for FOX Sports' coverage of the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2016. "I had tweeted that I was interested in doing some XFINITY races, so I think I would like to try it," Earnhardt said in a video posted in "The Jay and Dan Podcast. (FOX) extended the offer to me that we can give it a shot. I want to go up there next year and watch a few races, or watch one race, and see what I'm getting myself into. It looks like a lot of fun." Sprint Cup drivers Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer and Danica Patrick have all taken turns behind the mic for FS1's XFINITY Series coverage this season. "All the drivers who did it ... looked great, sounded great, and they seemed to have a lot of fun doing it," Earnhardt said. "I don't know if it's a career path for me -- it just depends -- or whether I even have any talent in the booth."(FoxSports)
    UPDATE: Clarification from FOX Sports Regarding the Possibility of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Working as a Race Analyst in the NASCAR XFINITY SERIES Booth in 2016: While FOX Sports has had informal conversations with Dale Earnhardt Jr. about joining the FOX Sports NASCAR XFINITY Series booth in the future, as several of his fellow racers did in 2015, nothing has been determined. FOX apologizes for the confusion.(FoxSports)(9-24-2015)

  • Hendrick Motorsports newest class of pit crew recruits announced: Wednesday afternoon on the Hendrick Motorsports campus in Concord, NC, the organization held its very first Signing Day ceremony to celebrate the newest class of pit crew recruits. "It's really neat to be a part of the first Signing Day ever for Hendrick Motorsports for the pit development program," Hendrick Motorsports President Marshall Carlson said. "It's a tradition in other sports. If you look at what we tried to do over the last few years really elevating our whole athletic department and these athletes - bring them in and trying to get out to a wider range of recruits - the investments we've made in coaching, the facilities, it's really fitting that we would start to do some of the traditional things that other sports do to celebrate the success that the coaches and the recruiting class are bringing to our company."
    Director of Human Performance Andy Papathanassiou introduced the new athletes, several of whom had brought family and friends to take in the ceremony. "In this particular class, we brought in seven athletes," Papathanassiou said. "Our classes have ranged from seven to about a dozen. Year after year we start recruiting, gathering 50 names, knock that down to about 30 that we see in person, and we physically evaluate them. We bring in 20 for a two-day minicamp where we put pit crew equipment, pit stop stuff in their hands and then pick our recruiting class from there. These are the winners of a very long and arduous process." The pit crew recruits: Spencer Bishop, Tire Carrier; Ryan Cheek, Jackman; Rod Cox, Tire Changer; Matt Lehman, Fueler/Jackman; Mike McClure, Fueler/Jackman; Roman Perryman, Tire Changer; Max Thomusseit, Tire Carrier. More info and a quick glance at the newest developmental pit crew members at HMS site)(9-24-2015)

  • Earnhardt's TaxSlayer.com relationship expands to Hendrick Motorsports: TaxSlayer.com, which provides quick and affordable tax-filing solutions to its customers, announced today it has extended its partnership with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his company, JR Motorsports, and expanded it to include an affiliation with Hendrick Motorsports. TaxSlayer.com will receive primary placement on Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevrolet SS for one Sprint Cup Series race in 2016 and associate-brand placement through the remainder of the year with his Hendrick Motorsports team. Additionally, TaxSlayer.com will begin its seventh year as a key primary for JR Motorsports, the company owned by Earnhardt Jr. that competes primarily in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. TaxSlayer.com will receive primary placement on the #7 and #88 Chevrolet Camaros for 10 races next season.
    "It has been a privilege to be associated with Dale Jr. and JR Motorsports for so long, and we're excited to add a new chapter with Hendrick Motorsports next season," said TaxSlayer.com President and CEO Jimmy Rhodes. "We have found an immense loyalty among NASCAR fans, but especially with Dale Jr.'s fans. We want to continue growing this partnership."
    TaxSlayer.com has been involved in NASCAR team sponsorship since 2009. It began its affiliation with JR Motorsports in 2010, becoming the cornerstone partner for the company. Since then, JR Motorsports has won multiple races with TaxSlayer.com, including Regan Smith's popular victories at Talladega and Michigan in 2013. "TaxSlayer is one of our longest-tenured sponsors at JR Motorsports," said Earnhardt Jr. "It's quite incredible how both of our companies have grown in that time. I'm extremely loyal to them. I hope the fans are, too. We've done great things together, and I'm really looking forward to racing a TaxSlayer car in Sprint Cup next year."
    The Sprint Cup race in which Earnhardt Jr. will drive the #88 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet SS is still to be determined. The 2016 season will be Earnhardt Jr.'s 17th in Sprint Cup and ninth at Hendrick Motorsports. He has 25 career victories, eight of which have come under the Hendrick Motorsports banner, and has been voted NASCAR's Most Popular Driver 12 consecutive years.
    "When a partner has success and wants to do even more, it's gratifying for everyone involved," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and a partner in JR Motorsports. "The TaxSlayer program has been incredibly effective, and all of us are committed to building on that foundation together. We're looking forward to seeing them across both series next season."
    To celebrate the extension, TaxSlayer's red and black paint scheme will receive a makeover, as Earnhardt Jr. himself spearheaded a redesign for the 2016 season that will apply to both series. The paint scheme will be revealed Oct. 5. The 2016 campaign will mark the 12th season of Xfinity Series competition for JR Motorsports. The company has garnered 25 victories and one championship during that time.(JRM/HMS)(9-23-2015)

  • Pit crew changes to the #88 team: The #88 Hendrick Motorsports team has made a couple of recent changes to its pit crew. David Mayo is back as the team's front tire changer after being replaced earlier in the season by Kevin Novak. Mayo is a longtime changer replacing Novak, who spent time at Roush Fenway Racing and then the #38 car this year before getting a shot with the #88 team at Darlington and Richmond. To go along with the change made on the front, there was a change made in the rear. In late summer, Devin DelRicco replaced rear changer Joe Slingerland. DelRicco will continue in that position heading into the Chase.(PitTalks / NASCAR.com)(9-16-2015)

  • Earnhardt Jr. will 'step up' throwback game next year: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. said during Tuesday's edition of the "Dale Jr. Download" podcast on Dirty Mo Radio there's plenty of work still to do when it comes to keeping pace in embracing Darlington Raceway's throwback theme. Earnhardt enjoyed not only the fruits of a grueling weekend at the historic track, but all of the vintage touches from an industry-wide retro event. His Hendrick Motorsports #88 crew joined in the fun with a paint scheme paying tribute to Cale Yarborough in his Valvoline years, but Junior said more can be done to prepare for the next Bojangles' Southern 500. "I hope that the throwback idea at Darlington is going to stick," Earnhardt said. "I'm pretty sure it will after this weekend. There was a lot of teams that went the extra mile -- Larson and his guys, the 3 group, the Petty group did an awesome job, the Wood Brothers, they looked great. Think we're going to see this every year. At least I hope that the teams come back harder next year. I know we've got to step our game up to compete with some of these guys on the throwback schemes, so it's going to be a lot of fun. Hopefully this is something that is a bit more of a tradition over the years for Darlington."(NASCAR.com)(9-9-2015)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. waiting on 2016 schedule to set wedding date: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has said he and Amy Reimann plan to wed next summer after getting engaged June 17 in Germany. With NASCAR racing nearly every weekend, there will be few options for them to choose a summer wedding. Earnhardt will be in a friend's wedding this weekend - the final off weekend of the Sprint Cup season - and is looking forward to his wedding. "I'm probably going to be doing it this time next year," Earnhardt said. "Once we get that damn schedule. I've been asking (NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike) Helton since New Hampshire what's going on." NASCAR's officials have suggested that the 2016 schedule should be released in early September.(NBC Sports)(8-30-2015)

  • Earnhardt Jr. to run Valvoline throwback scheme at Darlington: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. may be driving the Valvoline car on Sept. 6, 2015, at Darlington Raceway, but thanks to a "throwback" paint scheme, his fans will likely feel as if they're watching a race more in line with his father's early career and track opponents. #88 Valvoline Chevy Earnhardt and Valvoline's presence on the Darlington track at the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event will pay homage to the brand's storied history in motor sports with an early-1980s look inspired by Valvoline cars driven by some of the era's racing icons, including Cale Yarborough, Ron Bouchard, Neil Bonnett and Buddy Baker. "I love the history of the sport and really enjoy paint schemes from the past," said Earnhardt, NASCAR's 12-time most popular driver. "To be able to run a car inspired by many of my racing idols is pretty special. Valvoline has been involved in NASCAR for a long time, and it's awesome they wanted to do a program like this at Darlington."
    The one-race sponsorship of Earnhardt's #88 Chevy marks an elevated partnership between Hendrick Motorsports and Valvoline, which in September 2013 announced a four-year agreement that kicked off last season. The new sponsorship at Darlington represents Valvoline's first primary paint scheme since that time. "As Valvoline approaches its 150th anniversary, we are proud to support Hendrick Motorsports and Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the upcoming 'throwback' Southern 500 by paying tribute to the legendary drivers who have contributed to the legacy of Valvoline racing," said Sam Mitchell, Valvoline president. "We look forward to being part of yet another exciting competition at Darlington for the history books."
    "I remember our first Southern 500 win back in 1986," said Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, whose teams have earned a record 14 Sprint Cup victories at Darlington. "It was an incredible era that featured some amazingly talented drivers, and it's exciting to see Valvoline recognize them with this paint scheme. We're extremely proud of our partnership and delighted to see it grow with this program."
    In addition to the 1980s-inspired red and blue paint scheme, Earnhardt's fire suit will pay homage to this specific era of racing history. The two-time Daytona 500 winner helped design Valvoline's "throwback" look after reviewing the various styles of legacy cars and drivers. He also worked alongside performance and protective footwear and apparel designer Alpinestars to develop a suit that would take NASCAR fans back 30-plus years. The Darlington paint scheme also sets the tone for Valvoline: LEGACY, a program ahead of the brand's 150th anniversary celebration in 2016 designed specifically to tell the story of its motor sports history, commitment to excellence and dedication to developing cutting-edge motor oil. As part of Valvoline: LEGACY, NASCAR fans will soon have access to a special video series, which will be available via the Valvoline YouTube channel, in advance of the Sunday, Sept. 6 race. These LEGACY videos will feature Earnhardt, as well as Yarborough (1982 Darlington winner, NASCAR Hall of Famer and past Valvoline driver) and Ray Evernham (three-time Sprint Cup Series champion crew chief, television broadcaster and NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee). Additionally, a limited-edition die cast replica of Earnhardt's No. 88 Valvoline Chevrolet SS will be available in participating Wal-Mart stores across the United States beginning on Aug. 31.(Hendrick Motorsports / Valvoline PR), see images of the car on Jayski.com's #88 Team Schemes page.(8-24-2015)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. First Driver Named for Talladega's Q&A Session: #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Talladega Superspeedway's most recent winner, has been named the first driver scheduled to take part in the track's Pre-Race Fan Question & Answer Session at the start-finish line on Sunday, Oct. 25, prior to the start of the Alabama 500. Race fans will get to ask Earnhardt Jr. questions in advance of the most anticipated race of the season where the field of 12 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup contenders will be trimmed to eight at the checkered flag of the Alabama 500. Fans that purchase Talladega's "Pit Pass Upgrade" can have access to this special session, which is tentatively scheduled from 10:00-11:20 AM (CDT). Not only can they get an up-close look at NASCAR's finest with the Pit Pass Upgrade, but they can also take in all the festive activities at the pre-race stage, including Driver Introductions. Additional drivers/personalities that will be part of the fan Q&A line-up will be announced in the near future. In addition to the Driver Q&A, pre-race festivities at the Driver Introduction stage will include introductions of special guests and VIPs, as well as the Honorary Starter and Grand Marshal of the Alabama 500, which is set for a 1 PM (CDT) start. The "Pit Pass Upgrade" is $75, but also includes more opportunities for up-close access on race day. The "Pit Pass Upgrade" allows fans to enjoy a crew member's perspective on race morning. Fans can stroll down Pit Road where the cars will be placed in position to start the race, and have the opportunity to see the crews set up each pit stall. It also allows access to The Red Carpet Entry into the Drivers Meeting. Fans will see drivers, crew chiefs, team owners, celebrities and NASCAR officials walk the red carpet into the meeting, where race procedures and protocol will be explained. The Pit Pass Upgrade will be in effect on Sunday, Oct. 25, from 8 a.m. until the conclusion of Driver Introductions. To purchase, simply visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA.(Talladega Superspeedway)(8-24-2015)

  • Warnings issued from Michigan: The teams of #2-Brad Keselowski, #47-AJ Allmendinger and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. received written warnings for having to go through pre-race or pre-qualifying technical inspection three times at Michigan last weekend. It was the teams' first warning under a new system where if a team gets four warnings between now and the end of the season, it will choose its pit stall last instead of where it qualified for the next race. Earnhardt will miss 15 minutes of practice time this week at Bristol because his car actually didn't pass pre-race inspection three times Sunday. Also losing practice time this week are #27-Paul Menard and #32-Josh Wise for being late to the inspection line before qualifying.(ESPN)(8-19-2015)

  • Bus company suing Hendrick: The trustee for bus company DesignLine is suing to recover $300,000 from car dealer Rick Hendrick and his NASCAR race team, according to a bankruptcy court filing. DesignLine issued Hendrick three payments of $100,000 each in 2011 and 2012 after the company's chairman borrowed $800,000 from Hendrick in 2010. Buster Glosson, a retired Air Force lieutenant general, borrowed $800,000 from Hendrick in February 2010. The suit states DesignLine "received no benefit" from the borrowed money. The remaining $500,000 owed was amended to a promissory note in 2012, according to the suit. Glosson and his son, former DesignLine CEO Brad Glosson, bought and moved the bus company to Charlotte in 2006. Elaine Rudisill, the trustee for DesignLine, could not be reached Tuesday afternoon. In the suit, she refers to a DesignLine memo in 2011 calling for monthly payments of $100,000 to Hendrick for design, testing and advice on suppliers. DesignLine records "do not reflect that (Hendrick) provided any of the ... assistance" and "later reflect an amended memorandum ... that HMS is owed monies from the 2009-10 time period." A Hendrick spokesman declined to comment.(Charlotte Business Journal)(8-14-2015)

  • Congrats to Ray & Erin Evernham on the birth of their daughter, Cate Susan Evernham, Saturday morning. Evernham works at Hendrick Motorsports.(7-25-2015)

  • Chase clinch scenarios at New Hampshire UPDATE: Only eight races remain before the 16-driver Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field is set. Here's what we know:
    #4-Kevin Harvick has checked off two of the three Chase criteria boxes. He has the multiple wins that guarantees a spot among the top 16 winners, and at Kentucky, he locked up a top 30 spot. All he needs to do now is start each of the remaining races in the regular season.
    #48-Jimmie Johnson and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. can join Harvick this weekend in New Hampshire. Both Hendrick Motorsports drivers already have the multiple wins that guarantee them a spot among the top 16 winners (even if there's a new winner in each of the remaining eight races). They can lock up a top 30 spot at New Hampshire this weekend.
    #22-Joey Logano could also join Harvick, but only with a victory.
    With help in the form of poor finishes by drivers around the 30th place bubble, a victory for #78-Martin Truex Jr. or #2-Brad Keselowski would give either multiple wins and a possible top 30 place clinch.(NASCAR)(7-16-2015)
    UPDATE: Sunday at New Hampshire, two Hendrick Motorsports drivers essentially punched their tickets to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Dale Earnhardt Jr. entered Sunday's race needing 35 points to secure a spot in the top 30 of the point standings, the next step to officially earn a place in NASCAR's postseason. He earned 39. Jimmie Johnson, meanwhile, needed 26 points to secure his top-30 spot -- with no help. However, his performance netted 22 points. Still, with the way the race played out, those 22 points were enough to do the job. The driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevy SS also clinched his top-30 spot. Since both Johnson and Earnhardt have multiple wins, positions in the 16-driver Chase field are all but assured. The only requirement left is to start the remaining seven races of the regular season.(Hendrick Motorsports)(7-20-2015)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. [the band] changes name: After years spent named after the nonexistent son of a famous race car driver who himself is already the son of yet another famous driver, the band Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. has decided to change its name. According to a post on its website, the group will now be known as JR JR, with its two members claiming they've grown out of the gimmicky moniker. With a new album on the way in the semi-near future, the move could be a smart one. Then again, changing a band's name midway through its career might also be confusing to its already existing fans. In its Facebook post, the group makes it clear that the name change has nothing to do with the actual Dale Earnhardt Jr., choosing to include a letter he sent them in 2011 where he says he's not only cool with their name, but actually enjoys their music.(A.V. Club)(7-16-2015)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. receives ChalleNGe Champion Award: Prior to Saturday night's at Kentucky Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. received a special award. It was the 2015 ChalleNGe Champion Award from the National Guard Youth Foundation. The National Guard Youth Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the nation's school dropout crisis by giving youth a second chance through the National Guard. The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program is conducted at 35 academies across the country and consists of a five-and-a-half month residential phase and a 12-month post residential phase during which mentors continue to provide guidance and support to graduates. In July 2013, Earnhardt raced with the NGYF logo on his car at Kentucky and invited a few NGYF cadets to attend the race. They received special tour of Hendrick Motorsports and a VIP experience at the track.(Hendrick Motorsports)(7-13-2015)

  • NASCAR will not penalize crew members that ran to Dillon's car: NASCAR officials plan to talk to pit crew members who rushed to aid #3-Austin Dillon after his last-lap crash but will not penalize them, Steve O'Donnell told NASCAR SiriusXM Radio on Tuesday. Pit crew members from the teams of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne and Casey Mears were among those who ran to Dillon's car, which landed upside down near the exit of pit road after crashing into the catch fence at Daytona International Speedway. O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, explained on "The Morning Drive" what officials want to discuss with the pit crew members. "Nobody is going to be penalized," O'Donnell said. "I think people may be commenting on it because we took some hard cards and the reason for that is we want to have a conversation with those folks. Listen, we all applaud everybody who wants to run to a scene and try to help out. That's something that I think that is really cool about our industry in terms of people caring about their fellow athletes. We just want to talk about the safety aspect of it. We've got to dispatch our safety equipment - those folks are experts - and to be able to get to Austin as quickly as possible, assess the scene, his belts, what may be going on, do we need to turn the car over, can he be moved from the vehicle or should he stay in. Any second that we can't do that because the car may be surrounded can be a challenge. That's just a conversation we want to have.(NBC Sports)(7-7-21015)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins at Daytona: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Coke Zero 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway in a Green-White-Checkered finish for his 2nd win of the season, 4th win at Daytona, 10th restrictor plate race win and 25th career win. Earnhardt Jr. led the most laps at 96.
    There was a big wreck at the end of the race when #11-Hamlin and #4-Harvick made contact, turning the #11. #3-Dillon's car hit the #11 and launched over the field of cars and into the catchfence. The catchefence was damaged but kept the car on the track. Reports had three fans suffering minor injuries. The #3 Chevy was destroyed, the engine ended up in the grass, but Dillon was uninjured, waving at the crowd after exiting the car.
    Unofficially #48-Johnson finished 2nd [his 45th career 2nd place finish] followed by #11-Hamlin, #4-Harvick, #41-Busch, #24-Gordon, #3-Dillon, #31-Newman, #6-Bayne and #15-Bowyer.
    The race was rain delayed until it started 11:42pm/et.
    The first wreck was on lap 3 when #38-Gilliland, who was running 4th, came down in front of #15-Bowyer, touching the nose of the #15 and spinning the #38. Others involved trying to avoid the #38 were: #9-Hornish Jr., #10-Patrick, #16-Biffle, #22-Logano, #26-Burton, #32-Labonte, #46-Annett and #62-Gaughan.
    Harvick increases the drivers points lead to 63 points over #88-Earnhardt Jr., who moved to 2nd. #78-Truex Jr. who came into the race in 2nd place, fell to fifth, after wrecking and finishing 38th during one of the big wrecks.
    #18-Busch wrecked early but recovered got two free passes and finished 17th.
    Busch is 128 points out of 30th (to get in the Chase) and needs around a 13th average finish to crack the top 30 in the 9 races before the Chase.
    There were 22 lead changes among 12 drivers. There were 9 cautions for 43 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 134.941mph.
    See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
    See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).(7-5-2015)

  • Dale Jr. running Stars & Stripes scheme at Daytona: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Nationwide Chevy will feature a special patriotic paint scheme this weekend at Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400. The #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevy features an American flag-themed design and was created to be part of NASCAR's "An American Salute" campaign. The industry-wide program serves to recognize and thank current, retired and veteran members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.(HMS), see images of the car/scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page.(7-3-2015)

  • Transmission Changed for the #88: After Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified 20th in Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series time trials, the #88 Hendrick Motorsports team opted to change the transmission for Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350. Earnhardt said his Chevrolet got stuck in second gear in Turn 11 as he was coming to green for his second qualifying run. Under road course rules, Earnhardt can keep his starting spot and will not have to drop to the rear for the green flag on Sunday.(NASCAR Wire Service)(6-28-2015)

  • Earnhardt Jr. and Gordon comment on the Confederate flag issue: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #24-Jeff Gordon met with media and discussed many issues, including thoughts about the Confederate flag, the transcripts in part:
    Earnhardt Jr. "I've made my comments on the Confederate Flag several times and I stand behind NASCAR's stance to remove it. I think it is offensive to an entire race. It really does nothing for anybody to be there, flying. It belongs in the history books and that's about it."(Team Chevy)
    Gordon: "As far as the confederate flag I think that... I know how we approach it at Hendrick Motorsports and that is everything that we can control. We have eliminated the ability to use it in anyway or it show up in any of the things that we are involved with. I think that is the stance I see that NASCAR has taken and have had that stance for several years. To me I'm in support of what they are doing. It's a delicate balance. We race all over, but the South is an area where we have a lot of fans. Everyone has different opinions and expression of that. I support NASCAR and the stance that they are taking."(Team Chevy)(6-27-2015)

  • Earnhardt welcomes leadership role: As a member of NASCAR's newly formed drivers' council, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had the ears of the fans, drivers and NASCAR in the past four weeks. And now that he's more comfortable than ever about giving his views on the sport, Earnhardt appears to relish his place on the council, which met with NASCAR executives for the first time May 30. At a promotional appearance on a hot midweek afternoon a couple of weeks ago for Amp energy drinks, one of his sponsors, Earnhardt acknowledged that he's more opinionated now than he was when he started racing. "All the drivers have very strong opinions, and we all feel like we have a handful of answers of things that we could change to make this sport better," Earnhardt said before going onstage. "I don't know that my ideas are better than anyone else's. We all sort of get together and talk it over."
    Being elected as an inaugural member of the council shows that Earnhardt could fill the role that his father once played in the garage as the person who can walk into the NASCAR hauler and truly have the ear -- and respect -- of NASCAR brass. Jeff Gordon somewhat assumed that role in the 2000s. Earnhardt isn't necessarily ready to fill that role when Gordon retires after this season, nor does Earnhardt feel that one driver should have that role. The council membership is designed to change year to year; it includes the top driver from each manufacturer, some past champions, the top rookie and other members selected to represent a cross section of the standings. "You take a little pride in that your peers respect you," Earnhardt said about his selection to the council. "I think we all share that respect for each other and won't be on the council every year. The way the voting is with the points and everything and the way the guys are kind of chosen and locked in, it will change every year, which is going to be good because it will get fresh guys in there with new ideas."
    "There's a lot of guys that are not on the council that probably belong on the council," Earnhardt said. "There's more drivers, certainly, qualified, deserving and smart. There's a lot of guys with a lot of amazing ideas that should be in that room. But NASCAR thought it would be good to sort of keep it down to a small number so the conversations are reasonable." Earnhardt isn't sure what impact the council will have this year. He believes this group is laying the foundation. "It won't really bear fruit right off the bat," Earnhardt said. "It will take a few meetings. Let's get down the road several months so we can understand how to talk to each other and how to work together. Then this next crop of guys, whoever comes in the council next year, will be more productive then."(see full article at ESPN.com)(6-23-2015)

  • Microsoft Windows 10 to Sponsor Earnhardt Jr.: A global leader in technology and innovation, Microsoft has ramped up its involvement in NASCAR with new multi-year official agreements with both the sanctioning body and 11-time Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports. The collaborations designate Microsoft as an Official Technology Partner of NASCAR and a major technology partner of Hendrick Motorsports.
    Hendrick Motorsports will adopt the Windows 10 platform and Microsoft Azure to deliver technology solutions to help improve performance on and off the track. In addition, Microsoft will support the upcoming launch of Windows 10 with primary sponsorship of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevrolet SS at Sonoma Raceway on June 28 and Pocono Raceway on Aug. 2. Windows 10 will be the Official Operating System of Hendrick Motorsports.
    "NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports are perpetual innovators in motorsports," said Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President, Developer Experience and Evangelism at Microsoft. "This sport demands constant innovation, to have its boundaries pushed, so that the sport delivers the exciting experiences expected by fans. The Windows mobile inspection application we launched last year is a great example of how innovative solutions can push boundaries and make the racing experience even better. We're looking forward to the next solutions that we can deploy with both NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports to push each of our organizations forward."
    Microsoft will utilize two-time Daytona 500 champion Earnhardt as a spokesperson to promote Windows 10, which will be available July 29 as a free upgrade for qualified Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices.* In addition, its new multi-year partnership with Hendrick Motorsports will incorporate technology solutions and training across the team, including competition, business and IT functions.
    "I'm a big technology user and really enjoy Microsoft products," said Earnhardt, who is NASCAR's 12-time most popular driver. "Kicking off the Hendrick Motorsports relationship with Windows 10 is a unique opportunity, and there's no doubt our ongoing technical partnership will help us raise the bar in many areas. It's great to see Microsoft is having such a positive experience with NASCAR and wants to do more across the sport. We're excited to be a part of that."(HMS), see image of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page.(6-22-2015)

  • NASCAR issues warnings to four teams: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Hendrick Motorsports #88 team was one of four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams that received written warnings for pre-qualifying or pre-race inspection issues this past weekend at Michigan International Speedway. THe #88 team needed three trips to clear pre-race inspection leading into Sunday's Quicken Loans 400. The Joe Gibbs Racing entries of #18-Kyle Busch and #19-Carl Edwards, along with that of Phil Parsons Racing with driver #98-Josh Wise, had issues in pre-qualifying inspection, and made more than two trips through the line before heading out to pit road on Friday. Failing to pass either pre-qualifying or pre-race inspection twice results in a written warning from the sanctioning body; failing a third time will result in a 15-minute loss of practice penalty at the next scheduled event. In March, teams were notified that beginning with the Phoenix race weekend, the series' fourth race, any vehicle failing qualifying inspection more than twice would be subject to a 15-minute practice penalty.
    Officials began issuing written warnings prior to this year's race at Richmond International Raceway due to the number of teams requiring multiple passes through inspections. It was noted at that time that had the policy been in place the previous week, when the series was at Bristol Motor Speedway, it would have resulted in nine written warnings and three teams would have received time penalties. Since the policy was adopted, there have 44 written warnings issued to Sprint Cup teams. The warnings are a part of NASCAR's 2015 Deterrence Policy, which categorizes infractions (Level 1 through Level 6) and the applicable penalties.
    If the same team receives two warnings during the same event, or during two consecutive events, the P1 penalties may include last choice in the pit selection process, a deduction in track time for practice or qualifying, a delay in the order of inspection or selection for post-race inspection.
    If a team or member receives six or more warnings during a six-month period (from the time of the first warning), the penalty may be increased to P2. P2 level penalty options may include the loss of 10 championship driver and owner points and/or a fine not less than $10,000 and not more than $25,000. P2 level infractions also carry the potential for suspensions and probation.(NASCAR)(6-18-2015)

  • Congrats - Dale Earnhardt Jr.: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced on twitter that he and girlfriend Amy Reimann are engaged. No date or details mentioned.
    While vacationing in Germany learning about his ancestors during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series off-week, Dale Earnhardt Jr. proposed to long-time girlfriend Amy Reimann. And she said "yes."(HMS)(6-17-2015)

  • Earnhardt Jr. comments on retirement: After watching #24-Jeff Gordon compete in his final season in NASCAR, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. says his final lap around the NASCAR circuit may soon follow. "I'm turning 41," he said Friday in a press conference at Michigan International Speedway. "So it's on the horizon, as far as my retirement."
    "I have to watch Jeff (Gordon) and talk to Jeff (Gordon)," Earnhardt said. "(I have to) talk to other drivers, like Dale Jarrett - guys that I trust - about their decisions and what they would have done differently and what to keep your eye on, be prepared for, what shocked them or what they weren't prepared for. You know, what was their decision like years later? Do they feel like they made the right decision?"
    "Do you run as long as you possibly can, even stay longer than you should? Do you go out on top when you feel like you're competitive? Those are questions that a lot of drivers have to answer eventually for themselves."(Sporting News)(6-14-2015)

  • Special Nationwide scheme at Daytona for Earnhardt Jr.: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run a special patriotic Nationwide scheme at Daytona International Speedway in July. The scheme was unveiled on Facebook Wednesday. See an image of the car on the #88 team paint schemes page.(6-11-2015)

  • Special scheme for Earnhardt, Jr at Michigan: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the purple-and-black #88 AMP Energy Chevy this weekend at Michigan. AMP Energy recently unveiled four new flavors: Strawberry Limeade, Passion Fruit, Blueberry White Grape ZERO and Watermelon ZERO. Fans voted on Facebook from the four new flavors to see the AMP Energy Passion Fruit paint scheme hit the track in Michigan.(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #88 team paint schemes page.(6-10-2015)

  • Drivers met with NASCAR on Saturday UPDATE:In a first of its kind, NASCAR met with a group of Sprint Cup drivers for about two hours Saturday night, discussing safety, competition, attendance and more. #11-Denny Hamlin, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., and #4-Kevin Harvick confirmed they were among about eight drivers in the meeting, which was held in the Kent Room at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. It marked the first time that a council of drivers - selected by their peers - had met with NASCAR in such a formal setting. "The drivers got together and organized a vote and all the drivers voted for the guys they wanted on this council," Earnhardt said before Sunday's race at Dover International Speedway. "NASCAR asked us to do that so we could get together and just have a better ability to communicate. It's just a better way to have discussions." A source told NBC Sports that NASCAR was represented by Mike Helton, vice chairman, and Steve O'Donnell, executive vice president and chief racing development officer, among others. "The drivers, we always talk amongst ourselves anyway, but having that open line of communication to NASCAR has never been this open before," Hamlin said before Sunday's race at Dover International Speedway. "You look around the room and you're like, 'Wow, this is a monumental time to where you've got the powers that be and some of the greatest drivers talking about how we can make this sport better." The meeting comes after a recent spat of complaints from drivers about the rules and racing. So what was discussed? "There was talk of competition," Earnhardt said. "What we think about the new package and the direction that they want to go and what we're doing with tires and testing." NASCAR recently came out with a rules update eliminating the 2016 tire testing at all Goodyear tire tests until October. Hamlin said safety was a big topic discussed. "We talked about a lot of safety issues we want to see changed at various racetracks," Hamlin said. "We went racetrack by racetrack, and I feel like we're going to make our sport better." NASCAR did not offer details of the meeting. Brett Jewkes, NASCAR senior vice president and chief communications officer, issued a statement: "NASCAR meets with drivers frequently on a wide range of topics. As part of our ongoing commitment to foster dialogue between all stakeholders, we've met formally with drivers on several occasions this season, including here at Dover. We'll meet with them again later in the season as normal course of business. The meetings have been productive and we find the dialogue very valuable." Hamlin said he's unsure how often the group will meet but expected it would be "at least a few times a year."(NBC Sports)(5-31-2015)
    UPDATE: Three-time NASCAR champion #14-Tony Stewart confirmed he was among a group of drivers that met with NASCAR officials for about two hours Saturday evening at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino adjacent to Dover International Speedway. Stewart came away impressed by the intent and encouraged by the content of the discussions. He said it was the first time in his 17 years in NASCAR racing he can remember this kind of informal get-together session between the sanctioning body and a group of drivers that also included Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle among others. "They want to sit down, and they want to listen," Stewart told NASCAR.com on Sunday just prior to the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks. I think it's just everyone staying on the same page which is good. It was a good thing, it was positive and makes me feel good about our sport that they want to keep everyone staying on the same page. I'd call it very, very positive."(NASCAR.com)(6-1-2015)

  • Fans choose Amp scheme for Michigan: After weeks of voting on Facebook, Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s paint scheme for the June 14 race at Michigan International Speedway has been determined. The #88 Chevrolet SS will feature AMP ENERGY Passion Fruit.(HMS)(5-24-2015)

  • Hendrick enshrined in North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame: Friday night [May 15] in Raleigh, North Carolina, Rick Hendrick was honored as a Hall of Famer. Along with nine other inductees, the owner of Hendrick Motorsports and Hendrick Automotive Group was enshrined in the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. "It's such an honor for me to be here tonight," Hendrick said on stage after being introduced by fellow North Carolina Sports Hall of Famer Woody Durham. Joining Hendrick in the Class of 2015 were Jeff Bostic, Joe Bostic, John Clougherty, Freddie Combs, Gene Littles, Jerry McGee, Lenox Rawlings, Charlotte Smith and Andrea Stinson. "Congratulations to all the inductees here tonight," Hendrick said. "I feel kind of humbled, because most of you folks have earned your status on your own. You are great ball players, great referees, and with me, I take a team. I have to rely on a lot of people." He then asked his "teammates" from both Hendrick Automotive Group and Hendrick Motorsports to stand and be recognized. Under his leadership, Hendrick Motorsports has grown from five employees to more than 600, while Hendrick Automotive Group has expanded from nine employees to 10,000.(HMS)(5-17-2015)

  • Baja Blast scheme for Earnhardt Jr. in All-Star Race: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive a black and teal #88 Mtn Dew Baja Blast paint scheme for this weekend's Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte. Mtn Dew Baja Blast combines the exhilarating taste of Dew with a blast of tropical lime. It's back in bottles and cans for a limited time.(HMS), see images of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page.(5-15-2015)

  • NASCAR issues written warnings to five teams: NASCAR announced Wednesday that #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s team and #22-Joey Logano's team were among five Sprint Cup teams that received written warnings for failing inspection last weekend at Kansas Speedway. NASCAR stated that the teams of Logano, #13-Casey Mears and #27-Paul Menard received written warnings for failing pre-qualifying inspection twice. NASCAR stated that the teams of Earnhardt and #35-Cole Whitt received written warnings for failing pre-race inspection twice. The Sprint Cup Rule Book states in section that if the same team receives two warnings during two consecutive events - whether a points event or not - then the team faces a P1 penalty that could include one or more of the following: Deduction of practice time, deduction of qualifying time, last choice in selecting pits, delay in order of inspection and/or other penalties. NASCAR has placed an emphasis on teams getting through inspection in a timely fashion this season. Teams were warned last month about formalized penalties for failing to pass inspection. NASCAR also announced that the cars taken from last weekend's Kansas race to the R&D Center for further inspection all passed. Those cars were #48-Jimmie Johnson's, #4-Kevin Harvick's and #20-Matt Kenseth's.(NBC Sports)(5-14-2015)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins at Talladega: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the GEICO 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway for his 1st win of the season, 6th win at Talladega and his 24th career win. The win is the first Sprint Cup Series race win for #88 crew chief Greg Ives.
    #48-Johnson finished 2nd [the 45th 2nd place finish of his career] followed by #27-Menard, #21-Blaney (best career finish), #78-Truex Jr., #31-Newman, #9-Hornish Jr., #4-Harvick, #11-Hamlin and #98-Wise (his career best finish).
    Harvick maintains the points / Chase lead with 394, 40 points over #78-Truex Jr.
    Pole winner #24-Gordon led 47 laps and ran up front most of the race until late in the race when he sped on pit road and had to start at the rear, then was caught up in #19-Edwards wreck at the end of the race.
    There were 27 lead changes among 15 drivers. There were 6 cautions for 23 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 159.487mph.
    See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
    See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).(5-3-2015)

  • Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief almost missed the race: Greg Ives, the crew chief for #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., won his first race in Sprint Cup, but he nearly missed the race. On Saturday, his eight-year-old daughter Payton broke her arm in a playground accident, requiring surgery. Earnhardt offered to fly Ives back to Charlotte to be with his daughter, but Payton talked her father into remaining at Talladega. "I wanted to give him that obligation to choose," Earnhardt said. "She's tough as nails and she told him not to come home. She was mad at him for the call he (made) in Richmond." Earnhardt related encountering a downcast Ives after that race, only to learn that "he's worried about what she's going to tell him when he got home. It's good she keeps him honest."(NASCAR Wire Service)(5-4-2015)

  • Hendrick to be honored: America's Car Museum (ACM) will award the Nicola Bulgari Award to Hendrick Motorsports owner, Hendrick Automotive Group chairman and automobile collector Rick Hendrick, to recognize his contributions to the automotive industry and promoting America's automotive heritage. The award will be given on June 26th at ACM's Wheels & Heels Annual Gala. The Nicola Bulgari Award, named after the famous luxury jewelry designer and avid car collector, is awarded annually to individuals who make significant contributions to preserving America's automotive heritage through education, car restoration and collecting classic cars. Past recipients include Dr. Frederick Simeone, founder of the Simeone automotive Museum, Edward Welburn, vice president of global design for General Motors and McKeel Hagerty, president and CEO of Hagerty.(HMS)(5-3-2015)

  • Special scheme of Dale Jr. in All-Star race: During the Sprint All-Star race in May at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevy will carry the brand name of soda - Mountain Dew Baja Blast.(Lionel Racing), see image of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page.(4-29-2015)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. talks about safety efforts:
    What are your thoughts on the new tire barriers right in front of pit road? are you surprised that there are still spots in some tracks where there is absolutely nothing but concrete in places where drivers could potentially end up?
    #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. "I think that the changes that were made in the last 10 to 15 years to help safety have been great. We put barriers where we felt like were common places the cars hit. But as we found out over the last couple of years, specifically, we'll find all the empty spots where there aren't any barriers. And I think that NASCAR is taking some steps to make it right. The tracks are taking some steps to move it along. You never can be safe enough. You never can do enough to be safe and keep the competitors safe and keep the fans safe. You never can do enough. So you shouldn't ever stop trying. But unfortunately, it takes an accident like that to wake everybody up and make things happen. I know that NASCAR was very disappointed that there wasn't a SAFER barrier on the wall at Daytona and that Kyle (Busch) was injured. And it's real unfortunate to have to go through that whole process to really fire this thing kind of back up and get people moving on it.
    "But, at the same time, I appreciate the things that they're doing. And I know that the tire stuff is temporary. The tires are better than the concrete wall, but at the same time those tires can be a problem when you get into those. So I guess their intent, over time, is to get SAFER barriers where they feel like they need it. And until then, we'll have these tires in those areas. I'm happy with the things the tracks are doing. You look back at the cockpit of these cars when I first started driving them, and look at the advances we've made inside the cars and outside the cars, and when I was racing in 1998 and '99 and 2000; and when I was racing Late Models without headrests and neck restraints, I never once was worried about anything ever happening to me. You get complacent, I think.(Chevy Racing)(3-28-2015)

  • Special Mountain Dew scheme at Bristol for Earnhardt Jr.: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run a special Mountain Dew DewShine scheme at Bristol Motor Speedway in April. The scheme was unveiled on Twitter Wednesday evening. The announcement was made at the Wildhorse Saloon in downtown Nashville, TN, to promote the upcoming race at Bristol in April. See images of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page.(3-18-2015)

  • Earnhardt Jr. wins Budweiser Duel 1: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the first Budweiser Duel qualifying race for the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway. It was Earnhardt Jr.'s 4th Budweiser Duel race win. Daytona 500 pole winner, #24-Gordon finished 2nd, followed by #14-Stewart, #15-Bowyer, #4-Harvick, #5-Kahne, #1-McMurray, #40-Cassill and #35-Whitt. Six drivers deep in 2014 owners points or low qualifying speed raced into the Daytona 500: #40-Cassill (9th), #35-Whitt(10th), #95-McDowell(12th), #23-Yeley (13th), #46-Annett(14th) and #33-Ty Dillon (16th). Daytona 500 pole winner #24-Gordon ran up front all race and finished 2nd, leading 6 laps. Four drivers who didn't race into the Daytona 500 will make the race via speed or 2014 owners points (provisional spot): #20-Kenseth, #2-Keselowski, #43-Almirola and #6-Bayne. #47-Allmendinger, #13-Mears and #83-Sauter could still make the race depending on the finish of the 2nd Duel.
    #30-Hornaday and #29-Marks will not race in the Daytona 500.
    There were 3 cautions for 13 yellow flag laps. There were 9 lead changes among 5 drivers. The average speed was 144.462mph.
    See race results on the Budwesier Duel 1 Race Results page (pdf)(2-19-2015)

  • Earnhardt Jr. tops NASCAR's Highest-Paid Drivers: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. ranks as the NASCAR's top earner for a seventh straight year with earnings of $23.8 million (Jeff Gordon was the last driver to finish ahead of Earnhardt in 2007). NASCAR's licensed merchandise sales have plummeted, but Earnhardt remains the sport's biggest star and top seller. His 2014 Daytona 500 Race Win die-cast was the best-selling die-cast in the history of Lionel Racing. Earnhardt had five of the top six selling model cars last year. Forbes earnings estimates include salaries and endorsements, as well as the drivers' share of winnings/bonuses and licensing income for the 2014 season. The top 12 banked $187 million last year, versus $192 million in 2013. There is a dramatic drop in driver earnings after the top 12 with sponsorship money and the best drivers flowing to the elite teams in recent years. #48-Jimmie Johnson ranks No. 2 with earnings of $22.5 million last year. Johnson is in the final year of his contract with Hendrick Motorsports, but is working on an extension through 2017 to match the term of his car sponsor Lowes.
    #24-Jeff Gordon banked $18.6 million last year, third best in the sport, and his merchandise sales were the second highest. Expect a bump this year after Gordon announced in January that 2015 would be his last year driving full-time in NASCAR. Rounding out the top five earners are #4-Kevin Harvick ($15.5 million) and #11-Denny Hamlin ($15.2 million). #10-Danica Patrick ranks No. 8 with earnings of $13.8 million.(see full story and list at Forbes.com)(2-19-2015)

  • NASCAR's Most Valuable Teams: NASCAR's most valuable team, Hendrick Motorsports, is now worth $350 million, and it boasts the sport's most valuable sponsorship portfolio. Last year the team collected nearly $120 million from sponsors alone, while only two other teams generated that much in total revenue. The biggest source of that earning power is the four stars that Hendrick has behind the wheel: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #5-Kasey Kahne.
    Second behind Hendrick and closing the gap is Joe Gibbs Racing, up 18% to a value of $201 million this year. Gibbs has maintained strong relationships with companies like FedEx, Dollar General and Mars, which sponsors Kyle Busch's famous M&Ms car. And in 2015 the driver lineup of #18-Kyle Busch, #11-Denny Hamlin and #20-Matt Kenseth will be joined by #19-Carl Edwards as Gibbs expands to four cars. It will be only the third team to do so this year, joining Hendrick and Stewart-Haas, which went to four last season.
    And Stewart-Haas, now at a value of $186 million, is third on the list. That 26% surge in value over last year should be little surprise to fans of the sport. The team has been consistently improving, and revenue has climbed from $68 million in 2010 to $120 million last year. The most recent increase was thanks in large part to Kevin Harvick, who joined the team last year. Harvick not only brought a 22-race sponsorship with Budweiser over from Richard Childress Racing - last year the team ranked second in total sponsorship income with around $87 million - but he also then won the 2014 Sprint Cup in the premier of NASCAR's new Chase format. Harvick's stellar season was worth $12.8 million in total winnings; only one other driver managed to break $9 million.(see full story and list at Forbes.com)(2-19-2015)

  • Earnhardt Jr. to appear on Rachael Ray Show: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will appear on the Rachael Ray Show this Tuesday [February 17th], and the show's producer, a Concord native, said he was thrilled to meet his childhood hero. "We just had the best time," said Chad Carter, of Concord, a producer on the show. Though Carter has met many celebrities in the show's nine-year run, he could barely contain his excitement when Dale Jr. entered the set. "In our neck of the woods you got Jesus, Elvis and Earnhardt, and not necessarily in that order," Carter said. "It was kind of a magical day." He gave Dale Jr. a welcome basket and left a letter of appreciation produced on a 1940s typewriter, which Dale Jr. posted shortly thereafter on www.nascar.com. "We think of Junior as North Carolina's finest," Carter said. "Every staff person that came into contact with him ... said he was so nice and courteous. He was the thing that you wanted your hero to be." In the upcoming broadcast, Dale Jr. joins Ray and co-host Regis Philbin, to talk about the upcoming Daytona 500 race, according to information provided by show staff. Check local listings for times, the show airs at 10:00am/et on WJZY - Myfoxcarolinas.com in the Charlotte area. Can also see a clip of the show at rachaelrayshow.com(2-17-2015)

  • Earnhardt Jr.'s car fails post qualifying tech inspection: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief, Greg Ives comments on the #88 being too low in post qualifying inspection:
    Ives: "Obviously NASCAR does a great job inspecting the cars and they found that our ride heights after qualifying were too low. They did their due diligence of allowing us to go through their processes of how they deal with it. In the end we still ended up low. It's unfortunate for the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS team. We were definitely not trying to do anything intentional here. I don't feel it was an advantage that got us to our 10th place position, but it is definitely something that can be frowned upon and not looked as being compliant to the rules and that is what we need to stick to." The #88 Nationwide Chevy will start from the 25th position in Thursday's qualifying race.(Team Chevy), #11-Hamlin's car also failed post qualifying inspection and will start the qualifying race from the rear.(2-15-2015)

  • Hendrick Motorsports names #88 pit crew: Hendrick Motorsports has confirmed the lineup for the 2015 #88 pit crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Motorsports.com has learned David Mayo will replace Clay Robinson as the front tire Changer. His new rear tire carrier is Dustin Lineback, who takes over for Kevin Harris and moved from the fueler's position. The rear tire duo will be returning changer Joe Slingerland and William "Rowdy" Harrell, who replaced Matt Ver Meer. Robinson, Harris and Ver Meer moved to Joe Gibbs Racing to pit the #19 Toyota for Carl Edwards. Nick Covey is Earnhardt's new jackman and Matt Tyrrell will fuel the #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy. Crew chief Greg Ives says the starters were named on January 22.(Motorsport)(2-3-2015)

  • Nationwide announces which races it'll be the primary sponsor on #88: via their Facebook and Twitter pages, Nationwide Insurance announced the 21 races that they will be the primary sponsor on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy in 2015. See the list on the #88 Team News and Links page and on the NASCAR Paint Scheme page.(2-1-2015)

  • Earnhardt Jr. having too much fun to think about retiring: With Hendrick Motorsports teammate #24-Jeff Gordon ready to call it quits at the end of the upcoming season, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was asked Thursday about his own eventual retirement. After all, Earnhardt is only three years younger than Gordon. Will the 40-year-old still be racing past the age Gordon is now? "Jeff made his decision based on factors in his life, whether it be his health or his kids," Earnhardt said. "... I don't have any back issues and I don't have any kids on the way. I don't have any factors." Right now, Earnhardt said he can't think about quitting because he's enjoying his job so much. He said the last five years have been the most fun he's ever had driving a race car. "I didn't even know I could have this much fun," he said with a grin. "Last year, I felt like a kid. I had the same feeling I had when I would drive down to Myrtle Beach with my Late Model. We were just on top of the world having so much fun. That freedom came back in the last couple years to just enjoy it and just release the pressure. So that's made me really think I can do this a lot longer. I think I'll stop racing when my health is an issue or I don't feel like I'm in a competitive car or I feel like I've lost a step."(USA Today)(1-30-2015)

  • Earnhardt Jr. interested in driving in Truck Series race: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Thursday admitted an interest in making at least one start for JR Motorsports' new Camping World Truck Series program, which will field a part-time entry for 17-year-old Cole Custer this season. "I've never driven a truck before and I've always had that interest to race in the truck," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I'd tell you I would run Martinsville, today, but Cole's going to get all the shorter tracks due to his age, and we need to get him that experience when we can, and it's a great opportunity at Martinsville for him to run. So if I run a race, it'll be at a bigger track where Cole's not quite cleared to run through NASCAR's process. It ain't going to be Daytona."(FoxSports)(1-30-2014)

  • Pit coach Greg Morin stepping down at HMS: The Hendrick Motorsports athletic department has gone through some turnover in the past few months and now they have another obstacle to get through. Coach Greg Morin, coach of the #48 and #88 teams, has decided to pursue other interests outside of racing and will be leaving the team at the end of January. Early in the year, pit coach Lance Munksgard also left HMS to pursue a career outside of racing. Along with both coaches being gone, HMS lost four different crew members to Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of the 2014 season. See what Morin had to say at Pit Talks.(1-26-2015)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Cover of ESPN the Magazine "Music" Issue: On the eve of Super Bowl - and the Grammys - ESPN The Magazine releases its third annual "Music Issue" with pages paying tribute to the converging worlds of sport and song. The issue - which hits newsstands Friday, January 23 - highlights the intersection of music and sports including features "Entertainers of the Year," as two of the biggest stars of the year - pop star Katy Perry and NFL powerhouse JJ Watt - collide; and "The Perfect Strangers," which highlights the developing relationship between NASCAR's native son, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and platinum-selling hip-hop artist, J. Cole, and how they were forever linked by a single lyric before they even met.(ESPN)(1-21-2015)

  • Hendrick buys limited-edition BMW at Barrett-Jackson: NASCAR team owner and inveterate car collector Rick Hendrick is at it again. Thursday night at the Barrett-Jackson Collector-Car Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., Hendrick paid $700,000 for a special 30th Jahre -- German for "year" -- Anniversary Edition 2014 BMW M5 sedan, with all proceeds going to the BMW Car Club of America Foundation, which helps train young drivers. The car was one of just 30 imported in to the U.S. market, and one of just 300 produced worldwide. The $700,000 hammer price was the high sale of the auction so far. And it hauls asphalt, too, thanks to a 600-horsepower engine, which propels it from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 3.9 seconds. The consignor described this car as "the last unsold example in this country" and "the most powerful production BMW ever." Hendrick said the car will join the more than 200 cars in his Concord, N.C., museum. In fact, it will be parked next to a BMW i8 hybrid supercar in the same color. "We were fortunate enough to get the i8 in this color," said Hendrick. "This baby's going to go right beside the i8 in the museum. The only miles it's going to get are in the truck (sending it from Arizona to North Carolina.)"(FoxSports)(1-17-2015)

2014 News

  • National Guard [22 + 3 races] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following 2014 races:
    Daytona, Sprint Limited* - 2/15
    Daytona, Budweiser Duel* - 2/20
    Daytona 500 - 2/23
    Phoenix - 3/2
    Bristol - 3/16
    Auto Club - 3/23
    Texas - 4/6
    Darlington - 4/12
    Richmond - 4/26
    Talladega - 5/4
    Kansas - 5/10
    Charlotte, All-Star race* - 5/17
    Charlotte - 5/25, Superman
    Dover - 6/1
    Pocono - 6/8
    Michigan - 6/17
    Kentucky - 6/28
    Daytona - 7/5, Camo
    New Hampshire - 7/13
    Indy - 7/27, added?
    Watkins Glen - 8/10
    Michigan - 8/17, added?
    Atlanta - 8/31
    Dover - 9/28
    Martinsville - 10/26
    Homestead - 11/16
    * = non points race

  • Diet Mountain Dew / AMP Energy [8 races] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following 2014 races:
    Las Vegas - 3/9, Mountain Dew Kickstart
    Martinsville - 3/30
    Bristol - 8/23, Diet Mountain Dew
    New Hampshire - 9/21, Diet Mountain Dew (added)
    Kansas - 10/5, Diet Mountain Dew (added)
    Charlotte - 10/11, Diet Mountain Dew (added)
    Talladega - 10/19, Diet Mountain Dew
    Texas - 11/2, Diet Mountain Dew

  • Kelley Blue Book [2 races] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following 2014 races:
    Sonoma - 6/22
    Phoenix - 11/9 (added)

  • Michael Baker International [1 race] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following 2014 races:
    Pocono - 8/3

  • Eight listed as unsponsored 2014 races:
    Indy - 7/27, National Guard
    Michigan - 8/17, National Guard
    Richmond - 9/6, Nationwide Insurance
    Chicago - 9/14, National Guard
    New Hampshire - 9/21, Diet Mountain Dew
    Kansas - 10/5, Diet Mountain Dew
    Charlotte - 10/11, Diet Mountain Dew
    Phoenix - 11/9, Kelley Blue Book

  • Congress cuts National Guard sponsorship funds: Congress has stripped funding for the Army National Guard's sponsorship of motor sports following revelations that advertising on race cars did little to generate recruits. Lawmakers cut the Guard's advertising budget by $13.8 million, the same amount the service had requested to sponsor race cars, said Maj. Earl Brown, a Guard spokesman. In August, the Guard announced that it was ending its sponsorships of Dale Earnhardt Jr. of NASCAR and Graham Rahal in the Indy Racing League. In 2014, the Guard spent $105 million on advertising aimed at attracting recruits and enhancing its image. That included sponsorships for NASCAR that cost $32 million and $12 million on IndyCar. The Guard has said it sponsorship of NASCAR was aimed at building "brand awareness" for the service.(USA Today)(12-15-2014)

  • Earnhardt Jr. to flip coin at Tax Slayer Bowl: TaxSlayerBowl Twitter posted: @DaleJr will toss the coin for the #TaxSlayerBowl. Yes, you can win a trip to Jax and a chance to meet Dale. taxslayerplayer.com.(12-9-2014)

  • Who's pitting for Edwards in 2015? UPDATE: You never know what a team or pit crew will do with a few months to think, but [Pit Talks] have an idea of who might be pitting the 4th JGR car for Carl Edwards next year. This is not official by any means and strictly rumors, but we think it's pretty dang close to being correct.
    Pit Talks hears that Front Changer Clay Robinson and Front Carrier Kevin Harris will be coming over to JGR from [Hendrick]. Both guys were on the front of Dale Jr.'s #88 last year and will be sticking together at Gibbs next year.
    Pit Talks also hear that Jackman Trey Burklin will be coming back to JGR after leaving a year ago to go jack the #5 at Hendrick. Trey was the back up at JGR a few years back and jacked the NNS cars for Gibss before heading over the HMS to jack the #5 this year.
    On the rear will be Changer Kip Wolfmier and Matt Ver Meer. Wolfmier was the old rear changer for the #5 car of HMS this year before being replaced by Jeremy Fuller. Matt Ver Meer was on the #88 of Dale Jr. and had been for the last few years.
    The gas man will be Kenneth Purcell. Kenneth has been at JGR for years now as a NNS jackman and back up Cup guy. Kenneth won 4 championships as a jack man on the #48 and has been with JGR for the last 4 or so years. Now, he is converting to a gasman for this 4th team.(Pit Talks)(11-23-2014)
    UPDATE: Earnhardt will lose his car chief as well as at least three of his over-the-wall crew members. His car chief has his blessing, considering Jason Burdett will move to JR Motorsports to crew chief an Xfinity Series car for Regan Smith. Earnhardt acknowledged Thursday that crew members leaving after their contracts expire is part of the business. "It is a business, and those guys saw an opportunity to do something else elsewhere," Earnhardt said following a NASCAR awards luncheon at the Encore in Las Vegas. "We had a great run together. They were the best team on pit road for the last two years. I never once felt at a disadvantage when I pulled on to pit road. It's going to be a challenge to replace those guys." Hendrick Motorsports has several over-the-wall crew members on contract and training to replace those leaving. "We've got a lot of great potential crew members that are training every day," Earnhardt said. "I was over there Tuesday, and they were working their guts out. We've got guys in the wings ready to move up, ready for that challenge. It's going to be a difficult challenge to replace the talent we have because those guys were amazing." In addition to having new over-the-wall crew members and a new crew chief, Earnhardt will have a new car chief. Travis Mack, car chief this year for Greg Ives on the Nationwide Series championship car driven by Chase Elliott, will move with Ives to the Hendrick Cup car with Earnhardt. "Burdett has been looking for that opportunity for a really long time," Earnhardt said. "The deck sort of got shuffled there at the last minute and it opened the door for Burdett and it also opened the door for Travis Mack. ... We were excited, really, to give both of them the opportunity they wanted. Burdett wanted the opportunity to crew chief and Mack wanted the opportunity to move into a car-chief role at the Cup level. So both of these guys get what they want." Earnhardt emphasized that having engineer Kevin Meendering returning is the key to having a smooth transition with the crew-chief change. Ives and Mack will get their first chance to work with Earnhardt in their new roles Tuesday and Wednesday at a Goodyear tire test at Charlotte Motor Speedway.(Sporting News)(12-6-2014)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. is Most Popular Driver: during the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards, it was announced that #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the 2014 NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver Award. Dale Earnhardt Jr., has won the MPD award for the past 12 seasons. Only NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott has more MPD awards with 16. The Sprint NMPA Most Popular Driver Award is the only major NASCAR award determined solely by fan vote. For info on the award and past news, see Jayski.com's Most Popular Driver page.(12-5-2014)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. wins at Martinsville: #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway for his 4th win of the season, 1st at Martinsville and his 23rd career win. He took the lead from #14-Stewart with 3 laps to go. Stewart had stayed out after a late race caution while Earnhardt and most of the leaders pitted.
    #24-Gordon finished 2nd followed by #31-Newman, #14-Stewart, #22-Logano, #20-Kenseth, #15-Bowyer, #11-Hamlin. #47-Allmendinger, and #34-Ragan.
    Polesitter #1-McMurray finished 16th.
    Among the Chase drivers, #4-Harvick suffered damage after contact with #20-Kenseth. He had to go behind the wall for repairs and finished 33rd. #2-Keselowski broke an axle with less than 70 laps to go and finished 31st.
    There were 24 lead changes among 11 drivers. There were 15 cautions for 105 yellow flag laps. The race was red flagged twice, one on lap 436 for nearly 11 minutes and on lap 490 for almost 9 minutes, both for track cleanup after accidents.
    The average speed was 70.725mph.
    See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
    See UNOFFICIAL drivers championship points standings on the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings (pdf).
    See the UNOFFICIAL owner points standings on the Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf).

  • Earnhardt, Jr. helping raise concussion awareness: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. knew immediately something was wrong during a 2012 crash at Talladega, where his car was hit hard from behind. He was asked on his radio if he was OK, and it was clear Earnhardt was not. "I don't know. I mean, I don't know how many of them hits like that I can take," NASCAR's most popular driver told his crew. He recounts the crash in his personal story of his own battle with a concussion in a video made for the Sports Medicine Concussion Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. UPMC on Wednesday launched the website ReThinkConcussions.com to detail treatments. Featured on the site are Earnhardt and baseball catcher David Ross, who were both treated at UPMC by Dr. Micky Collins, the clinical and executive director of the Concussion Program. Collins is considered one of the leading experts in athlete concussions. A 30-second version of Earnhardt's video will air nationally during the upcoming NASCAR races at Martinsville and Homestead. It will also be shown regionally during the World Series and evening news broadcasts. Other pro athletes who will be featured in the ReThinkConcussions.com initiative include quarterback Brady Quinn, second baseman Brian Roberts and Tyler Hansbrough of the NBA.(Associated Press)(10-23-2014)

  • The Four drivers eliminated from Chase...comments:
    #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr:
    "I still really don't know. I haven't had a chance to look at it. Got with the #16 (Greg Biffle) a little bit. I don't know if I came down on him or what it. I thought I was holding my line, but we were all kind of tight back there."
    "The race is over, it's time to go home."
    "We worked real hard all day long trying to run up front. I knew we needed to be up front all day long. We got shuffled to the back. I made a move trying to get up front and it didn't work out. So, we lost a lot of track position and never got it back."
    "Well we will just go try to win some more races before the year is out. That is all we have left."(Chevy Racing PR)(10-20-2014)

  • 2015 team sponsorships coming together: Some top NASCAR Sprint Cup teams have sold their primary sponsorships for all of next season, but space remains on the cars of #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #5-Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards and #15-Clint Bowyer four months before the 2015 season begins. Among the teams that have sold all their primary sponsorship for next year are #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #22-Joey Logano, #4-Kevin Harvick, #20-Matt Kenseth, #18-Kyle Busch and #11-Denny Hamlin. "It's certainly not easy finding a sponsor, but there was an abundant amount of interest in our sport and in our team," said Dave Alpern, chief marketing officer at Joe Gibbs Racing, which expands to four cars next season. Steve Newmark, president of Roush Fenway Racing, says that the three-car organization has fewer primary sponsorship openings then it did at this time a year ago. Ben Schlosser, chief marketing officer at Richard Childress Racing, says that his three-car organization also is ahead in selling sponsorships, noting some companies were willing to start negotiations earlier. "I think the climate is getting better," Newmark said. "It's not where we need to be, but I think the whole sport is doing a better job of marketing." Newmark credits more collaboration with NASCAR compared to when he arrived at Roush four years ago. Newmark also said that the team has made many changes to better serve sponsors. See more team-by team info at Motor Racing Network and check out the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Team / Driver Chart.(10-16-2014)

  • ESPN employees visit Hendrick Motorsports: Five years ago, Rich Feinberg - ESPN vice president, motorsports, production - came up with an idea. "At ESPN, we cover all sports, but it's a very stick-and-ball culture," Feinberg explained. So he brought a concept to ESPN management and eventually NASCAR management. Why not gather a group of ESPN employees and bring them inside the world of NASCAR? "By immersing people in it, they learn about it, they have a new respect for it, and when it comes down to working on it, they do better," he said. ESPN and NASCAR loved the idea, and for five years, Feinberg has hand-picked a group to make the trek to Hendrick Motorsports headquarters in Concord, North Carolina. In the 2014 version of the immersion program, that certainly proved true. In addition to NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports employees, among the participants were SportsCenter anchors Jay Harris, Chris Hassel, Darren Haynes, Lisa Kerney and Jaymee Sire in addition to ESPN Radio host Freddie Coleman, executive producers Mike Shiffman and Andy Tennant, senior news editor Jodi Herbert and Director of Talent, Planning and Development Chris Duffy. Included in the immersion was an overview of the human performance element of the race teams, featuring a tour of the training field, gym and pit pad. At the pit pad, the group got a chance to take a shot at changing a tire, splitting into two teams racing against the clock for the win. After the competition, the group went on to tour the engine shop and the race shops for the #5, 24, 48 and 88 teams. Finally, the group got to take an exclusive tour of Hendrick Motorsports Owner Rick Hendrick's Heritage Center, featuring his extensive car collection. It was just part of their immersion, as the group later got the chance to take in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports)(10-15-2014)

  • Earnhardt Jr. comments about his tire issue at Kansas: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. experienced a tire failure while leading the Hollywood Casino 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway on lap 122, his comments:
    Earnhardt Jr.: "I was going into Turn 3 and the surface of the tire unwound all the way across the surface. And I don't know; just the whole surface of the tire unwound like a string. It just came off the tire and it popped off the corner. I felt it coming apart through the corner and the surface of the tire is gone. The whole cap came off. Must have been a recap (laughs). But I've got to hand it to the guys. Man, that was a great race car. We hadn't been running very good the last several weeks. But man, when we came in here with a great attitude and a great fast car; this is the car that we won Pocono with both times. It's a good car. Hopefully we didn't hurt it too bad and we'll just try to go to the next one. This is going to hurt us in the points, obviously, but we've got a lot of racing left and a lot of racing to win. We're running good."
    Earnhardt Jr.: "The tread unwound off the tire going into (turn) three all the way through the middle of the corner. I felt the tire unwinding and the surface of the tire was gone by the time I got to the exit of the corner and it blew."
    Earnhardt Jr.: "No, my car was good it was turning. Really wasn't running that hard. Sometimes the tires just unwind. I don't know why they do that. We have had it happen a couple of times this year. It just happens every once in a while. We haven't had any tire wear. We didn't wear the inside edge out down to the cords and pop the tire, the tread just came off." Q) WHAT ABOUT THE CHASE IMPLICATIONS? NOT THE WAY TO START THIS ROUND:
    Earnhardt Jr.: "Yeah, the points - it's going to hurt. It is what it is. We just have to go to the next race and try to win."(Team Chevy)(10-5-2014)

  • Earnhardt Jr. may race for his own team in the future: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. met with members of the media at Kansas Speedway and discussed many topics, including:
    Earnhardt Jr.: "Well the Nationwide Series is a year to year deal. Our sponsorships are short term compared to the Cup level so our relationships with our drivers have to fit in those windows as well. That is nothing unusual about going year to year or every two years with a driver contract. We do the same thing with the sponsorships as well sometimes. We would love to have longer agreements, but that just depends on the money just like every other piece of the puzzle. The money really has a big effect on it. I am really happy that we are basically going to have a carbon copy of what we did this year next season. We have had a lot of success and I think we can build on that and everything is going to stay in place and we are going to go on down the road. On down the road is just 12 months. When you talk about the Cup Series you look a little further. I would like to race for that company one day, so I hope to keep it healthy until that opportunity presents itself. Whenever I'm done Cup racing to jump in a Nationwide car and do that for a couple of years in my own shop."(Team Chevy)(10-5-2014)

  • Regan Smith re-signs with JR Motorsports, but still eying Cup career: Though Regan Smith re-upped for a season of Saturdays, he still wants to be a Sunday driver. In the midst of a championship battle against teammate Chase Elliott, the driver of the #7 JR Motorsports Chevy recently agreed to another one-year deal with the Nationwide Series powerhouse owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kelley Earnhardt Miller and Rick Hendrick. Smith's longer-term goal is to return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, where he last raced full-time in 2012 before losing his ride in the #78 Furniture Row Chevy to Kurt Busch. That's one reason why Smith signed a one-year deal with JR Motorsports. "I definitely want to get back to Cup," said Smith, who trails Elliott by 26 points with five races left in the Nationwide Series schedule. "I don't think I've ever denied that or said that I don't. That's the goal. I want to prove that I belong there and get to race on Sunday's and get to run the longer races again." Though there are several seats in the Cup series that have yet to be filled for next year, Smith wanted to get his 2015 plans squared away before the 11th hour. "Naturally, there are some openings-on paper, it would appear-on that (Sprint Cup) side," said Smith, who notched his only Cup victory in the 2011 Southern 500 at Darlington. "I think a lot of thing would still have to play out on the Cup side, and a lot of things look like they're still taking place over there, and some quality race teams that are still trying to figure out what they're going to be doing. But at the time, I just felt like it was time to go ahead and start trying to solidify some things for next year and know, generally speaking, where I'm going to be."(NASCAR Wire Service)(10-4-2014)

  • Earnhardt Jr.'s Steering Wheel breaks during practice: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. had an unusual occurrence in second practice at Dover International Speedway when he reported a broken steering wheel. "The steering wheel broke internally," Earnhardt said. "I heard you say that, that's not cool," replied his crew chief Steve Letarte "I'll take a look at it." "Yeah," Earnhardt said with a laugh. "I'd be in trouble." Before the issue with his steering wheel, he told the crew, ""The right rear shock tightened it up right before the second compression. The sway bar seems to his the center real hard since we put it in."(Motorsport)(9-27-2014)

  • Nationwide expands sponsorship of the #88 Chevy: Nationwide has expanded its three-year relationship with Hendrick Motorsports to become the majority sponsor of driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #88 Chevy team beginning with the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Nationwide, which in May announced it will join Hendrick Motorsports as a corporate partner, will increase its primary sponsorship of Earnhardt to 21 Sprint Cup events, including the Daytona 500, for each of the next three seasons. The revised agreement provides Nationwide with nine additional primary races in 2015 and eight additional primary races in both 2016 and 2017.
    "We're thrilled to be deepening our partnership with the Hendrick Motorsports team," said Matt Jauchius, chief marketing officer at Nationwide. "We look forward to seeing Nationwide on the #88 for NASCAR's biggest races over the next three seasons." Nationwide is making an early debut as Earnhardt's primary sponsor during this weekend's Sprint Cup event in Richmond, Virginia, where it is previewing the 2015 #88 Nationwide Chevy paint scheme.
    "That Nationwide has already elected to grow the sponsorship sends a clear message about the opportunities they see and how well our teams are working together," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "It's quickly become a strong relationship, and we're committed to building on that foundation and delivering results in every facet of the program."
    "I know the people at Nationwide extremely well and truly appreciate how invested they are in our team and our sport," said Earnhardt, whose family has been insured by Nationwide for more than 35 years and who has been featured in its national advertising since 2009. "It's extremely gratifying that they recognize so much value in the partnership and want to do more. Having this kind of support and seeing so many positive things happening around the team feels really good."(HMS)
    see an image of the car on the #88 Team Schemes page.(9-5-2014)

  • Update about the National Guard sponsorship of the #88 in 2015: The following is a team statement from Hendrick Motorsports regarding its continuing relationship with the Army National Guard: "Representing the National Guard and its Citizen Soldiers is an extraordinary honor and source of pride for our entire organization. Communication is ongoing with regard to the future of the sponsorship, which is contracted through the 2015 season."(Hendrick Motorsports)(9-5-2014)

  • Nationwide to sponsor the #88 at RIR UPDATE: When Dale Earnhardt Jr. races Sept. 6 at Richmond International Raceway, Nationwide will be on his side as the company makes an early debut as a primary sponsor of the #88 Chevy team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Nationwide, which in May announced it will join Hendrick Motorsports next season as a primary sponsor, will preview Earnhardt's 2015 paint scheme during the race weekend in Richmond, Virginia, where he has three career Sprint Cup victories. Fans also will get a sneak peek at the new design next week via social media.
    "Dale is having a season to remember, and Nationwide is excited to launch our new long-term relationship as a primary sponsor this season as he pursues the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship," said Matt Jauchius, chief marketing officer at Nationwide. "We think fans will like the new look of the No. 88 car when they see it hit the track next week in Richmond."
    Earnhardt worked with Nationwide on the design of the car, which will race next season and is scheduled to make its only 2014 appearance at Richmond. A first look at the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS will be given to fans Sept. 3 at 1:00 pm/et via the new @Nationwide88 Twitter account that will provide updates related to Earnhardt and his Hendrick Motorsports team.
    "Dale puts his trust in Nationwide to protect the things that matter most to him," Jauchius said. "We put our trust in Dale to come up with a design that would showcase the Nationwide brand in a way that reflects our values, and we think he did just that."
    "I've worked with Nationwide for years, but never as a primary sponsor," said Earnhardt, whose family has been insured by Nationwide for more than 35 years and who has been featured in its national advertising since 2009. "Having them on board with Hendrick Motorsports and the No. 88 team is a big opportunity, and I really appreciate them inviting me to help design the car. I'm excited for the fans to see it and look forward to kicking off the relationship at one of my favorite racetracks."(HMS)(8-29-2014)
    IMAGE see an image of the car on the #88 Team Schemes page.(9-3-2014)

  • Hendrick Motorsports tests at Martinsville...comments: Martinsville Speedway's position as the first race in the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup has the track's most successful drivers understanding the importance of the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500. #24-Jeff Gordon and #48-Jimmie Johnson, who lead all active drivers with eight Martinsville wins apiece, spent the past two days testing at the iconic half-mile speedway. The two were joined by their Hendrick Motorsports teammates, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #5-Kasey Kahne.
    "You want to give yourself every opportunity to win at every race that's in the Chase to guarantee yourself moving forward," said Gordon. "We know that Martinsville is a great track for us. I think all of Hendrick Motorsports understands that we've had great success here and we have confidence here and we can run really well here, and it's important. It's in the Chase."
    "We haven't tested here in a long, long time, so as a group we kind of sat in a room and raised our hands as to what tracks in the Chase we wanted to test at and the majority wanted to come to Martinsville," said Johnson. "We're not reinventing the wheel while we're here, but we're certainly learning a lot and are hopeful to strike when we come back in the Chase."
    Some of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s biggest wins have come on NASCAR's largest tracks. But it is the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' shortest track ... Martinsville Speedway ... that is a sentimental favorite for Earnhardt. Part of that sentiment stems from Earnhardt's love for the roots of racing, and no track has deeper roots in NASCAR than Martinsville Speedway. And some of that sentiment comes from Earnhardt's great success on the half-mile oval. Earnhardt Jr. doesn't have a Martinsville win or one of the iconic grandfather clock trophies in his house, but his driver rating at Martinsville is consistently among the top two or three in the sport. He has 11 top-five finishes and 16 top-10 finishes on the difficult short-track and has finished second twice and third four times. While some drivers don't especially look forward to 500 laps on the tight confines of Martinsville Speedway, Earnhardt relishes the two trips a year to Martinsville.
    "I just love short-track racing. I don't really like running into people, but I like rubbing," Earnhardt said during his lunch break Tuesday. "I can appreciate someone using the bumper to get a spot without really causing too much of a problem for the guy who gets moved out of the way. I can respect that because you have got to do that sometimes. I feel like you come to expect that at this particular track. Since we're all fighting to get around the bottom, you can only wait so long behind a guy before you have to get creative and get physical with the race car. I can take it as well as I can dish it. I do enjoy racing here. The success we have here just comes from a lot of testing, a lot of practice," said Earnhardt, who finished third in the STP 500 at Martinsville last spring. "When we first started racing here, I wasn't very good and I remember coming several times and testing the first couple of seasons I was in the Cup series and that seemed to get us in a good direction. We got some good balance on our cars and what we need to get a car around this place and keep the tires on it."(Martinsville Speedway)(8-29-2014)

  • Earnhardt Jr. comments on Bristol wreck: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., involved in an on-track accident on lap 160 when #4-Harvick got into #11-Hamlin, who was leading at the time. Hamlin slid into the inside wall, came back on the track and collected the #88.: Q) WHAT HAPPENED IN THAT ACCIDENT?
    Earnhardt Jr: "I couldn't see what happened to Denny (Hamlin), but he got turned around or something and was coming up the track. There was a lot of smoke so I couldn't really judge the speed of his car to know whether I needed to be going up there and go around him on the top. I had to make that choice. I just went ahead and went to the top and ended up getting into him. It wasn't too hard of a hit just did a lot of damage and tore the lower (control arm) off the left-front. We are going to have our hands full when we get it back out there. We are going to try to fix it, but I don't know. Obviously we are many laps down. We will see if we can run a decent speed."
    Earnhardt Jr: "It's just like every time. I don't think it's any different. It's like it's always been. It's hard."
    Earnhardt Jr: "We are working on it, but I mean I don't know. I would like to be out there, but we will just have to see. It's tore up pretty bad. The left-front lower is tore off the car and it's not going to drive very good. There is really one groove out there so if we get out there we might be in everybody's way."
    Earnhardt Jr: "No, the first thing I saw was the #11 (Denny Hamlin) hitting the inside wall. I don't know how it started. There was a little bit of smoke so it was tough to judge the speed of his car coming back up the track. I thought I could go around the top and be alright, but I guessed wrong."
    (Team Chevy)(8-24-2014)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. talks about National Guard sponsorship: Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Friday he hoped to continue representing the National Guard despite the organization announcing Wednesday it will pull its $32 million sponsorship. Hendrick Motorsports, Earnhardt's team, said it has not heard from the Guard directly and plans to honor a contract which goes through next season. "We really don't have any details on anything, and that's between the Guard and HMS to sort all that out," Earnhardt said prior to practice at Watkins Glen International. "I've really enjoyed working with them over the last seven years and I hope to be able to continue to represent them. It's been a huge honor." Earnhardt was asked if he was surprised by the news, which came on the heels of his third victory of the season - the most in a single season since 2004. "You know, there's been the debate in Washington for several years," he said. "Hopefully, we'll be able to continue to represent them. I really have enjoyed it, and it's been a great, great seven years. It's been a great partnership and I think it's been very effective. Hopefully we can continue to do that."(USA Today) (8-9-2014)

  • National Guard to end motorsports sponsorships: After undergoing an intensive internal review, the Army National Guard is set to make changes to its sports sponsorship approach to recruitment marketing. These substantial changes include an end to its sponsorship of NASCAR driver #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Graham Rahal in the Indy Racing League (IRL). "Significantly constrained resources and the likelihood of further reductions in the future call for more innovative and cost-effective ways of doing business," said Maj Gen Judd H. Lyons, acting Director of the Army National Guard. The Army Guard spent $32 million on its NASCAR sponsorship and $12 million on its IndyCar sponsorship for 2014. Future programs will rely on much smaller budgets. And while sports sponsorships have played an important role in helping the Guard build strong brand awareness, existing Army National Guard sponsorship contracts with NASCAR and IRL are set to expire at the end of the current season, he said. "Our NASCAR sponsorship was principally a marketing program, intended primarily to build awareness of the National Guard as a career option" said Johnson. "The NASCAR sponsorship allowed the National Guard to leverage a 77 million fan base and the sport's most popular driver." Motorsports sponsorships are not the only programs to be impacted by decreasing budgets. Since 2012, the Army Guard has reduced sports sponsorships from six-including professional fishing and motorcycle racing-to just the NASCAR and IndyCar sponsorships. In fiscal year 2015, the Army Guard's marketing budget is expected to be about half of what it was just three years ago in fiscal year 2012.(Army National Guard)
    Hendrick Statement: "Our team has a contract in place to continue the National Guard program at its current level in 2015. We have not been approached by the Guard about potential changes and plan to honor our current agreement."(Hendrick Motorsports)(8-6-2014)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. wins at Pocono: #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the GoBowling.com 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway for his 3rd win of the season, 2nd win at Pocono [both coming this year], and 22nd career win.
    Earnhardt, Jr. took the lead with 14 laps to go when he passed Biffle and withstood a late race caution to take the win. It's the second time in his career that he has swept 2 races at a track in 1 year. He did it in Talladega in 2002.
    #4-Harvick finished 2nd followed by #22-Logano, #15-Bowyer, #16-Biffle, #24-Gordon, #1-McMurray, #31-Newman, #11-Hamlin, and #5-Kahne.
    Pole winner #42-Larson finished 11th.
    There was a large wreck on lap 117. #11-Hamlin got loose off of turn 1, #55-Vickers checked up behind him, but ran into #20-Kesenth and a total of 13 cars were involved.
    #24-Gordon (2 wins) keeps the points, but it falls to 17 points over #88-Earnhardt Jr.
    #88-Earnhardt, Jr. now leads the Chase Grid with 3 wins and 2nd in points followed by #2-Keselowski with 3 wins, 3rd in points.
    There were 15 lead changes among 10 drivers. There were 8 cautions for 35 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 127.411mph.
    See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Pocono Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Pocono Penalty Report (pdf).
    See UNOFFICIAL drivers championship points standings on the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings (pdf).
    See the UNOFFICIAL owner points standings on the Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf).(8-3-2014)

  • Michael Baker International Partners with Earnhardt Jr. at Pocono: Michael Baker International, the number-one ranked engineering firm in Pennsylvania and a strong supporter of the National Guard Youth Foundation, will partner with Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. to bring awareness to the high school dropout crisis and help high school dropouts get back on track to become productive members of their communities. The company will debut its new logo on the hood of Earnhardt's #88 Chevrolet SS during the August 1-3 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend at Pocono Raceway, symbolizing the consolidation of several legacy firms, which have joined forces to combine innovation and technology to help clients meet critical infrastructure requirements. This event marks the beginning of the celebration of the company's 75th anniversary in 2015 and its commitment to Pennsylvania, the clients and communities Michael Baker International serves throughout the U.S. and internationally.(BusinessWire)(7-31-2014)

  • Greg Ives named crew chief for Earnhardt, Jr. in 2015: Crew chief Greg Ives will rejoin Hendrick Motorsports following the 2014 NASCAR season to lead the #88 Sprint Cup Series team of driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. Ives, 34, was race engineer for Jimmie Johnson's historic run of five consecutive Sprint Cup championships (2006-2010) with the #48 Hendrick Motorsports team. He will work alongside Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus, in the shop shared by the #48 and 88 Chevy SS teams.
    "Greg was our number-one choice," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "This is a talented guy who already has a terrific rapport with Dale Jr. and is a fit with the organization. He and Chad had a lot of success together, and all of our crew chiefs think the world of him and what he's accomplished. Greg's proven that he can win races, and he has all the tools to do big things."
    Since his debut as a crew chief for JR Motorsports in 2013, Ives has won five NASCAR Nationwide Series races including three this season with rookie and current points leader Chase Elliott.
    A native of Bark River, Michigan, and graduate of Michigan Technological University, Ives joined Hendrick Motorsports as a mechanic in 2004 before moving into an engineering role on the #48 team in 2006. In seven years working with Knaus, he contributed to 42 wins, 113 top-five finishes and 21 pole positions in the Sprint Cup Series. In November 2012, Ives transitioned to JR Motorsports as crew chief for driver Regan Smith. The duo won two races and finished third in points in 2013 before Ives was named Elliott's crew chief prior to this season. JR Motorsports works closely with Hendrick Motorsports and is owned by Earnhardt in partnership with Rick Hendrick.(HMS)(7-30-2014)

  • Latest news on #88 crew chief for 2015: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. met with members of the media at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday and was asked about crew chief possibilities for 2015, the transcript in part:
    Q. Talk about how special winning your last Brickyard with Steve on the box would be. And are there any names being thrown around for next year? DALE EARNHARDT JR.: "We're always -- everybody is talking a little bit. We haven't really sat down in a room and got down to a real serious discussion about it. But I think that the people involved in the decision making have some great ideas, and the conversations are starting to happen, so we'll see how that sort of works itself out. Yeah, I mean, any race I win with Steve this year is very special because of his last year. So yeah, we'll take anywhere. We'll take a win anywhere. This weekend would be -- he's one of the guys that's one of the best on the box when it comes to strategy, and this style of race and the way the tires are going to play into that. This is right in his wheelhouse. I think he's going to give us a great opportunity.(Team Chevy)(7-27-2014)

  • Earnhardt Jr. visits Indiana Army National Guard: It wasn't the ground-shaking boom of an M119 Howitzer that moved #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Wednesday; it was the line of six Indiana Army National Guard soldiers with raised right hands in that same grassy field. Earnhardt, in Indiana to compete in this weekend's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, shared in the re-enlistment ceremony of the half dozen soldiers. IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal, whose motor sports program is also sponsored by the National Guard, also was there. "That was really overwhelming because I'm sure that opportunity will never come again," Earnhardt said with a shaken voice. "I (once) had the privilege of swearing in new recruits and they were scared to death - it was a unique experience - but to have some guys who want to add more years to what they're doing, that says a lot about how much they believe in what they're doing." Earnhardt and Rahal didn't just meet soldiers, they got to engage with them. Both got to fire the Howitzer on Range 43, ignite ditch-creating C4 artillery on Range 44 and shoot an M4 rifle on Range 12. They even rode out in a Blackhawk. The Howitzer has a range of nearly 10 miles, and it had both drivers shaking.(see full story and images at the USA Today)(7-24-2014)

  • Earnhardt, Jr., Danica among most popular sports figures: The battle for number one continues with a change on top. As many have asked the LeBron James versus Michael Jordan question, we may not know how they would compare on the basketball court, but this year, James overthrows Jordan and is America's favorite sports star. Last year, the reverse was true and Michael Jordon was number one while LeBron James was number two. As he makes his farewell tour around baseball fields this summer, New York Yankee Derek Jeter moves up three spots and is in the third position this year. Rounding out the top five is quarterback Peyton Manning, remaining at number four this year, and in a tie for the fifth spot on the list is another basketball star, Kobe Bryant, moving up from number seven, and NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt, Jr., moving up from number ten last year.
    She may have had some health issues while playing at Wimbledon, but for the fifth year in a row, Serena Williams is the Favorite Female Sport Star. Race car driver Danica Patrick remains at number two, while Venus Williams remains number three. Another tennis star, Maria Sharapova, is at number four again this year, while soccer legend Mia Hamm remains at number five. These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,241 adults surveyed online between June 11 and 16, 2014.(Harris Interactive)(7-19-2014)

  • Earnhardt Jr. & Danica up for kids awards: #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has been nominated for a Kids' Choice Sports Best Male Athlete award more info and to vote at nick.com. Danica Patrick has been nominated as Best Female Athlete, vote at nick.com(7-9-2014)

  • Sprint Cup teams form Race Team Alliance UPDATE: A group of nine multi-car teams participating in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) announced today they have formed a collaborative business association called the Race Team Alliance (RTA). The purpose of the organization is to create an open forum for the teams to explore areas of common interest and to work collaboratively on initiatives to help preserve, promote, and grow the sport of stock car racing. The organization intends to open up its membership to all full time NSCS teams in the very near future. In providing a vehicle for the teams to work together, the organization creates for the first time a single entity to engage with stakeholders on creative ways to market and experience the power of the sport's teams and drivers. As part of its focus, the RTA also plans to explore innovative ways to harness the combined purchasing power and scale of the teams' operations to drive efficiencies in costs. Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, has been elected the first chair of the RTA.
    "With the encouragement of NASCAR and the manufacturers, the teams have met in various forms and forums over the years to explore areas of common interest. This simply formalizes what was an informal group." said Kauffman. "The key word is 'Collaboration'. We all have vested interests in the success and popularity of stock car racing. By working together and speaking with a single voice, it should be a simpler and smoother process to work with current and potential groups involved with the sport. Whether it be looking for industry-wide travel partners or collaborating on technical issues - the idea is to work together to increase revenue, spend more efficiently, and deliver more value to our partners."
    The following teams are the executive members of the RTA: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Hendrick Motor Sports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Richard Petty Motor Sports, Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske.(RTA)(7-7-2014)
    UPDATE: Statement from NASCAR: "We are aware of the alliance concept the team owners have announced, but have very few specifics on its structure or purpose. It is apparently still in development and we're still learning about the details so it would be inappropriate to comment right now. NASCAR's mission, as it has always been, is to create a fair playing field where anyone can come and compete. Our job is to support and strengthen all of the teams, large and small, across all of our series and we'll continue to do that. NASCAR is a unique community with hundreds of stakeholders. They all have a voice and always will."(NASCAR)(7-7-2014)

  • Johnson, Earnhardt, Jr. nominated for ESPYs: Teammates #48-Jimmie Johnson and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. have something else in common now. Both are among the driver nominees for this year's ESPY awards. Johnson is on the ballot in two categories -- for best championship performance for his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup title and for best driver. Other nominees in the best championship performance category are: NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs; UConn's Shabazz Napier, who helped the Huskies upset Kentucky to win the men's NCAA tournament; and David Ortiz of the World Series champion Boston Red Sox. Joining him in the best driver category are: Hendrick Motorsports teammate Earnhardt Jr., 2013 IndyCar champion Scott Dixon, 2014 Indianapolis 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and 2013 NHRA Funny Car titlist John Force.(USA Today)(6-25-2014)

  • New look for the #88 at Sonoma: Kelley Blue Book, the vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry, will adorn the hood of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevy this weekend at Sonoma Raceway (HMS), see images of the car on the #88 Team Schemes page.(6-20-2014)

  • Hendrick Motorsports stretches win streak to five races: #48-Jimmie Johnson's performance at Michigan marked Hendrick Motorsports' fifth consecutive points-paying Sprint Cup win of 2014. #24-Jeff Gordon kicked off the current streak with his Kansas victory on May 10, which was followed by Johnson winning on May 25 at Charlotte and June 1 at Dover. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. kept the trend going with his first-place finish at Pocono Raceway on June 8. It is the third time Hendrick Motorsports teams have combined to win at least five consecutive points races, including the 2007 Sprint Cup season when the organization posted separate win streaks of five races and a NASCAR modern era (1972-present) record of six races. The all-time NASCAR record of 16 consecutive Cup-level points victories was recorded in 1956 by car owner Carl Kiekhaefer with a combination of four different drivers.(HMS)(6-18-2014)

  • Superman returns to the #88 at Michigan: Superman, the world's first and most recognized Super Hero, will be featured again on Dale Earnhardt's #88 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Michigan. He also ran this paint scheme at the 600-mile race at Charlotte in May. The Superman-themed paint scheme will pair the Army National Guard with the Superman Hall of Heroes, a new online gift-giving portal that empowers consumers to honor their personal heroes; those who have made a positive impact on their lives or the lives of others.(HMS), see images of the car/scheme on the #88 Team Scheme page.(6-12-2014)

  • Why did winner Earnhardt Jr. get less winnings than Keselowski: Anyone who looked at the winnings from the Pocono 400 probably did a double take. Dale Earnhardt Jr., the winner of the race, earned $198,965. Brad Keselowski, who finished second, earned $213,783. NASCAR, in order to encourage teams to run every race, decades ago created a winner's circle program. Teams that win can enter the program for a couple of years. NASCAR gives the team extra money in exchange for the driver going to a track for an appearance to promote an event a few weeks before the race. Every organization is limited to two drivers that are eligible for this bonus money. Earnhardt is not one of Hendrick Motorsports' two winners circle drivers. Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon are the two Hendrick drivers on the program. The winner's circle program is not the only program that can cause confusion in winnings. Manufacturers often offer bonus money for a top finisher among their ranks. And several sponsors offer contingency awards as long as the team has the decal of that sponsor on the car. Some teams can't run certain decals because of a conflict with team sponsors and therefore are not eligible for the award. For instance, Tony Stewart won the 3M lap leader award even though he ranked well behind Keselowski in laps led at Pocono because Penske chooses not to run the 3M sticker to avoid conflict with its sponsors.(see full story at Sporting News)(6-12-2014)

  • Earnhardt Jr. wins at Pocono: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Pocono 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway for his 2nd win of 2014, his 1st win at Pocono and his 21st career win. It is the first season that Earnhardt Jr. has had multiple wins since 2004. The last four races at Pocono have been won by a different Hendrick Motorsports driver [6/2014-EarnhardtJr, 8/2013-Kahne, 6/2013-Johnson, 8/2012-Gordon]
    #2-Keselowski finished 2nd [for the 2nd race in a row] followed by #41-Busch, #11-Hamlin (pole sitter), #42-Larson, #48-Johnson, #31-Newman, #24-Gordon, #78-Truex, Jr. and #1-McMurray.
    Pole sitter, #11-Hamlin, led five laps and finished 4th.
    #20-Kenseth, who came into the race as the points leader, finished 25th with a lot of front end damage, lost the points lead to #24-Gordon, who leads by 16 points over Kenseth.
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. leads the Chase Seeding with two wins, highest in driver points at 3rd. #48-Johnson is second, also with 2 wins, but 4th in points. #22-Logano has 2 wins and is 9th in points. #4-Harvick has two wins and is 12th in points.
    There were 21 lead changes among 10 drivers and there were 7 cautions for 26 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 139.440mph.
    See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Pocono Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Pocono Penalty Report (pdf).
    See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Pocono Race & Points Report (pdf).(6-8-2014)

  • NASCAR reporter breaks his ankle while interviewing Earnhardt Jr.: MRN reporter Dustin Long was interviewing #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Pocono Friday when a terrible accident temporarily derailed his weekend. Long fell off one of the scales that NASCAR uses to weigh cars and broke his ankle. Long posted a gruesome photo of the injury on his Twitter account. Earnhardt took the blame for the accident, saying he led Long through the scales as a shortcut.(USA Today)(6-7-2014)

  • Superman featured on the #88 at Charlotte: Superman, the world's first and most recognized Super Hero, will be featured on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Superman-themed paint scheme will pair the Army National Guard with the Superman Hall of Heroes, a new online gift-giving portal that empowers consumers to honor their personal heroes; those who have made a positive impact on their lives or the lives of others. More info at supermanhallofheroes.com (HMS), see a teaser image on the #88 Team Schemes page.(5-21-2014)

  • Earnhardt Jr. not in a rush to push Elliott to Cup: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr met with media on Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway and was asked about Chase Driver who drives for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series:
    Earnhardt Jr.: "I don't think you do either one. I think you just set a plan from the start, and you stick with it. We have like a two-year plan I suppose, that he runs in the Nationwide Series and I think you just stick with the plan regardless of the success he is having. You have the commitments in line with sponsors and what have you, so I think it will suit him well to relax and not have to worry about that and just follow the plan that he has had in front of him from the start. He is really young too, so he has a lot of time on his hands and time to get to Cup level to realize that potential, one day. But yes, I think he can just sit there and relax knowing what we tried to set out to do from the start and not really adjust."(Team Chevy)(5-18-2014)

  • Warner Bros/DC Entertainment join forces with Hendrick Motorsports: Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP), in conjunction with DC Entertainment (DCE), has joined forces with Hendrick Motorsports in a unique three-year agreement that will allow the team and its partners to develop consumer promotions and original content to engage youth, drive fan excitement and energize licensed merchandise initiatives. WBCP and DCE will work with Hendrick Motorsports and its partners to build on- and off-track programs teaming drivers #5-Kasey Kahne, #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. with the most recognized characters in Super Hero lore, including Batman, Superman, The Flash and Green Lantern.
    Potential programs include co-developed car paint schemes, comic books and digital content incorporating DC Comics Super Heroes and illustrated likenesses of Hendrick Motorsports drivers. Team partners will have exclusive opportunities to align with upcoming Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Comics-inspired programming and releases.
    The first joint program will come to life around upcoming Sprint Cup events at Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 25) and Michigan International Speedway (June 15) where Superman, the world's first and most recognized Super Hero, will be featured on Earnhardt's #88 Chevy. The Superman-themed paint scheme will pair the Army National Guard with the Superman Hall of Heroes, a new online gift-giving portal that empowers consumers to honor their personal heroes; those who have made a positive impact on their lives or the lives of others. The #88 National Guard/Superman Chevrolet SS will be unveiled May 21. Fans can learn more by following Hendrick Motorsports on Facebook and Twitter.(Hendrick Motorsports)(5-15-2014)

  • National Guard NASCAR sponsorship examined by Congress UPDATE: The National Guard spent $26.5 million to sponsor NASCAR racing in 2012 to bolster its marketing and recruitment but failed to sign up a single new soldier to its ranks, according to data provided to USA Today. Even though the Guard spent $88 million as a NASCAR sponsor from 2011 to 2013, it is unclear how many new recruits, if any, signed up because of it, according to documents. The Guard on Wednesday would not confirm the figures on prospects and recruits developed through its NASCAR sponsorship. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who will hold a hearing on the recruitment program Thursday, assailed the Guard for "wasting a bunch of money on a very expensive sports sponsorship." The Guard received 24,800 recruiting prospects from the program in 2012, documents show. In those cases, potential recruits indicated the NASCAR affiliation prompted them to seek more information about joining. Of that group, only 20 met the Guard's qualifications for entry into the service, and not one of them joined. In 2013, the number of prospects associated with NASCAR dropped to 7,500, according to briefing materials for the Senate subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight led by McCaskill. The National Guard needs 1 million leads to meet its annual recruiting goal of 50,000 soldiers. The NASCAR initiative, along with the $38 million spent on an IndyCar racing sponsorship, over the same period, will be the target of the hearing led by McCaskill. Rick Breitenfeldt, a National Guard spokesman, said 90% of Army National Guard soldiers who enlisted or re-enlisted from 2007 to 2013 indicated that they had been exposed to information about the service through NASCAR-related recruiting and retention materials. Sponsoring NASCAR and driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. puts the Guard's name in front of 77 million fans, he said.(USA Today)(5-7-2014)
    UPDATE: Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., questioned the Army National Guard's sponsorship in NASCAR and IndyCar during a subcommittee hearing Thursday afternoon, and the official overseeing those programs said he planned to evaluate them. The National Guard will sponsor Dale Earnhardt Jr. for 20 Sprint Cup races this season. Military contacts are done on a yearly basis. Sen. McCaskill said that the National Guard's budget for NASCAR amounts to $32 million from a sports marketing budget of more than $56 million. The National Guard does not differentiate between what goes to the team and what goes toward activation. No decision has been set by the National Guard for next season. "I will be ... reviewing all these programs in the next, probably, month," Maj. Gen. Judd Lyons, acting director, Army National Guard, said during the hearing.
    At one point during the hour-long hearing Sen. McCaskill said: "I don't understand ... how you can justify the fact that nobody is getting recruited from the NASCAR. The facts speak for themselves. the data is very clear. You're not getting recruits off NASCAR. This is data you gave us. The reason we know is this because you told us."
    Said Maj. Gen. Lyons: "I'm trying to analyze these programs for exactly the reasons that you're saying. Are they achieving the intended affect? Are they the best use of our our taxpayer dollars? Is that the right thing to be doing? These are things I'm considering as the acting director as a path forward."(Motor Racing Network)(5-9-2014)

  • Earnhardt Jr. squashes marriage rumor: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. met with members of the media at Talladega Superspeedway and discussed a few things, among them was marriage/weddings. The transcript in part:
    Earnhardt Jr.: "I definitely would have a hard time writing that check (laughter)."
    Earnhardt Jr.: "No of course not. I would not force everybody to go down to Daytona for my wedding. I probably would just have it right there in the back yard, but whatever is easiest. That was funny. I read that and it was a roller coaster of an article. Pretty good."
    Earnhardt Jr.: "I didn't. So we just skipped the engagement I guess, went right to the wedding."(Team Chevy)(5-3-2014)

  • Nationwide Insurance to sponsor Earnhardt Jr.: The #88 Hendrick Motorsports team will "Join the Nation" in 2015 thanks to a new three-year partnership that will pair Nationwide Insurance, a leading insurance and financial services organization, with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. As the exclusive insurance and retirement planning sponsor of Earnhardt's #88 Chevy, Nationwide Insurance will be a primary partner for 12 Sprint Cup races in 2015 and 13 events in both 2016 and 2017. The company also will be an associate-level sponsor of the #88 race cars throughout all three seasons.
    "The Earnhardt family has trusted Nationwide for their insurance needs for more than 35 years, and Dale Jr. has a positive impact on our brand's reputation and brings pride to Nationwide members and our associates," said Matt Jauchius, chief marketing officer for Nationwide Insurance. "Expanding that relationship to incorporate the prestigious operations at Hendrick Motorsports and collaborating with Rick Hendrick and his team is a great fit for Nationwide Insurance."
    Hendrick Motorsports will work with Nationwide Insurance to support consumer, business and employee offerings in the auto, home, life and classic car insurance and retirement categories. NASCAR fans can immediately benefit through insurance discounts offered via the free JR Nation fan club. Membership is available by visiting www.jrnation.com.
    "Nationwide is always top of mind when you think of companies that truly leverage the power of NASCAR," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "We're proud to welcome them to the #88 team and grow their relationship with Dale Jr. Working together, we'll build another program that moves the needle for their business. The opportunities are endless."
    "I've always enjoyed working with Nationwide and really believe in their products and services," said Earnhardt, who Nationwide Insurance has featured in national advertising since 2009. "It'll be fun to work with them in a new way, and I know everyone on the team is looking forward to the partnership. They've invested in our sport and built a strong reputation with NASCAR fans, and this opens up doors to do even more great things."(HMS)
    AND Hendrick Motorsports teammate #5-Kasey Kahne is sponsored by Farmers Insurance. Hendrick Motorsports issued a statement regarding Farmers' status: "Our team has a terrific relationship with the people at Farmers Insurance, and we're having positive discussions about the future. The announcement regarding the #88 team does not impact our ability to continue the partnership beyond 2014."(MRN)(5-2-2014)

  • Earnhardt Jr. voted first quarter Driver of the Year: Two-time Daytona 500 winner, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., was named winner of the first quarter Driver of the Year Award 2014. NASCAR's perennial fan favorite won title in the voting by an elite panel of American broadcasters and journalists Ending an almost two-year winless drought Earnhardt took the checkered flag in the season opening, and rain-delayed, Daytona 500. In the first quarter, which ended with race in Darlington, he added three second-place and one third-place finishes. In the voting Earnhardt, who drives the #88 National Guard Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports, had seven first-place ballots and totaled 88 points according to the Driver of the Year points system. Kevin Harvick, who drives the #4 Budweiser Chevy in NASCAR, and Australia's Will Power who drives the #12 Verizon Dallara-Chevrolet for Team Penske tied for second place with 80 points. Harvick had five first-place votes and Australia's Power had three. Chase Elliott burst into the limelight scoring 37 points, one first-place vote and finished fourth, in the ballot driving for Earnhardt's JRM Nationwide Series team. And Kyle Busch also garnered one first-place vote A total of 20 drivers scored points in the first quarter voting. In its' 48th year, the Driver of the Year title is unique. The panel of 17 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. determines the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4,3,2,1 basis. Earnhardt will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch to be presented at a race weekend at to be determined.(DOTY)(5-1-2014)

  • Hendrick pit coach is leaving for a job outside of racing UPDATES: One of the best pit coaches in NASCAR is leaving racing for work outside of the sport. As of Darlington two weeks ago, Hendrick Motor Sports pit coach Lance Munksgard will no longer be at HMS. Munksgard will be taking a new job in McGregor, Texas at Fourseventy Claim Management. Pit Talks talked with Coach Munksgard, he had this to say. "I was blessed to have been able to live a dream of working with the best mechanics and pit crew members in NASCAR over the years which was an unforgettable experience. I couldn't have asked for a better organization than HMS to finish my NASCAR career. HMS is a truly professional company that starts from Mr. Hendrick down through the management, crew chiefs, and through the pit crews. It was a true pleasure to work with a strong coaching staff and pit crew members at HMS and watch them progress each week. I will truly miss the competition on pit road each week and wish all the guys on pit road the best of luck."(Pit Talks)(4-21-2014)
    UPDATE: Greg Morin, who has been pit crew coach for the teams of Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon, and Chris Krieg, the assistant coach to Munksgard, will oversee the pit crews for Earnhardt and Johnson until a full-time replacement is hired.(MRN)(4-22-2014)
    UPDATE 2: Greg Morin and Chris Krieg were the 2 assistants for the #48/#88 pit crews will now be sharing duties until a replacement is hired for Munksgard. The #5/#24 pit coaches will remain the same.(4-23-2014)

  • Earnhardt Jr. heads to school in Kansas: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be in Topeka May 8th for an appearance at Seaman High School. Seaman athletic director/assistant principal Brad Dietz confirmed the appearance of Earnhardt Jr., who is scheduled to be at the school from approximately 1 to 3 p.m. on the 8th and sandwich visits with two groups of students around an all-school assembly. Earnhardt will be in Kansas for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, May 10th at Kansas Speedway.(Capital-Journal)(4-20-2014)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. Scores First Last-Place Finish Since 2007: #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. picked up the 7th last-place finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Monday's Duck Commander 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway when his #88 National Guard Chevy was involved in a scary single-car accident after he completed 12 of the race's 340 laps. The finish was Earnhardt, Jr.'s first of the 2014 season and his first while driving for Hendrick Motorsports. It is also his first last-place finish in 225 Cup Series races, dating back to November 11, 2007 and the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix. That day, in his next-to-last race in DEI's #8 Budweiser Chevy, Earnhardt, Jr. was taken out in another single-car crash after he completed 118 laps. He has never finished last in 130 NASCAR Nationwide Series races. After seven Cup Series races, we now have seven different race winners, seven different pole winners, and seven different last-place finishers.(see full post and stats at Lastcar)(4-8-2014)

  • Earnhardt Jr. comments on his lap 12 wreck at Texas: on lap 12 of the Duck Commander 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, #88-Earnhardt Jr. went low on the front stretch, getting into the grass, which was wet. The left front of the car buckled and the left front tire blew sending the #88 up the track and into the outside wall hard. The car caught fire but Earnhardt Jr. got out and was fine. The car was not and retired from the race. Earnhardt Jr. comments via a Team Chevy transcript:
    Earnhardt Jr. "Just didn't see the grass. Didn't know the grass was down there. With the way the A-post is on these cars you can't really see that good to that angle. I just didn't have a good visual of where the apron and the grass was and got down in there pretty good. You can't run through there they way they have these cars on the ground like that. Just a mistake on my part. I just didn't know I was that close to the grass, and made a mistake."
    Earnhardt Jr. "I drove the car down there. I didn't know we were that close the grass and was following the #43 (Aric Almirola). I thought I was taking a decent line through the dogleg. We were going low around the No. 42 (Kyle Larson) so I was lower than normal and just misjudged it. It tears the car up pretty good when you run through the grass."
    Earnhardt Jr. "It was no factor. I just made a mistake."(Team Chevy)(4-7-2014)

  • Under Armour enters NASCAR with Hendrick & MWR: The sporting goods company, Under Armour, has signed multiyear sponsorships with Hendrick Motorsports and Michael Waltrip Racing. It becomes the official apparel provider for both teams, outfitting everyone from the pit crew to the front office in Under Armour-branded apparel. The deals don't include the teams' drivers, and financial terms weren't available. Last year, Under Armour signed a one-year, trial sponsorship with Hendrick Motorsports and outfitted the team's pit crews. It opted to expand that deal this year with a three-year extension that will see it outfit not only the pit crews but the rest of Hendrick's 500 employees. It provides everything from footwear and hats to polos and pullovers. It also has branding on Hendrick pit crew members' fire suits (Under Armour does not produce fire suits) and on the team's pit wall banners, haulers, pit box and pit toolbox. The deal doesn't include Hendrick's drivers - #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson or #5-Kasey Kahne - but Under Armour does have rights to use their likeness as well as the likeness of their car and number, which it could use on apparel.
    Under Armour signed with Michael Waltrip Racing because it saw similarities between its identity as an upstart brand that's challenged established apparel companies and the team's identity as a relatively new, gritty team that's pushing its way into the upper echelon of NASCAR. Terms of the two-year sponsorship are similar to the deal with Hendrick. Under Armour will supply pit crew apparel and team and executive apparel and receive the same mix of pit assets it is getting from Hendrick. It also will become the presenting sponsor of a new athletic facility and gym that MWR built at its headquarters in Cornelius, N.C., which has been branded as the MWR Performance Center Presented by Under Armour. The deal is the first apparel sponsorship for MWR. The team previously bought its apparel from Oakley.(SportsBusiness Journal)(4-1-2014)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Daytona 500 win available On DVD: On Tuesday, April 1, 2014, fans will be able to relive Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s second Daytona 500 win via a limited collector's edition DVD, produced by NASCAR Productions. The DVD highlights the #88's path to victory, overcoming obstacles such a long rain delay and a late caution flag to set up a frantic finish, ultimately resulting in Earnhardt Jr. hoisting the Harley J. Earl trophy in Victory Lane. The DVD will be available for purchase on the NASCAR.com Superstore.(4-1-2014)

  • Earnhardt, Jr, Graham Rahal interested in ride swap UPDATE2: Verizon IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal believes the timing and circumstances are just too perfect not to do the much-ballyhooed car swap with his National Guard NASCAR counterpart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Rahal attended the Auto Club 400 in Fontana on Sunday afternoon with girlfriend Courtney Force and her father, 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion, John and reached out to Earnhardt after the race, via Twitter, about the possibility of swapping rides somewhere down the line. For his part, Earnhardt seemed agreeable. Rahal says the Twitter exchange was calculated but "100 percent authentic" and something that the second-generation IndyCar ace has wanted to do for quite some time. "I wouldn't have said it if I didn't want it to happen," Rahal told Popular Speed. "Dale and I share a sponsor now (National Guard) and my dad (three-time champion, Bobby) and Rick (Hendrick) have always had a great relationship." Rahal believes the shared National Guard sponsorship makes for a great marketing opportunity for both himself and Earnhardt, allowing for Rahal to knock a machine off his personal bucket list - the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car. Rahal, who is pushing for the car swap to take place on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is just looking forward to potentially hanging out with Earnhardt, believing that their similarities could establish a fast friendship.(Popular Speed)(3-25-2013)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Tuesday he wants to swap race cars with Graham Rahal, but believes it won't be possible because they drive for rival manufacturers. Both drivers are sponsored by Army National Guard this season. Rahal reached out to Earnhardt on Twitter after Sunday's NASCAR race at Fontana, proposing they swap cars in an exhibition. Only Earnhardt drives a Chevy in NASCAR, and Rahal's car in IndyCar is a Honda. Because Chevy and Honda are direct competitors in IndyCar, and Earnhardt is so closely associated with Chevy, he said he doesn't think the swap is doable. "Well, he drives a Honda, which is more than just a speed bump," Earnhardt said during an appearance at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "If I wanted to drive an Indy car, I'm sure I could get with Penske or somebody who owned a Chevy and take a couple laps somewhere. But it would have been fun to do that with Graham because of the relationship with our sponsor and the history of our families. I look forward to meeting him one day, but I think the fact he has a relationship with a different manufacturer is going to make it challenging - if not impossible - for me to drive that particular car."(Associated Press)(3-26-2014)
    UPDATE 2: Chevy has not received an official request from Dale Earnhardt Jr. to swap race cars with Honda driver Graham Rahal. Jim Campbell, the U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports for Chevy, said Saturday the manufacturer would consider any proposal to drive an Indy car from Earnhardt but until then, any talk about a manufacture conflict is premature. "If we get a proposal, we'll take a look at it and we'll look at it with an open set of eyes. The rest is hypothetical," Campbell told The Associated Press. "Broadly speaking about any Chevy driver that is currently on our roster, if they decided to go race in another category or series, of course we'd love to see them in Chevys. There's no doubt about that. In some cases it works out like that, and in some cases it doesn't." Kurt Busch, who currently drives a Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing in NASCAR, will drive a Honda for Andretti Autosport in the Indianapolis 500. He was encouraged by Chevy before completing the deal with Andretti to work with a Chevrolet team for Indy, but the manufacturer ultimately agreed he could drive for Andretti.(Associated Press)(3-30-2014)

  • 30th anniversary of Hendrick's first win: 30TH ANNIVERSARY: In 2014, Hendrick Motorsports is celebrating its 30th anniversary in NASCAR. The organization began in 1984 with five employees and 5,000 square feet of work space. It has grown to more than 500 employees with a 430,000-square-foot facility that sits on 140 acres. Driver Geoff Bodine won the Martinsville Speedway spring race on April 29, 1984, marking Hendrick Motorsports' first victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.(Hendrick Motorsports)(3-28-2014)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. wants NASCAR to address Hamlin's issue: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. wants to know why there hasn't been more information about what caused #11-Denny Hamlin to miss Sunday's race at Auto Club Speedway. Hamlin was taken to a local hospital shortly before the race with what Joe Gibbs Racing said was a sinus infection that affected his vision. But Earnhardt wondered aloud why there has been no official NASCAR statement or further explanation from Hamlin on what happened. No further updates were expected from NASCAR or Joe Gibbs Racing on Tuesday and Hamlin has not been officially cleared for this weekend's race at Martinsville Speedway. Earnhardt said there were questions because he'd never heard of a driver being pulled from the race shortly before the start after not being cleared to race by NASCAR. "I'm worried the perception is bad for NASCAR and the perception is bad for Denny," Earnhardt said Tuesday. "... If Denny didn't race because his vision is blurred and he had a sinus infection, NASCAR should put out a release and say, 'This is the timeline of the events and this is why we made this choice and this is the protocol for going forward.' That answers everybody's questions. Don't you have questions? I have questions. We shouldn't have questions. We should all feel pretty comfortable with what happened." Hamlin is expected to see doctors in Charlotte this week. He cannot race until he is cleared by a NASCAR-approved doctor. If he does not qualify Friday at Martinsville or race on Sunday, he would need another medical exemption from NASCAR in order to remain eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.(USA Today)(3-26-2014)

  • Earnhardt Jr. off to hot start: According to MRN's Dustin Long, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr joins Richard Petty (1969, 1974), Cale Yarborough (1977), Dale Jarrett (1996) and Jimmie Johnson (2006) as drivers to start the season with three straight top-two finishes.(3-14-2013)

  • Special scheme for Earnhardt, Jr.: #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will sport a Mountain Dew Kickstart paint scheme and firesuit this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to introduce two new flavors - Black Cherry and Limeade. These beverages combine the great taste of Mountain Dew with 5 percent real fruit juice, electrolytes for taste and just the right amount of kick to get you ready for whatever the night will bring.(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #88 team paint schemes page.(3-6-2014)

  • New Chase format making drivers take more risks? Just two races into the Sprint Cup season, NASCAR's emphasis on winning has made an impact. #22-Joey Logano was more aggressive on a late-race restart, and Daytona 500 winner #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was more comfortable with a fuel gamble during Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway. "It's all about the win, right?" Logano said after his daring restart backfired. Yes it is. It always has been that way but now there's more incentive for drivers and teams to take risks. "Third place really doesn't mean anything,'' Logano said. "Last year, you may have taken a third place and the points, but this year it's like, "hey, go for it.' "
    Harvick's dominance didn't keep others from trying different strategies. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was going to be short on fuel after his last pit stop before all the cautions but crew chief Steve Letarte told his driver not to worry about saving fuel. "We're here to try to win," Letarte told Earnhardt on the radio. "The gamble was not as nerve-racking and not as a big a gamble for us considering the circumstances," said Earnhardt, who finished second. "The new system definitely allowed us to be more carefree about that and not have to really think it over."
    Now Harvick and crew chief Rodney Childers will have the opportunity to gamble over in the next 24 races since they have a victory. "It allows (Childers) to stretch fuel windows and do things and do a few things," Harvick said. "For the guys in the shop, it allows them to really broaden their horizons. You can really get aggressive on really everything."(Motors Racing Network)(3-3-2014)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. to have different spotter this week UPDATE: Daytona 500 winner #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will have a different spotter this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. Earnhardt tweeted that spotter T.J. Majors will miss this weekend because of "personal reasons" and that Majors "Will be back ASAP. Will miss ya buddy. #getwell." Bill Elliott will spot for Earnhardt in today's practice session, crew chief Steve Letarte said. Letarte said he might spot for Earnhardt during Friday's qualifying session. If so, Letarte would have to be in the spotter's stand instead of on pit road. Letarte said he might spot qualifying to have a better perspective and understanding of the new qualifying format. Elliott likely will spot for Earnhardt for Saturday's practice sessions although rain is scheduled most of Saturday. For the race, Jeff Dickerson will spot for Earnhardt. Dickerson, who formerly spotted for Jeff Gordon, filled in last year for Majors when he was out because of sickness.(Motor Racing Network)(2-28-2013)
    UPDATE: "TJ is good," Earnhardt replied when asked about his spotter's health. "He had some issues with his intestines last year that caused him to miss the Atlanta race. Some of those issues cropped back up - just a small infection. He's back home now. He's out of the hospital, so he's fine. He just hates having to miss it. He's a huge part of our team. We have such great chemistry. It's going to be a difficult situation not having him, but we've got Bill Elliott, of all people, (who) is going to fill in during practice. That's going to be pretty awesome."(NASCAR Wire Service)(3-1-2014)

  • Earnhardt Jr's die-cast set to become best seller: The Daytona 500 Win Version of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s National Guard Chevy is predicted to be the best-selling die-cast car since Lionel Racing became The Official Die-Cast of NASCAR in 2010. Just 12 hours after Earnhardt took the checkered flag in the sport's biggest race of the season, sales of the die-cast were more than double the first full day's sales of any previous win car - including Earnhardt's "The Dark Knight Rises" Michigan Win car from 2012. The Monday after the Daytona 500, Lionel Racing was selling Earnhardt's Raced Win car through its direct-to-consumer channel at a rate of more than 100 per hour. The company's distributor and dealer orders are also trending at record levels.(Lionel Racing Collectibles)(2-28-2014)

  • France discusses Earnhardt, Jr's win; running Daytona 500 at night: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. winning the Daytona 500 is considered a good thing for NASCAR. Its most popular driver the last 11 years winning its most prestigious event certainly should generate interest in the sport. But NASCAR Chairman Brian France says it's not just the Earnhardt win that could help the sport. "The really great thing is how authentic he's been throughout the week here as he's doing (the media tour)," France said in a phone interview Wednesday. "That's great. We'll have to see (on the impact)." Earnhardt won the Daytona 500 for the second time, with the first coming in 2004 before the world of Twitter and in the infancy of social media. Now, Earnhardt is tweeting photos during his winner's media tour and that has gotten an already enthusiastic Junior Nation looking forward to the rest of the season even more. The victory also all but guarantees him a spot in the Chase. "Anytime his fanbase gets revved up, that's a good thing," France said. "That's good for him, and that's good for us."
    With rain pushing the Daytona 500 to night for the second time in the last three years, it brings up the question of whether NASCAR would consider a move to night for that race. France says the sanctioning body already has considered it but Fox and the racetrack would also want to move it for it to happen. "We have considered it and for lots of reasons have not done that," France said. "But it's always a consideration. Of course, it's not just our decision. Fox has to believe that's the right time and all the rest."(Sporting News)(2-27-2013)

  • Patrick passes 1 million Twitter followers: Daytona 500 winner #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. may be known as NASCAR's most popular driver, but when it comes to Twitter, he's got some catching up to do. #10-Danica Patrick became NASCAR's first driver with over 1 million Twitter followers in the days leading up to Sunday's big race, ranking her among the top racing drivers and female athletes in the world. Of course, Dale Jr. didn't even have a Twitter account before the Daytona 500, but celebrated his second win there by opening an account and quickly attracted over a quarter of a million followers. The 1 million mark easily tops all NASCAR drivers. Next highest is six-time champion #48-Jimmie Johnson's 530,000 followers. Juan Pablo Montoya leads all IndyCar drivers with just under 800,000. Patrick's boyfriend, fellow NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr., has 126,000 followers.(Associated Press)(2-26-2014)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins the Daytona 500: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the 56th Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway fir his 2nd win in the Daytona 500 (2004) and his 20th career win. There was a 6 hour and 22 minute red flag for severe weather and rain starting just after 2:00pm/et on lap 38. It was the 8th Daytona 500 win for Hendrick Motorsports. Earnhardt Jr. also led the most laps with 54 of 200.
    #11-Hamlin finished 2nd followed by #2-Keselowski, #24-Gordon, #48-Johnson, #20-Kenseth, #17-Stenhouse Jr., #16-Biffle, #3-Dillon (pole winner) and #13-Mears.
    Outside pole winner, #78-Truex Jr had an engine let go after only 30 laps and finished 43rd/last.
    There was a big wreck on lap 146 when #4-Harvick and #33-Scott made contact, moving the #33 into #43-Almirola, who bounced off the wall, came back down into the #3-Dillon and #10-Patrick. Patrick then shot up the track into the wall nose first, but she walked away and is fine. Other cars involved were #5-Kahne, #9-Ambrose, #17-Stenhouse Jr., #27-Menard, #38-Gilliland, #51-Allgaier, #66-Waltrip and #98-Wise.
    A few laps later, on lap 162, #3-Dillon got loose and into #42-Larson, who spun, collecting #5-Kahne, #7-Annett, #9-Ambrose, #31-Newman, #33-Scott, #52-Labonte and #55-Vickers. There was a wreck just behind the leaders that collected #18-Busch, #9-Ambrose, #22-Logano, #4-Harvick and #99-Edwards among others.
    Rookie report: #3-Dillon finished 9th, #23-Bowman 23rd, #51-Allgaier 27th, #26-Whitt 28th, #30-Kligerman 29th, #7-Annett 37th (accident), #42-Larson 38th (accident) and #83-Truex DNQ.
    There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers and there were 7 cautions for 39 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 145.290mph.
    See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Daytona Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Daytona Penalty Report (pdf).(2-23-2014)
    See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Daytona Race & Points Report (pdf)

  • Earnhardt Jr. installs the winning #88 National Guard Chevy at DIS: Two-time Daytona 500 champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. is ready to tell the world the story of his epic victory in Sunday night's 56th annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at Daytona International Speedway. Running on only one hour of sleep, Earnhardt Jr. embarked on his week-long whirlwind media tour Monday morning after installing his #88 National Guard Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet inside the Daytona International Speedway Ticket and Tours Building. The car will be part of the Daytona International Speedway tours program and will be returned to the team at the 2015 Daytona 500, a tradition that has been in existence since 1996. Earnhardt, crew chief Steve Letarte, team owner Rick Hendrick and the crew of the #88 car enjoyed a breakfast with the media and participated in interviews and pictures on Monday morning.
    "I was taking pictures and doing media until about 3 a.m.," Earnhardt Jr. said. "The team was having most of the fun. When I got over there, they were out of spirits so we found some more and we just sat around and talked about how cool it was - just punching each other in the shoulder until about 4 a.m. and then I had to hang it up."
    During the Champion's Breakfast, Speedway President Joie Chitwood presented all three Daytona 500 champions with their leather jackets, Hendrick with his Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 trophy and Letarte with the Cannonball Baker trophy. Chitwood and Earnhardt Jr. also unveiled the logo for next year's 57th annual Daytona 500.
    The Champion's Breakfast isn't the only obligation that comes with winning "The Great American Race." Earnhardt Jr. will fly across America making stops in places such as New York City, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut and Los Angeles.
    "I'm looking forward to it and I want to enjoy it," said Earnhardt Jr., who will be appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman on Monday night. "We won a big race, we put a lot of effort into it and I'm going to make sure everybody hears about it."
    "This race is such a big deal," said Letarte. "The whole thing felt pretty surreal. What races do you still celebrate the next day? You have a breakfast and keep getting trophies and jackets. I'm proud of the team we've assembled. They're a great group of guys and deserve most of the credit. They built a great race car, Dale drove a great race and we're excited."
    "That was a perfect race," agreed Hendrick, who is enjoying his eighth Daytona 500 win as an owner. "That was a perfect race. Dale - I've never seen anybody drive a car (like that). He drove the wheels off the car every lap. Stevie called a perfect race, pit stops were perfect and TJ (Majors) did an unbelievable job up there spotting. I'm so proud."
    Earnhardt Jr. was asked to sum up the feeling of winning the Daytona 500 for a second time. "This place just has a lot of great history," Earnhardt Jr. said. "It's a great race track. You drive into it and you get a special feeling you don't get anywhere else. As soon as you drive through the tunnel you know where you're at. There are some great facilities and unique tracks and places we go that I have a lot of appreciation for, but nothing like Daytona. Once you win it, it's like a color TV - once you watch color TV for the first time, you don't want to go back to black and white. When I won it for the first time (in 2004), I just couldn't wait to get back to Victory Lane."(DIS)(2-24-2014)

  • Earnhardt Jr. off on Daytona 500 media tour: 2014 Daytona 500 winner, #88-Dale Earnhardt heads to New York City on Monday to be on the "Dan Patrick Show," Jay Mohr's radio show and "Late Night with David Letterman". The media tour will also see Earnhardt Jr. visit the ESPN headquarters in Bristol, CT on Tuesday to appear on a variety of programs, and then Los Angeles on Wednesday for FOX Sports 1 and other appearances on local shows.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. will visit ESPN's campus on Tuesday, Feb. 25, and appear on a variety of ESPN platforms. NASCAR's Most Popular Driver will talk about his second win in the "Great American Race" on SportsCenter, Mike and Mike, NASCAR Now and more.(2-24-2014)

  • NASCAR's Highest Paid Drivers 2014: NASCAR driver salaries have been shaved in recent years with fewer dollars available as sponsors cut back on their financial commitments to teams. Drivers that once made $4-6 million in salary are getting re-signed to deals for $3 million in some cases. Guys on poorly funded teams are lucky to make seven figures. Licensing and endorsement money has also dried up for all but the very elite drivers. Endorsement deals that once paid $500,000 a clip are now $250,000 and many have disappeared completely. But for the sport's stars, the paychecks are nearly as big as ever and can reach eight figures in salary alone. The 10 highest-paid drivers pulled down $170 million in 2013 in cumulative salary, endorsements and their share of winnings and licensing income.
    Leading the way for the sixth straight year is Dale Earnhardt Jr., who earned $25.6 million in 2013 by Forbes' count. Earnhardt's licensing income is down significantly from five years ago when he was making $30 million a year, but he is still the sport's biggest star with the biggest salary, as well as the top licensing and endorsement income, according to sources. Earnhardt's #88 Chevy carries the most expensive real estate in the sport. The Army National Guard spent $30 million in 2013 on sponsoring 20 races on the #88 car and activating around the sponsorship. Hendrick Motorsports entered the past two seasons with 13 races to sell on Earnhardt's car, but even if owner Rick Hendrick has to pick up the tab on a couple of races, the sponsorship revenue for Earnhardt's car is still the envy of the sport.
    #48-Jimmie Johnson, ranks No. 2 with estimated earnings of $24.8 million last year. Johnson won his sixth Sprint Cup title, which carried bonuses and special awards of $5.8 million. Johnson's total prize money haul of $14.7 is twice as much as Earnhardt, but Johnson's endorsements and licensing income lag behind. #24-Jeff Gordon in third earning $18.2 million in 2013. His merchandise was the sport's second best seller, behind Earnhardt, in 2013, according to multiple sources. Gordon also benefits from his ownership stake in the #48 car. NASCAR's golden girl, Danica Patrick, ranks No. 9 with earnings of $13.5 million. See full report at Forbes.com.(2-22-2014)

  • The Most Valuable NASCAR Teams 2014: Thirty years ago Rick Hendrick launched All-Star Racing with five employees and 5,000 square feet of workspace. Geoff Bodine raced the fledgling outfit's sole NASCAR Cup entry in the #5 car and finished ninth in the season long standings, including three victories. The company was rebranded Hendrick Motorsports the following year and a racing dynasty was born. Hendrick Motorsports today carries more than 500 employees in 430,000 square feet of workspace across a 140 acre campus in Concord, N.C. It has racked up 218 victories and a record 11 season titles in Sprint Cup, plus an additional 52 wins and four championships in the Nationwide and Truck series. The success has propelled Hendrick to the top of the NASCAR food chain. The team is worth $348 million, by Forbes' count, twice as much as any other NASCAR squad.
    Joe Gibbs Racing ranks No. 2 with a value of $171 million, up 2% from last year. Roush Fenway Racing ranks No. 3 with a value of $157 million, down 6%. The team making the biggest jump is Stewart-Haas Racing, which ranks fourth with a value of $148 million, up 20%. #5 is Richard Childress Racing at $128 million; #6 is Team Penske at $108 million; #7 is Michael Waltrip Racing at $80 million; #8 is Chip Ganassi Racing at $69 million; #9 is Richard Petty Motorsports at $50 million. See full report at Forbes.com.(2-22-2014)

  • Earnhardt Narrates Story of Cancer-Stricken NASCAR Fan: On SportsCenter the morning of the Daytona 500 [Sunday, Feb. 23rd], #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will narrate the SC Featured story of cancer-stricken NASCAR fan Mitch Zanette. A year ago and knowing he had only days to live, Zanette chose to fulfill his wish of visiting the Daytona International Speedway for the Daytona 500. He drove himself from Pennsylvania to Florida and died during the visit in the speedway infield. SportsCenter airs at 10:00am/et on Sunday, Feb. 23.(ESPN)(2-22-2014)

  • Ambrose takes blame for late wreck in Sprint Unlimited: #9-Marcos Ambrose - "We were actually in a pretty good position. I was trying to help Junior there and ended up hurting him and hurting myself. I feel bad for Junior, but we finished the race with the Stanley car, but we were just a little disappointed with our effort."
    Ambrose: "Yeah, I was trying to push him and there was a little bit of a zig and a little bit of a zag and the next thing you know I helped him in the fence. I apologize to Junior. I'll try and find him later on if he wants to talk to me, but that's just what happens here. You've got 10 laps to go in a race that only counts to win and I'm trying to push him to the front. Unfortunately, it was just a bad day."
    Ambrose: "It's OK. He's entitled to do that. At the end of the day we didn't end up in the fence, so put the blame on me for that. We'll go to the next one and try not to make the same mistake."
    Ambrose: "Yeah, it certainly does. If you can get your nose to the guy's right-rear or left-rear quarter, you pull him back and you actually give yourself a little boost. It's like a little shot of nitrous and it can really make you run, so it makes cars really move around a lot trying to do that. I think he was trying to side draft someone came back across when I was trying to help push him and that's what happens."(Ford Racing)(2-16-2014)

  • New sponsor for Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Kelley Blue Book, the vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry, has joined Hendrick Motorsports as a primary sponsor of the #88 Chevrolet SS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2014 and 2015. The two-year agreement includes full-season associate sponsorship, which provides Kelley Blue Book prominent brand placement on the #88 race cars throughout the Sprint Cup schedule, and primary sponsorship of Earnhardt in one event annually. The 2014 season will be the first as a NASCAR team sponsor for Kelley Blue Book, a subsidiary of AutoTrader Group.
    "Kelley Blue Book's sponsorship in NASCAR is the next step in communicating our brand strength and recognition as a vehicle valuation pioneer and leader for new-car shopping and research," said Steve Lind, vice president of operations for Kelley Blue Book. "By supporting successful race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Hendrick Motorsports, coupled with NASCAR's brand equity, we will reach even more consumers with our message-providing helpful, transparent information on KBB.com to help car shoppers make the best decision possible."
    "I'm looking forward to our partnership with Kelley Blue Book," said Earnhardt, who will drive the #88 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet SS at Sonoma Raceway on June 22. "As a car enthusiast and dealership owner, I've trusted them for years for vehicle valuation and information. It's exciting to work with a partner that's new to the sport, and I'm proud Kelley Blue Book will be on board with the #88 team for their debut season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series."
    Through its website, KBB.com, Kelley Blue Book is changing the way people shop for a new car. It now offers the KBB.com Price Advisor, which features a new range-based pricing layout, including the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price, which shows the average price other customers in the same area paid for the same vehicle. Other resources include 5-Year Cost to Own data, and consumer and expert reviews and ratings.
    In addition to individual consumers, Kelley Blue Book's various products and services are available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies, and governmental agencies. Partners include Hendrick Motorsports' sister company, Hendrick Automotive Group, which operates more than 120 automotive retail franchises across the United States.
    "On the dealership side, we've worked with Kelley Blue Book for many years," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group. "NASCAR is a terrific marketing platform for their products and services, and it presents new opportunities for our companies to work together. We're excited to welcome a new partner and team them with an incredible spokesperson in Dale Jr. It's a great combination with the potential to grow even more."(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #88 Team Schemes page.(2-13-2014)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson team up with Valvoline for Reinvention Project: Valvoline and Hendrick Motorsports announced a first-of-its-kind consumer challenge called the Reinvention Project. Valvoline is working with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. to secretly reinvent two classic Chevy trucks and will be keeping them under wraps to give fans a chance to get in on the action. Car enthusiasts everywhere can put their know-how to the test in an attempt to guess the various features of Earnhardt Jr.'s and Johnson's creations. A virtual garage hosted at www.ReinventionProject.com invites consumers to select the parts that the drivers hand-picked for their high-performance trucks, from Chevrolet Performance* engines, to American Eagle* wheels and Goodyear* tires. More info at Hendrickmotorsports.com.(HMS)(2-12-2014)

  • Hendrick Motorsports profiled on Showtime show Wed night: In a sport where their performance has to be 12 seconds or less, every tenth of a second can make the difference between victory or defeat. That's why NASCAR pit crews are so important to auto racing and why teams like Hendrick Motorsports are using athletes from college programs to make their pit crews the best they can be. CBS News correspondent on assignment, Jeff Glor, profiles a Hendrick team for the next edition of 60 Minutes Sports premiering tomorrow/Wed., Feb. 5, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.(PR)(2-5-2014)

  • NASCAR pit crews help renovate homeless shelter: Some of NASCAR's biggest musclemen are helping make sure a Charlotte homeless shelter gets a much needed makeover-- 40 years in the making. They are used to hard work and heavy lifting, but carrying 200 pound consoles up three flights of stairs is not how Jimmie Johnson and Dale Juniors' pit-crews usually spend their Mondays. "Normally go in and do some light duty stuff like some yoga and some rehab, but today's not quite like that," T.J. Ford says laughing. Instead they are getting in a workout helping with a long overdue makeover at Charlotte's Rescue Mission. "Yeah, you can tell I'm out of breath right now; carrying those 200 pound consoles upstairs takes teamwork-- just like pit-stops." The men at the Rescue Mission have spent the last two months sleeping in the gym so the 1930s building can be completely redone. Everything at the mission had been here since the 60s. Reverend Tony Marciano runs the mission and says, "The building had really deteriorated over that time; the furniture itself was probably 30, 40 years old, so we really needed to renovate everything." They're completely re-configuring the men's dormitory. It was military barracks style, but now they're going to have four guys sleeping in the same area. The idea is to build a bond between the men. Marciano says there's a good reason. "So if one is thinking of quitting there's three other men that if he has a relationship with that will encourage him to stay within the program. For addicts, finishing something is very difficult." They're hoping fresh paint, new floors and furniture will help the men realize they're worth a fresh start. "The old system reinforced the fact that they had messed up their lives; I hate to say that. With the new furniture it says your best days truly are ahead of you," Marciano said. The men are supposed to be able to move from the gym to the newly redone dorms later this week. The renovations cost $400,000 and come from donations and from part of the non-profit's operating budget.(NBC Charlotte)(2-5-2014)

  • Dale Jr. staying out of crew chief hunt: The only certainty about Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s next crew chief after Steve Letarte? He won't be chosen by the driver. "I won't make any suggestions at all," Earnhardt said in putting the decision in the hands of Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick and general manager Doug Duchardt. "I don't really want to have any influence on the choice. It was Rick and upper management that decided to put me with Steve. I didn't know how that was going to work out, but I just wanted to trust their judgment, and that's what I'm going to do."(USA Today)(2-4-2014)

  • Super Bowl commercial takes Dale Earnhardt to unusual place: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. does a burnout as part of his Super Bowl commercial for Diet Mountain Dew, but the sport's most popular driver is in a place where you wouldn't expect to see his famous racecar. But thanks to the art of cinematography, he's in a familiar environment and appears to be using his No. 88 Chevy for a unique purpose. Diet Mountain Dew is part of PepsiCo, whose agreement with Hendrick Motorsports includes primary sponsorship for five Cup races with Earnhardt this year. Earnhardt is one of at least two NASCAR stars who will star in Super Bowl commercials on Sunday. Danica Patrick will star in her record 13th Super Bowl commercial for sponsor GoDaddy.(Sporting News)(2-2-2014)

  • New points system, Earnhardt Jr. would had won championship in 2013: In announcing major changes to the Chase for the Sprint Cup on Thursday, NASCAR chairman Brian France touted an emphasis on winning as a primary reason behind the format. But it turns out last year's champion, if the new rules were applied, would have been #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., who didn't win a race. According to economist Andrew Maness, who runs the nascarnomics.com site, Earnhardt would have made the final race along with Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon. NASCAR's Mike Forde confirmed the lineup. The driver who won the most races last season, Matt Kenseth with seven, would not have been eligible for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(USA Today)(1-31-2014)

  • Hendrick still looking for sponsorship for Earnhardt Jr. UPDATE: Car owner Rick Hendrick says that he's not worried that Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 team does not have sponsorship for 13 races less than a month before the Daytona 500. "We've talked to a lot of people,'' Hendrick said Tuesday during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Media Tour. "I want a long-term deal that fits and isn't a conflict with the other guys.'' He's said that they've had potential sponsors who have conflicted with sponsors already with Hendrick Motorsports. "We will listen to anybody, and we're always looking, but there's no like, golly we've got to find somebody,'' Hendrick said. National Guard returns and will be Earnhardt's sponsor for 20 races. PepsiCo's brands will serve as a primary sponsor for five races, leaving 13 races (36 point races and two non-points races).(Motor Racing Network)(1-29-2014)
    UPDATE: Rick Hendrick will wait patiently for the right sponsor to come along for Dale Earnhardt Jr., spending his own money or leveraging other business partners to fill the races for the sport's most popular driver. Hendrick has routinely said he wouldn't discount the price for Earnhardt, the son of the NASCAR Hall of Famer and the winner of the most popular driver award in each of the last 11 seasons. He emphasized that the Hendrick Motorsports team has no timetable or deadline to land a new deal. "We will listen to anybody and we're always looking, but there's no (feeling of), 'Golly, we've got to find somebody,' because we've got two really good sponsors," Hendrick said. "I'm wanting a long-term deal that fits that isn't a conflict with the other guys. We don't put any timetable on it. We have plenty of time."(Sporting News)(1-30-2014)

  • Hendrick wants Earnhardt's input on new crew chief: Although #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he doesn't need to give car owner Rick Hendrick any input on his 2015 crew chief, Earnhardt might not have a choice. Hendrick is planning on demanding that Earnhardt play a role in who will replace Steve Letarte when Letarte goes to NBC after this season. Earnhardt told the media the day after Letarte's announcement that he had confidence in Hendrick and his Hendrick Motorsports executives to make the right choice and that his input wasn't needed. "He told you that, but I'm sure at the end of the day, he'd say, 'Why did you pick him?'" Hendrick said with a laugh Tuesday during the Sprint Media Tour. "He has a lot of confidence in us to make the right decision. But at the same time, the chemistry has got to be there. We want him involved. We're going to get him involved."(Sporting News)(1-29-2014)

  • Dale Jr's Whisky River Jacksonville closes: Whisky River, the St. Johns Town Center-area restaurant/nightclub owned by NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt Jr., has closed. Doors at the restaurant were locked during a visit at 1:30 p.m. Friday. And though lights were off inside the restaurant, one of four flatscreen TVs on the restaurant's emptied patio was on, tuned to ESPN. By mid-afternoon, Whisky River's Facebook page had been removed and the restaurant's website simply read "Whisky River Jacksonville has closed." Bar Management Group, which operated the restaurant for Earnhardt, issued the following statement to Times-Union news partner First Coast News: "After four years, the management company behind Whisky River Jacksonville has decided to close this location, and is working with the landlord with respect to its closing."(Florida Times-Union)(1-18-2014)

  • Earnhardt Jr. talks about Letarte leaving after 2014 season: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway Friday morning and discussed the departure of Steve Letarte as crew chief in 2015. The transcript in part:
    Q. Obviously with Steve just leaving, can you talk about your thoughts, and how long have you known, and what you think about the situation?
    DALE EARNHARDT JR.: Yeah, it's definitely a unique situation. He actually included me in on the discussion before the end of last year, and I had a pretty good understanding, whether he knew or not, what he was going to do. I had a pretty good understanding what his decision was going to be when I left Homestead. So I've had time to really wrap my brain around it. It was hard because we are such good friends, and I really do enjoy working with him a lot. But at the same time I'm happy for him because it gives him the opportunity to spend time with his family. It's something that's really important to him, and the way these races are broadcast and how they're presented to the fans is a big part of how the sport remains healthy, and I think that he's going to be incredible in that role. I think that he'll -- I think that he'll be really good. I'm excited for him because I know he's really looking forward to it. You can tell when he talks about it how genuinely enthused he is about the opportunity. And at the same time, you know, I'm not worried about this season and how focused we may be. I know that he's really good at separating things and keeping things compartmentalized, as Jeff Gordon likes to say about Steve. I know that we're going to be fine as far as how we'll compete this year and how dedicated and how we might move through the process of the season. I expect us to do nothing less than improve on what we've been doing and steadily keep moving toward our goals. But it's definitely going to be emotional and difficult at times, just because we really enjoy working together. But I'm excited about the year. I'm excited about our chances as a team. We've got a great group of guys. Steve is a great crew chief that's going to get us a good opportunity to try to win some races. And I think that the team, just based on the personalities and how well we all get along and mesh and how much fun we really had last year, I think that everybody can buckle down and do their jobs, and I think we can do well.
    Q. What do you fear the most about losing Steve as a crew chief? In other words, kind of what are such his strengths that you're like, man, how are we going to do this without him?
    EARNHARDT JR.: Yeah, I think the one thing that I fear is just trying to get a guy in there that's equally as talented. I think -- I'm not really -- Steve is a great cheerleader and definitely built up my confidence and changed me as a race car driver and as a person. Working with him has really helped me grow. I think you guys have all seen that over the last several years. I think I can carry that with me, what I've learned about myself and what I've learned about the job and what my job is and what my responsibility is to Steve and the crew chief. I think I can carry that with me - hopefully I can at this age. Hopefully I've learned something and learned enough to do a better job for the next guy. I think that my fear is just can we replace Steve. It's a guy that's going to be hard to replace. I'm not worried about the specific qualities that Steve has, but just will we be able to get a guy in there of equal talent, and how well will we be able to make that transition seamless. It's going to be a real challenge to do that, and I guess that's my only concern.
    Q. At this stage in your career how much input do you want to have on who your next crew chief is? Will you make suggestions? Will you have say in the final decision? How will that work?
    EARNARDT JR.: I won't make any suggestions at all. I will leave that up to Rick, Doug. I would love to have input from Chad Knaus and Steve. I think that Steve knows what makes this teamwork. Steve knows how I can be successful and how the individuals within the team can be successful. I think he'd be a good guy to sort of pick at and hope that Doug and Rick would include him in that conversation at times. I think it's important that Chad has got a lot of influence because he knows how well the shop works together and what the culture is in the shop and how a guy, a particular guy may mesh in that environment. But I don't really want to have any influence on the choice. I want -- I think that those guys are the ones that can make the choice and have the most success with that decision. I'll just kind of -- it was Rick and upper management that decided to put me with Steve. I didn't know how that was going to work out. I didn't know much about Steve. I knew him and Jeff were not really clicking at that point in time in their careers, so I didn't know exactly what was going to happen, but I just wanted to trust their judgment, and that's what I'm going to do.(Team Chevy)(1-10-2014)

  • NBC Sports Group adds Crew Chief Steve Letarte to NASCAR Broadcast Team: NBC Sports Group's upcoming NASCAR coverage continues to take shape as another prominent figure from the sanctioning body's elite series joins NBC and NBCSN's expanding broadcast team. Current Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Steve Letarte, who once stood at the helm of Jeff Gordon's famed #24 race team, and now leads the crew behind the ultra-popular #88 car driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., has reached an agreement to join NBC's multi-platform NASCAR coverage beginning in 2015. The announcement was made today by Sam Flood, Executive Producer, NBC Sports and NBCSN, and will be discussed in further detail at a Media Conference scheduled for 8:30am/et tomorrow [Jan 10, 2014] at Daytona International Speedway. "I've always been impressed with Steve Letarte's interviews, and feel smarter after hearing him break down the crucial elements of each race," said Flood. "It wasn't long into our first meeting about this potential role on our broadcast team when I realized that Steve is going to be 'Must See TV.'" Letarte will join fellow analyst Jeff Burton and race announcer Rick Allen across NBC Sports Group's exclusive coverage of NASCAR's Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series action on NBC and NBCSN, which includes races, pre- and post-race shows, qualifying, and studio programming.
    "As soon as I met with Sam Flood and his team at NBC Sports it became obvious to me how excited they are to be covering NASCAR in 2015 and beyond. Their excitement, along with my love for racing, solidified my decision to move away from the pit box and into the broadcast booth," said Letarte. "I want to thank Rick Hendrick and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports for the opportunities they have given me over the last 18 years, and I want to reaffirm my commitment to Dale Jr. and the entire 88 team to go win races and challenge for the championship in 2014."
    Letarte has worked for Hendrick Motorsports since he was just 16 years old. In 1996, after graduating from high school early, Steve started traveling with the No. 24 race team, driven by Jeff Gordon, as a full-time mechanic and tire specialist. His impressive work ethic moved him up the ranks quickly, assuming the role of car chief in 2002, and then crew chief for the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion in 2005 when Steve was 26. After five successful seasons with the No. 24 team and Gordon, Letarte embarked on a new challenge and joined Hendrick's No. 88 team driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Letarte and the No. 88 team started the 2011 season strong by capturing the pole at the Daytona 500, and went on to qualify for the Chase, the first time for Earnhardt since 2008. In 2012, Letarte and Earnhardt combined for their first win together, on Father's Day at Michigan International Speedway. Throughout the 2013 season, the No. 88 team solidly remained in the Top 10 in points and made the Chase for the Sprint Cup yet again. Steve and his wife, Tricia, live in North Carolina with their two children.
    On July 23, 2013, NASCAR and NBC Sports Group reached a comprehensive agreement that grants NBCUniversal exclusive rights to the final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series events, select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events and other live content beginning in 2015.
    With this partnership, NBC's 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race schedule includes a designation as the exclusive home to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, when the elite national series races through its final 10 events of the season. The Chase culminates with the season-ending championship event, which returns to network television in 2015 for the first time since 2009. Of NBC Sports Group's 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, seven will be carried on NBC annually, with 13 airing on NBCSN. Four of NBC Sports Group's 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series races will air on NBC, with 15 airing on NBCSN.
    In addition to NASCAR's Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races, NBC also obtained exclusive rights to practice and qualifying sessions for NBC's national series events during their portion of the season, as well as rights to broadcast the NASCAR K&N Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series, the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony and NASCAR's season-ending banquets. Further, NBC is granted Spanish-language rights, certain video-on-demand rights and exclusive TV Everywhere rights for its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series events.(NBC)(1-9-2014)

  • Statement from Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports: "You never want to see a talented and all-around quality person like Steve (Letarte) move on, but we understand this is an exciting opportunity for him and his family. He has all the tools to be a terrific broadcaster, and I know our fans will enjoy hearing his perspective. We're looking forward to a successful year in 2014 with Steve and Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) leading the #88 together. They have some of the best chemistry in the garage, and we know they'll build on last season and continue to be a championship-contending team. We don't expect to address the crew chief position until after the season. Everyone with the team is focused on 2014 and committed to having another great year."(Hendrick Motorsports)(1-9-2014)

  • Letarte Heading For TV Booth In 2015 UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will have a new crew chief in 2015. GodfatherMotorsports.com has learned that crew chief Steve Letarte will relinquish his spot atop the #88 team's pit box at season's end to accept a new position as a television analyst with NBC and NBC Sports Network, beginning in 2015. Multiple sources say Letarte will join Rick Allen and driver Jeff Burton in the broadcast booth for the final 20 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, as well as the final 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series events. The network also holds rights to select NASCAR Regional Racing Series events, Mexico's NASCAR Toyota Series, the annual NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony and various post-season awards banquets. Letarte has served as crew chief for NASCAR's Most Popular Driver since 2011, with one win, 24 Top-5 and 54 Top-10 finishes in 106 starts. Earnhardt finished fifth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship standings last season, despite failing to win a race. He recorded Top-5 finishes in five of the final eight races and is expected to challenge for the 2014 title. An official announcement of Letarte's new position is expected this week in Daytona Beach. Reached for comment, Letarte said, "I will be the crew chief for the #88 Chevrolet in in 2014. That's all I know right now."(Godfather Motorsports)(1-9-2014)

2013 News

  • National Guard [22 + 2 races, some added] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following 2013 races:
    Daytona, Sprint Limited - 2/16
    Daytona - 2/24
    Phoenix - 3/3
    Bristol - 3/17
    Auto Club - 3/24
    Texas - 4/13
    Kansas - 4/21
    Richmond - 4/27
    Talladega - 5/5
    Darlington - 5/11
    Charlotte, All-Star race - 5/18
    Charlotte - 5/26, special camo scheme
    Dover - 6/2
    Pocono - 6/9
    Michigan - 6/16, Man of Steel
    Sonoma - 6/23
    Kentucky - 6/29, National Guard Youth Foundation
    Daytona - 7/6
    New Hampshire - 7/14
    Indy - 7/28
    Pocono - 8/4, National Guard Youth Foundation (added)
    Watkins Glen - 8/11
    Michigan - 8/18, National Guard Youth Foundation (added)
    Atlanta - 9/1, Race 2 Achieve
    Dover - 9/29
    Martinsville - 10/27
    Phoenix - 11/11
    Homestead - 11/17

  • Diet Mountain Dew / AMP Energy [5 races] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following 2013 races:
    Las Vegas - 3/10, AMP Energy Active Orange
    Martinsville - 4/7, Diet Mountain Dew
    Bristol - 8/24, Diet Mountain Dew
    Talladega - 10/20, Mountain Dew
    Texas - 11/3, AMP Energy

  • Time Warner Cable [5 races] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following 2013 races:
    Richmond - 9/7
    Chicago - 9/15
    New Hampshire - 9/22
    Kansas - 10/6
    Charlotte - 10/12

  • #88 team wins Mechanix Pit Crew of the Year: During the championship week in Las Vegas the #88 of HMS was awarded the pit crew of the year award. All year long the #88 has been a strong team and whats more impressive was they did it with 3 rear tire changers. As the season went on they lost their starter, Joe Slingerland to a wrist injury and then David Mayo to a knee injury. In steps the 3rd string changer Steven Tautges and the team continued on with consistent stops The other members of the team are as follows.
    Front Changer: Clay Robinson, Front Carrier: Kevin Harris, Jack Man: Nick Covey, Rear Changer: Joe Slingerland, David Mayo, Steven Tautges, Rear Carrier: Matt Ver Meer, Gas Man: Caleb Hurd. (Pit Talks)(12-6-2013)

  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr. wins 11th Most Popular Driver Award The National Motorsports Press Association announced that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the recipient of this year's NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award. It is the 11th consecutive year Earnhardt Jr. has been selected through a vote of the fans, breaking a tie with Bill Elliott for most consecutive awards received. Elliott continues to hold the overall mark, having been named the series' most popular driver 16 times. "I don't really keep track of the stats or the score, but Bill was a great driver and ambassador for the sport," Earnhardt Jr. said. "He represents the sport really well to this day, as does his son Chase, who's coming up and carrying on the family name. But, I've always looked up to Bill as a driver so it's pretty neat." More than 1 million votes were tallied for 39 eligible drivers from this year's first race to the last at the site www.MostPopularDriver.com. Fans voted once per day with Earnhardt Jr. collecting more than 700,000 votes. The award was presented to the Hendrick Motorsports driver today during the annual NMPA Myers Brothers Luncheon, a part of the season-ending Champions Week activities in Las Vegas. The final top-10 drivers, in order of votes received were: Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards. Earnhardt Jr. is still honored to receive the trophy.(NMPA)(12-5-2013)

  • No Crew Chief Changes for Hendrick: Team owner Rick Hendrick said before Sunday's race at Phoenix that there's no basis to rumors of impending crew chief changes among his four NASCAR Sprint Cup teams. "That's right -- no changes," said Hendrick, who swapped crew chiefs among three of his teams at the end of the 2010 season, leaving only the combination of driver Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus intact. "I don't know where any of that came from, but there's not going to be any changes. Nobody's even discussed anything. Everybody's pretty happy with what we've got... good momentum in the Chase and winning races. Take the things like blown tires and engines out of the equation, and it's one of the best Chases we've had, so there's no reason to change anything."(NASCAR Wire Service)(11-12-2013)

  • Earnhardt going gold at Texas: Dale Earnhardt's #88 Chevy will have gold and black paint scheme this weekend to honor his fellow AMP Energy athletes who will be hitting the slopes and going for gold in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. AMP Energy Gold is a new, apple-flavored beverage that will be available on shelves nationwide from Nov. 4 through January 2014.(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #88 team paint schemes page.(10-30-2013)

  • Hendrick hosts Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown: Despite rules to restrict engine development, today's NASCAR engines are more intricate and detail-oriented than ever. A testament to that trend was revealed during the 12th annual Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown last week. Jay Wiles, a dyno technician inside the Hendrick Motorsports engine department, teamed up with Robert Marock, who works out of the Hendrick Automotive Group's Honda dealership in Concord, North Carolina, to win the competition by assembling a Chevy R07.2 engine in 24 minutes and 38 seconds. Wiles is a repeat winner, having captured the inaugural competition in 2002. The showdown was renamed a few years later to honor Randy Dorton, the chief engine builder for Hendrick Motorsports who died in a 2004 plane crash. Wiles and Marock survived a one-minute penalty for a loose bolt on the intake manifold to win the final round by just 14 seconds over Van Nguyen, a valvetrain technician at Hendrick Motorsports and Brad Lyne of Hendrick's Chevy dealership in Merriam, Kansas. The competition pairs 12 master technicians from the Hendrick Automotive Group with 12 members of the engine team at Hendrick Motorsports. After qualifying rounds over two days, the two teams with the best preliminary engine-build times go head-to-head in the championship round. The overall goal is to have the fewest errors in the quickest time. All teams are required to assemble 358ci Chevy R07.2 engines designed with 12:1 compression ratio and electronic fuel injection. Components include Bosch spark plugs and ignitions, Purolator filters and GM Racing block, heads and intake manifold. Last year's winning time was 27 minutes, 46 seconds. 2012 was also the first time that engine builders worked with EFI, which slowed down the winning time about six minutes from the previous year when a single 4-barrel carburetor was used.(Engine Labs)(10-26-2013)

  • National Guard extends sponsorship of Earnhardt, Jr.: The Army National Guard will continue as the majority sponsor of the #88 Sprint Cup Series team with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. after extending its relationship with Hendrick Motorsports through the 2014 NASCAR season. The National Guard will receive primary paint schemes in 20 Sprint Cup races, including the 2014 Daytona 500, and prominent brand placement during all non-primary events. "NASCAR is a critical marketing platform for the National Guard," said Lt. Col. Michael Wegner, marketing branch chief, Army National Guard. "This program touches recruiters, influencers, our own Citizen Soldiers and those interested in the Guard's many career opportunities and benefits. NASCAR fans in our target demographic are twice as likely to consider the military as a career option, and the overall fan base strongly advocates for military service. It's the right place for the Guard and has helped us recruit more than 400,000 Citizen Soldiers since 2007."
    "It's an incredible privilege to work with and represent the Guard," Earnhardt said. "We have the opportunity to interact with those who serve our country and many who are considering military careers. I'm personally in awe of their sacrifices and feel a tremendous amount of pride in our relationship with them. The entire #88 team is looking forward to another season together."
    PepsiCo's continuing support of the #88 Hendrick Motorsports team includes five primary races annually through the 2015 Sprint Cup season. Additional sponsorship will be announced at a later date.(Hendrick Motorsports)(10-25-2013)

  • Hendrick to receive Lifetime Achievement Award at The Washington Auto Show: Rick Hendrick, tireless philanthropist, creator of an automotive empire and the most successful NASCAR owner of the modern era, has been named the 2014 recipient of the Keith Crain/Automotive News Lifetime Achievement Award, presented at The Washington Auto Show. "Rick has become an auto industry icon through his charity, hard work, grit and determination," said Keith Crain, Chairman of Crain Communications and Editor-in-Chief of Automotive News. "He has achieved unimaginable success as an automotive dealer and NASCAR owner and he has persevered through unspeakable grief and continues to give back and that combination makes him unique and the perfect recipient of the lifetime achievement award." The Keith Crain/Automotive News Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented at the close of the 2014 Washington Auto Show Public Policy Preview Day. Previous recipients of the Keith Crain/Automotive News Lifetime Achievement Award include: Edsel Ford II, Roger Penske, Carroll Shelby, Ralph Nader and Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI). The 2014 staging of the 71st Washington Auto Show in Washington, DC, known in the industry as "The Public Policy Show", will offer a showcase of more than 700 vehicles from over 42 domestic and import manufacturers and a special exhibit of the world's most luxurious rides.(Washington Auto Show PR)(10-22-2013)

  • Students get NASCAR engineering lesson:
    About 25 Charlotte middle school students got a hands-on lesson in engineering - NASCAR style - when they visited the headquarters of racing giant Hendrick Motorsports on Tuesday. The students, from Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, were guests of the racing operation as part of Time Warner Cable's STEM in Sports campaign, designed to increase interest by young people in science, technology, mathematics and engineering. NFL player Victor Cruz, professional golfer Ian Poulter and NASCAR drivers Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon are teaming with Time Warner in promoting the program.(Charlotte Observer)(10-10-2013)

  • Earnhardt Jr. Set To Make 500th NASCAR Sprint Cup Start: Only 33 drivers have started 500 races in their NASCAR Sprint Cup Series careers, but this Saturday in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. plans to add his name to that elite list. Fourteen years ago in May 1999, the Kannapolis, N.C., native made his series debut at his home track. The then-24-year-old driver started eighth in the No. 8 Chevrolet owned by his father, seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt - who, it so happens, also made his series debut at the 1.5-mile track. The younger Earnhardt finished the 1999 Coca-Cola 600 16th, three laps off the lead lap. Earnhardt also scored his first career pole at CMS, in 2000.
    Now, with 499 races in the books, he's compiled 19 wins, 111 top fives, 199 top 10s and 13 poles. If Earnhardt, who celebrates his 39th birthday on Thurs., Oct. 10, wins this weekend, he would become the third driver to win in their 500th start (Richard Petty in 1970; Matt Kenseth three weeks ago at New Hampshire).(NASCAR)(10-9-2013)

  • Valvoline returns to sponsor Hendrick teams: Valvoline, a leading marketer, distributor and producer of quality branded automotive and industrial products and services, will be reunited with Hendrick Motorsports after finalizing a multi-year sponsorship agreement that will kick off next season. The Official Lubricants Partner of Hendrick Motorsports beginning in 2014, the Valvoline brand will be featured as a major associate sponsor of the team's full stable of Chevrolet SS race cars through the 2017 NASCAR campaign. The company will utilize Sprint Cup Series drivers #5-Kasey Kahne, #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. as spokespeople to promote Valvoline premium motor oil products and services. In addition, Valvoline will be the preferred oil poured by Hendrick Motorsports' sister company, Hendrick Automotive Group, which operates 87 auto dealerships across the United States. The dealerships also will use Valvoline professional series, a line of fuel system preventive maintenance products that increase fuel economy and drivability, and Valvoline antifreeze. Both product lines contain patented technology that provides exceptional performance. Beginning in 2014, Hendrick Motorsports will use Valvoline products in its Chevrolet R-07 racing engines in the elite Sprint Cup Series. Valvoline was a partner of the team from 1993-95, supplying lubricant technology that contributed to the organization's first Cup championship with Gordon.(Hendrick Motorsports), Valvoline will replace Quaker State Oil at HMS.(9-24-2013)

  • Drivers react to adding Gordon to Chase: After NASCAR stunned the garage by installing #24-Jeff Gordon as the 13th playoff driver in the Chase for the Sprint Cup - a position which did not exist before Friday - drivers reacted with a mix of shock and confusion. "I'm very happy that Jeff is in the Chase," Hendrick Motorsports teammate #48-Jimmie Johnson said. "But in my opinion, there should be 12 cars. One in, one out should be the deal. It's not."
    When NASCAR Chairman Brian France awarded Gordon an extra spot - he said Friday he believed Gordon was the victim of foul play and was at a disadvantage during Saturday night's Chase-setting race at Richmond International Raceway - no one was quite sure how to take it. Except #56-Martin Truex Jr.
    "I'm not even sure what to say at this point," he said. "I'm kind of at a loss for words. They kick me out to make a spot for somebody and then they don't do the same for the other guys. It's just unfair and (there's) nothing I can do about it."
    Gordon's Hendrick Motorsports teammate #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. seemed confused. "I was probably just as surprised as anybody that anything happened, because we're so far into the week," Earnhardt Jr. said. "It's just really extraordinary and unprecedented. I don't know what's fair anymore, you know what I mean?" he said.
    Johnson wondered why the penalties to MWR were "far different" than the probation given to Front Row Motorsports and Penske Racing for what he believed were similar actions. "Through all of this, we're all just looking for consistency," he said.
    Defending Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski said the decision "hasn't sunk in yet," but added he was "not shocked." "I don't know if that's good or bad that I'm not shocked," he said. "But at some point, you expect the unexpected."(USA Today)(9-14-2013)

  • Dale Jr's tire changer out with broken wrist: This past Tuesday night the #88 Hendrick Motorsports team of Dale Earnhardt Jr. suffered a big blow to the pit crew. Rear Tire Changer Joe Slingerland was injured during a team outing and ended up with a broke wrist and concussion. It all went down at the U.S. National White Water Center in Charlotte on Tuesday night. During one of the events, the low ropes course, Tire Changer Joe Slingerland jumped from a log and went for the Cargo Net. "I had just gotten to the end of the log and when I went to jump for the Cargo Net I missed. My feet went through the net and my when I put my wrist down to break my fall it broke." Not only did Joe break a small bone in his wrist, but when he fell back wards he hit his head on a tree root and it knocked him out. The injury is not good but there might be some hope after all. Joe plans on seeing a doctor Friday and will get a better idea of the time table he's looking at. It could be as early as 3-4 weeks if things go good. Taking his place is veteran Tire Changer David Mayo. David was on the #48 HMS team during the middle of the year and spend 5 years with Penske Racing before that. The #88 team is a very good pit crew but rest easy Jr. fans, Mayo is a good veteran Changer and will be just fine during the Chase.(Pit Talks)(9-13-2013)

  • Time Warner Cable to sponsor #88 and adds to #5 package: Time Warner Cable Inc. will be the primary sponsor in more NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races after broadening its relationship with Hendrick Motorsports. The expanded partnership makes Time Warner Cable primary sponsor of the #5 Chevrolet SS team with driver Kasey Kahne for six races in 2013 and five races in both 2014 and 2015. Previously, Time Warner Cable committed to sponsor four primary events per season from 2013 through 2015.
    In addition, Time Warner Cable will be a primary sponsor of the #88 Hendrick Motorsports team with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. for five events in 2013, including four during the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The #88 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet SS will appear Sept. 7 at Richmond, Sept. 15 at Chicago, Sept. 22 at New Hampshire, Oct. 6 at Kansas, and Oct. 12 at Charlotte.
    "We've been extremely happy with the results from our NASCAR initiatives," said Jeffrey Hirsch, Time Warner Cable's executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Residential Services. "The on-track performance of Hendrick Motorsports is well documented, but they've also put significant resources into building a world-class marketing operation. It's been a team effort, and we're seeing terrific exposure and return." As part of the new sponsorship agreement, Time Warner Cable will collaborate with Hendrick Motorsports' sister company, Hendrick Automotive Group, as a marketing partner. The organizations will work together to develop marketing solutions specific to the automotive industry using Time Warner Cable product offerings.
    "We are excited to expand our partnership with Hendrick Motorsports," said Joan Gillman, Time Warner Cable Media's executive vice president and chief operating officer. "With this relationship, we will work together with Hendrick Automotive Group to develop innovative marketing solutions that will be valuable to the entire auto industry. Our teams could not be more engaged to take full advantage of this proving ground with our multi-screen digital solutions and enterprise services that include research, production, promotions and client solutions." The partnership with Hendrick Motorsports, which promotes Time Warner Cable's video and Internet services, began in 2006. It incorporated on-car branding for the first time in 2012.
    "This is the second time in the last year that Time Warner Cable has expanded its commitment to Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "We're now leveraging more of our assets, from both Hendrick Motorsports and Hendrick Automotive Group, to drive even greater value into what's been a very effective program. It's a terrific partnership that works on multiple levels." With the expanded Time Warner Cable relationship, all remaining primary sponsorship inventory for Kahne's #5 Chevrolet SS team has been filled for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #88 Team Schemes page.(9-4-2013)

  • Special scheme for Dale Jr. at Atlanta: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run a National Guard / Race2Achieve scheme at Atlanta this coming weekend as the National Guard has partnered with Hendrick Motorsports and certified educators to create Race 2 Achieve, a free high school math curriculum that focuses on how the engineers at Hendrick Motorsports utilize key concepts found In Algebra II And Trigonometry, and applies them to real-world scenarios. See an image of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page.(8-26-2013)

  • Earnhardt Jr. does burnout in Chicago street: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. took Chicago by storm on Monday, performing a celebratory burnout on State Street in front of the legendary Chicago Theatre before travelling to Millennium Park to greet a crowd of adoring fans. Earnhardt Jr., currently sixth in the point standings, will return to Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 15 for the GEICO 400, the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The GEICO 400 is part of a triple-header weekend of action at Chicagoland Speedway Sept. 13-15, including NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying on Friday afternoon, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race Friday night, Saturday's Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola and Sunday's GEICO 400, the start of NASCAR's playoffs. "Chicago is a great town with great fans. It's fun for us to get out there and do something different, so to put a Cup car on State Street made for a cool day," said Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard ride for Hendrick Motorsports. "We appreciate everyone coming out to see us and we're looking forward to putting on another great show in September." Following the burnout, Earnhardt Jr. visited fans in Millennium Park's Wrigley Square for a question-and-answer session lead by Miss Sprint Cup, Jaclyn Roney. Roney, a native of Ann Arbor, Mich., and graduate from Eastern Michigan University, has held the title of Miss Sprint Cup since 2011.(Chicagoland Speedway)(8-15-2013)

  • Dale Earnhardt's Grandson Arrested On DUI Charge: The grandson of the late Dale Earnhardt was arrested in Charleston on Monday (Aug 12th) on a drunken driving charge. Bobby Dale Earnhardt was charged with aggravated DUI. Charleston police said they heard tires squealing about 11:40 p.m. Monday on Washington Street on the city's West Side. They said they saw a car driving fast and making turns too wide. Charleston police were able to pull the car over and said Earnhardt failed a field sobriety test. He was arrested at the scene. Earnhardt was being held in the South Central Regional Jail awaiting arraignment. Aggravated DUI is a misdemeanor. Aggravated DUI means a person's blood alcohol is above 0.15. Police didn't indicate what Earnhardt's blood alcohol level was. Earnhardt is currently driving in the ARCA Truck Series.(WCHS-TV8)(8-13-2013)

  • Hendrick drivers to test at New Hampshire: After battling each other for the win this past Sunday, #5-Kasey Kahne and teammate #24-Jeff Gordon will visit New Hampshire Motor Speedway as part of a Hendrick Motorsports test session on Tuesday, Aug. 13 and Wednesday, Aug. 14. The two-day test session is in preparation for the return of NASCAR's playoffs to the Magic Mile for the SYLVANIA 300 on Sept. 22. Five-time champion #48-Jimmie Johnson and the decade-long reigning "Most Popular Driver" in NASCAR, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., will join their Hendrick teammates at the test. The grandstands will be open free of charge to the public from 9:00am - 5:00pm both days. The test session will come a little more than a month before NASCAR returns to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the SYLVANIA 300, the second stop in the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.(NHMS)(8-7-2013)

  • Teams compromising on test sessions: If anything fosters cooperation between race teams in a single organization, it's the testing policy NASCAR instituted this season. With four tests available at tracks that host NASCAR events, drivers and crew chiefs must agree on which four tracks are optimum for testing, and that involves no small degree of give and take. With two drivers solidly in the Chase field--#48-Jimmie Johnson and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.--and two on the bubble--#5-Kasey Kahne and #24-Jeff Gordon--Hendrick Motorsports has opted to use one of its tests at a track the Sprint Cup will visit before the Chase (Richmond) and three that are Chase tracks (New Hampshire, Texas and Homestead). According to Gordon, the choice of tracks was a collaborative decision. "We discuss it in our Tuesday meetings, and I think all the crew chiefs get together in Monday meetings, and they come up with the race tracks they would like to go to," Gordon said. "They talk to their drivers and get that kind of information, and then on Tuesday, we come up with the best scenario that works for all of us. For me, I think we have a good game plan that works for all of us. Again, I said earlier that it's a compromise with the organization. When you have four teams, not everybody is going to be perfectly suited. But in this case, I think it suits our needs to get ourselves in the Chase, and if we get in the Chase, then it suits our teammates to be very competitive in the Chase."(NASCAR Wire Service)(8-4-2013)

  • Duchardt named General Manager of Hendrick Motorsports: Doug Duchardt, who joined Hendrick Motorsports as an executive in 2005, has been elevated to the newly created position of executive vice president and general manager, effective immediately. He will report to team owner Rick Hendrick and company president Marshall Carlson. In his expanded role, Duchardt, 49, will direct all racing operations for Hendrick Motorsports, which fields four cars in the elite NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He also will manage technical relationships -- encompassing engine leases and chassis purchases -- while serving as primary liaison between Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR's competition group. Duchardt's responsibilities now include oversight of all competition-related personnel and departments, including teams; engines; race car construction (chassis and bodies); research and development; human performance (pit crews); and engineering. Longtime Hendrick Motorsports executive Ken Howes will continue to serve as vice president of competition, a role he assumed in January 2005. He will report to Duchardt.(Hendrick Motorsports)(7-30-2013)

  • Sad News - Randy Earnhardt: Randy Earnhardt, one of four siblings of seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt Sr., has died. He was 60. His nephew, Dale Earnhardt Jr., said in September that Randy had recently been diagnosed with cancer.(Sporting News), will post service info when available.(7-28-2013)

  • Latest on Earnhardt Jr.'s new sponsor: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. spoke with the media at Indianapolis and one of the questions was about his new sponsor that has not been announced:
    Earnhardt Jr.: "Yeah, I think that we have had a lot of good conversations with a few potential partners about what we can do in 2014 and beyond. Anybody who has got any sense about how the corporate world works knows that it's too late into the season, too late in the year to expect to put together a package for the rest of the season that is going to turn into a multi-year deal. It's just all the dollars and cents are accounted for at this point in the year. That doesn't mean we can't put some things together and do some creative stuff with some people and some partners that we already have or whatever. I don't think it should be a cause for concern. We are in really good shape regardless with our partner National Guard and the races that Diet Mountain Dew has on the schedule. We are in pretty good shape there. It is important to try to fill out what we have this season and we will. I don't have any doubt at all that we will get that done. I think we almost have to look forward beyond that to try to find out who is going to be the partner that we can put a long term deal together that matches up with what we want to do in the future."(Team Chevy)(7-27-2013)

  • Dale Jr on TV Thursday morning: #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is scheduled to appear Thursday (July 25th) morning on NBC's Today Show where he'll discuss this weekend's race at Indy.(HMS Facebook)(7-25-2013)

  • Earnhardt Jr. talks about the #3 possibly returning to Sprint Cup in 2014: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.met with media at Daytona and discussed the #3 car, the Team Chevy transcript in part:
    Earnhardt Jr.: "I think it will be great. It was an iconic number for my father and it means a lot to a lot of his fans. This sport doesn't really retire numbers and all the numbers have history tied to them for several different reasons. The #3 is no different. I think that for Austin (Dillon) a kid like Austin in this regard any kid that wants to come up through the ranks and he drove the #3 in dirt racing and he drove the #3 in his Truck series and Nationwide series. He has earned the right to run that number as long as he wants. It could have been anybody, but it's Austin. It could have been any kid coming up through the ranks that had ran that number and that's his number. Maybe he's not even an Earnhardt fan maybe that is just his number. He wants to run it I think it's not really fair to deny somebody that opportunity. I'm okay with it. I know that might not be the way a lot of people feel or some people feel, but I'm sure it's the minority that feels that way. I think that a lot of people will be telling Austin positive things about it."(Team Chevy)(7-5-2013)

  • Special scheme for Earnhardt Jr. at Kentucky: The National Guard Youth Foundation will adorn the hood of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s blue-and-white #88 Chevrolet SS this weekend in Kentucky. The National Guard Youth Foundation assists adolescents, who drop out of school, with the opportunity to improve their life skills, education and employability, creating the next generation of skilled workforce in America. The Foundation also works to raise awareness of the growing dropout crisis in the nation and its impact on our economy and national security.(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page.(6-27-2013)

  • New NASCAR related clothes: Burn Rubber Productions and JRM Licensing announced the exclusive launch of the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Original Burn Rubber Tee Shirt. Printed using Burn Rubber's Patent Pending process, the lineup includes shirts in several "paint scheme" designs - each screen printed with authentic Dale Jr. race used tire rubber. The first of its kind, the Original Tee takes being a race fan to a whole new level.(Burn Rubber Productions)
    AND Actress Alyssa Milano, who started her own clothing line about six years ago: "I'm doing NASCAR. ... We're launching NASCAR in a couple of weeks, which I'm really excited about," she told talk show host Jimmy Fallon last week. NASCAR will begin selling her products next week on its website and it also will be available at the tracks on race weekends. The launch will feature all female tops and the product line will include 10 drivers-Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Danica Patrick and Tony Stewart.(Sporting News)(6-27-2013)

  • Earnhardt's engine problems not related: While Toyota has taken a public relations hit over the last month from multiple engine problems, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 39th at Charlotte and 37th last weekend at Michigan after engine failures knocked NASCAR's Most Popular Driver out of contention in both races. Team owner Rick Hendrick said both failures were "random" issues and "unrelated." The engine at Michigan was valve train-related while the issue with the Charlotte engine was a piston problem. "It started with a valve spring - just one of those valve spring problems," Hendrick said of Junior's engine which expired after he led 34 laps at Michigan. "It's the only one we had, but it's kind of the Achilles' heel in most of your engine problems. You break a valve spring and then you drop the valve. There's nothing you do about it. You try to get the best parts and pieces, the best batch numbers but that track is so hard on equipment because you're on the throttle so much and have little time for the engine to breathe.(Fox Sports)(6-23-2013)

  • New sponsor for Earnhardt Jr? UPDATE: #88 Team owner Rick Hendrick on Monday said Hendrick Motorsports was "very close" to a new multi-year sponsorship deal for Dale Earnhardt's #88 ride in the Sprint Cup Series. "I've not been worried about it because we could sell it if we wanted to piecemeal it. We've been looking for the future," Hendrick told the Charlotte Observer. "We don't want to get into (sponsor relationships) where you see somebody one time and you don't seem them anymore after that. I am very confident that in the next couple of weeks we should have not only this year (covered) but we should have a lot done for next year, too." The majority of the #88's season is currently sponsored by the National Guard, Diet Mountain Dew and AMP Energy.(Charlotte Observer)(6-10-2013)
    UPDATE: The sponsor Hendrick Motorsports is close to signing to a multiyear deal for Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be new to NASCAR. HMS owner Rick Hendrick said the deal likely won't be completed in time for the sponsor to be on the hood for the July 6 race at Daytona International Speedway -- the first race in which the #88 was unsponsored. Hendrick said National Guard likely would be on the car at DIS. "We're going to have to switch some stuff around,'' Hendrick said before Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. NASCAR's most popular driver entered the season with 13 unsponsored races. Hendrick insisted in February there was plenty of interest and he was looking for a long-term fit for the #88 and not a quick fix for this season. "This will be a pretty neat deal when we get to announce it, but I think we're in good shape,'' said Hendrick, not naming the sponsor other than to say it is new to the sport. "There hasn't been a lot of new sponsors in the sport just because of the economy and the way people go to market, a combination of a lot of things. [But] there's always been a lot of interest in him.''(ESPN)(6-17-2013)

  • Earnhardt Jr. discusses engine failure at MIS: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr was sidelined with engine failure on lap 132 at Michigan, from Team Chevy Driver Race Quotes transcript:
    Earnhardt Jr. "Yeah, that is worse than if it happens when you're running in the back. I'm real proud of the car. We were really struggling in practice and I'm just real proud of (crew chief) Steve (Letarte) and the whole team. They made a lot of great changes. And that car was just flying at the end there. I don't know if we had as good a car as Jimmie (Johnson), but we had certainly made some gains on it, even in the last stop. So, I'm just real proud of my team. I hate to run into trouble. They'll figure it out and we'll get it sorted and we'll be able to come back here and expect to run strong again. I just hate it. Hendrick Motorsports, they work harder than anyone in the business. They're the best company in the business and we ought to be out there running up front still, but we'll get it eventually."
    Earnhardt Jr. "No there was no warning at all even after I think we lost a cylinder. The gauges all looked really good. Flipped all the switches I could flip and nothing was really making a difference. We just had something come apart in the motor. Really happy though with the engine. Happy with the way the car performed. Weren't really happy with the National Guard Chevrolet yesterday. Made a lot of changes last night. Steve Letarte (crew chief) and the whole crew made some great changes last night. We had such an awesome car. Look forward to coming back here and try to get a win."
    Earnhardt Jr. "I was just telling him how proud I was of him and the team because we were really frustrated yesterday after practice. Really frustrated with how the car was driving and where our speed was. Just telling them guys to hold their head up they did a great job overnight getting the car competitive. We had a first or second-place car right there." (Team Chevy)(6-17-2013)

  • Keselowski says rivals stole Ford employees, information: #2-Brad Keselowski met with Ford Motor Co. employees in Dearborn on Thursday and signed autographs and answered questions. The defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion also found time to chat with reporters and take a sharp jab at Chevrolet-backed Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing, which runs Toyotas. Keselowski criticized Hendrick and Gibbs for "stealing away" employees and information from Ford Cup teams, including his own Penske Racing outfit and Roush Fenway Racing. Keselowski didn't mince words about Hendrick and Gibbs' recruitment techniques when he was asked by the media about the recent efforts of Ford teams like Penske and Roush coming together and sharing information. "There are little things you can do," Keselowski said of Ford-backed teams opening up lines of communication in an effort to improve performances on the track. "What keeps it from going too far is the fact that Hendrick and Gibbs have this nasty little habit of going to other teams and outbidding other people and taking those employees and stealing our information, and, when that happens, that puts walls up between the camps because you are giving up more than one piece of information - you are giving up two companies' information and trying to protect yourself against that, it forces you to put up walls.It doesn't necessarily lend itself to working together. But still, we are going to put in a valiant effort where we can and where it makes sense to put Ford in a position to have the best results possible."Keselowski cited two incidents where he claimed Hendrick and Gibbs - who between them run the likes of series points leader and five-time Cup champ Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. - lured away Ford team employees with big offers."Gibbs stole the Roush aero director and took all the information," said Keselowski. "And Hendricks took three employees from our Chase-winning team last year."(USA Today)(6-14-2013)
    GIBBS STATEMENT: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) released the following statement from Owner Joe Gibbs in response to the recent comments made by driver Brad Keselowski: "We were surprised to read the recent comments and accusations made by Brad Keselowski. Clearly those comments are misguided and irresponsible. Brad's candor is well documented, but he would do well to only speak to subjects on which he is properly informed. Obviously NASCAR is a very competitive environment and we take our hiring processes seriously at JGR. The individual he referenced in his comments was working outside of the sport of NASCAR at the time we hired him. We have a great deal of respect for Roger Penske and his organization and I feel like I have always had a good personal relationship with Roger. We look forward to competing with Brad on the racetrack, but hope that he will use better judgment in the future before making such misinformed claims and accusations."(JGR)
    HENDRICK STATEMENT: HMS owner Rick Hendrick also took offense to what Keselowski said. "The comments Brad reportedly made were misinformed,'' Hendrick said. "The truth is that we hired one tire changer, who was a backup for Penske and whose contract was up. We also brought over one mechanic from their Nationwide program and, when the Penske engine shop was closing, added a few of those people. What Brad left out was that his organization also hired one of our tire changers. All of this was above board and is part of doing business in a competitive environment. I take no issue with any of it, and I expect Roger [Penske] would say the same. Brad misrepresents the facts and spends a lot of time making insinuations and accusations about other teams when he should be focused on his own program and competing at a high level. I hope he figures that out and begins representing himself and the sport with more class."(ESPN)(6-15-2013)

  • McCollum amendment to ban military sponsorship fails: An amendment to cut off government spending on sponsorships of NASCAR and pro wrestling events sponsored by Rep. Betty McCollum, DFL-Minn., fell short in the U.S. House on Friday. McCollum, who sits on the powerful appropriations committee, has been trying to highlight Pentagon spending she considers wasteful. Her biggest target: money the National Guard spends on pro sports sponsorships which the Guard says helps with recruiting. "The fact that $53 million in taxpayers' funds is going to sponsor some of the most violent and sexist entertainment on television and NASCAR racing teams that results in zero recruits is a waste of money," McCollum said. The amendment was defeated by a wide margin. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., represents a district with a big NASCAR track. "We would be stealing from our nation's military and hard-working taxpayers if this amendment were to pass," Hudson said.(MPR News)(6-14-2013)

  • Special "Man of Steel" paint scheme for #88 at MIS: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the #88 National Guard "Man of Steel" Chevy on June 16 at Michigan International Speedway. Superman's values align with National Guard values. Both are citizens who put on their uniforms when their communities need them. More info at soldierofsteel.com.(HMS), see images on the #88 Team Schemes page.(6-10-2013)

  • Study Confirms Value of Sports Sponsorships to National Guard Recruiting: A respected independent research firm has confirmed the value that professional sports sponsorships provide the National Guard in recruiting and retaining high-quality soldiers. Alan Newman Research of Richmond, Va., found that 90% of Army National Guard soldiers who enlisted or re-enlisted since 2007 were exposed to the Guard through recruiting or retention materials featuring NASCAR cars and/or drivers. Of those who enlisted or re-enlisted during that time period, 85 percent agree that professional sports are beneficial to attracting and retaining good soldiers. The survey also found that racing fans are an especially receptive group for the Army National Guard. NASCAR enthusiasts aged 18 to 34 - the Guard's target recruiting audience - are twice as likely to consider a military career than nonfans. The Army National Guard turned to professional sports sponsorships in 2007 when traditional, more expensive recruiting efforts were failing to attract enough quality applicants. The force has since seen a surge in recruiting with some units having to turn away potential enlistees. See full (pdf) report at Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States site.(5-28-2013)

  • HMS cars to carry special decal: All four Hendrick Motorsports cars: #5-Kahne, #24-Gordon, #48-Johnson & #88-Earnhardt Jr., will carry the above special decal at Kansas Speedway honoring those effected by the Boston Maraton Bombings this past Monday.(HMS Facebook)(4-21-2013)

  • Brother of HMS Machinist killed in Cambridge: Hendrick Motorsports Statement: The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Hendrick Motorsports are with Andrew Collier and his family. Andrew, a machinist in the Hendrick Motorsports engine department, tragically lost his brother, Officer Sean Collier, last night in Cambridge, Mass. We ask that the family's privacy be considered during this difficult time. Andrew, 25, joined Hendrick Motorsports in September 2008.(HMS)(4-19-2013)

  • Hendrick makes another big purchase at Barrett-Jackson: Rick Hendrick has done it again. The famed NASCAR team owner, who bought the rights to the very first 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray coupe at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale in January, has doubled down by winning the Palm Beach bidding for the first 2014 Stingray convertible to be produced. The price tag: $1 million. Although, every penny of the charity sale goes to benefit the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute . Hendrick, a familiar face as a regular buyer and seller at Barrett-Jackson auctions, paid $1.1 million for the coupe in Scottsdale. So it was widely speculated that he would vie for the convertible. Now, he has a pair of No. 1 2014 Corvette bookends costing a total of $2.1 million. Barrett-Jackson charges no auction fees for charity sales. "I paid a little more than I wanted for that car," Hendrick said in a classic understatement. "But I owe so much to Corvette for getting me into the car business in the first place." Part of the deal from General Motors for the first Corvette convertible is a ceremony that will take place at the factory when Hendrick will start up the freshly built Stingray for the first time at the end of the assembly line.(SPEED)(4-7-2013)

  • 600th NASCAR start for Earnhardt, Jr: This weekend's race will mark Earnhardt's 475th start in a sanctioned Sprint Cup points-paying event and his 600th overall in NASCAR competition. He also has tallied 125 starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. In those 599 starts, Earnhardt has 42 wins, 167 top-five finishes, 267 top-10s, 21 pole positions and 10,540 laps led. With 19 Cup wins, Earnhardt is tied for 38th on the all-time Sprint Cup winner's list and ranks 11th among active, full-time drivers. In 474 Cup starts, Earnhardt also has 108 top-five finishes, 187 top-10s and 11 pole positions.(Hendrick Motorsports)(4-4-2013)

  • Dale Jr recommends small change to Auto Club Speedway: from a Team Chevy post race press conferences transcript, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was asked:
    Q. A lot has been said this weekend that the track hasn't been resurfaced or redone in a while. Some people are calling it character like Fenway Park or Wrigley Field. What's your take?
    DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: I think it's great. Do everybody a favor, whoever owns this place, and pave the back straightaway. If you pave the back straightaway, there's some real bad bumps, we all watched it on TV in the Nationwide race and I'm sure you saw it today. It's just going down the back straightaway. It probably doesn't cost much to pave the two lanes that we race in, and that would really cure any complaints that I got. I think the corners are perfect. I wouldn't pave anything or change anything about the turns. This place has got -- this is the age of asphalt that I think tracks strive for. This is what places like Michigan and Phoenix look forward to, you know, when they get a good 10, 15 years on their asphalt. This is really right in the ballpark, right in everybody's wheelhouse. I think everybody that runs in the Cup garage really likes the surface. It's just real bumpy down the back straightaway for some reason, and it doesn't have to be, and I think they can fix that with a couple lanes of asphalt on that outside toward the wall, and like I said, the corners, man, you couldn't ask for a better racetrack."(Team Chevy)(3-25-2013)

  • Earnhardt Jr., Kahne and Stewart to guest on The Cleveland Show UPDATE: NASCAR stars #88-Dale Earnhart Jr., #5-Kasey Kahne and #14-Tony Stewart will guest-voice on Fox's The Cleveland Show next season. In the episode, Cleveland (voiced Mike Henry) convinces Donna (voiced Sanaa Lathan) to lighten up and have a few drinks when she takes her run for local office way too seriously. "Unfortunately, they party way too hard - and wake up on the infield of a NASCAR track. It's up to guest stars Earnhardt, Jr., Stewart and Kahne to race Donna and Cleveland home," executive producer Rich Appel says.(TV Guide)(4-27-2012)
    UPDATE: are scheduled to be voicing their characters' roles on Fox is scheduled to air "The Cleveland Show" on Sunday, March 17th at 7:30 pm/et in which NASCAR drivers #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #5-Kasey Kahne and #14-Tony Stewart are featured.(Charlotte Observer)(3-15-2013)

  • Hendrick Motorsports still most valuable team according to Forbes: Hendrick Motorsports is NASCAR's most valuable team with a value of $357 million, up 2%. Hendrick is worth twice as much as second-ranked Joe Gibbs Racing. Hendrick is the only four car Sprint Cup team left and brings in $125 million in sponsor revenue a year. Lowe's extended its deal last month through 2015 as the primary sponsor of Jimmie Johnson's #48 car. Earnhardt Ganassi (ranked #8 with a value of $72 million) announced it would switch engine suppliers from Earnhardt Childress Racing to Hendrick starting in 2013. This will add to Hendrick's coffers, which are already full as NASCAR's most profitable team with an estimated operating income of $16.6 million in 2012.
    Gibbs, worth $168 million, leapfrogs Roush Fenway Racing. Gibbs got a huge boost in 2013 with the addition of 2003 Sprint Cup champ Matt Kenseth, who replaced Joey Logano in the #20 car. Gibbs has been one of the most consistent teams when it comes to selling sponsorships with all paint schemes sold ahead of the season start in 2012 and 2013. JGR signed a 30-race renewal with FedEx last year on the #11 car.
    The value of Roush is down 10% to $166 million. The team has struggled to sell sponsorships in recent years and lost Kenseth to Gibbs. Richard Childress Racing ranks No. 4 with a value of $139 million, down 6%. Childress is at a crossroad as it prepares to lose its top driver, Kevin Harvick, who signed a deal to race for Stewart-Haas Racing starting in 2014. Still to be determined is if long-time sponsor, Budweiser, will follow Harvick out the door.
    The value of Stewart-Haas is up 14% to $123 million and ranks fifth. Tony Stewart and Gene Haas are building one of the top teams in NASCAR.
    NASCAR's top nine teams are worth $143 million on average, up 1% over last year. Each of these teams are profitable by our count (some just barely) with team's cutting budgets in cases where sponsor shortfalls arise. Earnings are down 10% overall compared to 2011.(see more details and the complete list at Forbes)(3-14-2013)

  • Forbes names highest paid drivers: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the highest-paid driver in the sport for the fifth straight year with total earnings of $25.9 million in 2012 by our [Forbes] count. We estimate that Earnhardt earned $12.9 million in combined salary and his share of prize money, which is split with Hendrick Motorsports. Earnhardt signed a contract extension with Hendrick in 2011 that will keep him part of NASCAR's most valuable team through at least 2017. But what really separates Earnhardt from the rest of NASCAR's top drivers is his off-the-track earnings, which were $13 million last year. While Earnhardt's licensing income is down like all drivers (some as much as 80%), he still generated the most licensing dollars in the sport last year.
    Another Hendrick driver, #48-Jimmie Johnson, ranks #2 with earnings of $23 million. In fact, all four Hendrick drivers are among the 10 highest paid with Jeff Gordon #4 ($18 million) and Kasey Kahne at #9 ($12 million). Johnson barely missed his sixth Sprint Cup title in 2012, but it was still a banner year on the track, as he earned a NASCAR-high $8.1 million in race winnings for the #48 car. His "Special Awards" and Sprint Cup bonuses added another $2.3 million.
    #10-Danica Patrick, ranks #7 with earnings of $12.9 million in 2012. Her merchandise was NASCAR's ninth best seller in 2012, according to Fanatics.com, one of the largest online retailers of officially licensed sports merchandise. But that ranking will jump this year, as she only raced in 10 Sprint Cup races last year and will be running a full-time Sprint Cup schedule in 2013 for the first time.(see more details and the complete list at Forbes)(3-14-2013)

  • Earnhardt Jr., Kahne and Stewart to guest on The Cleveland Show UPDATE: NASCAR stars #88-Dale Earnhart Jr., #5-Kasey Kahne and #14-Tony Stewart will guest-voice on Fox's The Cleveland Show next season. In the episode, Cleveland (voiced Mike Henry) convinces Donna (voiced Sanaa Lathan) to lighten up and have a few drinks when she takes her run for local office way too seriously. "Unfortunately, they party way too hard - and wake up on the infield of a NASCAR track. It's up to guest stars Earnhardt, Jr., Stewart and Kahne to race Donna and Cleveland home," executive producer Rich Appel says.(TV Guide)(4-27-2012)
    UPDATE: are scheduled to be voicing their characters' roles on Fox is scheduled to air "The Cleveland Show" on Sunday, March 17th at 7:30 pm/et in which NASCAR drivers #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #5-Kasey Kahne and #14-Tony Stewart are featured.(Charlotte Observer)(3-15-2013)

  • New look for the #88 at Las Vegas: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr, will carry an orange, white and black AMP Energy Chevy at Las Vegas this weekend. AMP and Diet Mountain Dew are scheduled to be the primary sponsor for five races on the #88 in 2013. See an image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.
    UPDATE Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the #88 AMP Energy Active Orange Chevrolet SS in the Kobalt Tools 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The new sleek paint scheme features an electric vibe. Shying away from the normal AMP Energy green car the AMP Energy Active Orange gives the Generation 6 Chevy SS a bold design with orange-and-black scheme. The back of the car features the "orange is back" slogan while the hood features the AMP Energy logo.(Lionel NASCAR Collectables)(3-4-2013)

  • Hendrick willing to help delvelop better fence tech: Winning Daytona 500 team owner Rick Hendrick wants to find out what allowed the front clip of Kyle Larson's car to be sheared off in Saturday's Nationwide Series race. He is willing to work with NASCAR to develop technology that will help prevent another such incident that left 28 fans injured when debris flew into the stands. Larson's car went airborne into the catch fence on a horrific last-lap crash. The engine, built by Hendrick Motorsports, was separated from the car and landed on the concrete in front of the Campbell grandstands between sections H and I. One of the tires with the hub attached sailed over the fence and hit two fans, sending both to nearby Halifax Heath with critical injuries, one life-threatening. Both, according to a hospital representative on Monday, are stable and no longer critical. "I think the fence did its job,'' Hendrick said during Monday's Daytona 500 champion's breakfast for driver Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team. "I've never seen the clip come off before. They say they haven't found parts of the transmission. "What happened to the clip, there might be something else we can do. I've never seen that happen.''(ESPN)(2-25-2013)

  • Earnhardt Jr. loses engine in first practice on Wednesday: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. comments following engine failure during practice for the Budweiser Duel at Daytona Qualifying Races:
    Earnhardt Jr: "We broke a motor, it's as simple as that. They'll figure out what happen. I'm sure there is some logical explanation as to what happened, but, we'll just put a new one in and start at the back of the Qualifier tomorrow, and race up through there."
    Earnhardt Jr: "No, it's just part of racing."
    Earnhardt Jr: "Not really. Everything is good. We were just making some single car runs by ourselves. Everything seemed like it was working. Just trying to find a little more speed, and we found a few things that seemed to help the car. We'll try to get out in this next practice, and see what else we can learn, but everything should be fine."
    Earnhardt Jr: "No."
    (Team Chevy)(2-20-2013)

  • Dirty Mo Radio Set to Launch Feb. 18: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and JR Motorsports announced today the birth of Dirty Mo Radio, an online home for radio-style podcasts centrally themed around NASCAR's 10-time most popular driver. Dirty Mo Radio will be based at Earnhardt Jr.'s official site, www.DaleJr.com, but its podcasts will also be available free-of-charge on common podcasting outlets such as iTunes. More info at dalejr.com.(2-14-2013)

  • 2013 silly season notes for #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr / Hendrick Motorsports:: Earnhardt Jr. is signed thru 2017. The National Guard signed up for another season, being the primary sponsor for 20 races in 2013. Pepsi/Diet Mountain Dew dropped their sponsorship down to five races with Earnhardt Jr and the #88 (Diet Mountain Dew and Amp), two races with Jeff Gordon (Pepsi) and one with Kasey Kahne (brand TBA). This leaves the #88 Chevy without a primary sponsor for 13 races. Team owner Rick Hendrick doesn't seem concerned and has said there has been plenty of interest from sponsors and that he is more concerned with finding a match that will work beyond 2013. In 2012 Diet Mountain Dew was contracted for 16 races in 2012 with Pepsi having the sponsorship rights for 20 races, AMP was the sponsor the other four races. See images of the National Guard, Diet Mountain Dew schemes on my #88 Team Schemes page. See more about other teams on my 2013 Team / Driver Silly Season Chart.(2-8-2013)

  • Hendrick not interested in the Batmobile: Rick Hendrick bought several vehicles and spent well over seven figures at last month's Barrett-Jackson Collectible Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. Some cars are for his business or personal collection while over a million dollars of cars purchased benefited charities. At the auction the original Batmobile from 1966 sold for 4.2-million dollars; however the Chevy team owner had no interest in making a bid. "Hell no, no sir", said Hendrick. "What would I want with the Batmobile? And I'm a Batman fan but I wouldn't know what to do with that car." Hendrick joked, "I wouldn't have hauled that thing home if they gave it to me!" Hendrick said the Batmobile is not his style, but another reason might be that it was also originally a concept car built by Ford.(PRN's Garage Pass)(2-5-2013)

  • PETA asks for space on Earnhardt, Jr.'s #88: It's been wildly reported that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is still looking for some sponsors. In fact, Hendrick Motorsports, Earnhardt's team, has yet to find sponsorship for 13 Sprint Cup races (although with an owner that just spent a million on a Corvette, it's unlikely Earnhardt Jr. is going to miss any races). Anyway, apparently the folks over at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals heard about the open space on Earnhardt Jr.'s car. And they want some of it...for free. The animal rights organization wrote the driver a letter on Thursday, asking him to consider putting the campaign's logo on his #88 car. "I'm writing today after reading that sponsorship this season is at a low because I hope that you'll consider using the available space on your beautiful car as an opportunity to spread a lifesaving spay-and-neuter message that would spare countless dogs and cats in your home state tremendous suffering," wrote Michelle Cho, PETA's associate director. Hendrick Motorsports had no official comment on the PETA request.(AutoWeek)(1-31-2013)

  • #88 unsponsored for 13 races: NASCAR's most popular driver will enter the 2013 season with 13 unsponsored races. But team owner Rick Hendrick doesn't seem concerned that Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 has open inventory. Hendrick said there has been plenty of interest from sponsors and that he is more concerned with finding a match that will work beyond 2013. "We've got a lot of good opportunities," Hendrick said during Wednesday's stop of the Sprint Media Tour. "The way we're positioned, the car is covered until the end of the summer. I don't have a deadline [for a deal]. I'm not looking at a timeline. I'm looking at the right deal." Hendrick said he was close on two or three deals, but "we haven't put any line in the sand." It was announced last year that National Guard would be on Earnhardt's car for 20 races in 2013. Diet Mountain Dew was contracted for 16 races in 2012 with PepsiCo having the sponsorship rights for 20 races..(ESPN)(1-23-2013)

  • Hendrick Motorsports Notes from the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour:
    All Hendrick cars are fully-funded except Dale Jr.'s #88. But Rick Hendrick says there's interest and he has no sponsorship worries, the #88 is 13 races short.
    . Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Daytona testing wreck. "I thought long and hard, and that's probably the most embarrassed I've ever been."
    Chase Elliott will run in five ARCA and nine Series races in 2013, his Truck number will be #94, Hendrick Motorsports will field the entries. Elliott's scheduled Truck races: Martinsville (both). Iowa (both), Rockingham, Dover, Bristol. Mosport/Canada and Phoenix.
    #24-Jeff Gordon on Gen-6 car :"I'm a big fan, I love it. I like the body style & I think the teams and crew chiefs feel the same thing."
    #5-Kasey Kahne says he's an "underdog" compared to those who have Cup titles, but says this is his best shot yet in 2nd season, Kahne is sporting a new hair style. (from many Twitter reports/feeds)(1-23-2013)

  • The King & Dale Jr. team up: Dale Earnhardt Jr., the most popular driver in NASCAR racing today, is joining Goody's longtime spokesman, Richard "The King" Petty, in a new multi-media campaign that will introduce consumers to the fast-dissolving headache remedy. Beginning in early 2013, the driving duo's radio, television and digital campaign will tell fans how to be unstoppable with Goody's. Goody's Powder will be the title sponsor for the Goody's Fast Relief 500, the October 27 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville. Goody's also will continue its longstanding tradition of sampling the product at racetracks and, to the delight of fans, bring Earnhardt and Petty together for personal appearances. "This partnership is unprecedented," said Joseph Juliano, Brand Director, Goody's. "It is the first time that these two NASCAR legends have worked together. Each of them has a huge fan base, and they are both synonymous with the sport of auto racing. Goody's is all about speed, and nobody personifies the idea of speed better than Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Jr."
    "I am really looking forward to working with Dale Jr. on the new campaign for Goody's, which will introduce the product to a whole new generation," Petty said. "He is a great driver and a smart businessman, and nobody is more popular with NASCAR fans."
    "Richard Petty is a role model for me and every other driver in NASCAR," Earnhardt said. "I am honored to be working with him and thankful Goody's brought us together. I signed on with Goody's in part because of their long-term commitment to NASCAR. They helped start the trend of non-car companies coming into the sport. In my mind, they are synonymous with NASCAR racing. I am also a big fan of their product because it works so fast."(JR Motorsports)(1-22-2013)

  • Hendrick to appear on CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood Jan 20th: CBS News correspondent Lee Cowan gets a sneak peek at of Chevrolet's totally redesigned 2014 Corvette Stingray and talks with NASCAR team owner and Corvette collector Rick Hendrick about the prized vehicles this weekend on CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. "The Corvette was just the ultimate car," Hendrick tells Cowan. "I mean, it was - you had the styling, the power, all the girls liked them." Timed to the car's 60th birthday, Chevrolet has redesigned the vehicle for 2014 and brought back the legendary Stingray name. Hendrick, a top NASCAR team owner, has one of the largest private Corvette collections in the world, with nearly 150 in his stable. He said he met his wife, Linda, while driving a Stingray. Hendrick, a Chevy dealer, can't wait to get his hands on one of the new Corvettes, Cowan reports. "I think this car will probably be one of the most sought-after cars that we've seen in a long time," Hendrick tells Cowan. Cowan's report on the new Corvette is scheduled to be broadcast Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013 on CBS Sunday morning at 9:00am/et on the CBS Television Network.(CBS)(1-19-2013)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. potato chips: KLN Family Brands, the Minnesota company that makes Barrel O'Fun snacks, announced a new partnership with NASCAR driver #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. that will begin with the launch of four flavors of potato chips. KLN and Earnhardt formed Dale Jr. Foods, which will launch four flavors: Crispy Original, Carolina Barbecue, Creole & Green Onion, and Zesty Jalapeno. The Barrel O'Fun snacks distribution area is predominately in the Midwest, however the Dale Jr. chips will be available nationwide. The bags will be sold in various sizes, including an 8 ounce grocery store version that has a suggested retail price of $3.79. The chips will be available starting in February.(Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal)(1-11-2013)

  • Study names NASCAR's Social Media Leaders: Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, and #48-Jimmie Johnson are among NASCAR's strongest and most engaging users of social media, a new social media study of the NASCAR industry finds. The study - conducted by Tuckahoe Strategies, a strategic communications firm - scored drivers, teams and select NASCAR sponsors and partners on a 20-point scale. Joe Gibbs Racing topped the charts with a Social Media Score of 15 points, Hendrick trailed by one point at 14 points and Johnson scored 13 points.
    Gibbs' online accounts comprise one of the broadest social media strategies for reaching fans of the sport. The team site, www.joegibbsracing.com, is up to date with timely features, and the homepage points to six social media platforms, including a mobile app for iPhone, Blackberry or Droid. The team maintains active social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and FourSquare. Hendrick also has an active and diverse menu of social media platforms including a mobile app. Gibbs' social media score bested Hendrick's by a single point because of its slightly more effective home page promotion of its social media platforms.
    Johnson is the most comprehensive user of social media among drivers. He reaches his audience on a broad array of platforms including: Facebook, 657,062 page likes; Twitter, 348,402 followers; YouTube, 265 subscribers; and Instagram, with an industry-leading 60,618 followers. Johnson's social media reach (the sum of all social media followers across platforms) is 1,066,347. This veritable "media machine" has a following larger than the circulation of the Los Angeles Times, which is the fourth largest newspaper in the country.
    The sport's largest audience holder and content curator across the board is NASCAR. The sanctioning body regained a voice and a direct connection to its fan base this year after repossessing control of its online assets in a January 2012 agreement with Turner Sports Interactive. NASCAR's total social media reach is an astronomical 5,044,070, more than double the daily circulation of the largest U.S. newspaper, The Wall Street Journal. In fact, NASCAR commands the industry's top position in terms of audience on Facebook likes (3,239,504), Twitter followers (841,027) and YouTube subscribers (5,430). The sanctioning body also has 1,420 followers on Pinterest and a staggering 956,689 circles on Google+.(Tuckahoe Strategies)(1-10-2013)

2012 News

  • 2012 Sponsor Schedule:
    Bud Shootout, 2/18, National Guard
    Daytona, 2/26, Diet Mountain Dew
    Phoenix, 3/4, National Guard
    Las Vegas, 3/11, National Guard
    Bristol, 3/18, National Guard
    Auto Club, 3/25, Diet Mountain Dew
    Martinsville, 4/1, AMP Energy
    Texas, 4/14, Diet Mountain Dew / Seven Eleven
    Kansas, 4/22, Diet Mountain Dew / AMP
    Richmond, 4/28, National Guard
    Talladega, 5/6, National Guard
    Darlington, 5/12, Diet Mountain Dew / AMP
    All-Star Race, 5/19, Dale Jr. Foundation
    Charlotte, 5/27, National Guard / NASCAR Unites
    Dover, 6/3, AMP Energy
    Pocono, 6/10, National Guard
    Michigan, 6/17, Diet Mountain Dew/Batman
    Infineon, 6/24, Diet Mountain Dew
    Kentucky, 6/30, Diet Mountain Dew
    Daytona, 7/7, National Guard / NASCAR Unites
    New Hampshire, 7/14, National Guard
    Indianapolis, 7/29, AMP Energy
    Pocono, 8/5, Diet Mountain Dew
    Watkins Glen. 8/12, National Guard
    Michigan, 8/19, National Guard
    Bristol, 8/25, Diet Mountain Dew
    Atlanta, 9/2, National Guard
    Richmond, 9/8, Diet Mountain Dew
    Chicago, 9/16, AMP Energy/Seven Eleven
    New Hampshire, 9/23, Diet Mountain Dew
    Dover, 9/30, National Guard
    Talladega, 10/7, Diet Mountain Dew / Paint the 88
    Charlotte, 10/13, AMP Energy
    Kansas, 10/21, National Guard
    Martinsville, 10/28, Diet Mountain Dew
    Texas, 11/4, National Guard
    Phoenix, 11/11, Diet Mountain Dew
    Homestead, 11/18, National Guard - 2013 scheme

  • The Dale Jr. Foundation Continues Fundraising Success in 2012: The Dale Jr. Foundation (TDJF) announced the successful conclusion to its year-long fundraising efforts, which raised more than $280,000 to benefit non-profit organizations and charities on a national scale. TDJF utilized a trio of major initiatives to raise the funds, including the "Driven to Give" event, the "Win Dale Jr.'s Ride" raffle and ride-along experiences with Earnhardt Jr. "It was another great year," said Earnhardt Jr. "The people who work for TDJF are some of the hardest-working people in my entire company, and I want to thank them first and foremost. I also want to thank anyone who contributed to the raising of funds this year, whether it was through in-kind donations, purchasing raffle tickets, or bidding on auction items. All of it contributed to helping us achieve our goals." More info at thedalejrfoundation.org.(Dale Jr. Foundation)(12-25-2012)

  • Earnhardt Regrets Hiding Injury: In part, the 2012 Cup season will be remembered for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s exit from the #88 Chevy because of a concussion. In retrospect, Earnhardt regrets not taking a hiatus from competition sooner than he did. On Aug. 29, during a tire test at Kansas, Earnhardt sustained a concussion in a hard crash. He knew he was hurt but decided to keep the severity of his injury to himself. A subsequent crash at Talladega caused a second concussion and forced Earnhardt from the car for two races. "I think I should have taken the first concussion more seriously," Earnhardt said Thursday, after being honored as the sport's most popular driver for the 10th straight year. "I think I should have been smarter about it the first time, when we crashed at Kansas. I didn't feel good, and I started getting nauseous after that. I knew right then, for damn sure, that I had a really bad concussion. I wish I would have taken that more seriously. I don't know if it would have changed anything. It's a tough decision to make, going into the Chase. I'd dealt with concussions before, and I thought that I'd just drive through it, and it's be over in a couple of weeks...But I wasn't lucky enough to avoid another accident, so I feel foolish in that regard, that I was careless." Missing two races cost Earnhardt any possibility of winning his first championship and dropped him to 12th in the final standings.(NASCAR Wire Service)(12-1-2012)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. Again a Winner with NASCAR Fans: The National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) announced, on behalf of all NASCAR fans who voted, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been crowned the 2012 NASCAR NMPA Most Popular Driver. The award, given annually since 1956, is Earnhardt Jr.'s 10th consecutive honor and was presented to him today during the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Luncheon at The Encore at Wynn in Las Vegas, Nev. This now ties him with Bill Elliott as the only other driver to be presented the award 10 consecutive years. Elliott is still the all-time leader with 16 overall. After fans voted from February to September, the top 10 drivers that earned the most votes were reset to zero. Drivers Kyle Busch, Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart were all finalists who fans voted for during the final 10 weeks of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season. After more than 934,000 votes were cast this season, Earnhardt Jr. proved once again to be the fans' favorite.
    Completing the voting, in order, were Gordon, Kahne, Stewart, Johnson, Harvick, Kyle Busch, Edwards, Kenseth and Labonte. Earnhardt Jr. has now won the award since 2003, and with Elliott and Richard Petty, are the only drivers to receive it at least five consecutive times. "It was an honor to hear that I won this year and am now tied with Bill (Elliott) for 10 in a row," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I've enjoyed this award because it's a testament to my fans. I appreciate their loyalty and dedication. It was great to get back in Victory Lane this year for my team and for my fans. I'm looking forward to a successful 2013, and am proud to accept this award on behalf of all the fans that voted." Once again the NMPA was proud to support one of NASCAR's oldest and most prestigious awards during Champion Week in Las Vegas. "Each year, NASCAR fans show their passion for their favorite driver in the NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver voting," said Rea White, president of the NMPA. "This award is not only for the driver, but also for the fans as something they can claim as their own at the end of each season. We're proud we can continue this tradition and once again the fans have spoken, selecting a great representative in Dale Earnhardt Jr."(Breaking Limits)(11-30-2012)

  • Earnhardt family has new champion: Karsyn Elledge was just 5 months old when the seven-time champion was killed while racing in the 2001 Daytona 500. Recently, Elledge, 12, won her first Mini Outlaw title in Box Stock division at Millbridge Speedway in Salisbury, N.C. - a one-sixth mile dirt track about one hour north of Charlotte. Two days later, Elledge's accomplishment had yet to set in. As she finished her homework outside of her mother Kelley Earnhardt-Miller's office at JR Motorsports, Elledge had mixed emotions about winning the championship but losing the season finale to 17-year-old Ford Martin.(much more at FoxSports)(11-24-2012)

  • Hendrick seeking first Sprint Cup Series win at Homestead: Hendrick Motorsports has yet to win a Sprint Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway despite having five-time Champion Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and some of the top drivers in the sport since the first Sprint Cup Series visit to HMS in 1999. Adding further to this challenge is that fellow Hendrick teammates Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. are also winless at Homestead-Miami Speedway. All told Hendrick Motorsports is 0-51 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Gordon has claimed one Homestead-Miami victory but it was in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2000. Four-time NASCAR Champion Jeff Gordon has yet to win on just two tracks...Kentucky and Homestead-Miami Speedway.(HMS)(11-16-2012)

  • New look for Dale Jr's car at Homestead: For this weekend's race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will use the canvas of his #88 Chevy to debut the 2013 National Guard paint scheme. Earnhardt helped design the blue-and-white look that will adorn the soon-to-be unveiled 2013 Chevrolet SS. The new Chevrolet model will be revealed on Nov. 29 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week in Las Vegas.(HMS), see an image of the car on the #88 Team Schemes page.(11-14-2012)

  • Rick Hendrick talks business with students: Students filled up Nelson Auditorium Wednesday night when Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, spoke to members of the N.C. State community. Though geared toward students in the University's Poole College of Management, all N.C. State community and business members could attend the event for free as part of the Wells Fargo Executive Series. The series is intended for business leaders at the national and global levels to share with students their approaches to business, as well as the challenges they face in their respective industries, according to PCOM. Hendrick's message was consistent throughout the night - that a successful business entails teamwork, taking care of all people involved in a company, and possessing the willingness to change at any given moment in time. Hendrick said he grew up on a farm unaware of what he wanted to do as an adult, but knowing that it would not be farming. Hendrick said since the age of 8 he raced cars, and learned how to fix farm equipment from his dad.(see full story at CSU Student Media)(11-10-2012)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. happy to be back in car: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. never seriously thought about missing the rest of the Sprint Cup season after being forced to sit out the last two races with symptoms of a concussion. But NASCAR's most popular driver is glad he made the decision to tell doctors about the headaches and other symptoms that parked him, and assured he will be more proactive in sharing those symptoms in the future. Earnhardt hasn't experienced the headaches he had when he first saw neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty on Oct. 12, the day after Petty announced Earnhardt would not be cleared to drive for two weeks. "I felt like I could race at Kansas for sure, probably ran at Charlotte with no problem," Earnhardt said. "I felt kind of foolish sitting at home and feeling OK and not being in the car. If the doctors said it's OK, I wanted to be in the car." Speaking publicly for the first time since Petty parked him, Earnhardt said he can't wait to race. He'll do so with a new Stilo Motorsports Helmet instead of the Impact Racing helmet he's been using, but made it clear he was considering this before his head injuries. "It was really hard to see your car running around without you in it, so that was difficult," Earnhardt said, adding he understands now more than ever that he made the right decision. He hopes other drivers treat concussions more seriously because of his situation.(ESPN)(10-26-2012)

  • Regan Smith without a ride at Martinsvile: Regan Smith experienced two weeks that most racecar drivers would love to experience, and he will follow that with a weekend few would enjoy. After a two-week stint as the substitute driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr., Smith is without a ride for the Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. Smith said Tuesday he plans to go to the track but does not have a ride as Earnhardt has been approved to race after having to miss the last two weeks because of a concussion. On Tuesday afternoon, Smith found out that, as expected, Earnhardt was cleared to race this weekend at Martinsville. Phoenix Racing already had decided to keep AJ Allmendinger in the car after a promising two weeks with him as its last-minute replacement. Smith said he held no hard feelings toward Phoenix for not giving him an opportunity in the car this weekend and there is a chance he could race that car later this year. He couldn't commit to the team before Tuesday and the team had to make plans for Martinsville.(Sporting News)(10-24-2012)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. cleared to race at Martinsville?: UPDATES - Cleared: ESPN's Dr. Jerry Punch interviewed Rick Hendrick before the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway and Hendrick stated that #88-Earnhardt, Jr. has been medically cleared to race next weekend at Martinsville.(10-21-2012)
    UPDATE: "He's been cleared to race at Martinsville, so we're excited to get him back," Hendrick said during an interview on pit road after driver introductions. "He came through with flying colors. Everything is great," Hendrick stated. "He can't wait to get back in the car. He's really anxious -- and we're anxious to get him back. So, next week he's been cleared to race Martinsville. So we're excited, excited to get him back. Dale is a good friend. He means so much to the sport. He means so much to our company. And I care about him. But he's the sparkplug for this sport and our organization too. It just shows you how fragile things are and how you can get hurt in these cars. As much as we do to make them safe, things can happen. The doctors, we've done everything they've said and he's checked out. Everything is 100 percent clear and ready to go, so we're just really happy," Hendrick commented. "I hated for him to miss these two races as good as the season is going. But the good news is he's ok. He's good. He's excited. He feels great - no headaches. He's a racer and he wants to get back in the car."(NASCAR Wire Service)(10-21-2012)
    UPDATE 2: Hendrick later clarified his remarks;
    MR. HENDRICK: "I want to apologize to all you guys (the media). I gave you a little bad information out on pit road today. I've been out here at the dealerships and I did talk to the doctor (Dr. Jerry Petty, neurosurgeon) with Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) and he said everything looked good and everything was fine. However, I didn't know until (HMS PR director) Jesse (Essex) informed me that I had gotten ahead of myself and that there is a closed test Monday that Dr. Petty will attend. Dale will be back in the car (for that test) and he'll make the decision with a final test on Tuesday. So, we don't foresee any problems but I didn't read my emails this morning and I kind of got ahead of myself. I talked to the doctor myself and everything went good in Pittsburg (PA, tested Tuesday Oct. 16th)) and Dr. Petty felt real good about it. And I did know that they were going to shake down a car, but I didn't know that the doctor was going, and that he would actually be evaluating him Tuesday (two separate tests/evaluations). I apologize for that. The test (next) Tuesday is in his (Dr. Petty's) office. The test Monday is in the (race) car."
    "I will be shocked if he's not in the car. Everything looks good. His attitude and the way he feels; he's had no headaches since Thursday or Friday of Charlotte; and the tests have gone real well. I think Dr. Petty is just being super-cautious and I applaud him for that. I think the sequence is that he (Dr. Petty) will be with him at the test Monday; they will evaluate him in his office Tuesday, and then he will notify NASCAR if he's okay. Maybe I just heard what I wanted to hear when I talked to (Dr.) Petty because everything in Pittsburg was good."(Chevy PR)(10-21-2012)
    UPDATE 3: Steve Letarte, Earnhardt, Jr's crew chief tweeted Monday evening, "Back in Concord after a great day of testing with #DaleJr. Looked great and ran some awesome laps."(10-23-2012)
    UPDATE 4 - Cleared: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this weekend at Martinsville, Va., after being medically cleared for competition. Since being diagnosed with a concussion following the Oct. 7 race at Talladega, Ala., Earnhardt has participated in a rehabilitation program directed by Charlotte neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty. Throughout the process, Petty consulted with Dr. Micky Collins, director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program. "Dale Jr. has done everything asked of him," Petty said. "He hasn't had a headache since Oct. 12, and we have not been able to provoke any symptoms since that time. I have informed NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports that he is medically cleared for all NASCAR-related activity." Earnhardt was evaluated by Collins on Oct. 16 in Pittsburgh. On Monday, Earnhardt ran 123 laps in a Sprint Cup car during a test session monitored by Petty at the half-mile Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga. Petty cleared the driver Tuesday morning following a final neuropsychological evaluation in Charlotte. (Hendrick Motorsports)(10-23-2012)

  • Regan Smith expected in the #51 if Earnhardt, Jr. cleared to race: UPDATE: Don't expect Phoenix Racing to jump the gun in announcing its driver lineup for this weekend. However, should Earnhardt Jr. be cleared, Regan Smith will drive the # 51 Chevy. Smith posted his fourth top-10 finish of the season on Sunday subbing in the #88 Hendrick Motorsports car. General manager Steve Barkdoll said Monday morning that the commitment had been made to Smith before AJ Allmendinger filled in. Still Barkdoll, who spotted for Allmendinger during throughout Smith's absence, described the experience as fun. "The way AJ performed the last two weeks, he deserves to be in a full-time ride," Barkdoll said.(Fox Sports)(10-23-2012)
    UPDATE: AJ Allmendinger will drive the #51 Phoenix Racing Sprint Cup car Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. Allmendinger, who was suspended earlier this season for violating NASCAR's substance abuse policy, has driven the past two races at Charlotte and Kansas, where he finished 24th and 35th, respectively. General manager Steve Barkdoll said the decision to go with Allmendinger was based on how he has performed over the past two weeks. Barkdoll said it remains a race-by-race decision. He said Regan Smith would have been in the car for the rest of the year had he not been called on to replace Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the #88 the past two weeks. Barkdoll did not rule out the possibility that Smith could be in the car in two weeks at Texas. Earnhardt is awaiting word later Tuesday on whether he will be cleared to return from a concussion to race at Martinsville this weekend.(ESPN) (10-23-2012)

  • Diet Mountain Dew cutting back sponsorship of Earnhardt, Jr.: UPDATE: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won't have Diet Mountain Dew as a sponsor for as many races in 2013 as he did in 2012, but he's not worried about Hendrick Motorsports finding sponsors for those races. NASCAR's most popular driver will have sponsorship from the Army National Guard for 20 races next year and Diet Mountain Dew for an unspecified number. Mountain Dew sponsored 16 races this year while another Pepsi product, Amp, sponsored four. The National Guard had 18 races this year. Earnhardt is not worried about having an unsponsored car at Hendrick. The organization has had Hendrickcars.com on Kasey Kahne's car for select races this year when it didn't sell sponsorships. "We have more demand than we have supply pretty much," Earnhardt said. "We've got a majority of the season with the Guard and Diet Mountain Dew is going to back off a little bit and that makes it a bit of a challenge to fill that small of a gap. If it were a bit larger gap, it would be easier to fill."(Sporting News)(9-14-2012)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his Hendrick Motorsports team are losing 15 races of sponsorship next season as PepsiCo plans to cut back its sponsorship, according to the SportsBusiness Journal. PepsiCo committed to sponsoring Earnhardt for 20 races in 2012. PepsiCo is working on a $10 million deal with Hendrick Motorsports that would include five races annually with Earnhardt (Diet Mountain Dew and Amp), two races with Jeff Gordon (Pepsi) and one with Kasey Kahne (brand TBA). The beverage company had sponsored Earnhardt and his #88 team for 20 races and Gordon's #24 team for two in each of the past five years. This season, the 20 Earnhardt races were split between Diet Mountain Dew (16 races) and Amp (four races).(Sporting News)(10-22-2012)

  • Earnhardt Jr. visits concussion experts: UPDATE: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. met with renowned concussion specialists at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's sports medicine concussion program Tuesday. Earnhardt was not given medical clearance to participate in this past Saturday's Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway or this week's race at Kansas after suffering multiple concussions over the past six weeks. He was accompanied to Pittsburgh by NASCAR primary physician Dr. Jerry Petty as a part of the original rehabilitation plan that was put in place last week. Earnhardt met with Dr. Michael Collins, the executive director of the concussion program that helped developed the ImPACT baseline test used in the IndyCar series and other contact sports.(ESPN)(10-16-2012)
    UPDATE: Kelley Earnhardt Miller posted an update about Earnhardt, Jr. on the JR Nation website: "Dale has been following the doctor's orders to rest up. The doctor did relax his orders a little last week and allowed him to watch some television and play a little video games. He's not suppose to "stress" his brain, LOL. We spent the day Tuesday in Pittsburgh at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center with a great team of doctors led by Mickey Collins. Dale spent most of the day doing different therapies and exercises. We got back yesterday afternoon and Dale has some different therapies to do at home as he consults with the doctors each day. If all goes according to plan, and he continues to improve to 100%, he will test a race car early next week to be cleared for Martinsville. This has definitely been an eye opening experience and one that I hope we don't revisit in his career."(JR Nation)(10-17-2012)

  • Earnhardt Jr. visits concussion experts: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. met with renowned concussion specialists at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's sports medicine concussion program Tuesday. Earnhardt was not given medical clearance to participate in this past Saturday's Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway or this week's race at Kansas after suffering multiple concussions over the past six weeks. He was accompanied to Pittsburgh by NASCAR primary physician Dr. Jerry Petty as a part of the original rehabilitation plan that was put in place last week. Earnhardt met with Dr. Michael Collins, the executive director of the concussion program that helped developed the ImPACT baseline test used in the IndyCar series and other contact sports.(ESPN)(10-16-2012)

  • Smith comments on his run in the #88 at Charlotte: Regan Smith, temporary substitute driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the #88 AMP Energy / National Guard Chevy was sidelined on lap 61 with engine failureL
    Smith: "No, we are still looking at everything. I think the important part was is that we had a really fast race car. We had a good first adjustment there, went just a little too far with it and got a little too free. Needed one more stop and I think we would have had it dialed in and then just chased the weather from that point on. It's disappointing. It's a good team, it's a good car and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports does a great job. I'm looking forward to next week. We get three days to test when we get there to Kansas and we will see if we can get the AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet up front there. I feel confident we will have the same speed we had here. "(Team Chevy)(10-13-2012)

  • A couple streaks end - no Earnhardt and no North Caolina driver in the race:
    Saturday night's event at Charlotte Motor Speedway brings a rarity in NASCAR -- a premier-series race without a driver named Earnhardt in the starting field. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is sitting out this weekend's event at Charlotte, and will also skip next Sunday's race at Kansas Speedway, as he deals with the effects of two concussions suffered within six weeks of one another. The Bank of America 500 will be the first event in what's now known as the Sprint Cup circuit without an Earnhardt in the field since September 3, 1979, and the last of four races Dale Earnhardt missed because of injuries suffered in a crash. Prior to Saturday, the last Cup-level race without an Earnhardt was at Darlington on Labor Day weekend in 1979 (NASCAR.com).
    AND With Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Mooresville, N.C.) sidelined with a concussion and Scott Riggs (Bahama, N.C.) failing to make the field, the green flag will wave on a field without a driver from North Carolina for the first time since May 27, 1961, at Ascot Stadium in Los Angeles.(FoxSports)(10-13-2012)

  • Eanrhardt Jr. will not race at Charlotte or Kansas: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will not compete in the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway after being diagnosed with a concussion following the Oct. 7 race at Talladega. Earnhardt, driver of the #88 Chevrolets for Hendrick Motorsports, was diagnosed Wednesday afternoon in Charlotte. Regan Smith will be the team's substitute driver at Charlotte and Kansas.(Hendrick Motorsports), no word who will drive the #51 Chevy that Smith was scheduled to drive at Charlote.(10-11-2012)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. press conference transcript: #88-Dale Earnhard Jr. met with media to discuss the fact that he will not be competing at this weekend's race at Charlotte Motor Speedway nor at next week's race at Kansas Speedway after being diagnosed with a concussion following the Oct. 7 race at Talladega Superspeedway. Also included in the discussion: Rick Hendrick, Owner of Hendrick Motorspots, Steve Letarte, Crew Chief, and Dr. Jerry Petty, neurosurgeon. The Full Transcript:
    KERRY THARP: Joining us up front we have Steve Letarte, crew chief of the No. 88; Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the No. 88; team owner Rick Hendrick; and Dr. Jerry Petty, neurosurgeon. At this time I'm going to call on Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who has some things he'd like to share with everyone.
    DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: I guess I'll just start out with where this all kind of began. We had a test at Kansas about five weeks ago, and we blew a right front tire going into Turn 1, and I remember everything about that accident and everything after that accident, but I knew that I didn't feel -- you know your body, and you know how your mind works, and I knew something was just not quite right. But I decided to just try to push through and work through it. I'd had concussions before and knew exactly kind of what I was dealing with. I felt pretty good after a week or two and definitely 80, 90 percent by the time the Chase started, and by the time we got to Talladega I felt 100 percent, felt really good. And then the accident at the end of that race, I was hit in the left rear quarter panel, and it was sort of an odd kind of a collision where the car spun around really quick and just sort of disoriented me, and I knew that I had sort of regressed and had a bit of a setback and knew -- again, you know how your body is and you know when something is not quite right, and I knew as soon as it happened that I had reinjured myself, for lack of a better way to describe it. It didn't feel -- it was not even half of the impact that I had at Kansas, but it was enough to cause me some concern.
    So I went a couple days wondering how my body would react and sort of waiting for it to process what was happening. About Wednesday I was still having some headaches, just that was really the only symptoms that I was having was the headaches. So I took it upon myself to -- I contacted my sister, and we talked about seeing a neurosurgeon, and we ended up getting steered toward Dr. Petty. Met with him, ran through a couple tests, everything was checking out, and did an MRI, everything looked good there. But I was really honest with him about how I felt and honest with him about the whole process from Kansas all the way on.
    He spent the night thinking about what we discussed and everything that we did on Wednesday and couldn't clear me to race this weekend. I trust his opinion. That's why I went to see him. He's been a good friend of mine for a long time and has helped me through a lot of injuries before, so I believe when he tells me I don't need to be in the car and I need to take a couple weeks off that that's what I need to do.
    That's pretty much the extent of it. I got a lot of support from my team. I'm excited about their opportunities the next couple weeks with Regan, and just looking forward to getting this cleared up and getting back in the car as soon as I can so I can get back to work with my team and getting back to competing on Sundays.
    Q. Dale, did you see anyone for the Kansas -- the issues you had at Kansas, and if you knew immediately that something was off on Sunday, why did you wait until Wednesday? DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: No, I didn't see anybody at Kansas. I was -- I regret not seeing somebody after that happened. I was stubborn, and I'd had concussions before and knew what I was -- thought I knew what I was dealing with and felt like that I was capable of doing my job.
    I had called Steve. We talked about how I was feeling, and I told him that I really -- I felt pretty good, but I really wouldn't know if I would be able to compete until I got into the car. When you have a concussion, the symptoms can be really mild, and then they'll typically go away after a couple days and you feel perfectly normal. But then when you get in a car and you go around the track at a high rate of speed, you start to understand that some things just aren't quite where they need to be and some reactions just aren't as sharp.
    You really can't get a measurement of that until you're in the car. You can't even -- there's just no way of knowing until you can drive. I wasn't willing to -- with the Chase coming up, I didn't know how difficult -- if I was to volunteer myself to medical attention and be removed from the car, I didn't know how difficult it would be to get back in. But I was honest with Steve and told Steve, I said, when we get to Atlanta and if I don't feel good, I'm going to be honest with you and tell you that we need to have something as a backup plan for me to get out of the car. I wasn't going to drive the car if I felt like I was going to deal my crew chief and my team a shorthand that weekend.
    That's kind of the same reason I waited until Wednesday. The shot at Kansas was -- I think we got the data, but it was around 40 G's, and the shot at Talladega was only around 20 G's. It wasn't really that big of a wreck, and the fact that I felt the way I did was what concerned me after the accident at Talladega because it wasn't that hard of a hit. I wanted to process how I felt over a couple days. I went to the doctor Tuesday, actually. Anyways, we -- you know, I just wanted to process what was happening, and I knew having them two concussions back-to-back was not a good thing. So I needed to go see somebody regardless of whether I wanted to get out of the car or not. Just for my own well-being, I couldn't -- if I didn't need to go get in a race car and get hit again, I needed somebody to tell me that because I was going to have a hard time making that decision for myself. I feel perfectly fine, but I don't want to keep getting hit in the head.
    Q. Because you drove your car away at Talladega, you weren't required to go to the care center. We've come a long way from where drivers would lie and not say that they have concussions or Ricky Rudd taped his eyes open. What do you feel about concussions in general, and do you think you wouldn't have made the decision yourself to have it checked out because you were able to drive your car away at Talladega?
    DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: I just felt like that once -- if you have more than one in a small period of time, you need to take that quite seriously. That's how -- I mean, I had -- the one in Kansas was really bad, and then to get shaken up so quickly over something to kind of trivial. That accident was -- I've been through tons of last lap wrecks at Daytona and Talladega, and that one shook me up, and I just thought maybe I should take this seriously.
    Q. Dr. Petty, Dale has been saying he kind of knows what he's dealing with as far as concussions. What is he dealing with and what does he need to do to be cleared to race?
    DR. PETTY: So far what we've done is Dale -- the first thing he had was an impact test, which is a test that we've been using more and more with drivers. His exam was entirely normal except that his main thing -- we were seeing him for symptoms. He had very few signs at that time. In other words, his neurological exam was normal. We wanted to get an MRI scan, and we did an MRI that following morning, a special MRI. I think we had to wait a while to get it because we wanted to get a special method they have of looking for previous injuries and so forth. That was entirely normal. The whole -- that was very encouraging.
    Then we talked to Dale, and he -- I couldn't give you a better history than he just did. He had no amnesia on either side of either of the incidents, which is very important, and I think that there's every reason to expect -- what we'll do now is we want him to have four or five days after he has no headache, and then we'll give him some sort of test like to get his pulse rate up, see if we can provoke a headache, and then if we can't, we'll let him go out and drive a lap or two and see how that goes, and if that goes well, we'll probably clear him to race.
    Q. For Mr. Hendrick, you've been racing a long time and you've done it with a whole lot of different men. What level of courage does it take for someone to take it upon themselves at the highest level, when all of them talk all the time about how terrified they are that somebody is going to take their wheels, for him to walk in and admit that he had this pain?
    RICK HENDRICK: Well, I think that's one thing everybody admires about Dale is how honest and up front he is. He cares a lot about the team, his fans, and the sport in general. But when he knew that there was something not right, he went to see Dr. Petty here, and I admire him. I think a lot of guys would try to play hurt, but when the doctor tells you if you get hit again like right away, it could be catastrophic, so I think this deal has worked out extremely well as it could. I mean, we were so happy yesterday that the MRI was completely normal, no damage. We don't have a problem there. And for these two guys to have the kind of year they've had, to lead the points and get in the Chase, we've got a lot of years left to race, I always want to be on the side of safety, and I applaud Dale for raising his hand and going in there and getting checked out.
    Q. For Dale, you said you've had other concussions in the past. We know there was the one in 2002. Have there been others in between then and now, and have there been other instances where you haven't gotten it checked out and you've just known that the symptoms were going to clear and you're going to be okay once you get back in the car?
    DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: Well, I can't really recall precisely every run I've had. Me and Dr. Petty were trying to count them the other day. But those were really mild and you were fine in 48 hours. For whatever the reason the wreck at Kansas was just really severe and really surprised me how tough it was to get past that. I thought I was in the clear, but just that little accident at Talladega, I started having headaches and stuff immediately after the wreck, and then into the next day and into Tuesday, and I thought, man, this is pretty soon after the other accident in Kansas. I should probably take this really seriously and seek some professional opinions on this. Typically they only last 24 to 48 hours and go away, and sometimes you don't even -- sometimes to be honest you don't even really know you have a mild concussion.
    Q. Concussions have been in the news quite a bit lately, particularly with the NFL. In light of that how much of a concern is this for your long-term health, and did that kind of play into it at all?
    DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: I think that you just -- I don't think that it played into it a whole lot. When something happens to your body, I want to live a healthy life so I'm going to make sure that I'm doing the right thing, and that's all I felt like I was doing here. I think if I give myself time to get healed up, I can race for as long as I want to race, and that's my objective.
    RICK HENDRICK: I think the real good news is it has come to light with the NFL and Dr. Petty handles NFL guys with the Panthers, too, and there's another doctor here, too, with him, and there's some things they can do to help it along and protect him, and he was explaining all that. So the good news is it's -- this is kind of preventative maintenance not to take a chance and there's no damage.
    But I think when you find out that you're okay, but if you were right away to have another one, it could be a big problem, then I think guys are going to have to pay attention to it, just like the NFL, just like I heard on SportsCenter talking this morning about two or three different people they were waiting to get cleared to play this weekend.
    So as Dr. Petty said, he can't drive until these things happen. I think it's good that it's -- all the safety stuff we have in the cars today, this probably was a lot of -- I can remember in my career broken legs, broken arms, guys sitting out for different stuff, and we don't have that. I remember Terry Labonte having to sit out when he had that inner ear problem, and I think the good news is the cars are so safe, the medical field is so advanced, and if we do what they tell us, we shouldn't have any trouble.
    Q. For Dr. Petty, it seems like a lot of people when we talk about concussions make it seem to be a cut-and-dry thing, but in this instance, Dale Jr. talked about the tests being normal, and a lot of it seems to be him telling you the symptoms that he's experiencing. I was just wondering in your dealing with athletes, is it mostly listening to them tell you the effects of after an incident, or is it a combination generally of test results and them telling you what's going on?
    DR. PETTY: It's a combination in some regard. If an MRI scan or a CT scan is abnormal, then it's no longer a concussion, it's a hemorrhage or a contusion. By definition it's not a concussion. So some of the testing that's done like the impact tests that Dale had, those are tests that we can follow, and if he should have an injury again in the future, we can use that as a baseline. What we'd want to make sure is that baseline doesn't start to fall off and even fall off without being tested.
    The period of -- what he has is really called a diffuse axonal injury, and it's something that does not show on scans, and we don't have test that will show that other than symptoms and signs. Sometimes there will be some residual signs left over, but Dale had none of those. He had no -- his eyes did what they were supposed to do; his balance tests and so forth are perfect.
    The biggest -- the one test, the one symptom that is more important than all the tests is headache, and as long as there's any headache, the brain is not healed, and until that's healed and had some time to rest and then you provoke it again and can't make it happen again, then that's -- then you feel like you're on the road to recovery.
    Q. When you look at Eric McClure, his concussion, you look at your concussions, Brad Keselowski broke his ankle, are the cars not as safe as they need to be right now?
    DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: Oh, the cars are fine. There's just some things that you can't control. I don't know that you can have a race car that's completely 100 percent safe. But there's been so much -- so many advances in the last 10 or 12 years that have made this sport incredibly safe. So I have no worries about that.
    Q. Dale or Rick, was there any consideration of having you possibly set out the rest of the season as opposed to just Charlotte and Kansas at any point in time?
    DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: No, not really. I would love to race this weekend, and I feel perfectly normal and feel like I could compete if I were allowed to compete this weekend. But I think that the basis of this whole deal is that I've had two concussions in the last four to five weeks, and you can't layer concussions. It gets extremely dangerous. So I really don't want to -- I think that we could easily have chosen to do that, but I'd like to get back in the car and compete as soon as I can, as soon as the doctors feel like I'm able to do that.
    Q. Dale, what's your situation going to be like in the next two weeks? Are you going to be keeping the same role as a driver and working with Regan any since he's taking over the car? What's your role going to be like? Is it going to change any?
    DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: Well, I really don't know. I probably need to rest and relax as much as I can, allow my brain to take a break and get some healing done. You know, Regan doesn't need any tutoring or anything like that. He's ready to go. He's going to do a great job. I'm excited for his opportunity. He's a really good guy, been a good friend of mine for a long time. Under the circumstances I think this is a really, really neat opportunity for him, and I think that Steve and the guys will enjoy working with him.
    Q. Considering the incredible season you were having, did it make it even more difficult to make this decision the first time, the second time, and is it just frustrating because of how well you and Stevie were working together?
    DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: It's frustrating. I really didn't get to make the decision. I left it in the hands of the Docs, and I'm going to do what they tell me to do. But it's frustrating; I just enjoy driving cars week in and week out. I enjoy being at the racetrack with Steve, so I'm going to really miss that.
    Q. I know in the NFL if you have a concussion they make you sit out six or seven days before you go back in. NASCAR drivers have kind of hid this fact like Dale did after the Kansas incident. Does there need to be more stringent rules that would prevent drivers from being on the track with concussions?
    DR. PETTY: We've patterned our rules after the NFL to a degree. We would do the same procedure about giving them five or six days without a headache and then doing provocative tests. I don't think that, so far as I know, they're not allowed to go back any earlier than some of the NFL guys are allowed to go back.
    Q. Dale, one question for you: I know you said you have to rest up a little bit, but will you come to the race this weekend to support the team? And for Steve Letarte, what have you had to do to the car to prepare for Regan Smith to race this weekend?
    DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: Yeah, I don't have any plans of being here this weekend. I think that I'd be more of a distraction to the team and their efforts in the race. I think they've got a good opportunity to have a good run this weekend, and I feel like that -- to minimize the distraction would help them out.
    STEVE LETARTE: As far as preparing for the car for Regan, there's not a whole lot to do. He's been at the shop early this morning just to sit in his seat versus Jimmie's. We have a lot of options at the company, and he found the one that fits him the best, so we'll probably change the seat, the pedals, just adjust things to his driving style. He'll probably have to get on the race track to really fine-tune everything like he really wants it. They're reasonably close to the same size, so it shouldn't be much of a problem at all.
    Q. This is for Steve: When this happened at the tire test, it sounds like there wasn't a lot of medical staff or he didn't go to a care center. Is that standard for these tire tests; and is that something that you think should be changed? How does that usually work?
    STEVE LETARTE: Well, there was a medical staff there, and he was seen in the ambulance after his accident. I think he was seen there. As far as the care center and what should be standard, I kind of leave that to the experts above me. I stick with crew chiefing and race cars. I don't know if I'm really the guy that can answer that question. I think injuries are complicated, and I think every situation can be different. We test all over the country, whether it's a tire test or whether we're by ourselves at a straight-line test or Nashville, any type of cars on track there's a risk of injury. I don't know if there's any real -- I wish it would be a cut-and-dry answer, but I don't really think there is a cut and dry answer.
    Q. Rick, can you give us a precise as best you can remember timeline on when the decision was made yesterday, what time of day, when did you contact Regan? Kind of give us not a minute by minute but maybe an hour by hour progress of how all this came about?
    RICK HENDRICK: Let's see. Dale went in to have the -- I talked to Dr. Petty Tuesday night. He had -- Dale had an examination Tuesday. Wednesday he had an MRI. I went down with Stevie and Kelly to his office and saw the MRI, and it was normal. At that point Dr. Petty had already said to me in the morning, that morning that he was not going to clear Dale to drive. But we were wanting to know if there was any damage or injury. Then because Kelly has been working with Regan and junior, I called James Finch last night about 10:00 and asked him could we use Regan. He agreed, and that's -- told Stevie last night at 8:00. So this morning he called Regan and we told him we'd had it cleared with James, and that's where we are right now.
    Q. I was there when you went into the corner. Can you just talk about that track and the rebanking of it, and is it safe, and what should we look for next weekend?
    DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: I think it'll be a great race. I think they did an awesome job on the track. I had a lot of fun when we were testing up there until the accident. I think they did a good job in Turn 1 and 2, sort of changing the banking of the track, and 3 and 4 seems relatively the same as it was before. But I really think it's going to be a great racetrack. It was a good track beforehand, but I think they improved it.
    Q. You're not blaming the track?
    DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: Absolutely not.
    Q. Just going back to the Regan Smith decision, I'm sure you had other choices. Why Regan, and what might be the future for him in your organization?
    RICK HENDRICK: Well, I think we've been talking about running him in the Nationwide car for a championship. He's a good driver, and again, Dale likes him, and we're familiar with him. So that was just -- we knew he was going to be in James' car. And that was just -- it just seemed to fit. They're about the same size.
    STEVE LETARTE: I don't really know if I'm the guy -- Mr. Hendrick makes those decisions, but I agree that Regan is a great guy with a great attitude. Seems to be a remarkable talent. He's part of the Chevrolet family, which obviously helps when he comes and drives our car. We were just looking for someone that could come in and do a great job, and we feel he can, and the fact that Dale believes in him so much really made the decision that much easier.
    Q. What are your emotions right now? We've seen drivers on the verge of tears when they've had to give up their cars in mid-race and some very emotional feelings. How are you coping with that?
    DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: I'm really going to feel pretty odd not being in the car. I'm anxious, real, real anxious just to get back into the car and get back to -- I think you learn not to take things for granted, and I just hate that this has caused such a fuss.
    Q. Dr. Petty, when it comes to concussions, are you more susceptible to them going forward when you get one?
    DR. PETTY: Yes.
    Q. And secondly, how much of diagnosing all this hinges on individual admission?
    DR. PETTY: 90 percent of a concussion probably depends on individual information. The headache -- people around you might notice that you're different. By and large it's a patient's -- the history that the patient gives is the thing that tells you that they've had a concussion. A concussion can be seeing stars. A concussion can be just being addled for a minute. Any time the brain is not doing what it's supposed to be doing after an acceleration or deceleration, that's a concussion.
    THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much for being in here today, and good luck the rest of this season.(Team Chevy Transcript)(10-11-2012)

  • Earnhardt Jr. not happy with race package at Talladega: #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. discussed the wreck at the end of the Talladega race:
    "If this is what we did every week I wouldn't be doing it I will just put it to you like that. If this is how we raced every week I would find another job."
    "That is what the package is doing. It's really not racing. I don't know it's a little disappointing how that all went down. That cost a lot of money right there. If this is how we are going to race and that is how we are going to continue to race and nothing is going to change I think NASCAR should build the cars. It would save us a lot of money."
    "You just can't get away from each other that good.
    MEDIA: "I know it sucks for you guys but for the fans it's awesome to watch."
    DALE EARNHARDT JR.: "Really? It's not safe. Wrecking like that is ridiculous. It's blood-thirsty if that is what people want. It's ridiculous."
    "The way we are going ain't the right direction. There are plenty of engineers out there I'm just a driver. There are plenty of smart people out there that can figure something out where when one guy gets in trouble we don't have 30 cars tore up at the expense of it. I mean it's awesome in a word and everybody can get on the chip about it and get excited about all that which just happened, but for the longevity of the sport that aint healthy. I don't care what anybody says for the good of the sport I mean it's good for the here and now and it will get people talking today, but for the long run that is not going to help the sport the way that race ended and the way the racing is. It's not going to be productive for years to come. I don't even want to go to Daytona or Talladega next year, but I ain't got much choice."(Chevy PR)(10-8-2012)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. denies he's getting married: Don't send those wedding gifts to Dale Earnhardt Jr. just yet. NASCAR's most popular driver says he's not getting married, no matter what the National Enquirer says. The National Enquirer posted a story online Wednesday saying that Earnhardt is expected to marry girlfriend Amy Reimann by the end of the year. Earnhardt, says, not so fast. "Totally false," Earnhardt said when asked about the report Wednesday during media day for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, which starts this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Earnhardt has dated Reimann for more than two years, and they have appeared in public more in the last year.(Sporting News)(9-12-2012)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. Visits ESPN for Pre-Chase Carwash: NASCAR's Most Popular Driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., will be at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Ct., on Tuesday, Sept. 11, and will appear on a variety of ESPN programs and platforms to discuss the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Earnhardt, who is seeking his first NASCAR Sprint Cup title, will start his day on Mike and Mike In the Morning on ESPN Radio and ESPN2 at 9:45am/et. He also is scheduled to appear on SportsCenter, First Take, NASCAR Now, SportsNation, NFL Live, PTI and ESPN Radio's Scott Van Pelt Show.(ESPN)(9-10-2012)

  • Earnhardt Jr. wrecks in Kansas testing, is OK: #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., was treated and released from the Infield Care Center at Kansas Speedway this morning [Wednesday, August 29], after a hard crash during the second day of a scheduled Goodyear tire test at the speedway. Earnhardt's Hendrick Motorsports Chevy reportedly suffered a right-front tire failure and made heavy contact with the outside wall. The car was severely damaged, but Earnhardt walked from the Infield Care Center under his own power. He is one of eight drivers testing on the newly repaved 1.5-mile tri-oval today, as Goodyear researches a new tire compound for use at the speedway. In addition to replacing the track's aging asphalt, crews reworked its 15-degree banking to new, variable degree banking ranging from 17-20 degrees.(Godfather Motorsports)(8-29-2012)

  • A Yankees Lifer in NASCAR: With 10 championships and 206 victories in 29 seasons of racing, Hendrick Motorsports is sometimes called the Yankees of NASCAR. And now that Hendrick has a Yankees lifer on its staff, it would be hard to argue the point. For those who did not notice, that was Gene Monahan standing alongside team members at the finish line as Jimmie Johnson and his #48 crew celebrated their Sprint Cup victory July 29 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Yes, Monahan knelt down and kissed those bricks with everyone else as part of the traditional victory celebration there. This is what Monahan, 67, had in mind when he retired as the head trainer of the Yankees last fall after 49 years with the organization. A lifelong racing fan going back to his days growing up in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Monahan moved from his two-bedroom condominium in Hackensack, N.J., to a 3,300-square-foot house near a lake in Mooresville, N.C., last November to be close to most of the teams that compete in NASCAR. Appropriately enough, he became a consultant for Hendrick. Monahan works about 15 hours a week for Hendrick, serving as an athletic trainer for the 45 or so pit crew members employed by the race team. "Why a guy like Gene?" said Andy Papathanassiou, a Hendrick director who oversees the recruiting, development and training of pit crews. "Because as we strive to keep these crews performing at the top level of their game in the pit stop world, injury and recovery is a big part of that equation. And that's where someone like Gene, with his expertise and background and his enthusiasm for what he does, is invaluable." It was a longtime friend, Jay Frye, a former vice president and general manager of the Red Bull race team who became a consultant with Hendrick in January, who suggested Monahan to Hendrick officials. "I always felt there was a need for injury prevention and training, basically the same thing any other professional sports franchise does," Frye said. "There was always an open invitation from me to him, if he retired and moved down here, we would find something for him to do." Monahan began working with Hendrick's pit crews in April. Although he does not work with drivers, he has become friendly with Johnson, an occasional visitor at Yankee Stadium over the years. Monahan said Johnson reminded him of Derek Jeter.(New York Times)(8-24-2012)

  • NASCAR: Rear housing devices legal: NASCAR officials said mechanical devices the Hendrick Motorsports teams and other organizations in the Sprint Cup Series are using to gain a competitive advantage in the rear housing are legal -- today. "We watch it weekly because it has ramped up the last couple of months,'' series director John Darby said on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "If it stays pretty level we'll probably leave it alone the rest of the year. "If there is a higher extreme somebody takes it to that could create issues we don't want to see, then we'll react to that.'' The HMS cars in May were the first this season to develop devices that allow the rear axle to turn slightly to follow the front, creating more speed particularly in the corners. "Where we're at today, right now, there is no illegal procedures going on,'' Darby said. "Obviously, there was one we found Tuesday that was questionable. But the mechanical devices, the way they're using them, there's a clear understanding of what the teams are doing.'' Darby said teams are using different methods to create a "hook and ladder fire truck effect that allows the rear axle to turn so the rear of the car follows the front.'' He said there's nothing in the current rulebook that doesn't allow that, but he didn't rule out that changing in 2013. "It's just a direct everybody has gone to maximize, optimize,'' Darby said. "Right now it's pretty level throughout the garage. If you take the most extreme to the least developed, it's not a huge difference.''(ESPN)(8-24-2012)

  • Keselowski says Hendrick teams may be bending rules UPDATE: #2-Brad Keselowski believes Penske Racing's refusal to bend the rules contributed to him not being able to challenge #48-Jimmie Johnson for the lead Sunday Michigan. Johnson was leading Keselowski with six laps remaining when his Hendrick Motorsports engine blew. #16-Greg Biffle won the race and Keselowski finished second. During the race, Keselowski made reference to Hendrick's "tricks" with their cars. Hendrick's Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third and fourth, respectively. The Hendrick cars appear to have different rear suspension setups than other cars, especially at intermediate tracks such as Michigan, Indianapolis and Pocono. "There's part and pieces on the car that are moving after inspection that makes the cars more competitive," Keselowski said after the race. "Some guys have it, some don't. There's a question as to the interpretation of the rule. Penske Racing errs on the safe side because we don't want to be the guys that get the big penalty." Keselowski said Penske will need to re-evaluate its setups. "As a group at Penske Racing, we have not felt comfortable enough to risk that name and reputation that Roger has over those parts and pieces. Others have, which is their prerogative," Keselowski said. "I'm not going to slam it. But it's living in a gray area. ... We have to make a re-evaluation of that internally to decide if that's the right way to go."(Sporting News)(8-20-2012)
    UPDATE: #2-Brad Keselowski stressed Thursday night that he wasn't accusing Hendrick Motorsports of cheating with his comments last week at Michigan International Speedway. Keselowski said last week that the some teams were using some "tricks" with the rear suspensions on their cars and working within a gray area of the NASCAR rulebook. He said his Penske Racing team has been reluctant to push the envelope in such areas over fear of getting caught cheating. Keselowski said he took great care not to mention Hendrick Motorsports by name last week and has spent the last week on Twitter trying to clarify any misunderstandings. Other competitors in recent weeks have alluded to an advantage Hendrick teams may have with the way they are setting up the rear of their cars. Keselowski talked to the media Thursday night during an unveiling of a retro paint scheme to honor former Penske driver Rusty Wallace's 50th career victory. Keselowski insisted that he wasn't accusing anyone of cheating. "I didn't appreciate how those words were twisted into calling out a specific team," Keselowski said. "I made it a point to not call out a specific team and I think I said in a sense, 'there is a half-dozen to a dozen cars that are running those things,' and with the exception of maybe the TV broadcast I hadn't pointed out which ones they were."(Sporting News)(8-24-2012)

  • Gordon unhappy with Earnhardt, Jr. UPDATE: The Pure Michigan 400 had some shocking moments Sunday, including a verbal feud between Hendrick Motorsports teammates #24-Jeff Gordon and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. "Tell the f------ 88 he can thank me later for not wrecking him," Gordon said on his radio during the race. "That was f------ stupid." Earnhardt had moved in front of Gordon midway through the race with a pass Gordon felt was a little risky. Team owner Rick Hendrick sided with Earnhardt: "Man, you didn't do anything. Just drive that thing to the front." Earnhardt finished fourth. Gordon finished a disappointing 28th after an engine failure, but later talked about the incident in the garage. "He took me four-wide, then slid up in front of me in Turn 2," Gordon said of Earnhardt's pass. "I had to check up and it could have wrecked all of us. It wasn't the smartest thing to do, especially to a teammate. But he chose to do it and it all worked out. I don't care who does it, I'm going to show my displeasure if they do something like that."(ESPN)(8-20-2012)
    UPDATE: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. has no regrets about how he drove against #24-Jeff Gordon on a restart Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, but NASCAR's most popular driver laments how radio chatter turned a difference of opinion between the Hendrick Motorsports teammates into a firestorm. "I personally carried on a little bit on the radio about it; just curious about it," Earnhardt told USA TODAY Sports during a Tuesday interview at Hendrick Motorsports. "In retrospect, to try not to let ESPN or anybody like that make a big deal out of it, I should have not said anything at all so there wouldn't be any footage worth editing. But truth be told, the fact that we were teammates allowed that conversation to happen. If it was Brad Keselowski and me, I would have never known he was mad. I would have never cared that another driver was upset with me because for the most part what happened between me and Jeff happens dozens of times in one race, but the drivers never play it out like me and Jeff did because the radio conversations and lines of communication aren't there." Earnhardt said he and Gordon are "fine" with each other and sorted it out with a text exchange after Sunday's Pure Michigan 400, and they met again at Hendrick's campus Tuesday for the team's weekly debriefing of drivers and crew chiefs.(USA Today)(8-22-2012)

  • Earnhardt Jr. wins vote to be on video game cover: The face of NASCAR's new video game also happens to be the face of NASCAR. But that might not be the primary reason that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a natural choice as the cover star of NASCAR The Game: Inside Line. "Even though I drive cars for a living, it's fun to do it with a reset button," Earnhardt told USA TODAY Sports about his avid interest in video gaming. "It's definitely not foreign to me, and you can see me just as easily picking up a controller and playing. It's comfortable and something I'll be able to speak intelligently about if I was in a room full of gamers. I think it's a good fit." Earnhardt was chosen as the game's primary ambassador via an online poll that drew more than 750,000 votes through heavy promotion in social media. He will be the focus of a marketing campaign launching next month before the game's November release.(USA Today)(8-22-2012)

  • National Guard extends sponsorship of Earnhardt, Jr.: The Army National Guard will continue as a primary sponsor of the #88 Sprint Cup Series team and driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. after extending its relationship with Hendrick Motorsports through the 2013 NASCAR season. The National Guard will receive primary paint schemes in 20 Sprint Cup races, including the 2013 Daytona 500, and prominent brand placement during all non-primary events. The National Guard's association with Hendrick Motorsports began with sponsorship of the #25 Sprint Cup team for the 2007 season. Its most recent contract, which included 18 primary paint schemes per year with the #88 team, was set to expire at the end of 2012. "It's an honor to be associated with the National Guard and its Citizen Soldiers," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "Like many of the world's most innovative marketers and leading brands, the Guard sees the opportunities that our sport presents, and they have built a strong effort around it. As we go into 2013 together, we'll continue to focus on the performance of the program both on and off the racetrack." Additional sponsorship for the #88 Chevy will be announced at a later date.(Hendrick Motorsports)(8-17-2012)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. opens car dealerships in Florida with Hendrick Automotive Group: #88- Dale Earnhardt Jr. has opened two auto dealerships in Tallahassee, Fla. The dealerships are the first for Earnhardt, who owns the stores in partnership with Hendrick Automotive Group Chairman and Hendrick Motorsports Owner Rick Hendrick. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet (3127 W. Tennessee Street) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Buick GMC Cadillac (1850 Capitol Circle NE) officially opened under the Earnhardt name Monday. The acquisition from longtime owner Larry Strom was finalized over the weekend. "This is something Rick and I have talked about doing ever since I came to Hendrick Motorsports, but we agreed it had to be the right situation," said Earnhardt, who drives the #88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevys for Hendrick Motorsports. "I'm honored to work with everyone at Hendrick Automotive Group and have this opportunity in a great market like Tallahassee. I was a mechanic in a Chevy store before I started racing, and I've always loved General Motors products and been interested in the dealership business. So it's exciting for me, and I hope it's going to be exciting for the people in the Tallahassee area." The dealerships are the first in the Tallahassee market for Hendrick Automotive Group, which will manage the stores. The company operates 84 dealerships across the country, including the Earnhardt locations. Both facilities will undergo renovations to modernize their appearances and amenities.(Hendrick Automotive Group)(8-15-2012)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. to be ESPN In-Race Reporter: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., the leader of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, will be ESPN In-Race Reporter during the telecast of Sunday's 400-mile race at Pocono (PA) Raceway, continuing an element of ESPN's NASCAR telecasts that has been in place since 2007. Earnhardt will speak with ESPN analyst and 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Dale Jarrett on the race's pace laps and during caution periods, bringing viewers the unique perspective of a driver competing in the race. In addition, ESPN analyst Andy Petree, a two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion crew chief, will speak with Earnhardt's crew chief, Steve Letarte.(ESPN)(8-3-2012)

  • Four NASCAR drivers in top 50 sports money earners: For the first time since SI.com began publishing the Fortunate 50 in 2004, Tiger Woods is not No. 1. He's not even No. 2. That honor goes once again to Phil Mickelson. The new No. 1 (for now) is Floyd Mayweather, who was unranked a year ago but scored two huge pay-per-view paydays to earn $85 million without a single endorsement. [SI's] findings consisted solely of salary, winnings, bonuses, endorsements and appearance fees. NASCAR has 4 drivers on the list. #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., with a total of $28,164,690 in salary/winnings and endorsements, ranks 8th, #24-Jeff Gordon is 18th, #14-Tony Stewart is 29th, and #48-Jimmie Johnson is 33rd.(Sports Illustrated)(7-21-2012)

  • Military sponsorships will be allowed to continue: NASCAR and bass fishing can count on the military to keep the sponsorship money coming. The House voted Wednesday night to continue spending millions for the military to back sports to attract recruits for the all-volunteer force. On a vote of 216-202, the House rejected an amendment by Reps. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., and Betty McCollum, D-Minn., that would have trimmed $72.3 million for sports sponsorships from a $608 billion defense bill for fiscal 2013. The measure had targeted the money the National Guard spends to sponsor Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR's most popular driver, as well as IndyCar Series driver JR Hildebrand. It also would have cut money the Army spends on the National Hot Rod Association drag racing, funds the Marine Corps uses for the Ultimate Fighting Championship and money spent on bass fishing. The House spent most of the day and night debating the far-reaching defense legislation that provides money for war, troops and weapons next year. Yet talk of Earnhardt's #88, bass fishing and NASCAR dominated the discussion. Kingston, a Georgian who says he hails from NASCAR and military country, insisted the sponsorship money was ineffective, attracting few recruits,and made no sense as the Army shrinks from a peak of 570,000 to 490,000 and the Marine Corps drops by 20,000, to 182,000. The end of the Iraq war, the drawdown in Afghanistan and the nation's fiscal woes have reshaped the defense budget, which has nearly doubled in the last 10 years.(Associated Press/ESPN)(7-19-2012)

  • National Guard indicates plans to stay as a sponsor: The National Guard Association of the United States today released the following statement by retired Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett Jr., the association president: "There is an effort underway in Congress to prohibit the U.S. military from sponsoring professional motorsports as part of military recruiting. On the surface, this may seem like a good idea in the face of current fiscal challenges. But a closer look reveals that such a ban would provide no real savings and only serve to hinder Defense Department efforts to reach the most qualified potential recruits. Recruiting for our all-volunteer force isn't what it used to be. Only one in every four young people is even eligible to join. And television advertising no longer carries the payoff it once did. Today, you have to know how smart, fit young people think, where they live and play, and go to them. The Army National Guard learned these lessons a few years ago. Traditional recruiting approaches no longer worked and our troop strength was shrinking. So we abandoned convention and focused our limited resources on an innovative marketing mix that linked recruiting messages to popular musicians and motorsports. It was a bold move, but it paid off. Recruiting steadily improved, both in terms of the quantity and quality of the applicants. Today, the Army National Guard has the fittest, most intelligent force in its history. Other military services noticed and have taken similar approaches. The link between military recruiting and motorsports is temporary. The results prove it's a match that works today. It may not in the future when other approaches may provide a better payoff. And that's the point. We applaud lawmakers like Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., and Rep. Barbara McCollum, D-Minn., for asking tough questions about how and where scarce defense dollars are spent. But we believe military marketing experts should evaluate return on investment and determine without restriction where best to put increasingly scarce recruiting dollars."(National Guard Association of the U.S. / Digital Journal)(7-13=2-2012)

  • Army to leave NASCAR as sponsor after 2012 season: The U.S. Army has decided not to renew its sponsorship with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in 2013 as a primary sponsor of the #39 Chevy driven by Ryan Newman due to a reallocation of its marketing budget that will not include a presence in NASCAR. SHR is actively pursuing a strong brand to partner with the team and its roster of sponsors that also includes Office Depot, Mobil 1, Quicken Loans, GoDaddy.com, Haas Automation, Chevrolet, WIX Filters, Outback Steakhouse, Aspen Dental, Tornados, Coca-Cola, Oreo, Ritz, Bass Pro Shops and Code 3 Associates.
    Brett Frood, Executive Vice President, Stewart-Haas Racing: "The U.S. Army has been a great partner of Stewart-Haas Racing since the team's inception. It has been a mutually beneficial relationship, with the U.S. Army introducing training regimens that improved our pit crews while instilling the mental, physical and emotional strength of the U.S. Army Soldier in all of us. We remain very proud of our representation of the U.S. Army and its brave Soldiers who are 100 percent committed to our country. We will continue to activate on behalf of the U.S. Army for the rest of 2012, while also growing our other dynamic partnerships at Stewart-Haas Racing for the future."
    John Myers, Director, Marketing Support Element, Army Marketing and Research Group: "The U.S. Army has worked with Stewart-Haas Racing in a mutually beneficial and highly successful relationship for the past four seasons, and they've performed superbly as our partner on and off the track. The same can be said of other members of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series family we have sponsored during the past 10 seasons. The sport, our drivers and the passionate NASCAR fans embraced the Army's participation and created a tremendous opportunity for Americans to learn more about the profession of the Army Strong Soldier."(SHR)(7-10-2012)
    U.S. Rep. McCollum Comments: U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum has won her two-year fight to get the Army to "stop wasting taxpayer dollars" on sponsoring a NASCAR racing team. The Army announced Tuesday that it would stop sponsoring the Stewart-Haas Racing team. The sponsorships were supposed to be a recruiting tool, but McCollum had argued it's an ineffective one. See McCollum's press release on the issue at the Pioneer Press and another at USA Today.
    Army to return to NHRA Army officials are in the process of signing a contract extension with Don Schumacher Racing through 2013 to continue the long-running sponsorship of the Top Fuel dragster for seven-time NHRA champion Tony Schumacher. "That's our intent," said John Myers, director of marketing support for the Army Marketing and Research Group. "The NHRA is a valuable part of our motorsports outreach portfolio. We are working on an agreement through 2013. The NHRA gives us a great return on our investment."(ESPN)
    AND U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) plans to meet today with National Guard officials "to discuss their backing" of the Hendrick Motorsports #88 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chevy driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr.(in part from Sports Business Daily)(7-11-2012)

  • Patriotic paint scheme returns for Earnhardt, Jr: In honor of National Guard Soldiers and Independence Day, the #88 Chevy will carry a patriotic paint scheme this weekend at Daytona International Speedway as part of the NASCAR Unites- An American Salute program. For a six-week period (May 27 through July 7), the NASCAR industry will lend its support and raise awareness for the needs of military members in very important ways. As the nation's oldest Armed Forces component, the National Guard and its Citizen Soldiers play a vital role in protecting the freedoms Americans hold dear.(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #88 team paint schemes page.(7-5-2012)

  • Earnhardt Jr. wins at Michigan: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Quicken Loans 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway for his 1st win of the year, 19th career win and first win in 143 races [Michigan June 2008].
    #14-Stewart finished 2nd followed by #17-Kenseth, #16-Biffle, #48-Johnson, #24-Gordon, #15-Bowyer, #42-Montoya, #9-Ambrose [pole sitter] and #29-Harvick.
    There were 8 cautions for 39 yellow flag laps. There were 27 lead changes among 16 drivers.
    The estimated attendence was 82,000, down from 88,000 in 2011 but MIS has downsized grandstand seating from 108,000 to 84,000 since last season.
    See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Michigan Race Results page (pdf) and the official rundown on the Official Race Report.(6-17/18-2012)

  • The Dark Knight scheme for Dale Jr.: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mountain Dew have teamed up with the summer blockbuster "The Dark Knight Rises" to race a specially-wrapped #88 Batman-themed Chevy at Michigan International Speedway. The winning paint scheme was one of four voted on by DEW Crew members in late May, and features the iconic Batman logo on the hood and the faces of the two leading characters, Batman and Bane, on each side. Earnhardt's June 15, 2008, victory at Michigan International Speedway was his first win in a points-paying event for Hendrick Motorsports and his most recent win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Earnhardt started the race third and led 14 laps on his way to the checkered flag (HMS), see images of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page.(6-15-2012)

  • Earnhardt Jr. unveils winning Batman scheme: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevy went "dark" thanks to fans of The Dark Knight Rises and Mountain Dew. Following a week and a half of voting at DEWCrew.com, Earnhardt revealed which "Dark Knight"-inspired paint scheme will be featured on the hood of his #88 Chevy in Michigan next month [June 17]. In addition to the Bat Shield on the hood, the redesign features Batman and Bane, Gotham City's newest villain, on either side of the car. The unveiling continues to drive anticipation for Warner Bros. Pictures' and Legendary Pictures' The Dark Knight Rises, before the film's opening day, July 20. "DEW and 'Dark Knight' fans have spoken, and it's pretty cool that the paint scheme they picked is the one I helped create," remarked Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports. "Now that the winning design has been selected, I can't wait to see how fans will react to the car on the track in Michigan." Members of the DEW Crew were given the option of four different paint schemes to vote on, with each capturing a different element featured in the third and final installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. The winning design was revealed by Earnhardt and select DEW Crew members at the Hendrick Motorsports Fan Fest in Concord, N.C.(WeberShandwick), see images of the winning scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(5-27-2012)

  • Hendrick Motorsports celebrates 200th win: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, team employees, families and other special guests joined together the evening of Tuesday, May 22 at The Fillmore in Charlotte, N.C., to celebrate the organization's 200th victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
    Country music superstar Brad Paisley played a private show for an audience of more than 1,100, which included past and present Hendrick Motorsports drivers.
    Hendrick Motorsports Sprint Cup winners who attended the event: Geoff Bodine, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Terry Labonte, Mark Martin, Jerry Nadeau, Joe Nemechek, Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader, and Darrell Waltrip. Tim Richmond was represented by his sister, Sandy Welsh.
    Current Hendrick Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne was in attendance, along with winning drivers from the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series: Brett Bodine, Jack Sprague and Tony Stewart.(HMS)(5-25-2012)

  • Earnhardt Jr. wins the Sprint Showdown: #88-Earnhardt Hr, led all 40 laps to win his first Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway to transfer into the Sprint All Star Race. #22-Allmendinger, who started on the pole, finished 2nd after having a flat left front tire at the start of the race. Allmendinger will also transfer into the All Star race. #1-McMurray finished 3rd after starting from the rear due to an unapproved adjustment after qualifying, followed by #56-Truex Jr., #42-Montoya, #20-LOgano, #43-Almirola, #31-Burton, #83-Cassill and #93-Kvapil. #47-Bobby Labonte, the 2000 Sprint Cup Champion, finished 12th but won the Sprint Fan Vote and will race in the Sprint All-Star Race. There were no accidents and seven cars took their cars to the garage before the end of the race.
    See results and notes from each segment on my Sprint All Star Race & Sprint Showdown Info page.(5-19-2012)

  • Dale Jr. talks about a bill that could ban military spending in sports: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. met with members of the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway and discussed many things including Military sponsorships in the sport, the transcript in part:
    Earnhardt Jr.: "I think the Republican from Georgia that is heading the bill hasn't even been to a NASCAR race. At least it states that in the article today. I would encourage them to do more homework, get more facts, understand the situation a little more. I know just talking to the (National) Guard, and we went through this before, and talking to them, they can't express to me enough about how much this program helps their recruiting. They are committed to the belief it has a profound effect on their recruiting and their ability to recruit. It's important for them to be visible and to push their brand, and work on their brand giving people an opportunity to learn more about how to get involved in the military. I think their NASCAR sponsorship is a great way to reach a lot of people. We are one of the biggest sports. We've got more people attending races and attending our sport than a lot of other avenues they could be going. I think it's good and healthy for them to be here. I think it works for them or they wouldn't be a part of it."
    Earnhardt Jr.: "Yeah, just because he's a Republican from Georgia he should have seen a NASCAR race by now (laughter)."
    Earnhardt Jr.: "He could come along and visit with the Guard and talk with the Guard. Talk to the people that are at the particular races and see what the experience is like for them. See how the guard utilizes their program and they're marketing within the sport. If he hasn't been to a race, he's not seen it firsthand. Then he can make his decision."(Team Chevy)(5-19-2012)

  • Military sponsorships could go away..if: The sponsorships of #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [National Guard] and #39-Ryan Newman [U.S. Army] (as well as the Air Force deal with #43-Aric Almirola) could be in jeopardy as military sponsorships of motorsports have come into question in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment Thursday to the 2013 defense appropriations bill that would prohibit funding of sponsorships of professional sports or sporting events. The amendment, passed by a voice vote and sponsored by Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), states that: "None of the funds made available in this act may be used to sponsor professional or semiprofessional motorsports, fishing, wrestling or other sports." The bill still needs to be passed by the House and then the provision would have to make it through any negotiations with leaders from the Senate and its defense appropriations bill. Last year, McCollum introduced an amendment banning motorsports sponsorships on the House floor and it was voted down 281-148.(Sporting News and USA Today)(5-18-2012)

  • Hendrick Motorsports 200th Cup Win: With Jimmie Johnson's win Saturday night in the #48 Lowe's Kobalt Tools Chevy at Darlington Raceway, Hendrick Motorsports recorded its 200th points-paying victory in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, marking a major milestone for the organization and car owner Rick Hendrick.
    STAT LEADER: When it comes to NASCAR's modern era (1972-present), Hendrick Motorsports leads all Sprint Cup teams in wins (200), top-five finishes (818), top-10s (1,352) and pole positions (181). Hendrick is NASCAR's all-time leader in poles and top-10s, while ranking behind only Petty Enterprises in Cup wins. The Petty team recorded 268 Cup victories in more than half a century of competition. Hendrick Motorsports' first season was 1984.
    MILESTONE WINS: Hendrick Motorsports' first win came April 29, 1984, at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway with Geoff Bodine at the wheel. Jeff Gordon notched the team's 50th on March 24, 1996, at Darlington Raceway and its 100th on June 10, 2001, at Michigan International Speedway. Jimmie Johnson scored the 150th Cup win for Hendrick Motorsports on March 11, 2007, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    FIRST-TIME WINNERS: Eight drivers recorded their first career Cup wins while driving for car owner Rick Hendrick: Bodine, Kyle Busch, Gordon, Johnson, Casey Mears, Jerry Nadeau, Ken Schrader and Brian Vickers. Gordon and Johnson have raced for Hendrick for their entire Cup careers.
    DRIVERS AND TRACKS: Since being founded in 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has sent 15 Cup drivers to Victory Lane at 25 different racetracks (see full lists below). The organization has scored double-digit Cup wins at nine tracks, including a team record 18 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Hendrick has won at four inactive Cup racetracks: Nashville, Tenn., North Wilkesboro, N.C., Riverside, Calif., and Rockingham, N.C.
    WINNING WAYS: Hendrick Motorsports has posted at least one Cup-level win in 28 straight seasons (1986-2012), the longest active streak in NASCAR. The streak began Feb. 16, 1986, when Bodine won Hendrick's first Daytona 500. Bodine won three races in 1984 before scoring three runner-up finishes but no wins in 1985.
    TWO LEFT: There are only two active tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit where Hendrick Motorsports has yet to reach Victory Lane. Those venues are Homestead-Miami Speedway, which hosts the Sprint Cup season finale, and the newly added Kentucky Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports)(5-12-2012)

  • Hendrick Motorsports Reaches Historic 200th Win: Every big stage, every big moment, every crown jewel - Hendrick Motorsports owns them all. The Daytona 500? The team boasts six trophies from The Great American Race. The Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway? Seven wins. The Coca-Cola 600? Nine. Add another storybook accolade to the list: 200 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories. It comes in grand fashion, in yet another of NASCAR's crown jewel races. With its 14th victory at Darlington Raceway, by Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports reached historic NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win #200, further solidifying its status as one of the greatest teams in NASCAR history.
    Hendrick Motorsports has evolved from its modest beginnings as a single-car outfit in 1984. Its current form: A four-car powerhouse that topples records on a yearly basis. Two seasons ago, Jimmie Johnson won his unprecedented fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. In doing so, Hendrick Motorsports - behind owner Rick Hendrick - nabbed its 10th NASCAR Sprint Cup owners championship, breaking the all-time record previously shared with Petty Enterprises. Petty leads all teams in career race wins, with 268.
    Now, Hendrick reaches a milestone befitting its brilliant consistency. Since joining the series in 1984 as All-Star Racing (the team changed its name to Hendrick Motorsports in 1985), Hendrick has won at least one race in all but one season (1985).
    Below is a timeline of Hendrick's notable and milestone victories on its way to 200:
    1 - On April 29, 1984 at Martinsville Speedway, Geoff Bodine earned Hendrick Motorsports' first victory. He led 55 laps in the event.
    4 - HMS won its first Daytona 500. Geoff Bodine started on the front row (second), leading 101 laps on Feb. 16, 1986.
    10 - HMS won its first Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Tim Richmond helped Hendrick reach double-digits in victories with his "crown jewel" win from the pole on Aug. 31, 1986.
    16 - HMS won its first Coca-Cola 600. With 41-year-old Darrell Waltrip driving, Hendrick nabbed its first win in NASCAR's longest race on May 29, 1988.
    36 - HMS won its first Brickyard 400. In the inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup race at historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon, then 23, won his second career race on Aug. 6, 1994.
    50 - Jeff Gordon, whose 85 victories are more than any other Hendrick driver and third-most on the all-time list, won at Darlington Raceway on March 24, 1996.
    61 - At the time, Gordon became the youngest winner in Daytona 500 history at 25 years, six months, 12 days on Feb. 16, 1997. His record was later broken in 2011 by Trevor Bayne (20 years, one day).
    100 - Gordon won another milestone race, this time at Michigan International Speedway on June 10, 2001. Gordon would go on to win his fourth series championship that season.
    150 - Jimmie Johnson captured victory on March 11, 2007 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Later that season, Johnson would win his second-consecutive championship.
    196 - On April 17, 2011, Jimmie Johnson edged Clint Bowyer to the finish line by a miniscule .002 seconds, matching the closest margin of victory in series history.
    198 - In a race delayed two days because of inclement weather, Gordon captured historic win ##85 on Sept. 6, 2011 at Atlanta Motor Speedway to move into third on the all-time series wins list.
    Below lists the number of wins per driver, crew chief and track for Hendrick Motorsports.
    HMS Wins By Driver
    Driver Wins
    Jeff Gordon 85
    Jimmie Johnson 56
    Terry Labonte 12
    Darrell Waltrip 9
    Tim Richmond 9
    Geoff Bodine 7
    Mark Martin 5
    Ken Schrader 4
    Kyle Busch 4
    Ricky Rudd 4
    Brian Vickers 1
    Casey Mears 1
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1
    Jerry Nadeau 1
    Joe Nemechek 1
    HMS Wins By Crew Chief
    Crew Chief Wins
    Chad Knaus 54
    Ray Evernham 47
    Robbie Loomis 23
    Alan Gustafson 12
    Harry Hyde 11
    Gary DeHart 10
    Steve Letarte 10
    Jeff Hammond 9
    Waddell Wilson 4
    Darian Grubb 3
    Richard Broome 3
    Andy Graves 2
    Brian Whitesell 2
    Dennis Connor 2
    Gary Nelson 2
    Jim Long 1
    Lance McGrew 1
    Peter Sospenzo 1
    Randy Dorton 1
    Tony Eury Jr. 1
    Tony Furr 1
    HMS Wins By Track
    Driver Wins
    Martinsville 18
    Charlotte 16
    Darlington 14
    Dover 13
    Pocono 12
    Atlanta 11
    Talladega 11
    Daytona 10
    Richmond 10
    Auto Club 9
    Bristol 9
    Phoenix 9
    New Hampshire 8
    Indianapolis 7
    Watkins Glen 6
    Infineon 6
    Las Vegas 5
    Michigan 5
    Kansas 4
    North Wilkesboro 4*
    Rockingham 4*
    Riverside 3*
    Texas 3
    Chicago 2
    Nashville Fairgrounds 1*
    (* not an active Sprint Cup Series track)
    Hendrick Motorsports By The Numbers
    6 - Different Hendrick car numbers with wins. The list: #24, 85 wins; #48, 56 wins; #5, 32 wins; #25, 17 wins; #17, nine wins; #88, one win.
    8 - Number of seasons Hendrick won double-digit races, with the most coming in 2007 (18).
    8 - Number of drivers who scored their first win with Hendrick Motorsports: Geoff Bodine, Ken Schrader, Jeff Gordon, Jerry Nadeau, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers and Casey Mears.
    15 - Number of different drivers who have won with Hendrick.
    18 - Wins at Martinsville Speedway, Hendrick's most prolific track.
    20 - Age in years of the youngest Hendrick Motorsports winner: Kyle Busch, who won on Sept. 4, 2005 at Auto Club Speedway.
    21 - Number of different crew chiefs who have won with Hendrick Motorsports.
    25 - Number of different tracks at which Hendrick has won.
    34 - Number of wins from the pole by Hendrick Motorsports.
    37 - Starting position of Jimmie Johnson in the 2003 Coca-Cola 600, the deepest in the field a Hendrick winner has started.

    50 - Age in years of the oldest Hendrick Motorsports winner: Mark Martin, who won on Sept. 20, 2009 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
    150 - A Hendrick driver has scored perfect Driver Rating of 150.0 twice, both by Jimmie Johnson. The first came at Auto Club Speedway on Aug. 31, 2008; the second at Dover International Speedway on May 31, 2009.(NASCAR)(5-13-2012)

  • Drive to End Hunger Charlotte 1 Million Coming to Hendrick Motorsports Fan Fest: NASCAR fans and volunteers will be able to compete alongside Hendrick Motorsports pit crews in meal packaging races on May 25 through the Drive to End Hunger Charlotte 1 Million.
    As part of its upcoming Fan Fest, Hendrick Motorsports is hosting the last stage of the Charlotte 1 Million. AARP Foundation's week-long series of volunteer-driven events will package and donate one million meals to help hungry older North Carolinians. Up to 200 volunteers will be needed to help package an expected 50,000 meals on the Hendrick Motorsports campus. Twelve lucky volunteers will win the opportunity to package meals alongside pit crew members from the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, #48 Lowe's Chevrolet and #88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet as they compete in head-to-head races.
    The centerpiece of the Charlotte 1 Million will be a two-day meal packaging event at the Charlotte Convention Center on May 24-25, where volunteers will be able to see and work alongside stars including four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, tennis legend Martina Navratilova, host of "CBS NFL Today" James "JB" Brown, Miss Sprint Cup and others.
    With two weeks left until the event starts, the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet will race in Darlington this weekend with a paint scheme that includes the Charlotte 1 Million logo on the TV panel and rear quarter panels. The TV panel will also promote DrivetoEndHunger.org/Meals, where fans can visit to find additional information and sign up to volunteer.(AARP/Drive to End Hunger)(5-12-2012)

  • Hendrick Motorsports Fan Fest May 25th: Hendrick Motorsports will host a fan appreciation day on Friday, May 25 during Charlotte Motor Speedway race weeks. The Hendrick Motorsports Fan Fest will be held at the team's Concord facility and feature an array of family-friendly activities, including scheduled appearances by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Free and open to the public, the Hendrick Motorsports Fan Fest will run from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. ET.
    In addition to driver appearances, the Hendrick Motorsports Fan Fest will feature activities for children, interactive sponsor displays, food vendors and a stage with live music and question-and-answer sessions. The Hendrick Motorsports crew chiefs and teams will be on hand for autographs and athletic demonstrations.
    Throughout the event, the Hendrick Motorsports Museum and Team Store will offer merchandise discounts and feature special displays. Fans will be invited to visit the race shops of Kahne, Gordon, Johnson and Earnhardt, who are scheduled to take questions and be available for autograph sessions.
    Autograph session wristbands will be distributed at 11 a.m. the day of the event on a first come, first served basis. A maximum number of 225 wristbands will be available for each driver (one autographed item per wristband; one wristband per person).
    Fan Fest parking will not be available on the Hendrick Motorsports campus. Free parking will be at Lot Z off Bruton Smith Boulevard in Concord, courtesy of Charlotte Motor Speedway. Shuttles will offer roundtrip transportation to Hendrick Motorsports from Lot Z beginning at 9 a.m.
    More Hendrick Motorsports Fan Fest information -- including maps, parking directions, schedules, autograph session details and additional event announcements -- will be available at www.HendrickMotorsports.com/FanFest and via social media.(HMS)(5-12-2012)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 will feature Dale Jr. Foundation at All-Star race: The Dale Jr. Foundation will commemorate its five-year anniversary with a special paint scheme on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevy for the Sprint Cup All-Star race weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This marks the fourth consecutive year that Earnhardt Jr.'s primary sponsors, Diet Mountain Dew and National Guard, have donated its primary space on the #88 Chevy to The Dale Jr. Foundation. This year the #88 car will feature orange, black and white colors with TDJF's theme, "Driven to Give: 5 Years of Giving" on the hood. "What The Dale Jr. Foundation has been able to accomplish since we started in 2007 has exceeded my expectations," Earnhardt Jr. said. "Thanks to the generosity of many people, we've been able to make a difference and donate to a lot of great foundations. I'm especially grateful to the folks at Diet Mountain Dew and National Guard who have given the Foundation this paint scheme again. It means a lot to me to have their support."(JR Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #88 team paint schemes page.(5-11-2012)

  • Hendrick in longest winless streak since 2002: More than a decade has passed since Hendrick Motorsports slogged through this kind of drought. Back in 2001, Hendrick went the final eight races without a win. Then in 2002, the squad went the first nine winless. That 17-race drought ranks as the team's sixth-longest in an NSCS history that began in 1984. The seventh longest? This one. Right here, right now. Sixteen races have passed since Hendrick's last win, but one of its top tracks awaits - Darlington Raceway. Hendrick has 13 victories at The Track Too Tough To Tame, most by any owner all-time. On Hendrick's personal wins list, Darlington ranks tied for third with Dover behind only Martinsville (18) and Charlotte (16).(NASCAR)(5-9-2012)

  • Earnhardt Jr., Kahne and Stewart to guest on The Cleveland Show: NASCAR stars #88-Dale Earnhart Jr., #5-Kasey Kahne and #14-Tony Stewart will guest-voice on Fox's The Cleveland Show next season. In the episode, Cleveland (voiced Mike Henry) convinces Donna (voiced Sanaa Lathan) to lighten up and have a few drinks when she takes her run for local office way too seriously. "Unfortunately, they party way too hard - and wake up on the infield of a NASCAR track. It's up to guest stars Earnhardt, Jr., Stewart and Kahne to race Donna and Cleveland home," executive producer Rich Appel says.(TV Guide)(4-27-2012)

  • Dale Earnhardt Day 2012: Dale Earnhardt Inc. is proud to announce the 2012 Dale Earnhardt Day on Sunday, April 29th, at the DEI Corporate Headquarters in Mooresville, NC. A celebration of the extraordinary life and legacy of Dale Earnhardt, this event is held annually on his birthday. Fans will be treated to special access to the Grand Showroom, only opened once a year on Dale Day, including a display of DEI Championship cars and other special vehicles. The DEI Museum will be opening a new display on that day: "Dale Earnhardt Inc. - A Racing Heritage". This new exhibit highlights the early beginnings of Dale and Teresa Earnhardt, and how their separate racing backgrounds combined brought great success. Photos and displays from the early days of racing show how the sport has changed and grown through four generations of Earnhardt racers. More info on my Racing Charities page. Dale Earnhardt Day 2012 will run from 1pm until 6pm, on Sunday, April 29th. Admission is free, and plenty of parking is available. Dale Earnhardt Inc. is located at 1675 Dale Earnhardt Highway #3, outside of Mooresville, NC.(4-20-2012)

  • Hendrick's Returns To Site 199th - And Last - Win and: Thirteen races have passed since Hendrick Motorsports last victory, and though it doesn't seem like a big number, for Hendrick it is. Its last win came at Kansas Speedway (by Jimmie Johnson), site of Sunday race. That's the longest drought Hendrick has had since the end of 2002 and the beginning of 2003 when it went 15 races without a win. Coincidentally, that streak began after a Kansas win as well. Rick Hendrick has attended all 13 races since then but hasn't been able to celebrate his organization's 200th win in NASCAR's premier series. Hendrick holds more wins than any other owner at Kansas with four.(NASCAR)(4-18-2012)
    UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports will reach and surpass its 3,000th Cup start when its teams line up for Sunday's race at Kansas. The organization, which is the first to reach the start milestone in Cup history, will leave Kansas with 3,003 career starts.(HMS)(4-19-20012)

  • Special NASCAR Unites schemes to run UPDATES & Images: as part of the NASCAR Foundation's NASCAR Unites program, a few drivers will run special paint schemes at various races including #47-Bobby Labonte, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #55-Mark Martin, #56-Martin Truex Jr. and #99-Carl Edwards at Charlotte in May;
    #2-Brad Keselowski (no image), #29-Kevin Harvick (no image) and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Charlotte in May and Daytona in July;
    #16-Greg Biffle at Michigan in June. See links to the images of the schemes on the Paint Scheme Gallery page.(4-9-2012)
    UPDATE: NASCAR announced the launch of "NASCAR Unites - An American Salute," a patriotic initiative uniting the NASCAR industry and fans this summer to celebrate America and support U.S. military families. NASCAR Nation will be covered from head to toe - and from splitter to spoiler - in red, white and blue to highlight the summer season, starting and ending at two traditionally patriotic summer NASCAR events held at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-27) and Daytona International Speedway (Independence Day Weekend, July 5-7). Additional activities related to the six-week initiative will take place between these "tent-pole" events, including retail programs and other sponsor promotions.
    To launch the initiative, the "NASCAR Unites - An American Salute" paint scheme for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 National Guard Hendrick Motorsports Chevy was revealed today in the nation's capital for more than 30,000 children and their guests attending the 134th Annual Easter Egg Roll event at the White House.
    Among those NASCAR drivers already committed to "NASCAR Unites - An American Salute" paint schemes are Earnhardt, 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion #14-Tony Stewart, #16-Greg Biffle, Danica Patrick, #2-Brad Keselowski and #99-Carl Edwards. As part of the program, NASCAR and The NASCAR Foundation will work with charities to fund initiatives that support military families. A social media promotion utilizing a #NASCARUnites hashtag will highlight track activations as well as patriotic activities from teams, broadcast partners and sponsors.(NASCAR)
    AND In the Nationwide Series, #88-Cole Whitt, will run in the Kentucky race in June and #7-Danica Patrick will run in the Nationwide race at the Daytona race in July. See images of the cars on the #7 NNS team paint schemes and #88 NNS paint schemes page.(4-9-2012)

  • Hendrick Motorsports retires #48 Daytona car: In case you're wondering whether Chad Knaus and Jimmie Johnson will bring the infamous C-post Daytona 500 car to Talladega Superspeedway next month, let me help. No. Team owner Rick Hendrick told [ESPN's David Newton] on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway the #48 car that NASCAR deemed illegal, the one that cost him 30 days of "hell'' fighting the penalties, will be laid to rest in the woods surrounding Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s property in Cleveland County, N.C. It'll be in Junior's car graveyard with the mangled #42 that Juan Pablo Montoya drove into a jet dryer to cause a two-hour delay in the Daytona 500 and more than 50 other cars Earnhardt calls "yard ornaments." So is this an admission that the car was illegal, even though chief appellate officer John Middlebrook overturned the 25-point deduction for Johnson and six-week suspensions to crew chief Knaus and car chief Ron Malec? No. Hendrick's just not willing to test the governing body and possibly create another 30 days of turmoil.(ESPN)(4-6-2012)

  • Gordon-Earnhardt Jr. are OK with each other after Bristol incident: from a Team Chevy Driver(s) Press Conference Transcript, in part. Both #24-Jeff Gordon and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. were asked about the incident between them at Bristol Motor Speedway last week when the #88 got into the #24 which cut down a tire and crashed late in the race:
    Earnhardt Jr,: "We talked and I feel pretty good about how that went. We should have no problem going forward. It was an unfortunate situation, especially for him. I'm sure it stings a little bit for him and the team. We will just see."
    Earnhardt Jr,: "It was just a freak situation and you kind of got to remember that, you know, and not really beat yourself up too much about it. Jeff (Gordon) has a good reputation in this sport. I've got a lot of respect and enjoy being his teammate. I've learned a lot from him even before we were teammates, just racing him over the years. He has been here a long time and I think we will be able to race each other without any problems. I think he respects me and I respect him. We will be able to move forward without any problems."
    Gordon: "You know, he reached out to me. It was just a strange situation that happened where we were racing hard, racing for position after a restart and he definitely got into me, but you could do that 100 times and go on about your business, but in this particular case the tailpipe just lined up perfectly on the left rear. Really to me that is the much bigger issue than the contact between me and Junior. I don't understand why the tailpipes are even capable of getting to the left rear tire. If that happens at a big, fast speedway then that's a much bigger incident than what that was. I'd like to see that addressed. We talked and I've got respect for Dale and I know he has that for me as well. We enjoy being teammates and we I think learned a little bit from that situation about when the time to race hard is and when it isn't."
    Gordon: "Yeah, I mean when you're at Bristol, especially on the restarts when there's a big difference in the handling of cars at the beginning of a restart. Some guys' cars take off good, some are better five laps into a run, some are better 25 laps into a run and my car was one of those cars that was better the longer that we went. Junior's was pretty good on the short runs right then. To me, that's when a lot of us would get side-by-side and I think that you're always questioning why one person is racing you at that point as hard as they are. Sometimes you're racing hard to protect the position because you think your car is going to come in and other times you're racing hard because you know your car is really good right then and you want to get the position. That's all it was. It didn't have anything to do with teammates. We were just racing hard for position. I think it got a little bit more attention because it was teammates and for us, looking back on it and it makes our Tuesday meetings a little more interesting. I think if that's for the win or for the position at the end of the race then hey, we get it. I think we both agreed that it wasn't probably the best thing to do as teammates that early into a restart with 200 laps to go."(Team Chevy)(3-24-2012)

  • Dale Jr. takes responsibilty for wreck with Jeff Gordon: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. talks about his incident with teammate #24-Jeff Gordon at Birstol Motor Speedway, from a Chevy Racing post race transcipt in part:
    Earmhardt Jr.: "I absolutely feel responsible. I got into his door a little bit. We were racing and having a good time, to be honest with you. I put the pipes up against the left rear tire of his car, and knocked the side wall out of it. I hate...I feel bad about that. I'm going to have to do some damage control this week. I know Jeff understands what was going on out there, but his boys work real hard on their car, and they had a good run going. They had a potential win, or good finish going too; and they deserve it. I hate what happened to Jeff (Gordon). We were racing really hard. It was fun. If there is a track where you can lean on each other a little bit then this ought to be the place. We just barely rubbed down the back straight-a-way."
    Earmhardt Jr.:"Well you showed it on TV. I'm sure some people might have thought that was a hard hit. That to me was good hard racing. The (tail) pipes on my car cut the left-rear tire down. I feel terrible about that happening to my teammate. Those guys work really hard and they were running good and happy with their car I'm sure. But, there are four of us out there we are bound to race each other and run into each other every once in a while. Otherwise I'm just frustrated about the finish, but we did run good. We run better than we run here last year. We run really good pretty much everywhere except for Phoenix. Things are looking up for our team."
    Earmhardt Jr.: "I'll just have to sit down and talk to him and see where he's at. I've got to own up to my responsibility in the situation, which I will, and go from there."
    After running near the front of the field the majority of the race, #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., had to settle for the 15th finishing position when a late-race pit road speeding penalty put him deep in the running order.(Chevy Racing)(3-19-2012)

  • Earnhardt Jr. has Montoya's Daytona 500 Car: A (mangled) piece of racing history has landed in the woods surrounding Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s property in Cleveland, N.C. Thanks to a familiar connection, NASCAR's most popular driver recently acquired the destroyed Juan Pablo Montoya's #42 Chevy that famously slammed into a jet dryer under caution during the Feb. 27 Daytona 500. Collecting crashed race cars is a hobby of Earnhardt's, and the latest addition is the only one that's caused a fiery on-track explosion and a two-hour delay in NASCAR's biggest race. And when Earnhardt found it through Chris Heroy, a former Hendrick Motorsports engineer who is the first-year crew chief for Montoya, he jumped on getting it imprecisely added to his car graveyard, adjacent to his backyard replica Western town known as Whisky River.(USA Today)(3-10-2012)

  • Congrats Kelley Earnhardt Miller: JR Motorsports co-owner Kelley Earnhardt Miller gave birth to a baby boy Thursday afternoon. Wyatt Wayne Miller was born at 1:43 p.m. and weighed 8 pounds, 13 ounces and measured 19.5 inches, according to a post on the team co-owner's Facebook fan page. Mother and son are doing well. It is the third child - the first son - for the daughter of seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt. Kelley Earnhardt Miller manages the career of brother Dale Earnhardt Jr. and oversees day-to-day operations of the JR Motorsports two-car Nationwide organization. This is the first child for Kelley and her husband, Modified driver L.W. Miller, who were married in January 2011.(SceneDaily)(2-17-2012)

  • France talks NASCAR Issues: NASCAR CEO Brian France recently sat down for an interview with Broadcasting & Cable that covered a variety of subjects:
    You say you're pretty aggressive about what your TV partners need to do for NASCAR. What do you want from them?
    We are always the sport that is under-covered given the ratings and size of the events. In particular, ESPN. They just have so many platforms. So we are pushing real hard with them to have a more integrated approach. We have hired people to service them better, so we can help them accomplish that. They have the most assets to be deployed; it doesn't mean everyone else doesn't have some big ones and good ones. We are going to work to make them a better partner.
    Your TV deals are up in 2014, but when do your negotiating windows open with your current partners?
    Not for a little while, but we are having conversations, because a lot of our partners have been clear they would prefer to renew. All things being equal, our first hope is that the incumbents do renew. . . I think [talks] could heat up at any time, that's my sense. It's not cold now, we are having conversations, my sense is things will happen sooner rather than later, and sooner than they normally would in a cycle of renewals.
    Are you going to change the post-season Chase format?
    I think I'd be shot if I changed the format, frankly. We are not going to change the format.
    How much does it hurt that Dale Earnhardt Jr., your most marketable driver, doesn't win races?
    It hurts. It hurts. He is trying to win and get his team to have the confidence to not only win one but rip off more. He did improve and made the Chase, he's a big franchise, he's the most popular driver in NASCAR, so it would help us if he would win.
    Everyone talks about creating superstars, but does your sport need villains?
    I think some version of a villain, yeah. I think you need people that no one cheers for, I think that's healthy. But there are limits to that. It's great when there is someone that acts different, has a little bit of bravado, that typically is good.(Broadcasting & Cable)(1-18-2012)

  • Team cap would prevent Earnhardt, Jr. from operating Cup team: Whenever there was talk about JR Motorsports possibly moving to Sprint Cup, team officials noted that not only would Rick Hendrick have to divest his interest in the team because of NASCAR's four-team cap, but possibly so would Dale Earnhardt Jr. NASCAR President Mike Helton confirmed that Friday at Daytona International Speedway, saying that if a driver owns a team but drives for another organization, then the total number of cars for both organizations counts toward the four-team cap. With Hendrick Motorsports already having four cars, Earnhardt Jr. cannot own a non-Hendrick Cup car. JR Motorsports is owned by Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick, Kelley Earnhardt and Tony Eury Jr. Earnhardt Jr. signed a contract extension with Hendrick last year. "It comes down to any attachments to more than four cars. ... Dale Jr. with JR Motorsports, he drives for a four-car team, so a driver from a four-car organization can't fill a car," Helton said. "That would be considered a fifth car. Helton addressed the issue after Michael Waltrip expressed interest in competing in the Daytona 500 but possibly with another organization. Waltrip said earlier this week that if he wanted to drive for another organization, he would have to do it with a single-car team because he already owns three Cup cars.(Scene Daily)(1-14-2012)

  • Kenseth loses bet with Dale Jr.: Matt Kenseth grew a beard during the offseason-and it cost him. At Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s 1970s-themed New Year's Eve party, Kenseth was sporting a Fu Manchu and mutton-chop sideburns. Earnhardt bet Kenseth he wouldn't keep the beard through this week's Preseason Thunder test sessions at Daytona. Through a series of subsequent text messages between the drivers, the ante grew to $2,500. "I was actually going to (keep the beard), and it looked really stupid, but I hate losing any money, and he kept upping the money and upping the money until finally I said, 'OK.' I checked first to make sure I didn't have any photos, and then I get a call saying that I had a photo shoot here and an interview there--and anyway I guess I lost. "Although technically this should count," Kenseth added, stroking the stubble on his chin. "It is three days old." That's not the way Earnhardt sees it. "He shaved his beard," Earnhardt said. "You guys can remind him. I told him to go to the bank, but maybe he forgot. "I want my $2,500."(NASCAR.com)(1-12-2012)

  • Frye ends up at Hendrick UPDATE: Hearing that former Red Bull Racing General Manager and Vice President Jay Frye is now working at Hendrick Motorsports as a consultant in a variety of roles.(1-4-2012)
    UPDATE: Jay Frye and Rick Hendrick have been friends since the 1980s, when Frye was a rep for first Budweiser and then Valvoline, and Hendrick was an ambitious car dealer trying to gain a toehold in NASCAR. So when Red Bull Racing closed its doors at the end of 2011, it made sense that Frye, the former team's vice president and general manager, would turn to Hendrick. On Wednesday, Hendrick Motorsports announced that Frye will work with the team as a consultant for 2012, focusing on business development. "Jay is one of the most well-connected people in the sport, and he's going to be a great resource to help develop strong partnerships," said Marshall Carlson, president of Hendrick Motorsports. "We've known him for a long time, so there's an immense level of trust and respect between us. The opportunity to work with Jay again and have the benefit of his experience is something we're excited about." In NASCAR parlance, "business development" means helping the team find sponsorship and build relationship with sponsors. Frye's long friendship with Hendrick, as well as his familiarity with former Red Bull driver Kasey Kahne should benefit the team hugely in that department.(SPEED)(1-5-2012)

  • Evernham settles lawsuit with Gillett: Ray Evernham has settled his lawsuit against George Gillett over money owed from the 2007 sale of his Sprint Cup organization. Evernham, the former owner of Evernham Motorsports and a three-time Cup champion as the crew chief for Jeff Gordon at Hendrick Motorsports, was seeking $19 million from Gillett. The case was settled outside of court and dismissed last week. No details of the settlement were released.(ESPN)(1-3-2012)

2011 News

  • 2011 Sponsor Schedule:
    Bud Shootout, 2/12, National Guard
    Daytona, 2/20, AMP Energy
    Phoenix, 2/27, National Guard
    Las Vegas, 3/6, AMP Energy
    Bristol, 3/20, National Guard
    Auto Club, 3/27, AMP Energy
    Martinsville, 4/3, AMP Energy
    Texas, 4/9, AMP Energy
    Talladega, 4/17, National Guard
    Richmond, 4/30, National Guard
    Darlington, 5/7, AMP Energy
    Dover, 5/15, AMP Energy
    All-Star Race, 5/21, Dale Jr. Foundation VH1 Save The Music
    Charlotte, 5/29, National Guard
    Kansas, 6/5, AMP Energy
    Pocono, 6/12, National Guard
    Michigan, 6/19, AMP Energy
    Infineon, 6/26, AMP Energy
    Daytona, 7/2, National Guard Heritage
    Kentucky, 7/9, Mountain Dew Retro
    New Hampshire, 7/17, National Guard
    Indianapolis, 7/31, AMP Energy
    Pocono, 8/7, AMP Energy
    Watkins Glen. 8/14, National Guard
    Michigan, 8/21, National Guard
    Bristol, 8/27, AMP Energy/50th BMS anniversary
    Atlanta, 9/4, National Guard / Military Intelligence
    Richmond, 9/10, AMP Energy
    Chicago, 9/18, AMP Energy
    New Hampshire, 9/25, AMP Energy
    Dover, 10/2, National Guard
    Kansas, 10/9, National Guard
    Charlotte, 10/15, AMP Energy
    Talladega, 10/23, AMP Energy
    Martinsville, 10/30, AMP Energy
    Texas, 11/6, National Guard
    Phoenix, 11/13, AMP Energy
    Homestead, 11/20, National Guard

  • Dale Jr. to flip the coin at Bowl game: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to perform the opening coin toss at the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl next Monday, Jan. 2, 2012 at 1 pm/et on ESPN2. The Florida Gators will face off against the Ohio State Buckeyes.(Dale Jr Facebook)(12-29-2011)

  • AMP returns to #88 at Martinsville: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to run a green AMP Energy paint scheme on the #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy at Martinsville in April and supposedly run a slightly different version for three races later in the season. AMP Energy has been the primary sponsor for the #88 since Earnhardt Jr. started driving the car. In 2012, the #88's primary sponsors will be Diet Mountain Dew and the Army National Guard. See an image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(12-28-2011)

  • Earnhardt Jr. Wins Ninth Straight Most Popular Driver Award: Junior Nation has spoken once again. Fans of Dale Earnhardt Jr. voted the Sprint Cup Series driver the NASCAR NMPA Most Popular Driver for the ninth straight year. Earnhardt Jr. earned the award after receiving the most online fan votes among all eligible drivers throughout the 2011 racing season. The trophy was presented by award sponsor Wheaties FUEL to Earnhardt Jr. at the National Motorsports Press Association's Myers Brothers ceremony Thursday in Las Vegas.
    Fans cast nearly 1.5 million total votes throughout the 2011 campaign, voting up to once per day for their favorite driver at www.WheatiesFuelMostPopularDriver.com. The field was narrowed to 10 finalists and the vote counts were reset to zero for the final 10 races of the season. The nine other finalists were (in alphabetical order): Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart.
    "It's a big honor. My fans have been real supportive throughout my career," Earnhardt Jr. said. "This has been a little bit of a turnaround year from the last couple of years, and we want to keep getting better on the racetrack and give our fans what they expect. We've got a lot of momentum going into 2012, and I'm proud to accept this award on behalf of all the fans who voted." Bill Elliott holds the record for most consecutive Most Popular Driver wins with 10, and he also holds the record for total wins with 16. He removed himself from voting after earning the honor the 16th time. "Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s fans showcase the passion NASCAR drivers can instill," said Rea White, president of the National Motorsports Press Association. "The NMPA appreciates all the fans who vote to make this award an important part of NASCAR." Since 1956, the NASCAR NMPA Most Popular Driver Award, now sponsored by Wheaties FUEL, has recognized NASCAR's most beloved Sprint Cup driver. The award has been won by champions such as Dale Earnhardt, Bobby Allison, Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip. It is still the only NASCAR award determined solely by the fans. The contest once was decided by a poll among the drivers taken at the end of the season. Later, only the press was able to vote for the winner. Today, race fans from all over the world make the ultimate decision. General Mills became involved with the award in 2001 and today the Wheaties FUEL brand is the presenting sponsor.(Breaking Limits)(12-1-2011)

  • Rick Hendrick talks to media: Rick Hendrick held a teleconference Monday and discussed a wide variety of issues:
    About Darian Grubb:
    A: I have had discussions with Darian. When he left (at the end of 2008), we told him we'd always have a place for him if he wanted to come back. Darian is a very smart guy. I know he's entertaining a lot of offers out there. We don't have a crew chief role. We have an engineering role that we think Darian would be really good in. But at the end of the day it's got to be what Darian wants to do. I know he is close to all of our people and our guys are close to him. We'd love to have him back in the organization, but I quite honestly don't know where he's going to end up. We would like to have him, but whether or not he's going to decide he wants to be in the role we've offered him or he wants to do something somewhere else, I'm just not sure.
    Crew chiefs for 2012:
    A: Yes. [All teams will have the] Same crew chief-driver combination.
    The plane wreck:
    A: We were going into Key West (Fla.), and some kind of failure with the brakes, and we went off the end of the runway. Of course, you don't remember everything exactly how it happened, but somehow, my seat belt was on, and something came lose in the seat itself. I hit the bulkhead and my wife. I think my chest and head went into the seat in front of me, and that's where I got my (broken) ribs and had a concussion. Broke four ribs and my clavicle. We were very fortunate. We were glad that it wasn't any worse than it was. We're healing up, and we don't have any of the answers yet on exactly what happened there, but a lot of smart people are involved, so we'll get that figured out here pretty soon, I hope.(Chevy PR)(11-29-2011)

  • Dale Jr. has no problem with the #3 being used: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., recently met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed a few topics, including Austin Dillon in the #3 and the history of the number, from the transcript in part:
    Earnhardt Jr. "Yeah, I would. Austin has ran that number and I'm not real sure; I just look at it differently. I don't look at the numbers tied to drivers as much as just the history of the number. The number is more of a bank, you know, that you just deposit history into. It doesn't really belong to any individual. Austin's ran that number and you can't really deny him the opportunity to continue to run it. It just wouldn't be fair. Dad (Dale Earnhardt Sr.) did great things. He was a great ambassador for the sport and we're still as a whole, reaping the benefits of all he accomplished and what he did that put us in front of a lot of people. But even before that, the number was Richard's. Richard drove it. And someone else drove it before then. There's a lot of guys in the fifties and sixties that ran that number with success. So the number is really kind of like a bank and you deposit history into and they don't really belong to the individuals. It's iconic when you put the colors and the style with it; it's a little bit iconic to the sport. Austin is a good kid, He seems to have a great appreciation for what's happening to him and what's going on around him. And I would be happy if he wanted to keep doing that. He kind of had to know when he first started to run that number if he got this far into the deal, he would have to cross a few bridges like that and that was a tough decision I guess at first to start running the number for him; knowing what kind of pressures he might face down the road. But I think it would be fine by me for him to do that. I think that it's got to get back on the race track one of these days. It just can't be gone forever you know?"(Team Chevy)(11-20-2011)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. to take part in Daytona EFI test: NASCAR has scheduled a special test for Nov. 15 at Daytona International Speedway to find ways to eliminate the two-car drafting that has become prevalent at restrictor-plate tracks. Six to eight teams will be in attendance and NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said the teams will work on a variety of combinations of restrictor plates and spoilers to give teams a good baseline package to bring back for the preseason test in January. Among the drivers participating will be #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and one other driver from Hendrick Motorsports. "Apparently, they put this test together last minute for a reason," Earnhardt said on Tuesday from the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "We'll go down there and they'll let us know exactly what they're wanting to do, what they're trying to accomplish, what they're trying to try. I want to be able to give them the best feedback I can to give them the solutions they're looking for so that we can, with confidence, go into Daytona in February and expect to put together a great show for the fans that will be there and that will be watching on TV." Earnhardt expects much of the emphasis to be on running with a smaller spoiler, which several drivers said made the two-car draft more difficult during a recent fuel injection test at Talladega Superspeedway.(ESPN)(11-9-2011)

  • Rick Hendrick released from hospital: According to Hendrick Motorsports, "Happy to report Mr. Hendrick is now resting at home. He was released from the hospital [Monday] afternoon.(11-8-2011)

  • NTSB issues preliminary report on Hendrick plane crash: The plane carrying Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick and his wife, Linda, crossed a 600-foot overrun, impacted the far side of a ditch, crossed a dirt road, cleared another ditch and came to a stop 820 feet from the departure end of the runway when the brakes failed Monday in Key West, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB preliminary report, released Thursday evening, said the Gulfstream G150, manufactured by Israel Aircraft Industries, sustained "substantial damage" after it lost its brakes and the nose landing gear collapsed. The flight originated in Stuart, Fla., at 7 p.m. and the accident happened at 7:40 p.m. The NTSB will continue its investigation and considers all of its current findings "preliminary" until its investigation is complete.(Scene Daily)(10-5-2011)

  • "Trained by Tradition" scheme for the #88: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run a camouflaged #88 National Guard "Trained by Tradition"/AMP Energy Chevy this weekend in Texas. The National Guard is honoring the men and women who joined in one of the career fields identified in the "Trained by Tradition" campaign between July 1 and Sept. 28 by featuring their names on the #88 Chevy this weekend in Texas.(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-3-2011)

  • Rick Hendrick's plane runs off runway: UPDATES: Early Monday evening, a Gulfstream G150 aircraft operated by Hendrick Motorsports ran off the runway after experiencing braking issues upon landing at Key West International Airport in Key West, Fla. There were no serious injuries to any of the four people on board, including two pilots, Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick and his wife, Linda Hendrick. All four were taken to a local hospital for evaluation. Hendrick Motorsports is gathering additional information on the incident.(Hendrick Motorsports)(10-31-2011)
    UPDATE: A private G150 Gulfstream jet containing four people missed the runway while landing at Key West International Airport and ran into the salt ponds at 7:45 p.m. No one was seriously injured. The airplane was co-owned by Jimmie Johnson Racing II Inc. and Hendrick Motorsports LLC of Charlotte, N.C. Some officials said it did not appear that the NASCAR driver was on board, but that has not been officially confirmed. Everyone was taken by ambulance to Lower Keys Medical Center for evaluation. Only two complained of injuries: one for neck pain and one for shortness of breath/heart palpitations, according to Monroe County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Deputy Becky Herrin. There were two pilots and two passengers, but it was unclear who was injured. The airport was closed for about an hour, but has reopened. Some fuel spilled, but it was unknown how much. (Key West News)
    AND Jenna Fryer, of the Associated Press, posted a photo from the sheriff's office.(10-31-2011)
    UPDATE 2: A small jet carrying the owner of NASCAR's top team and his wife lost its brakes and crash landed at a Key West, Fla., airport Monday evening, and the couple suffered minor injuries, officials said. According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, the pilot and co-pilot radioed that the plane had no brakes upon landing in Key West. Horton said the plane ran off the runway, and then 100 feet beyond a 600-foot safety area that was finished in May. "If we hadn't done that, it likely would have been a different story," Horton said of the safety area that is meant as a runway overrun space. The National Transportation and Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.(Associated Press/ESPN)(11-1-2011)
    UPDATE 3: All four people on board - Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, his wife, Linda Hendrick, and two Hendrick Motorsports pilots - were released from Lower Keys Medical Center early Tuesday morning. Rick Hendrick was diagnosed with a broken rib and a broken clavicle, and Linda Hendrick was treated for minor cuts and bruises. Both pilots were evaluated and released without injury. All four have safely returned to North Carolina. The aircraft, which is joint-owned by Hendrick Motorsports and Jimmie Johnson Racing, remains in Key West.(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-1-2011)
    UPDATE 4: Upon returning home to Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Mr. Hendrick was further evaluated as a precautionary measure by his personal physician. He was diagnosed with four broken ribs (previously stated as one broken rib), a broken clavicle (as previously stated) and bruising. No other injuries have been identified. Due to discomfort from the injuries, Mr. Hendrick was admitted Tuesday afternoon to a medical facility in the Charlotte area, where doctors believe the pain can most effectively be managed. He is in good spirits and is expected to be released by the end of the week.
    Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports: "Linda and I have been overwhelmed by all the words of encouragement and genuine concern we've received. We are blessed to have such a wonderful support system, and our family is extremely grateful for the thoughts and prayers. We extend our sincere thanks to everyone. I'm so proud of how our pilots handled the situation, and we're extremely appreciative of the folks in Key West who went above and beyond to help us. It's good to be back in Charlotte as we regroup and focus on our family."(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-2-2011)

  • Lucky Fan Receives Keys to Earnhardt Jr.'s 2011 Chevy Camaro: Gale Fontaine has worked at the Roanoke, Va., Department of Motor Vehicles for 31 years. But because of a single $25 raffle ticket she purchased as part of the "Win Dale Jr.'s Ride" promotion, the vehicle she now drives is the envy of most motorists who visit her workplace on a daily basis. Fontaine's ticket was randomly selected among thousands, making her the new owner of the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS that Earnhardt Jr. drove off the line at the General Motors plant in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. She arrived with her husband, Carle, at JR Motorsports last Tuesday to take ownership of her grand prize. What she did not expect was that it would be Earnhardt Jr. himself handing over the keys. The "Win Dale Jr.'s Ride" promotion raised more than $144,000. A large part will be devoted to help combat child hunger. David Kelsoe of Alvin, Texas won the runner-up prize, which includes roundtrip airfare for two and admission to The Dale Jr. Foundation's "Driven To Give" event hosted by Jeff Foxworthy on Oct. 17 in Charlotte, N.C. Deborah Claycamp from Jefferson, Ind., won a VIP package to the Dollar General 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 14.(JR Motorsports)(10-7-2011)

  • the 2012 #88 Diet Mountain Dew / National Guard scheme was unveiled today [Sept 21st] on ESPN's SportsCenter at 1:40pm/et. See images of the car and other 2012 schemes on the Paint Scheme Gallery and/or 2012 Paint Schemes page.

  • Diet Mt. Dew replacing Amp on Earnhart, Jr's car: Four years after making waves in NASCAR by signing on as the primary sponsor of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Amp Energy is phasing its brand off the car of the sport's most popular driver. PepsiCo is expected to announce this week that Diet Mountain Dew will replace its Amp Energy brand as Earnhardt's primary sponsor for 16 races in 2012. The company has the primary sponsorship rights for 20 total races on the #88 car, and Amp will serve as an associate sponsor while also appearing on the hood for the other four races. The shift is a major downsizing in the sponsorship between Amp, an upstart energy drink, and Earnhardt, the sport's biggest driver. Pepsi, which owns Amp and Mountain Dew, has one year left on its contract with Earnhardt and Hendrick Motorsports, and the company's executives believe that Diet Mountain Dew, which is one of the fastest-growing soft drinks, stands to benefit more from Earnhardt than Amp. Pepsi and Hendrick Motorsports are expected this week to unveil a new paint scheme for the #88 car for next year's Daytona 500.(Sports Business Journal)(9-19-2011)

  • HMS teams running 9/11 decals at Richmond: In remembrance of Sept. 11, all four Hendrick Motorsports Chevys will carry a special decal at Richmond. The black, white and gray decal features the phrase, "Never Forget 9.11 2001-2011" and will be placed on the roof near each driver's name on the car: #5-Martin, #24-Gordon, #48-Johnson & #88-Earnhardt Jr.(HMS)(9-9-2011)

  • Special scheme for Dale Jr. at Atlanta: This weekend Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive a blue-and-white #88 National Guard Military Intelligence/AMP Energy Chevy. Today's Military Intelligence professionals are highly trained soldiers who provide their commanders with relevant intelligence and electronic warfare support. Working behind the scenes, these soldiers can be tasked to research and analyze information on almost any topic, interview enemy combatants or interpret the foreign languages spoken on the battlefield. Visit www.NationalGuard.com/TrainedbyTradition and search "Military Intelligence" to learn more.(HMS), see an image of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page.(9-2-2011)

  • Dale Jr. re-signs with Hendrick thru 2017: Hendrick Motorsports and driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. have agreed to a five-year contract extension that will keep Earnhardt behind the wheel of the #88 Chevys through the end of the 2017 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. "We're excited to have everything formalized and announced," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "Junior and I had a handshake agreement months ago, and we let other people work out the finer points from there. It was as simple and smooth as it gets. My feelings haven't changed since the day he first signed with us. I'm committed as ever to putting him in the best possible situation to be successful and compete for wins and championships."
    Earnhardt, 36, has earned 18 Sprint Cup race wins since joining the circuit full-time in 2000. The Kannapolis, N.C., native has won the Daytona 500, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and two Nationwide Series championships. In NASCAR's national touring series, he has a combined 41 points-paying victories. "It's great to have it all wrapped up so quickly and far in advance," said Earnhardt, who currently is ninth in the Sprint Cup standings. "Rick and I were on the same page from the first time we talked about it, so there wasn't any sense in waiting. There were never any questions or hesitations from either of us. It was just, 'Yeah, let's do it.' I'm really happy at Hendrick Motorsports and enjoy working with everyone here. The team's been very competitive this season, and we're all excited about the direction of things. I want to make sure we're giving our fans something to cheer about for a long time." Earnhardt originally signed with Hendrick Motorsports in June 2007 for the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. That contract was set to expire at the end of 2012.(Hendrick Motorsports)(9-1-2011)

  • Earnhardt Jr. expects contract extension in "next few days": #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he expects to have the extension of his NASCAR Sprint Cup contract with Hendrick Motorsports completed in the next few days. "I feel pretty good where I am at and really happy who I am working with," Earnhardt said. "You have to be comfortable in your work environment, and I feel good with the people that I'm around. I trust (team owner) Rick (Hendrick). My sister (Kelley Earnhardt), who's a bit of my business manager, she gets along with everybody working there. They're working through a new contract, and all that stuff should be done in the next few days." The new contract is expected to be for five years, which would carry Earnhardt through the 2017 season. The driver affectionately known as Junior would be 43 at the end of that term.(Fox Sports)(8-29-2011)

  • Evernham returning to NASCAR garage: Former championship-winning crew chief and Sprint Cup Series team owner Ray Evernham told Sirius XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that he will return to the NASCAR garage next season in an unofficial capacity with Hendrick Motorsports. Evernham has spent this season away from the NASCAR garage, working as a consultant for the Hendrick Companies overseeing strategic initiatives for Hendrick's auto dealerships and aftermarket retail business, while driving his own Sprint Car in a limited schedule of events, He said his driving career could come to an end in the near future, however, as he transitions back to NASCAR in 2013. "I've got six or seven more Sprint Car races before the end of the year, then I'm probably going to have to make a decision about how much I'm going to race next year," said Evernham. "I'd like to get back to the (NASCAR) race track more in 2012, so I think my Sprint car racing is going to suffer." Evernham said he has no desire to return to the crew chief ranks, saying his role will be unofficial and undefined. "I will have no real official capacity, other than being a part of Hendrick Motorsports," he said.(Sirius-Speedway)(8-24-2011)

  • Dale Jr. protests finishing spot, but loses appeal: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was adamant that he should have finished 14th instead of 15th in Monday's Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International. NASCAR didn't agree. After protesting the order of finish for nearly 15 minutes, Earnhardt emerged from the NASCAR hauler giving the thumbs down signal to crew chiefs for Ryan Newman, David Ragan and Brian Vickers, who also questioned the results. The biggest issue was whether Richard Childress Racing driver Clint Bowyer improved his position after the caution flag came out on the final lap to secure Marcos Ambrose's first Cup win. NASCAR officials told Earnhardt that Bowyer did not improve his position and awarded him 11th. Earnhardt, who is fighting to stay in the top 10 in points, stayed at 15th. "I thought the 33 (Bowyer) was in the accident and that we should be positioned in front of him,'' Earnhardt said. "Points are points, man. They're real important. But they said he maintained reasonable speed and was positioned to finish in front of me, which I can't argue with them.''(ESPN)(8-16-2011)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. to drive Bristol 50th Anniversary car: Bristol Motor Speedway amps up its year-long celebration of its 50th anniversary with a specially designed paint scheme featured on the car of NASCAR's most popular driver at the IRWIN Tools Night Race Aug. 27. Dale Earnhardt Jr., helps celebrate the iconic track's 50th anniversary by driving a golden Amp Energy/National Guard car that also features Bristol Motor Speedway's anniversary logo. Earnhardt Jr., who grew up watching his father, Dale Earnhardt, race and win nine times at the World's Fastest Half-Mile, and who swept the weekend races in August of 2004, looks forward to helping Bristol celebrate the special occasion.(BMS), see an image of the car on my #88 team paint schemes page.(8-10-2011)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. designs Hot Wheels car: Beware of the Hammerhead - no, not the shark, but the new Hot Wheels dream car designed by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Just in time for back-to-school, Hot Wheels has teamed up with the NASCAR superstar to design his ultimate dream car, along with a corresponding line of licensed apparel. It's the first time the Designed By program has expanded beyond toy to include a line of licensed apparel and accessories for a celebrity-designed lifestyle experience. The "Hammerhead," one of Earnhardt Jr.'s nicknames, features classic '50s hot rod meets '60s muscle car styling - with an edge. The suggested retail price of the vehicle is $1.09 and the clothing line ranges from $7-$12.99, and is available exclusively at Wal-Mart stores nationwide.(Ketchum / Hot Wheels PR)(8-10-2011)

  • Special scheme for Dale Jr. at Atlanta: #88-Dale Earnhardt is scheduled to race a one-time paint scheme at the September 4 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway to honor the men and women who serve in Military Intelligence, The car features the Military Intelligence logo on the side panels and the "Always Out Front" motto on the hood. See an image of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page.(8-5-2011)

  • Earnhardt Jr. and Hendrick close to extension deal: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports is expected to be signed within the next 30 days, his team owner, Rick Hendrick, said Wednesday. Hendrick said he and Earnhardt should have an formal contract extension completed within 30 days although he believes it is, for intents and purposes, already done. "It will be a multiyear deal. We haven't been in a hurry because we both have taken it for granted that we're doing it," he said. "It's almost a foregone conclusion. We've been busy and there are a lot of contracts with sponsors. A handshake works with him and he and I have a handshake, and that's all he and I really need."(Charlotte Observer)(8-4-2011)

  • Hendrick to sponsor Charlotte schools: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools announced Wednesday a $250,000 sponsorship deal with Hendrick Automotive Group that will allow the district to offer a full slate of middle school sports for 2011-12. CMS had said it would have to curtail the lineup of middle school sports due to budget cuts, but the Hendrick sponsorship, combined with a gift from an unidentified donor, gives the school system enough to pay for the full slate of 13 sports at all 32 middle schools. The agreement designates HendrickCars.com as an official sponsor of CMS athletics. It gives the company naming rights when statistics are announced during breaks at high school sports events, recognition as a title partner in announcements at the end of high school events, and the right to display its signs at middle and high school events. "This doesn't mean student-athletes' uniforms will look like NASCAR cars," said Hendrick Automotive Group chairman Rick Hendrick, who also owns arguably NASCAR's most prominent racing team. "There won't be decals on those uniforms. It will be more like having a sign at the field -- something like that."(Charlotte Observer)(8-4-2011)

  • Dale Jr. has no idea what Danica's plans will be: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. met with members of the media at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and discussed the status of Danica Patrick at JR Motorsports and much more. The transcript in part:
    Earnhardt Jr.: "I don't know. I haven't heard anything. I feel confident that she's content where she is and happy with what we're doing and I think things are looking positive for us to put something together. I would like for her to run full time and I'm sure she is considering that and I think she would enjoy it. She seems to really enjoy driving stock cars and racing in the Nationwide Series. We just have to see but I haven't heard anything about it."
    Earnhardt Jr.: "I think she's doing great. She's way ahead of the curve. We've had the opportunity to put several drivers in that car and her performance is right on par with all those drivers. We started out struggling and she had a steep, steep climb to go and she's really come a long, long way. I'm excited about what the potential is with her going forward. I'm really excited about that."(Team Chevy)(7-30-2011)

  • Hendrick cars to run special Chevy schemes: Hendrick Motorsports has been driving Chevrolets to Victory Lane since 1984. As a salute to Chevrolet's 100th Anniversary, our four race teams will run commemorative paint schemes on Oct. 15. In addition to awarding daily prizes for 100 days straight, HMS is also going to be giving away a 2012 Hendrick Motorsports VIP Racing Experience in Charlotte, N.C., to tour the Hendrick Motorsports facilities, meet your favorite Hendrick Motorsports driver and see a race in-style.(Hendrick Motorsports), see images of the cars on the #5 Team Schemes page, #24 Team Schemes page, #48 Team Schemes page and/or #88 Team Schemes page.(7-28-2011)

  • Dale Jarrett talks about Dale Jr.: on Tuesday, ESPN held a media conference call to kick off its coverage of the final 17 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, which launches with the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 31. Analyst Dale Jarrett was asked about #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    Q - Dale, I want to ask about among the bigger story lines you'll be focusing on is Junior, as well. How troublesome is it in the big picture for the sport that he's fallen off and risking falling out of the Chase field?
    DALE JARRETT: "Well, we'll start with Junior. I thought five weeks ago, six weeks ago that I was really seeing Junior and his race team getting themselves prepared to go to victory lane. I mean, I really felt that they were making strides and gains each week. Exactly what's happened over the last four or five weeks, you get in slumps as a race team just like a hitter in baseball or something, and sometimes it's hard to get out of. You're not exactly sure where to put your finger and to try to turn things around.
    It would be beneficial to our sport to have our most popular driver to be a part of the Chase and get in that mix and challenge for wins. It's not that we're not -- nobody is going to make that happen in any way; it's that race team that has to do it. But it sure would be beneficial. You always want, whether it's the Boston Red Sox and the Yankees playing, that's always a big attraction. Well, we have our biggest star; the people that vote for the most popular driver, that's who they choose is Dale, Jr., so yeah, we would like for him to be a part of that. Hopefully they can get that turned around. This is a difficult racetrack when you're struggling to kind of get things turned around, but they're going to have to right their ship very quickly.(in part from an ESPN Media Conference Call Transcript)(7-27-2011)

  • Earnhardt Jr. wants to stay at HMS: Although #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 36, has another year remaining on his deal with Hendrick Motorsports, he didn't want the next contract to become a distraction. That's why he enlisted his sister/confidant/business manager, Kelley, to expedite the process. I'm not in the middle of it," Earnhardt said. "Kelley and Marshall (Carlson, HMS president and Chief Operation Officer) are talking it out. I haven't even been in discussions. I called Rick and I said, 'Let's get this going,' and he said, 'Cool.' I told him, 'I'm going to let Kelley do my end,' and he said, 'I'm going to let Marshall do my end,' and they're handling it. I'm fortunate that I have good people around me that I trust enough to handle those kind of things. I could let Kelley do it from the ground up and not even worry about it, just not even have any questions or doubts. Even when she's finished with everything, I don't go in there and go, 'Man, I would have done this different,' or "I think this number should be different or should be better or worse.' She comes to me and tells me what's going on and I say, 'That sounds great! Keep going,' (laughs). They're obviously one of the best places in the garage - if not THE best team in the garage to be with - and I wouldn't want to be anyplace else. No way." Junior said there's no set timetable to wrap up the contract. He'd just like to have it in place before the end of the season so his concentration remains on competition and not external distractions. He understands firsthand - and from watching other drivers - how disruptive and damaging the uncertainty of a driver's status can be to teams and sponsors. The rumored five year extension would cover Earnhardt until he's 42. "I just want to get it done before we get into the offseason," Earnhardt said. "I have another year to go, but I was sitting there and seeing how Carl (Edwards) and those guys - seeing how much attention it draws to Carl and those guys - and me, when I was in my last contract year. I was like, 'Hey, Rick, let's knock this out and we won't have to worry about it next year. You just tell me what you want to do. If you want to keep me as your driver, I'm happy to stay. I'm really happy where I'm at and if that's the way you feel, let's go ahead and do it. Why wait until next year? 'Cause the press wants to know what's going on and we won't have to worry about that.'" Earnhardt says there is "no pressure" with the current negotiations. Very humbly, he said the decision for him to remain in the Hendrick Motorsports stable was dependent on "Mr. H."(in part from FoxSports and PRN's Garage Pass)(7-11-2011)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. not happy: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was not happy after he finished 18th in Saturday's 400. NASCAR's most popular driver does not like tandem racing, not one bit. "It is weird racing," Earnhardt said. Last week Earnhardt said he didn't like the fact he had to depend on another driver in order to be competitive at Daytona. He would rather have his destiny in his own hands. "What kind of move can you make?" Earnhardt groused. "I mean, man. What kind of move can you make in racing like this? There ain't no move you can make. You just hold it on the mat and try not to wreck into each other. You see how good we are at that." The more questions he was asked about tandem style racing, the more aggravated Earnhardt became. "I don't know what to say," he said. "I don't know. You guys need to get your own opinions and write what you all think about it. I think it is probably pretty damn close to mine. Stop putting my damn mouth with y'all and getting my (butt) in trouble. Y'all write what y'all think, man. Come on, y'all are good. Y'all have an opinion about it. I read y'all's stuff. You put us in the damn crow's nest."(Daytona Beach News Journal)(7-4-2011)

  • Dale Jr. to carry special scheme at Daytona: Since 2008, the National Guard and the #88 Hendrick Motorsports team of Dale Earnhardt Jr. have run a camouflaged paint scheme for the July race at Daytona International Speedway. The paint scheme honors Independence Day and the men and women who have served in the National Guard. This year's #88 National Guard Heritage/AMP Energy Chevy will continue the tradition by featuring the modern uniform pattern that currently is being issued to Guard Soldiers serving in Afghanistan. The Guard offers many rewards for one's service, like providing excellent educational and financial benefits and paid specialized training in more than 200 career fields (Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes Page.(6-30-2011)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. contract renewal in final stages: Rick Hendrick said he's down to the final paperwork on signing #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. to an extension of three to five years. The owner of Hendrick Motorsports isn't sure when the announcement will be made, but he said Earnhardt wants to keep it low-key.(ESPN.com)(6-28-2011)

  • Kyle Busch is the Most-Mentioned in Sponsor Exposure: Even before his most recent dustup, #18-Kyle Busch had been the center of attention during this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series broadcasts. Interviewed longer and mentioned more frequently than any other driver on the circuit during the first 12 event telecasts of 2011, Busch parlayed the spotlight into $28.4 million of exposure value for his sponsors-some $6.5 million more than the next most sponsor-potent driver, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc. -- which has monitored every NASCAR race telecast over the last 27 seasons -- Busch's sponsors, with logos appearing on his car, uniform and pit crew, etc., were monitored for eight hours, 30 minutes, 39 seconds (8:30:39) during live and replayed coverage of NASCAR's Daytona 500 through last month's Coca-Cola 600. Additionally, Busch and the FOX TV crew verbally mentioned his sponsors on 95 occasions.
    Earnhardt Jr.'s cumulative exposure value ranked him second among all drivers with $21.8 million, based on 5.5 hours of on-screen time for his sponsors and 18 brand mentions. The popular driver was third in interview durations (0:13:07), but interestingly, Earnhardt Jr. sat just seventh in total driver mentions (1,140).
    Meanwhile, Trevor Bayne, despite starting only eight of the first 12 points races this year, rode the wave of his Daytona 500 win to earn $12.3 million of exposure value for his sponsors, the seventh-most among the drivers. Bayne placed 20th in terms of cumulative sponsor on-camera time and 22nd in driver mentions. (for charts and more, go to Joyce Julius & Associates)(6-15-2011)

  • Stats a reason for optimism by Earnhardt, Jr.: There's good reason for optimism for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. His 2011 season is looking much like his 2008 season - the last in which he won a race and made the Chase. Just as encouraging: This season looks nothing like 2009-10 when he finished the season 25th and 21st in points, respectively. Some facts to back up the optimism ...
    • Earnhardt's six top 10s this season already surpasses his five from all of 2009. Last season he had eight. His two top fives match that of 2009, and are one short of last year's total.
    • Earnhardt's average finish of 11.0 ranks third in the series behind points leader Carl Edwards (8.0) and five-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson (10.9).
    • He has completed more laps - 4,073 - than anyone in the series. He has finished off the lead lap twice this season: Daytona (202 of 208 laps) and Richmond (398 of 400).
    • His consistency - as illustrated by his Driver Rating - is up. This season, Earnhardt has scored a Driver Rating over 90.0 in eight of the 12 races. In 2010, he did that in five of the first 12. In 2009, just three of the first 12.
    • His fourth-place points position is his highest after 12 races since 2008, when he was third. Last year after 12 races, Earnhardt was 16th in points. In 2009, he was 19th.(NASCAR)(6-2-2011)

  • Hendrick & Penske...in Indycar?: Spotted on the grid of the Centennial Indy 500 were Hendrick Motorsport decals on the wings of two Team Penske Racers. The decals were on the inside rear wingplate on Will Power's #6 Dallara Honda and #12 Ryan Honda. This leads to speculation of an alliance of Penske and Hendrick in IndyCar especially due to the entry of Chevrolet engines into the open wheel series in 2012. Penske officials are keen to add Simona de Silvestro to their team but are having financial issues with three cars and would not comment on the why HMS decals were on the two cars. An alliance with Hendrick, a big Chevrolet dealer, could help.(see image at Auto123)(5-30-2011)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. close to contract extension: Hendrick Motorsports is close to finalizing a multiyear extension with Dale Earnhardt Jr., team owner Rick Hendrick said Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Hendrick hopes to announce the deal within the next month. He would not give specifics, saying most of the major points are agreed on and the extension would keep NASCAR's most popular driver at HMS for another three to five years after the current five-year deal that expires in 2012. "We know we want to be together and we just want to get this over with," said Hendrick, who told ESPN.com last year he was working on the extension. "It shows I'm committed to him and he's committed to us."(ESPN.com)(5-22-2011)

  • Dale Jr. to run special scheme at All-Star race: Through the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, The Dale Jr. Foundation is providing a $30,000 grant to Neal Middle School in Durham, N.C., to enhance its music program and give its students the opportunity to excel musically. The partnership between The Dale Jr. Foundation and the VH1 Save The Music Foundation will be celebrated on Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevy during the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as primary sponsors AMP Energy and National Guard have donated the paint scheme of the #88 car to TDJF for the third consecutive year. With the donation, Earnhardt Jr.'s Hendrick Motorsports Chevy will feature bright red, orange and yellow coloring with music notes accentuating the side panels. The one-off paint scheme will appear in the May 21st Sprint Showdown with the opportunity to advance into the Sprint All-Star Race by winning the Showdown or fan vote. Pre-orders for the collectable diecast and apparel items related to The Dale Jr. Foundation/VH1 Save The Music paint scheme are being accepted now at ShopJrNation.com. A portion of the proceeds from merchandise sales will be donated to The Dale Jr. Foundation in continued support of non-profit organizations such as Victory Junction, Make-A-Wish and Blessings In A Backpack.(JR Motorsports), see an image of the car on my #88 Team Schemes page.(5-19-2011)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. calls team meeting, apologizes: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. called a team meeting following Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway and apologized for his pit road mistake that cost the team a top 10 finish -- and possibly a win. Earnhardt was running sixth coming to pit road with 38 laps remaining when he came in too fast and hit the commitment cone, knocking it onto the track. Because he wasn't all the way inside the cone, Earnhardt Jr. most popular driver was given a pass-through penalty under green conditions, dropping him to 21st. Despite rallying to finish 14th and maintaining his position of fourth in the points standings, Earnhardt felt bad enough about his mistake to gather his team and apologize. "It was a good thing to do, especially immediately after the event, to clear the air," Earnhardt said on Tuesday during a demonstration at Charlotte Motor Speedway to show off the world's largest HD screen. "That way nobody goes home wondering what anyone's thinking. They know how I feel and I know how they feel. It was just a good way to put it behind us as quick as we could." Earnhardt knew the penalty was coming as soon as he hit the cone. He said crew chief Steve Letarte and the rest of his team told him post-apology that they "were fine and they understood."
    "We hold team meetings every day in the hauler and before the races," Earnhardt said. "Steve does all the talking and I really don't talk that much. So I felt like I needed to get vocal right there for a second. I made a mistake getting on pit road and I wanted to tell the guys that my focus was strong, it wasn't because there was a lack of focus or lack of concentration, [and] that I'll try to minimize my mistakes going forward and to continue working hard and loading up great race cars."(ESPN.com)(5-11-2011)

  • Johnson named America's most influential athlete: #48-Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series champion every year since 2006, isn't particularly charismatic. But he's great at what he does. He's also appealing to many fans because he seems to be just like them--the guy next door who just happens to double as the best driver on the NASCAR circuit. That's among the reasons why Johnson rates as America's most influential athlete this year.
    After a prolonged slump, "NASCAR has had a bit of resurgence, people are becoming more aware of the drivers this year," says Gerry Philpott, CEO of Encino, Calf.-based E-Poll Market Research, which co-conducted the poll of influential athletes our list is based on. While the sport is still lagging behind the glory days of the early 2000s, television ratings are up 6% this year, according to NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps, who credits competitive early races this season with drawing interest. "It helps drive story lines," says Phelps. The first nine races of the 2011 season have produced seven different winners. #24-Jeff Gordon, a longtime fan favorite, got a nice boost from making it into the winner's circle in Phoenix in February, his first victory in two years.
    Combined with the retirement of Lance Armstrong, the diminished reputation of Tiger Woods, and the fading of interest in 2010 winter Olympians like Apolo Anton Ohno and Shaun White, the mini-rally has launched three NASCAR drivers into the ranks of the most influential athletes. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., who certainly is charismatic, and Gordon, a steady and likeable presence since the early 1990s, join Johnson in the top 10 in third and eighth place, respectively.
    E-Poll and Nielsen Media Research surveyed over 1,000 adults as to the athletes they considered influential, while also assessing their likeability and awareness levels. Only those known to at least 20% of the respondents were considered. (That eliminated boxer Manny Pacquiao, who scores the highest influence numbers of anyone but who's familiar to only 12% of the population. What does it say about boxing that its most exciting champion toils in near anonymity?)(Forbes.com) see Full List: The Most Influential Athletes.(5-11-2011)

  • Earnhardt Jr. not concerned about All-Star race: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was asked about the All-Star race during a press conference at Richmond:
    Earnhardt Jr. "No, not really. That weekend...I don't take it for granted that we'll get the fan vote; anything can happen. So, we're just going to go and enjoy that weekend. That weekend is pretty fun. I would rather, personally make it through the fan vote because the qualifying procedure is a little bit of a pain in the tail, but, from a driver's standpoint anyways, I'm sure that is probably not everybody's opinion. Having to qualify and then sit around and wait for everybody else to qualify and run up and down pit road like hooligans is not a lot of fun. The most important thing is just focusing on the points races, the races that matter toward the championship. When we get to All Star weekend, however things are lined up is how things are lined up. That is just a fun weekend regardless. It will be interesting being on the other side of the fence, trying to find a way into the race and going through that experience myself personally to have an appreciation for what that is like versus just showing up and being locked in. It could be interesting and good for me to have that experience as well."(Team Chevy)(4-30-2011)

  • Earnhardt Jr. winless streak at 100: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a perfectly round winless drought: 100 races. That's a career-long stretch for a driver with a hefty 18 career wins. He owns the statistics that make him a favorite at the 2.66-mile track: five wins, a second-best Driver Rating of 92.7 and laps led in the last 10 races, and in 20 of 22 career starts overall. The last 100 races have not been kind to Earnhardt, but 2011 has a different feel. Earnhardt has finished in the top 10 in two consecutive races, and four of the last six. He is currently sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings, the highest he has been this late in the season since 2008. That season, he won his last race, and made his last Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.(NASCAR)(4-14-2011)

  • Sugar Free scheme for Dale Jr: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to run a AMP Energy Sugar Free special paint scheme at the Darlington and Dover NASCAR Sprint Cup races in May. See an image of the car on the #88 Team Schemes page.(4-7-2011)

  • Dale Jr. to run special VH1 scheme in All-Star race: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to run a special Dale Jr. Foundation VH1 Save The Music paint scheme in the Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 21st. Unless Earnhardt Jr. wins in one of the five remaining races before the event, he will have to race in to the All-Star race via the Sprint Showdown [being the winner or 2nd place car] or being voted in by the fans. Earnhardt Jr. has run every All-Star race since his rookie season, when he won the event in 2000. For more info on the event, see my 2011 All-Star race page. To see an image of the scheme, see the #88 Team Schemes page.(4-5-2011)

  • Earnhardt Jr. has no plans to tweet: Many NASCAR drivers have gotten involved with Twitter, some extensively, tweeting practically from the moment they wake up in the morning. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn't one of them. Certainly, he understands Twitter's usefulness and his team's use of it, but he just can't get into it. "I used to have a Myspace.com page and I used to have a Facebook page, (but) I don't anymore because it was just too much responsibility," he said. "I felt like you had to plug in and be involved with it so much and I thought personally I don't need to do it. I understand we use it on the business side of it and how it works for JRM, but personally, you know, it would be fun for about a month and then I would start to feel like it was a job where people expected me to do it."(Associated Press)(3-27-2011)

  • Special scheme for Dale Jr. at Daytona:Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to drive the #88 National Guard Heritage Special paint scheme at Daytona on July 2, 2011, see an image of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page.(3-16-2011)

  • Forbes names most valuable NASCAR teams & highest paid drivers: The weak economy has pummeled NASCAR over the past three years, with sponsorships, merchandise sales, race winnings and subsidies from automakers falling. Fans have tuned out, sending TV ratings down 24% since 2006 and leaving more than 40,000 empty seats at some races last year. One of its longest-tenured teams, Richard Petty Motorsports, was scrambling for cash on a week-to-week basis so it could race on weekends last fall. Is NASCAR headed for a full-blown meltdown? Hardly. Yes, the value of the top 10 teams slid 5% in 2010, on average, to $136 million by [Forbes] count, as prize money dropped and sponsors dialed back their commitment, but a rebound in 2011 for the sport is a strong possibility. NASCAR's strongest and most valuable team remains Hendrick Motorsports. With a valuation of $350 million on revenues of $177 million in 2010, Hendrick is worth 56% more than the next-highest-grossing team, Roush Fenway Racing, which [Forbes] value at $224 million on revenues of $140 million last year. Hendrick earned a NASCAR-high $18 million in operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) in 2010. Richard Childress Racing was third on the list, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing and Penske Racing. Rounding out the top 10: Stewart-Haas, Michael Waltrip Racing, Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, and Red Bull Racing.
    AND: Despite his lack of success in recent years on the track, Dale Earnhardt Jr. remains NASCAR's highest-paid driver, earning $29 million in 2010 thanks to merchandise sales that are the best in the sport and reportedly account for one-third of all NASCAR licensed merchandise sales. Other income streams include an annual salary from Hendrick and a 50% share of his $4.9 million in winnings and bonuses in 2010 from Sprint Cup races. Earnhardt also has a bevy of personal endorsements, including Chevrolet, Nationwide and Wrangler. Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon follows Earnhardt in the NASCAR money standings with earnings of $25 million last year. It is a clean sweep for Hendrick at the top with five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, the third-highest-paid driver at $24 million. The rest of the top 10: Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, and Matt Kenseth.(Forbes)(2-24-2011)

  • Career start #400 for Dale Jr.: The Daytona 500 on Feb. 20 will mark Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s 400th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career start. The 36-year-old driver of the #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevy began his Cup career in 1999, and since then has amassed 18 wins, 91 top-five finishes, 150 top-10s and nine pole positions in 399 starts. He's gone to Victory Lane twice at Daytona International Speedway. He won the prestigious Daytona 500 in 2004 and took the checkered flag in the July 2001 event. Earnhardt earned the pole position for Sunday's race during qualifying on Feb. 13, but will be reassigned to the rear of the field after being involved in an accident during the Feb. 16 practice session.(HMS)(2-19-2011)

  • Minnesota Congresswoman wants to ban military from NASCAR sponsorships UPDATE: Rep. Betty McCollum wants to put the brakes on the Defense Department's 10-year sponsorship deal with NASCAR racing teams, saying the multimillion-dollar recruiting effort is a waste of money. The Minnesota Democrat is also dubious that stock car sponsorship has much to do with enlistment numbers or troop readiness. "This is not only putting a sticker on the car. This is paying for a racing team," Ms. McCollum's chief of staff, Bill Harper, told Washington Wire. "That doesn't contribute to military readiness." The amendment is one of more than 400 that lawmakers want attached to Rep. Paul Ryan's spending bill to fund the government through Sept. 30. Ms. McCollum's office estimates the Pentagon has spent more than $100 million on its own NASCAR teams. Col. Derik Crotts, director of the army's sponsorship, told Washington Wire in an email that the Army spends $7 million a year on its racing team, and finds it valuable. "Youth surveys show that motorsports is a passion point for young Americans," wrote Col. Crotts. "It is critical that the Army use these passion points to communicate with prospects and their influencers." He continued, "In a 2009 among nationwide fans, 37% feel more positive about the Army due to its involvement in motorsports."(Wall Street Journal)(2-16-2011)
    UPDATE: Congresswoman Betty McCollum's amendment to ban military sponsorship of NASCAR teams suffered a defeat Friday night but she is pressing forward with the amendment. After a brief period of debate on the amendment, which McCollum introduced Monday, a voice vote was held with the no votes prevailing. McCollum (D-Minn.), however, "demanded a recorded vote and the Chair postponed further proceedings on the question of adoption of the amendment until a time to be announced,'' according to the website for the Office of the Cleak for the U.S. House of Representatives. So, the matter is not dead. In essence, she wants everyone's vote to be recorded publicly instead of hidden behind a voice vote.(Virginian Pilot)(2-18-2011)
    Death Threat: Democratic U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum received a death threat on Wednesday over her proposal to end Pentagon funding for NASCAR. McCollum said she thinks the army-sponsored car is a waste of taxpayers' money and should be eliminated. The fax received by her office contained vulgar language directed at the congresswoman, telling her to shut her (expletive) "pie hole," and featured a cartoon of President Barack Obama's head being pulled behind a truck in a noose. The letter also called for the deaths of all Marxists, and referred to the president, McCollum and Attorney General Eric Holder as "Marxist thugs." The violent imagery and phrases come just one month after Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot at a campaign rally, despite public campaigns for more reasoned and respectful political discourse.(myfoxtwincities.com)(2-18-2011)
    Lawmakers reject congresswoman's effort to stop NASCAR sponsorship: The House has voted to let the Pentagon continue using taxpayer dollars to sponsor NASCAR race teams. By a 281-148 vote, lawmakers rejected an effort by Minnesota Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum that would have ended the practice. McCollum aides said the Army is spending $7 million on a sponsorship this year, and the Air Force and National Guard are spending additional money. Most Democrats backed McCollum's effort, while Republicans voted overwhelmingly against it.(Associated Press)(2-18-2011)

  • PTI: Dale Jr's Daytona 500 fixed?: Co-host Tony Kornheiser intimated on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption that NASCAR had helped Earnhardt turn the fastest lap in qualifying. Kornheiser said a longtime NASCAR reporter told him there was a 60% chance that Earnhardt's car might not be legal. "There are people in and around the NASCAR world, not just drivers but people who cover the sport, who are winking at this one," Kornheiser said. "Who are wondering if this wasn't a setup because it's the pole position." The reporter was The Washington Post's Liz Clarke, who covered NASCAR for more than a decade for four newspapers and also wrote a book about the sport. Earlier Tuesday, Clarke had appeared on Kornheiser's ESPN 980 radio show in Washington. During a discussion about Earnhardt's pole position, Clarke said, "people who covered racing for a long time, a lot were just laughing when they heard Junior won the pole because of the rich NASCAR tradition of ginning up storylines and outcomes. There's a lot of questions still about Richard Petty's 200th win, which came the day Ronald Reagan was there. Everything Americana happened to fall into place that particular day." Noting that PTI does a segment called "Odds" in which situations are assigned a 1-100 percentage, Kornheisesr asked Clarke, "what are the odds that NASCAR rigged this" so Earnhardt would start first? "I'd say better than 60%," Clarke said. "I'm trying to think, 'Will I regret saying that?' No, it's more likely than not. But he drives for the best, best team with the best cars and smartest mechanics. This is an awesome team. He's had the best equipment." During a Wednesday morning appearance on Sirius NASCAR Radio, Clarke said she regretted assigning a percentage to such a scenario.
    ESPN vice president of motorsports Rich Feinberg said, "that's a show of opinion, and they are entitled to their opinion. And I can tell you for sure that ESPN doesn't agree with his opinion yesterday, but that's the nature of commentary, and not all the time are we going to get a rosy picture when people are offering their opinions."
    After Nationwide practice Wednesday, Earnhardt told reporters Kornheiser's comments didn't bother him because "those two guys that do that show don't know much about racing." Kornheiser was contrite about his NASCAR comments during Wednesday's PTI show. The featured interview was five-time champion Jimmie Johnson, who jokingly invited Kornheiser to a NASCAR race "to keep you from saying stupid things." See full story at the USA Today, along others from the Virginian Pilot and SceneDaily.(2-17-2011)

  • Earnhardt Jr. wrecks in practice, goes to backup car: during the rain delayed 1st practice on Wednesday, #48-Johnson and #88-Earnhardt Jr. were drafting in a two car pack, just behind them was another 2 car pack, #56-Truex Jr and #83-Vickers. #48-Johnson lifted as he came up on a slower pack of cars, Earnhardt got into Johnson, who got loose but recovered, Truex had no place to go and got into Earnhardt, sending both the #88 and #56 sliding thru the grass with the #88 hitting the inside SAFER wall, bouncing off and back into Truex. So both are going to backup cars. Since Earnhardt Jr.'s starting spot was locked in, he will have to go to the rear of the field before the start of Gatorade Duel 1 and the Daytona 500. Truex Jr. will start at the rear of the Gatorade Duel but starting where he qualifies with his Gatorade Duel result. Whichever driver starts 3rd in the Daytona 500 [to be determined in the Gatorade Duels] will start first in the Daytona 500.(2-16-2010)

  • Hendrick signs Bill Elliott's son Chase: Hendrick Motorsports has signed Chase Elliott to a multi-year driver agreement. Elliott, the son of 1988 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Bill Elliott, will continue to compete for his family-owned team until meeting age requirements for entering NASCAR national series events. Bill Elliott Racing, based in Dawsonville, Ga., will field Chevrolets with support from Hendrick Motorsports. "The apple hasn't fallen far from the tree with Chase," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "I've always admired Bill's ability in a race car and how he handled himself with the fans. I see those same traits in Chase, with his natural driving talent and an awareness of what he needs to do away from the track to be successful. He comes from a great racing family, and it shows. We think it's a terrific situation. Chase already has a strong support system in place (in Dawsonville) that will allow him to focus on his education and grow as a driver, and Hendrick Motorsports will provide whatever kind of assistance the Elliotts need in any area."
    A 15-year-old freshman in high school, Elliott already has competed against some of the best short-track racers in the United States. In 40 late model starts last season, he posted 13 victories, 27 top-five finishes and 37 top-10s. "I've always been taught that teamwork and people are important, and that's something Mr. Hendrick really believes in," Elliott said. "Everyone at Hendrick Motorsports has high standards and takes a lot of pride in what they do. Racing with all of their support, and the support of my family, is going to be incredible. I'm going to work really hard to make them proud and make the most of this opportunity."
    In 2010, Elliott became the youngest driver to win the Blizzard Series at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., the Miller Lite Series at Mobile (Ala.) International Speedway and the overall Sunoco Gulf Coast championship. The Dawsonville native also posted victories in the prestigious Winchester 400 and at the re-opening of historic North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway. Elliott already is two-for-two in 2011 after sweeping the Speedfest late-model features last month at Lanier National Speedway in Braselton, Ga. This season, he plans to enter a combination of super late model, pro late model and NASCAR regional touring series events.(HMS)(2-16-2011)

  • Earnhardt Jr. wins Daytona 500 pole: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the pole for the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway with a lap of 186.089 mph for his first Daytona 500 pole and 10th career pole. Earnhardt Jr. is the 36th driver to win the Daytona 500 pole. #24-Gordon will start 2nd, only he and Earnhardt Jr. have secured their exact starting spot. #21-Bayne was 3rd fastest, followed by #27-Menard, #33-Bowyer, #31-Burton, #39-Newman, #5-Martin, #16-Biffle and #14-Stewart. Earnhardt Jr. and Gordon swept the front row for Hendrick Motorsports, the third time HMS has done it. Earnhardt will start from the pole in the first Gatorade Duel and Gordon will start 1st in the 2nd Gatorade Duel. #09-Elliott (17th), #38-Kvapil (20th) and #87-Nemechek (21st) all earned spots in the race as the three fastest drivers among those required to qualify on speed. #32-Terry Labonte will also start the race since he has a past champions provisional to use unless he races his way into one of the two spots available in the Duel he races. With the exception of the front row, the starting lineup will be set by the Gaterade Duel races on Thursday, swcheduled for Thursday, February 17th at 2:00pm/et on SPEED. See the qualifying results on the Daytona 500 Qualifying page(2-13-2011)

  • Hendrick Building Training Facility: Hendrick Motorsports is building an outdoor pit-crew training facility that will include a six-lane, 60-yard track where crew members can work out doing sprints and shuttle runs. The facility will include a 75-yard AstroTurf field and a 40-by-40 foot sand pit for outdoor strength and conditioning training for explosiveness and endurance.(SceneDaily)(2-9-2011)

  • Hendrick Motorsports rent CMS for pit practice: Hendrick Motorsports held a fully suited dress rehearsal for its pit crews at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday. Apparently the organization rented the track for a closed session for all four NASCAR Sprint Cup teams. The four cars used for the exercises include two #5's (of Mark Martin), the #48 with Jimmie Johnson behind the wheel and the #88 Chevy with Dale Earnhardt Jr. behind the wheel. The #24 team of Jeff Gordon was pitting the second #5 car. The drivers were running different sequences and pitting in every other pit with the pit stops being filmed from the flagstand, according to a source who attended the test. The session lasted less than three hours (FoxSports)
    UPDATE: the HMS test was a pit road practice only. At no time did a car leave pit road. CMS has availability next week 2/6-10/11 for any other NASCAR Series team who would like to practice team pit stops. Charlotte Motor Speedway track rentals info at charlottemotorspeedway.com.(CMS)(2-4-2011)

  • Johnson, Earnhardt to have 3 pit crews available: #48-Jimmie Johnson will have a primarily new pit crew as part of a plan by crew chief Chad Knaus to shore up depth on the teams of Johnson and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. Knaus and Steve Letarte, the crew chief for Earnhardt Jr., will take three pit crews to the track each weekend. That will give them a talent pool of 18 crewmen to draw on if they encounter injuries of performance problems. The lack of pit crew depth at HMS came under the spotlight during the Chase at Texas when Knaus swapped pit crews with Jeff Gordon's team in the middle of the race after the four-time champion crashed out. Knaus said four of the members of the #48 team before the swap remain in the mix for his crew, adding he has not finalized anything and probably won't have a set six for the entire season. The others have moved on to other organizations. The #24 team of Gordon and #5 of Mark Martin will work under a slightly different system, with six full-time crewmen for each car and another four to share between them for depth.(ESPN.com)(1-27-2011)

2010 News

  • 2010 Scheduled Sponsor / Paint Scheme for the #88
    Feb 6 Bud Shootout/Daytona, National Guard
    Feb 14 Daytona - AMP Energy Drink
    Feb 21 California - AMP Energy JUICE
    Feb 28 Las Vegas, National Guard
    Mar 7 Atlanta - AMP Energy Drink
    Mar 21 Bristol, National Guard
    Mar 28 Martinsville - Sugar Free AMP Energy Drink
    Apr 10 Phoenix - National Guard
    Apr 18 Texas - AMP Energy Drink
    Apr 25 Talladega - National Guard
    May 1 Richmond, National Guard
    May 8 Darlington - AMP Energy Drink
    May 16 Dover - AMP Energy Drink
    May 22 Charlotte All-Star Challenge - Dale Jr. Foundation
    May 30 Charlotte, National Guard/Honoring Soldiers
    Jun 6 Pocono, National Guard
    Jun 13 Michigan - AMP Energy Drink
    Jun 20 Infineon - AMP Energy Drink
    Jun 27 New Hampshire, National Guard
    Jul 3 Daytona, National Guard
    Jul 10 Chicago - AMP Energy Drink
    Jul 25 Indianapolis - AMP Energy Drink
    Aug 1 Pocono - AMP Energy Drink
    Aug 8 Watkins Glen - National Guard
    Aug 15 Michigan - National Guard
    Aug 21 Bristol - AMP Energy Drink
    Sept 5 Atlanta - National Guard
    Sep 11 Richmond - AMP Energy Drink
    Sep 19 New Hampshire - AMP Energy Drink
    Sep 26 Dover- National Guard
    Oct 3 Kansas - National Guard
    Oct 10 California - AMP Energy Drink
    Oct 16 Charlotte - AMP Energy Drink
    Oct 24 Martinsville - AMP Energy Drink
    Oct 31 Talladega - AMP Energy Drink
    Nov 7 Texas - National Guard
    Nov 14 Phoenix - Diet Mountain Dew
    Nov 21 Homestead - National Guard

  • SportsCenter Special: My Wish, Friday: ESPN in collaboration with the Make-A-Wish Foundation will air a 30-minute SportsCenter Special: My Wish on Friday, Dec. 24 at 11:30 pm on ESPNEWS that will run continuously through Saturday, Dec. 25 at 2:00 pm. Emmy Award-winning reporter Chris Connelly will host, as ESPN chronicles the sports-themed wishes and feature updates on three of kids from 2010: 10 year-old Jailen Cooper, who wished to be an Oakland Raider for the day, 15-year-old Jeffrey Buzell who raced go-karts against Dale Earnhardt Jr. and 13-year-old Anna Schmidt who wished to spend the day with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Connelly: "It's a great time of year to revisit these stories that touch so many people, and we're pleased to have some updates on Anna, Jalen and Jeffrey."(video at ESPN)(12-23-2010)

  • Hendrick Buys First Volt Offered for Public Sale: Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, has purchased the first Chevy Volt offered for sale. Proceeds will benefit science, math, engineering, and technology education initiatives through the Detroit Public Schools Foundation. The vehicle, bearing the vehicle identification number BU10002, was sold for $225,000 through an online auction that closed Tuesday, Dec. 14. "This was an opportunity to own a piece of history while giving back to the community," said Hendrick, an avid car collector. "I have been a Chevy dealer for more than 30 years, and the Volt is one of the most exciting and important new cars since we opened our first dealership in 1976." The Chevy Volt is an electric vehicle that can operate under a range of weather climates and driving conditions with little concern of being stranded by a depleted battery. The Volt has a total driving range of up to 379 miles, based on EPA estimates. For the first 35 miles, the Volt can drive gas- and tailpipe-emissions-free using a full charge of electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt's battery runs low, a gas powered engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range another 344 miles on a full tank. Chevy began shipping Volts from Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly this week. Hendrick will take delivery of his Volt later this month.(Chevy Racing/HMS)(12-17-2010)

  • Dale Jr. working on extension: Despite #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s struggles on the track, Hendrick Motorsports has begun negotiating a contract extension for NASCAR's most popular driver. Team owner Rick Hendrick told ESPN.com of his plans Thursday after Earnhardt was named the sport's most popular driver for the eighth straight year during the National Motorsports Press Association Myers Brothers luncheon at the Bellagio. "We're looking at extending it," Hendrick said of Earnhardt, who just completed the third year of a five-year deal that ends in 2012. "I really like him. I think the world of him. I know he can do it. We just have to get the right combination in, and I think we're going to have it. I hope we get to race together until he retires ... until I retire. I'll retire first," he said. Extending the contract would end any speculation that Earnhardt might move his Nationwide Series program to Sprint Cup after 2012 and drive for himself or go to another team. But Earnhardt's first priority is making sure the next time he returns to Las Vegas for the season-ending banquet it is as a member of the Chase field and not just to get a popularity award. "The only person that can truly help me get where I need to go starts with me, then it goes to Rick, Steve [Letarte] and those guys in your inner circle every week and in your corner every week," said Earnhardt, who finished 21st in points. "My biggest problem, I think, is my confidence," he said.(ESPN)(12-3-2010)

  • Most Popular Driver Award winner named: And the streak goes on. Dale Earnhardt Jr. today collected his eighth consecutive NASCAR NMPA Most Popular Driver Award after receiving the most online fan votes among all eligible drivers throughout the 2010 racing season. He joins Bill Elliott as the only drivers to win the award at least eight years straight. The trophy was presented by Hamburger Helper to Earnhardt Jr. at the National Motorsports Press Association's Myers Brothers ceremony Thursday in Las Vegas, Nev. For the first time in award history, a fan was also involved with the presentation ceremony. Rachel Didat, winner of the Hamburger Helper "Most Passionate Fan" Contest, was on stage to help present the award. Fans cast more than 1.5 million total votes throughout the 2010 campaign, voting up to once per day for their favorite driver at www.helpersmostpopulardriver.com. Earnhardt Jr. beat out nine other finalists (in alphabetical order): Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart. "It was pretty cool to hear that I was eight in a row just like Bill (Elliott)," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I've enjoyed winning it - my fan base has stayed strong. It's become an important honor each year for me. I'm glad that fans still feel their support for me. I appreciate their dedication and loyalty."
    "The legend of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s fan support grows each year he wins this award," said Dustin Long, President of the National Motorsports Press Association. "The NMPA is appreciative of the fans who vote and continue to make this award a part of the sport's fabric." Elliott holds the record for consecutive Most Popular Driver wins with 10, and he also holds the record for total wins with 16. He removed himself from voting after earning the honor the 16th time.(General Mills / Breaking Limits)(12-2-2010)

  • Dale Jr's struggles no only reason for HMS changes: The ongoing struggles of #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. were not the sole reason for the sweeping changes made at Hendrick Motorsports. A day after Rick Hendrick shuffled the driver and crew chief lineup for three of his race teams, the team owner said the entire organization had grown complacent because of all its success. Even Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, fresh off their fifth consecutive championship, were "off this year," Hendrick said. "This was not a Dale Earnhardt - not a move that we made, this major of a move, because of Dale or his situation," Hendrick said Wednesday. "I am excited about making all four teams better. We need to be better across the board. We are not going to leave any stone unturned."
    Hendrick said he called a companywide meeting after the Nov. 7 race at Texas, where Johnson's crew was benched in the middle of the event and Denny Hamlin outran the No. 48 team to take the lead in the championship standings. No personnel decisions were made during the meeting. "No one suggested in that meeting that we shift people around," Hendrick said. "It was about how each individual could make this organization better." In the two weeks after the meeting, there were discussions between Hendrick and his management team, and the shakeup was revealed Tuesday afternoon. "A tremendous amount of thought went into it, and it was not a (decision) from the hip," Hendrick said. "It's not one of those things that you can vote on; it's one of those things you have to pull the trigger and go do it." The owner said he has now matched driver and crew chief based on personality fits. "I think everybody was excited last night, and it sparked a new amount of energy in our company," he said.(in part from the Associated Press)(11-24-2010)

  • New crew chiefs for Gordon, Martin & Earnhardt Jr.: Hendrick Motorsports has made personnel adjustments in preparation for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, with drivers Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. being teamed with new crew chiefs. Below are the driver-crew chief pairings for each Hendrick Motorsports car, effective immediately:
    #5 Chevy, driver: Mark Martin, Crew Chief: Lance McGrew
    #24 Chevy, driver: Jeff Gordon; Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson
    #48 Chevy, driver: Jimmie Johnson; Crew Chief: Chad Knaus
    #88 Chevy, driver: Dale Earnhardt Jr.; Crew Chief: Steve Letarte
    The cars of Martin and four-time Sprint Cup champion Gordon will be fielded out of the same facility, now known as the 5/24 shop. Earnhardt Jr.'s Chevys will be prepared out of the renamed 48/88 shop alongside those of five-time and defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson. "This will improve us as an organization, across the board," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "We had a championship season (in 2010), but we weren't where we wanted and needed to be with all four teams. We've made the right adjustments, and I'm excited to go racing with this lineup."(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-23-2010)

  • Evernham back to Hendrick? Ray Evernham is talking to ESPN about continuing his career as a television analyst, but he's also exploring other options in NASCAR. And he plans to meet with Hendrick about a potential return to the organization where he won three championships as Jeff Gordon's crew chief in the 1990s. "Rick and I just have to meet and discuss things," Evernham said. "I'm interested in a lot of things Rick is doing, on a global basis." Evernham isn't interested in being a crew chief again, and he doesn't sound particularly enthusiastic about the idea of trying to straighten out Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the struggling #88 team. Instead, Evernham hopes to talk to Hendrick about working on big-picture projects related to Hendrick's worldwide business interests. "I want to be a project guy -- on a project, see results, move on," Evernham said.(Associated Press)(11-21-2010)

  • Latest on possible crew chief change for Dale Jr.: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. says it's not a no-brainer that he gets a new crew chief before the 2011 season and that no one person is responsible for this season's failures. "I'm not certain what's going to happen," Earnhardt Jr. said after Friday's qualifying for the season finale at Homestead. Earnhardt is 19th in points, having missed the Chase for the second straight year and third time in the past four seasons. He has only three top-5s and eight top-10s a year after recording a career-worst two top-5s and five top-10s. Earnhardt has only one win since Lance McGrew was named his crew chief in the middle of 2008, at Michigan. He is mired in a career-worst 92-race losing streak. But Earnhardt believes this season has been better than last year's which he called the worst of his career before this race. He's just not sure what has to happen to turn things around. "It's pretty obvious we aren't very good and we need to do some things to get better,'' Earnhardt said. "It's obvious that's where we are. I don't think it needs to be over-analyzed or anything like that.'' Earnhardt said he asked team owner Rick Hendrick to let the season end before making a decision on any potential changes to his team. Even then, Earnhardt doesn't know how much input he'll personally give. "I've dove into those deals headfirst in the past,'' Earnhardt said. "I'm not doing it this time. I obviously haven't had too good of an effect on the last couple of changes I've made. Maybe I'm not the person to be in there making those kinds of decisions. I don't want to have any effect on whatever that decision is. I've enjoyed working with Lance. I've enjoyed working with this team. We try really hard. They try really hard. No one person has failed this season.''(ESPN)(11-20-2010)

  • Dale Jr.'s crew chief status an offseason decision: Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn't want to think about personnel issues with his #88 team until the end of the season. That includes a decision about the status of crew chief Lance McGrew. "I ain't really making any decisions on that until after the season's over with," Earnhardt told Sporting News. "I asked (team owner) Rick (Hendrick) and everybody in the corporation if I could just not consider any options for next year or any ideas until we're done racing-that I wanted to focus on what we're doing. I just wanted to get all I could out these last two races before I started thinking about that. I will say this about Lance: I've really enjoyed working with him. I've enjoyed even more so becoming his friend and getting to know him as well as I have. I have a lot of respect for him, and he's put up with a lot of crap this year and last year, trying to help get this thing going. He gave me his best effort to try to help each weekend, and I've just got a lot of respect for him." Since McGrew replaced Tony Eury Jr. as crew chief in mid-2009, the results have been disappointing. Earnhardt hasn't won a race since June 2008, and this year he failed to make the Chase for the second straight season. Earnhardt, who started 31st and finished 14th Sunday, isn't laboring under any illusions when assessing the overall performance of the #88 team. "I think I can say that what's going on on the racetrack is a fair assessment," he said. "It's had its ups and downs this year, but here lately we've struggled quite badly. It's been unfortunate, and you really can't visually see what our issues are. It's a moving target for us."(Sporting News)(11-15-2010)

  • Contest winner designed Dale Jr.'s PIR scheme: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevy will have a different look this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. The Diet Mountain Dew Paint the 88 contest gave fans the chance to design and submit their own original paint schemes online during a five-week period. Earnhardt chose the winning paint scheme, which was a green-and-white design created by fan Jason Corino, of Colorado Springs, Colo. Earnhardt made the selection from almost 10,000 submissions. Earnhardt will unveil his special paint scheme at Diet Dew Race Night on Friday, when the Phoenix Coyotes face off against the Calgary Flames in Glendale, AZ. Earnhardt, McGrew and the #88 team will make a special appearance on the ice with the car during the first intermission of the game. Prior to the game, Earnhardt will answer questions from fans during a special Race Night Town Hall for 100 lucky fans who purchase a special $88 VIP ticket. For more information call 480-563-PUCK or visit PhoenixCoyotes.com.(HMS), see images of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page.(11-11-2010)

  • Special scheme for Dale Jr. at PIR: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run at Diet Mountain Dew scheme at Phoenix in November. See an image of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page.(10-30-2010)

  • New crew chief for Dale Jr.? UPDATE: A once debatable decision as to whether to keep #88 crew chief Lance McGrew for next season is becoming cut and dry. Leading just three laps since the start of the season's second half, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has just two top-15 finishes over the last 13 races. He and McGrew argue more than the other three Hendrick Motorsports drivers and their crew chiefs combined, yet smile in front of the cameras, pretending it's all OK. While the Hendrick line continues to be McGrew and Earnhardt together in 2011, garage talk has indicated a private shift is in the works. The rumor mill is all over the place with potential replacements, the hottest new name mentioned being Jimmie Johnson's current car chief, Ron Malec. Another name in the mix has been Mark Martin's crew chief, Alan Gustafson (denied) as the school of thought is Hendrick will look internally for a replacement. Who will emerge from the fray is unclear, but with Earnhardt's team no better off than they were one year ago, it's certain his current crew chief's days are numbered.(Sports Illustrated)(10-22-2010)
    UPDATE: Rick Hendrick was asked about the #88 team on Wednesday during a press conference:
    Q: Where are you with evaluating the teams and the 88? Is that now or in offseason?
    HENDRICK: "We don't try to make any changes until we get to the end of the year and we look at everything. We all agree. We're just trying to focus on what we've got to do, finish these four and then we'll take a look at where we are."(10-27-2010)

  • Dale Jr. and DW to appear in film about Talladega IMAGE added: Award-winning filmmaker Terry Gilliam will premiere his short film The Legend of Hallowdega starring David Arquette and Justin Kirk with special appearances by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Darrell Waltrip and more on Oct. 31st.
    The film, produced by AMP Energy Juice and @radical.media, will premiere on Halloween Sunday with the first chapter to debut on ESPN just prior to the start of the AMP Energy Juice 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Starting Halloween night, the film will be available in its entirety on www.LegendofHallowdega.com. The Legend of Hallowdega is the first short film for both Gilliam and AMP Energy Juice.
    The comedy, The Legend of Hallowdega, explores the mysteries around Talladega Superspeedway as the host of an investigative news show (Justin Kirk) joins forces with a techno-geek paranormal expert (David Arquette) to dodge close calls and chase crazy leads to get to the bottom of The Legend of Hallowdega.(NASCAR.com)(10-17-2010)
    IMAGE see an image of the special paint scheme that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run at Talladega to promote this short film on my #88 Team Schemes page.(10-21-2010)

  • Danica to run K&N Pro Series East race at Dover: Danica Patrick will attempt to tackle the monster twice with the announcement of her intent to enter the "Sunoco 150" NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Dover on Sept. 24. Patrick will behind the wheel of the #83 JR Motorsports entry in the Friday afternoon race. The Sunoco 150 at Dover serves as the season finale for NASCAR's top developmental series, and a champion will be crowned when the checkered flag falls. Patrick will also race the #7 GoDaddy.com Chevy for JR Motorsports in the 200-mile NASCAR Nationwide Series event on Saturday, Sept. 25. Prior to the event, Patrick will participate in a free question-and-answer session on the base of the Monster Monument at Victory Plaza. NASCAR returns to the Monster Mile on Sept. 24-26, 2010. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 1-800-441-RACE or visit DoverSpeedway.com.(Dover International Speedway)(9-17-2010)

  • What Dale Jr. had to say about Richmond: from a Team Chevy Transcript, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. comments on his and his team's performace at Richmond, after finishing 34th: "That was one of my worst performances, I believe. We were trying something new and it just didn't work out. We'll keep working at it. I don't think it's something we're going to give up on. We ran a rear spring package we've never run before, front spindles we've never run before; just trying to find something to help us get better. Running like we've been running all year long ain't good enough, so we figured we'd try to go in a different direction, and it was a bad choice tonight. We're going testing on Monday, and we'll do as much testing as we can do the rest of the year to figure out what's wrong and to get a package that will work."(Team Chevy PR)(9-13-2010)

  • No plans for changing Earnhardt Jr's crew chief: from a Team Chevy Press Conference Transcript, Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports:
    Hendrick: "Actually, I'm pretty happy with the chemistry there now. Maybe some of you guys don't agree but I'm around them and I'm in the shop during the week and the Tuesday meetings and I talk to Dale and I talk to Lance (McGrew) and I talk to them both after they've been testing. And we had some good momentum going and then we kind of fumbled the ball a little bit here right before the Chace. If you can't pinpoint where your problem is, then the whole organization needs to be better. We're working hard but we're not as sharp as we want to be with all four cars. But the guys are working hard and working together. If you miss the Chase and you just decide that you're going to change something to be changing it, I think that's a mistake. I've never tried to do that. I keep my options open, but at the same time if the driver and the crew chief are getting along and they're working together and they're trying, that's all I can ask for. It's pretty darn competitive here in the garage. Guys get on a streak and then guys fall back a little bit. We're not happy with where we are as an organization, but we're working on it. And nobody is blaming anybody and nobody is giving up. So we're getting ready for the Chase. We're trying a lot of stuff and we're all over the map here this weekend, but we're trying some things. We know we've got to get better. And I'm really happy with my whole group and the way they work together and of course we'd like to win more races and you like to dominate, but it's hard in this sport. You look at the guys up there now and they get a streak and then they cool off. That's probably a 10-minute answer to a short question."
    Hendrick: "That's correct. We make decisions as things develop during the season. And right now we've got a game plan and we're sticking to it. Next week and going into the Chase and during the Chase, our plans are for those two guys to be together."(Team Chevy)(9-5-2010)

  • Earnhardt "Drive the Guard" scheme at Michigan: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will show his support for the National Guard's "Drive the Guard" program by showcasing a red, white and blue paint scheme on his #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy in this Sunday's Sprint Cup Series event at Michigan. The "Drive the Guard" program is an enlistment option offered to new recruits and current National Guard Soldiers interested in obtaining their commercial driver's license (CDL) while performing their regular duties in the National Guard. Learn more by visiting www.NATIONALGUARD.com/DrivetheGuard.(Hendrick PR), see an image of the car on my #88 team paint schemes page.(8-11-2010)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. making 500th NASCAR start: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevy, will make his 500th start in a NASCAR-sanctioned points-paying event this weekend. Earnhardt will be making his 385th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start when he lines up Sunday at Watkins Glen International. He also has tallied 115 starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.(Hendrick PR)(8-5-2010)

  • Mountain Dew scheme at Phoenix: Mountain Dew kicks off the Paint the 88 program. Kroger consumers and Earnhardt fans can visit www.Paintthe88.com to create and submit their favorite custom paint out. Earnhardt will select one special paint scheme for the #88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet he will drive in Phoenix. The website is accepting submissions until Monday, Aug. 9th.(7-31-2010)

  • MAF Honors NASCAR Teams' Response to Haiti Quake: In the aftermath of the catastrophic Jan. 12, 7.0 earthquake that destroyed the capital of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, two renowned NASCAR auto racing teams shuttled relief workers and supplies into Haiti and transported evacuees, rotating workers and quake victims to the United States. This week at their respective shops in North Carolina, MAF (Missionary Aviation Fellowship) President John Boyd presented Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing with special service awards for their work in Haiti.
    In the crucial days following one of the world's greatest disasters, the teams generously provided aircraft from their fleets. The Hendrick and Gibbs crews worked with MFI (Missionary Flights International) and MAF to shuttle planes between Fort Pierce, Fla., and Port-au-Prince, Haiti, enabling the rotation of high-impact volunteer medical teams and humanitarian workers. The planes also evacuated adopted orphans to their American homes. In addition, the aviation crews offered care, personal concern and warm fellowship to the MAF missionary pilots and ground workers as they toiled amid heat, chaos, suffering and death.
    "With these awards, we at MAF want to express our sincere gratitude to Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing for their support of the MAF team in Haiti," Boyd said. "We honor two fine motorsports teams for their selfless actions, and for the special blessing they were to us during a very trying time." Boyd also invited the two teams' aviation staffs to participate in one of the MAF advanced mountain training workshops at the ministry's headquarters in Nampa, Idaho.
    MAF has served the missionary community and the people of Haiti since 1986. Eight MAF missionary families and seven Haitian staff members provide air service with three bush aircraft that fly to 16 remote airstrips from Port-au-Prince. Within the first three months of its disaster relief efforts, MAF had partnered with dozens of relief agencies, including the United Nations. In addition to having coordinated the flights of 3,500 international passengers and 1.5 million pounds of cargo between Florida and Port-au-Prince, MAF logged 1,037 flights within Haiti, transported 1,801 relief workers, missionaries, patients and medical staff in and out of inland towns and villages urgently needing help, and delivered 315,498 pounds of urgent relief and medical cargo. MAF continues its disaster response work in Haiti, having now shifted from the crisis-relief phase to a rebuilding stage that is expected to last several years.(MAF PR)(7-29-2010)

  • HMS names president: Rick Hendrick this week elevated Marshall Carlson to the role of president and chief operating officer of Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick made the announcement Tuesday to more than 500 people at the organization's quarterly employee meeting. The position of Hendrick Motorsports president most recently was held by Hendrick's late brother John Hendrick, who assumed the title in 1998. It has remained vacant since his passing in October 2004. "Marshall has the ability to plug into every aspect of our industry, from competition to marketing, at an extremely high level," said Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "He's versatile from a business perspective, and there's a high degree of respect for him throughout the organization because of the way he treats people. We're very fortunate to have someone of his considerable talent help guide us into the future." Carlson, 37, will continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of Hendrick Motorsports, which has earned four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships since he assumed the role of executive vice president and general manager on Jan. 24, 2005. "Hendrick Motorsports is a family, and it's been one of the great privileges of my life to work with these amazing people," Carlson said. "This opportunity comes with the highest commitment to serve my teammates and support their continued success." Carlson started his Hendrick Motorsports career sweeping floors as part of a chassis department summer internship. After earning a degree in business administration in 1996 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he served as engineer for the organization's fledgling Camping World Truck team, which earned the first of three series championships in 1997. Following the 1998 season, Carlson was reassigned to focus on Hendrick Motorsports' sponsorship and marketing efforts as director of marketing services. In 2000, he managed a $10 million facilities effort, which included the design and construction of racing operations space now housing the Sprint Cup Series teams of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. From 2002 until 2004, Carlson oversaw more than $200 million in real estate projects as vice president of corporate financial management with Hendrick Automotive Group, one of the largest automotive retail operations in the United States. A native of Charlotte, N.C., Carlson was named to the 2009 Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal "Forty Under 40" list, which spotlights the 40 top executives in sports under 40 years of age.(HMS)(7-28-2010)

  • Hendrick plane has problems, all OK: As a precaution, one of Hendrick Motorsport airplanes returned to Concord Regional shortly after takeoff Sunday morning due to a maintenance advisory light. Passengers were switched to another aircraft and traveled safely to Indianapolis. The plane has already been evaluated and returned to active status.(7-25-2010)

  • Dale Jr. Featured on SportsCenter My Wish July 19: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. recently brightened the day of an ill 15-year-old Maine boy through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and highlights of the boy's day with Earnhardt will air Monday, July 19, on the 6 p.m. edition of ESPN's flagship news and information program SportsCenter as part of the SportsCenter "My Wish" series. Jeffrey Buzzell of Hermon, Maine, who has Alport syndrome, wished to meet Earnhardt and learn about the inner workings of a NASCAR team. The wish was granted May 20-22 around the NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
    Buzzell and his family were given a tour of JR Motorsports, a 66,000-square-foot facility that serves as the nucleus of Earnhardt's racing operation and business interests. Afterwards, they went to Earnhardt's home and raced on his private go-kart track. Before the All-Star race, Buzzell took a tour of the garage and pit area, took part in driver introductions and then watched Earnhardt and the other NASCAR drivers battle it out from a private suite at the speedway.
    Buzzell on his wish with Dale Earnhardt Jr.: "A few seconds after getting out of the limo, I saw Dale come out of his garage and walk towards me. I didn't know what to do or think. All I remember was putting one hand on my chest and shaking his with the other. I had the time of my life and I will never forget my amazing trip or the amazing people I met."
    The 2010 edition of the critically acclaimed SportsCenter "My Wish" series in collaboration with the Make-A-Wish Foundation will debut Sunday, July 18, during the 10 a.m. SportsCenter. The series will continue Monday through Thursday with a new wish each day during the 6 p.m. edition. In addition to Earnhardt, Wishes include the three-time Super Bowl champion Oakland Raiders (Sunday, July 18), three-time National League MVP Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals (Tuesday, July 20), supercross and motocross athlete Travis Pastrana (Wednesday, July 21), and New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson (Thursday, July 22). Emmy Award-winning reporter Chris Connelly will host for the fifth straight year as ESPN chronicles sports-themed wishes granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation to children with life-threatening medical conditions.
    ESPN starts its coverage of the final 17 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 25.(ESPN)(7-17-2010)

  • No Cup team for JR Motorsports in 2011: JR Motorsports is not considering is a move to the Sprint Cup Series. "No Cup plans," team co-owner Kelley Earnhardt said on Wednesday. "No Kasey Kahne. No Mark Martin. Nothing for JR Motorsports. At this point, we would need to get started on that, and it's definitely not in our future for 2011." Instead, Earnhardt and her brother, Dale Earnhardt Jr., need to find sponsorship and drivers for their Nationwide Series cars for next year. She knows Danica Patrick will drive in 13 races in a GoDaddy.com-sponsored car and that Grand Touring Vodka will sponsor 15 races with a driver to be determined. But that doesn't even fill one full season for an organization that plans to have two Nationwide cars again next year. Kelley Earnhardt said the organization needs to know a little more about NASCAR's plans to change the Nationwide Series rules to help promote younger drivers. She needs to know, she said, if there will be limits on Cup drivers and what programs are in place to help young drivers so the team can convince a sponsor to support an up-and-coming driver. "It would be nice to know specifically what we're working with and what we can sell and do," Kelley Earnhardt said. "In the environment that we're in from the economic standpoint, it takes a personality to sell a sponsor. Performance and being up front and somebody they can market and somebody the consumer is going to recognize and want to be a part of whatever they're doing is so important." Sponsors are hesitant to go with a young driver, she said.(SceneDaily)(7-15-2010)

  • Dale Jr.'s Daytona winning #3 to the NASCAR Hall of Fame: The NASCAR Hall of Fame now is the temporary home of one of the most talked about race cars of 2010. Beginning July 14, included with the price of admission, guests can get a close-up look at the #3 Wrangler Chevy that Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove to victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race July 2, 2010 at Daytona International Speedway. The car carries the same design of the race cars Earnhardt Jr.'s father, Inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Dale Earnhardt, made famous in the 1980s. This #3 Wrangler Chevy was built and prepared by JR Motorsports and entered in the Daytona race by legendary owner Richard Childress. The combination of Earnhardt Jr., Dale Earnhardt Inc. and RCR has a very brief yet shining history on the track. In only two races together, Earnhardt drove the #3 Chevy to victory on both occasions (February 2002 and July 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series races at Daytona International Speedway). On loan from JR Motorsports, the race car is on exhibit in the Great Hall of the NASCAR Hall of Fame until Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010. More info on the NASCAR Hall of Fame on my NASCAR Hall of Fame News and Links page.(7-15-2010)

  • NASCAR featured in Transformers 3 movie: NASCAR style racecars adorned in the colors of Juan Pablo Montoya, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were competing in downtown Chicago in a little race of their own; complete with armor and machine guns. Filming for the third installment of the wildly popular Transformer movies was taking place over the course of the last week and although the exact plot hasn't revealed, it would appear that NASCAR will be playing a role. Fans who were at the location sent snapshots of cars painted to resemble the Chevy's of the #42, #48 and #88. The cars were morphed and included loads of heavy weapons. Last year the cars of #24-Jeff Gordon and #39-Ryan Newman bore special paint schemes of the movie during the fall race at Charlotte, but there has been no word on the exact involvement of NASCAR.
    The areas in Chicago that saw filming included LaSalle Street, Michigan Avenue, Bacino's of Lincoln Park at 2204 North Lincoln Avenue and around the "Sears Tower". According to fans on location the Michigan Ave scene where the NASCAR style cars were spotted was filled with crashing and explosions.
    The final film in the live action Transformers series it is directed by Michael Bay and produced by Steven Spielberg. It is the sequel to Transformers and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and is scheduled for release on July 1, 2011 in Real D 3D theaters nationwide and in IMAX 3D.(NASCAR Examiner) and see some images at www.tfw2005.com.(7-12-2010)

  • Dale Jr. doesn't plan to drive #3 after Daytona NNS race: UPDATE: On Friday evening, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will slide through the window and into the seat of the #3 Wrangler Chevy for 300 miles of Nationwide Series racing at Daytona International Speedway. Until that moment, he cannot know how that car number on his door, and that blue and yellow paint before him on the hood, and memories of his father's win-at-all-costs attitude while driving them may affect him. Especially at that track. But he is fairly certain about one thing: July 2, 2010 will be the last time he drives a race car with the #3 on the door. "I just want to go to the racetrack and run it once before I retire, and this will probably be it," he said. "After this, I'll probably never drive a car with a 3 on it again. I can pretty much say I'm 99% sure that will never happen again." This is a stark revelation, especially for long-suffering Earnhardt fans who dreamed Junior would close out his career in a black #3. Junior, too, once thought that was his destiny. No more. "It's not [my number] to take and use whenever I feel like using it," he said through a sheepish grin. "You just don't grab the car keys off the counter and go run out the door and haul down the road with your dad's car. I didn't do it when he was alive, and I won't do it now. I'm borrowing it once, and then maybe sometime down the road some kid will come up, and he'll have a connection to the 3 -- whether it's through my father or whether it's what his number's been since he was playing teeball. Whatever, you know, that will be his. It will be someone else's." The current Wrangler program is a dual initiative -- partly to honor Big E, partly out of necessity. Junior's sister, Kelley Earnhardt, Sprint Cup team owner and owner of the #3 trademark Richard Childress, and Teresa Earnhardt all played a role in putting the deal together, and wanted to tie it into Dale Earnhardt's Hall of Fame induction.(see full story ay ESPN)(6-27-2010)
    UPDATE: After winning the Nationwide Series race Friday night, Earnhardt spoke about the #3 car: "I will never do it. I'll never rethink it. I'll never consider it. I think that it's important for everybody to know that that's as concrete as it gets. I'll never do it again. So I enjoyed it. It's hard for me. It's a balancing act between you and the public and myself and my own feelings. I mean, I kind of, you know, look to what you guys are putting out there to kind of get a temperature of how the public's feeling. It's such a tough deal. It's real emotional for me preparing for it and putting it together. Is Rick okay with it? Did Rick mind? Is Richard happy with his role? Is Teresa truly okay? It's just so damn hard to know how everybody feels about it. Hell, I just want to come race. I just like cool-looking cars. This was a helluva cool-looking car. I always loved the scheme. That's all that mattered to me, was just the scheme. I just love the car. I wanted to race it once, and I did. I'd run the number before in this series, so I didn't really put a lot of stock in the fact that the 3 was coming back like a lot of people did. I didn't approach it that way mentally, where everyone else was thinking, you know, 3 is back, Earnhardt's 3 is back. But when I started hearing all that, you know, how everybody was making such a big deal about it, I was like ... man, this is like pressure, man, this is a big deal. So I was a little nervous. But I don't know if I'd have liked that or not. Regardless of whether I did or not, I made my life pretty much driving that 8 and now the 88. It doesn't make sense for me to do this again. I think in the Nationwide Series, it makes enough sense, and I really wanted to do it, and I've done it. I don't ever want to do it again. And I'll never change my mind, ever."(NASCAR Media transcript)(7-3-2010)

  • 8 Soldiers, 8 Missions on the #88: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 National Guard "8 Soldiers 8 Missions"/AMP Energy Chevy will feature a special camouflage paint scheme this weekend at Daytona in honor of the eight National Guard Soldiers and eight missions in which they served. These eight Soldiers served in domestic and overseas missions for their country. #88 Chevy was designed to commemorate the heroic efforts and service of these Soldiers and the other men and women who serve in the National Guard. The eight soldiers Earnhardt will recognize are Staff Sgt. Ryan Brubaker with the Montana Army National Guard, Staff Sgt. Daniel Caldwell with the Alabama Army National Guard, Sgt. 1st Class Chris Dempsey with the Arizona Army National Guard, Spc. Tabitha Foster with the Kentucky Army National Guard, Spc. Richard Ghent with the New Hampshire Army National Guard, Staff Sgt. Justin Lampert with the North Dakota Army National Guard, 1st Lt. Reed Preece with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and Spc. Joseph Ruiz with the New York Army National Guard.(Hendrick PR), see an image of the car on my #88 team paint schemes page.(7-1-2010)

  • Kelley Earnhardt named bank chairman: Mooresville-based Blueharbor Bank said that a member of one of racing's first families, Kelley Earnhardt, has been elected chairman of the board. Earnhardt, whose late father was NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Dale Earnhardt Sr. and whose brother is current driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., was a founding board member of the community bank that opened in 2007. She is general manager and co-owner of JR Motorsports in Mooresville and serves as a director of the Dale Jr. Foundation. Earnhardt moved from the vice chairman role as part of a planned rotation, the bank said. Attorney Bill Pope is the new vice chairman.(Charlotte Observer)(6-30-2010)

  • Johnson's idea is the winner of the Pepsi Refresh Grant: The votes are in and more than 500,000 racing fans have spoken: Jimmie Johnson is the winner of a $100,000 Pepsi Refresh Grant that will help Be The Match Foundation provide financial relief to pediatric bone marrow transplant patients. For the past three weeks, Johnson and fellow Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were campaigning for their ideas and fans had the opportunity to vote for the idea they believed should be awarded a grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project. The drivers' passion for their individual ideas was evident and although they didn't receive the most votes, Pepsi will donate a $25,000 Pepsi Refresh Grant to both Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. to aid in implementing their projects for the Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) at Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital and supporting technology needs at Shepherd Elementary School in Mooresville, NC for Earnhardt.(Pepsi)(6-27-2010)

  • Junior & Shaq Set For Head-to-Head Race at Concord Speedway: The challenge has been issued and accepted. Four-time NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal has swapped his size-23 basketball shoes for racing Velcro; traded his breezy, cool basketball jersey for a heavy, fire-retardant driver's suit; forgone the familiarity of basketball hardwood for the cramped quarters of a stock-car cockpit - all 7-foot-1, 325 pounds of him. His reason: challenge NASCAR's most popular driver and winner of more than 40 NASCAR-sanctioned races, Dale Earnhardt Jr., to a one-on-one race in a test of skill, endurance and speed. The competition will be featured in the second season of Shaq Vs., the popular television series that is part of ABC's new summer season. The show's premise is simple: O'Neal takes his top-level skills and athletic prowess from the basketball court and transfers it to a different and unfamiliar sporting event. The first season pitted Shaq in a head-to-head match-up against Albert Pujols in a homerun-hitting contest, Michael Phelps in a swimming race, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh in beach volleyball, and Oscar de la Hoya in a boxing match. The race between O'Neal and Earnhardt Jr. will take place at 4:00pm/et on Wednesday, June 23, at Concord Speedway, a tricky, half-mile tri-oval that features some of the best weekly racing in North Carolina. The event is open to the public free of charge. Gates will open at 1:00pm/et. No cameras or phones will be allowed inside the facility. Terms of the race will be negotiated by O'Neal and Earnhardt Jr. on the day of the race. Shaq Vs. will premiere its second season on ABC Tuesday, Aug. 3.(JR Motorsports)(6-18-2010)

  • Special scheme Hendrick teams: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevy will feature an "Honoring Our Soldiers" paint scheme for the May 30 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. All four Hendrick Motorsports teams will sport special patriotic paint schemes for the Memorial Day weekend race to honor the men and women who serve in the armed forces. As the nation's oldest Armed Forces component, the National Guard and its Citizen Soldiers play a vital role in protecting the freedoms Americans hold dear. Since 1636, the Guard has brought glory and honor upon itself and its Soldiers through quiet and selfless service. There is a long and noble history of the National Guard serving at home and abroad to ensure the safety and freedom of their fellow citizens. When celebrating Memorial Day, take a moment to thank a member of the nation's military for their service to the United States and recognize the sacrifices they make on a daily basis to defend America's interests. Become a fan of the National Guard on Facebook, by visiting www.facebook.com/NationalGuard. To learn more about becoming a Citizen Soldier, visit www.NATIONALGUARD.com.
    Jeff Gordon will drive a specially-painted #24 DuPont Stars & Stripes Chevy during the Memorial Day weekend event.
    CARQUEST Auto Parts, a major sponsor on the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy since 2005, will be back on the hood this NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend at Charlotte. The red, white and blue paint scheme will be featured in a total of eight races this season. Martin's #5 Chevy will feature a patriotic theme this weekend in tribute to the United States military. Diecast and apparel featuring the #5 paint scheme will be available for purchase, and a portion of the proceeds benefits the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund. Martin's Hendrick Motorsports teammates also will sport special patriotic paint schemes for the 600-mile event.
    Jimmie Johnson and the #48 Lowe's Chevy will have a special patriotic paint scheme in recognition of Memorial Day that features donation information during the May 30 event. In support of the Memorial Day holiday, Lowe's will offer a 10% discount to all active, reserve, honorably discharged, and retired military personnel and their immediate families. Lowe's also has a year-round 10% discount those with a military-issued photo ID. Lowe's and Team 48 driver Jimmie Johnson are hosting a special concert starring country music star Darius Rucker in support of the United Services Organization (USO) and the newly created Lowe's USO Family Fund on SPEED Channel at 7 p.m. on May 29. The concert will highlight ways to support the newly created Lowe's USO Family Fund, proceeds of which will support USO family programs that help deployed service members and their families stay connected.(HMS/Team Lowe's), see images of the cars on my #5 Team Schemes page, #24 Team Schemes page, #48 Team Schemes page and #88 Team Schemes page,(5-27-2010)

  • Earnhardt Jr. To Reach Make-A-Wish Milestone at Charlotte: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. began his relationship with Make-A-Wish Foundation in 1999 as a driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Now more than 10 years later, the seven-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver is closing in on his 200th wish granted, a milestone shared only by a handful of America's top athletes. Earnhardt Jr. will facilitate No. 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway during Sprint All-Star Race weekend. "To meet these kids and families is a privilege," Earnhardt Jr. said. "A lot of times the Make-A-Wish meeting is the best part of the whole weekend. It's amazing that when you talk to the kids and learn about their lives, you learn a lot about yourself as well." To commemorate Earnhardt Jr.'s 200th wish milestone, AMP Energy and the National Guard have donated the hood of the #88 Chevy to The Dale Jr. Foundation for the Sprint All-Star race on May 22. The predominantly black paint scheme was designed by Earnhardt Jr., and it prominently features the logo of The Dale Jr. Foundation. "I want to thank AMP Energy and the National Guard for donating the hood of the car," Earnhardt Jr. said. "It's their advertising space, they pay for it, and for the second year in a row they were gracious enough to give us prime location on the car and help bring exposure to my foundation and the charities we support, like Make-A-Wish. I think the fans will embrace the paint scheme and help us continue to grant wishes for kids dealing with these medical setbacks, whether it's sending them to Hawaii, hiking the Grand Canyon, or getting a computer to stay connected with their friends. Whatever they want, they should get." In conjunction with the All-Star paint scheme, TDJF is ramping up fundraising initiatives and calling on fans to raise awareness and money for Make-A-Wish Foundation.(JR Motorsports) for more info see my Racing Charities page and see an image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(5-5-2010)

  • Earnhardt Jr.'s Crew Captures Tissot Pit Road Award in Texas: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s over-the-wall crew won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Monday's (April 19) rain-delayed Samsung Mobile 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the lighting-fast Texas Motor Speedway. The #88 crew's solid performance helped Earnhardt earn an eighth-place finish at the 1.5-mile quad-oval. Earnhardt's Amp Energy/National Guard Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on pit road - 275.470 seconds - during the 334-lap, 501-mile event. Race winner Denny Hamlin's FedEx Ground Toyota was second (285.035) and Kurt Busch's Miller Lite Dodge was third (288.512). Earnhardt's over-the-wall crew consists of: Adam Emmert (front-tire changer), Ben Fischbeck (front-tire carrier), Kip Wolfmeier (rear-tire changer), Matt Myers (rear-tire carrier), Mark Jacobs (jackman), Chris Fasulka (gasman) and Jason Dalrymple (catch can). The team's pit crew coaches are Mark Mauldin and Walt Smith. The winning pit crew in each Sprint Cup race will earn $5,000 and a Tissot V8 Quartz Chronograph watch. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule will receive a $105,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the over-the-wall crew members and driver. #56-Martin Truex Jr.'s team continues to lead the Tissot standings with two wins after eight races. Six teams remain in second place with one win.(Tissot)(4-23-2010)

  • Dale Jr. to run #3 car at Daytona NNS race? If arrangements go as planned, Earnhardt will run the #3 Wrangler Chevrolet for JR Motorsports at Daytona International Speedway in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on July 2. Sources have told FOXSports.com that Earnhardt will revive his father's famous #3 in a collaborative effort initiated by JR Motorsports with Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. A formal announcement is expected on April 29. According to team sources, a Hendrick Motorsports engine will power the car. Earnhardt Jr. currently has a personal services contract with Wrangler, continuing a family legacy between the brands. Wrangler first sponsored his father for the final race of his 1980 Cup championship season and the following year with Rod Osterlund for the first 16 races. (4-22-2010)

  • Kahne to Hendrick in 2012 UPDATE 2 HMS PR: #9-Kasey Kahne, the hottest potential free agent in NASCAR entering the season, has signed a multiyear agreement to join Hendrick Motorsports in 2011, multiple sources close to negotiations confirmed to ESPN.com Tuesday. The details of the deal, such as which car Kahne will drive, are still being finalized, sources said. The prevailing thought is Kahne will occupy the #5 car currently driven by Mark Martin, sources said. Martin signed a contract extension last year through the 2011 season. There is room for Martin and Kahne in the Hendrick family. Stewart Haas Racing receives chassis, engines and technical support from HMS. So Kahne could be housed there until Martin's contract was up, if necessary. In 2008 Dale Earnhardt Jr. signed a five-year deal with Hendrick. Jimmie Johnson last year signed an extension through 2015, and Jeff Gordon has a lifetime contract. Kahne is in the final year of his contract with Richard Petty Motorsports, and plans to finish the season in the #9 Ford, sources said. It is unknown whether Kahne's sponsor, Budweiser, will accompany him to HMS [which sponsored Hendrick's #25 Chevy for years]. Hendrick Motorsports officials had no comment. Calls placed to Kahne, who turned 30 last weekend, and to his agent were not returned.(ESPN)
    UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports announced that driver Kasey Kahne has informed the team he will not renew his contract at the conclusion of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Kahne, driver the #9 Budweiser Ford Fusion, has been with RPM since entering NASCAR's premier series in 2004. "Kasey is a very talented driver and I have enjoyed watching him race. We all wish him nothing but the best and hope he succeeds in anything he chooses to do," said team owner Richard Petty. "Drivers like Kasey Kahne are the very reason we got into this sport. Kasey has helped us get to where we are today," George Gillett, owner of Richard Petty Motorsports said. "We wish him well in his future however we have the rest of this season to race together and we're looking forward to a successful remainder of the year."(RPM)(4-13-2010)
    MORE: It was reported initially that Kahne's deal with Hendrick would begin in 2011. A source close to the situation told ESPN.com that Kahne will take over the #5 car for the 2012 season, but his 2011 plans are still undecided. "I've actually thought a lot about that but I'm not sure what I'm going to do next year," Kahne said after taking batting practice with the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on Tuesday. "I've given it some thought though." Sources confirm that Mark Martin will drive the #5 car through the 2011 season. There is room for Martin and Kahne in the Hendrick family. Stewart Haas Racing receives chassis, engines and technical support from HMS. So Kahne could be housed there until Martin's contract was up. Kahne is in the final year of his contract with Richard Petty Motorsports, and plans to finish the season in the No. 9 Ford, sources said. It is unknown whether Kahne's sponsor, Budweiser, will accompany him to HMS. Mark Wright, vice president of media, sports and entertainment marketing for Anheuser-Busch, Inc., said Budweiser is currently focused only on the current season with Kahne. "There have been no discussions relative to our sponsorship as of yet. We look forward to having those at the appropriate time," Wright said.(ESPN)(4-14-2010)
    UPDATE2 - HMS PR: Beginning with the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Kasey Kahne will drive the #5 Chevys of Hendrick Motorsports after signing a long-term contract with the organization. Mark Martin, 51, the current driver of Hendrick Motorsports' #5 team, will complete the 2010 and 2011 seasons. When Kahne takes over in 2012, he will join teammates Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in Hendrick's four-car stable. "In Kasey, we saw an opportunity to cement a big piece of our future," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "He possesses incredible talent and a tremendous dedication to his craft, and we know he'll be a great fit within our company. Kasey has earned the respect of his future teammates by the way he's handled himself on and off the racetrack, and we know he'll be a contributor to the success of Hendrick Motorsports for many years to come. To have someone of his caliber join our team is an unbelievable opportunity for us."
    "I have a comfort level with Mr. Hendrick, my future teammates and the culture of the organization," said Kahne, whose contract with Hendrick Motorsports will run through the 2015 Sprint Cup season. "For me, it's the right fit on every level, and I think it gives me a great chance to win races and compete for championships. "Determining the next step in my career has been an important process, and I'm excited and relieved to have the decision made and announced. Now it's my responsibility to put all of my energy into winning races and having a successful 2010 with my current team and our sponsors." Although 2012 and beyond has been solidified, Kahne is not scheduled to drive a Hendrick Motorsports entry in 2011 due to NASCAR's four-car limit. While who he will race for has not yet been determined, Kahne intends to drive a full Sprint Cup Series schedule next season. "If this opportunity was going to happen, I knew having some unanswered questions would be part of the scenario at this stage," Kahne acknowledged. "Hendrick Motorsports has a commitment to Mark Martin that they want to fulfill, and that's important. It's part of what attracts me to the team."(Hendrick Motorsports)(4-14-2010)

  • Highest paid NASCAR drivers: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is NASCAR's highest-paid driver for a second straight year with earnings of $30 million in 2009. Earnhardt has had little racing success the past two years, with only one win at the track. He finished a disappointing 25th in the Sprint Cup standings last year, but was voted NASCAR's most popular driver for a seventh straight year. Forbe's earnings estimates include salaries, endorsements and the drivers' share of track winnings and licensing income. Earnhardt's immense popularity translates into big dollars in each of these areas outside of track winnings. "Nascar needs Dale Jr. to be competitive, because he is so closely associated with the success of the sport. [As] go the fortunes of Junior, so goes Nascar," says Ardy Arani, managing director of Atlanta-based Championship Group, a motor sports marketing consultancy. The top 10 list from forbes.com:
    No. 1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnings: $30 million
    No. 2 Jeff Gordon: Earnings: $27 million
    No. 3 Jimmie Johnson: Earnings: $23 million
    No. 4 Tony Stewart: Earnings: $19 million
    No. 5 Carl Edwards: Earnings: $14 million
    No. 6 Kevin Harvick: Earnings: $13 million
    No. 7 (tie) Kyle Busch: Earnings: $12 million
    No. 7 (tie) Kasey Kahne: Earnings: $12 million
    No. 9 (tie) Matt Kenseth: Earnings: $11 million
    No. 9 (tie) Mark Martin: Earnings: $11 million
    (full article and more at Forbes.com)(3-25-2010)

  • Hendrick Motorsports still deemed most vaulable: Forbe's reports that the average NASCXAR Sprint Cup team generated $92 million in revenue last year, a drop of 4%. Teams were hurt by a 19% decline in Nascar licensing revenue. Total retail sales of licensed merchandise were $1.63 billion in 2009 compared to $2 billion the prior year, according to License Global magazine. The economic downturn and a saturated licensing market helped spur the decline. Another factor was the near bankruptcy of leading Nascar merchandise company Motorsports Authentics. Despite the revenue drop, the average operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for the top teams was flat at $7 million. Teams have trimmed budgets by reducing head count, tracking inventory more closely and cutting travel budgets. One area that has not yet been affected is driver salaries--but those cuts will come once contracts start to expire.
    NASCAR's top team remains Hendrick Motorsports worth $350 million, the same as last year. They are the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers and Manchester United rolled into one. They dominate on and off the track with the best drivers (home to the top three finishers in the 2009 Sprint Cup) and the most popular racers (three of the four best-selling drivers for licensed merchandise). Hendrick Motorsports is worth 47% more than the second most valuable team, Roush Fenway Racing. The gap in value between the two top teams is similar to baseball with the Yankees (64% more valuable than the Mets) and ManU in soccer (38% more than Real Madrid).
    Hendrick is the sports leader when it comes to sponsorship revenues, thanks to the success and popularity of its drivers. Its four cars generate an estimated $115 million in sponsorship revenue annually from the likes of DuPont, Go Daddy, Lowe's, the National Guard and PepsiCo. Hendrick cars have the highest budgets in Nascar, but the huge sponsorship haul allowed Hendrick to turn an operating profit of $20 million last year, the highest in the sport. The value of Stewart-Haas has risen 23% to $98 million, which ranks seventh overall. It is one of only three teams to see an increase in value over last year.
    Top NASCAR Teams: No. 1: Hendrick Motorsports, Current value: $350 million, One-year value change: none
    No. 2: Roush Fenway Racing, Current value: $238 million, One-year value change: -12%
    No. 3: Richard Childress Racing, Current value: $153 million, One-year value change: -8%
    No. 4: Joe Gibbs Racing, Current value: $144 million, One-year value change: none
    No. 5: Richard Petty Motorsports, Current value: $124 million, One-year value change: -6%
    No. 6: Penske Racing, Current value: $110 million, One-year value change: -1%
    No. 7: Stewart-Haas Racing, Current value: $98 million, One-year value change: 23%
    No. 8: Michael Waltrip Racing, Current value: $88 million, One-year value change: -12%
    No. 9: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Current value: $71 million, One-year value change: 1%
    No. 10: Red Bull Racing Team, Current value: $59 million, One-year value change: 7%
    (See more at Forbes.com)(3-25-2010)

  • DW says Dale Jr. should run some truck races: in a Q&A, 3-time Cup Champ and FOX broadcaster Darrell Waltrip said of Dale Earnhardt Jr.: "Expectations are so high with him that if he's not winning, then the world is not right and so I think they're making baby steps to get him back to where he needs to be. I told (car owner) Rick (Hendrick) and I really, honestly believe this, I'd run him in some truck races. He needs to get somehwere where he can win, and I'd get him in a truck. Not a Nationwide car, a truck. They're fun to drive, have a good time in the truck series. If I was Junior, I'd go talk to (Kevin) Harvick and ask him if I could drive that 2 truck. I'd go out, and I'd win me a couple of races and I think that's what he needs, it would really help his confidence, and I think his fans would enjoy seeing him do that. I think it would be a win-win."(Virginian Pilot)(3-23-2010)

  • McGrew and Dale Jr. on the radio at Bristol UPDATE: Crew chief Lance McGrew didn't hold back the tough love with driver #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Sunday. The first snipe came after Junior complained about a loose car following pit stops during the fifth caution on Lap 205. McGrew replied, "Yes, but you're eight positions better than you were." When the seventh caution was called on Lap 324, the #88 was up to sixth and was busted by NASCAR for "excessive speed entering the pits" and was forced to drop back to 26th. McGrew coached his driver with a "lots of laps man, we can get this back." But Earnhardt sounded dejected on the radio. He was furious at the sanctioning body and its pit-road scoring system. "Well, anyhow. To get busted at Bristol for (expletive) speeding by what-the-(expletive)-ever it was and when I didn't (expletive) gain nothing on nobody, it's not the way it should be," exlaimed Earnhardt. "There should be a different way of doing it. You bust your (expletive) to get up there. Now they can't be (expletive) (expletive) about every (expletive) little nitpickin' (expletive) thing. We're out here racing our (expletive) off." And with Earnhardt deep in traffic, he radioed the car was "pushing like a truck." That's when McGrew let loose.
    "Don't lay down on me, bud," McGrew screamed. "I can't lay down here," Earnhardt replied. "This is Bristol. I don't ever (freakin') lay down. Don't ever say that again on the radio. Don't need the whole world hearing that." While little was said between driver and crew chief following the heated exchange, Earnhardt collected himself and salvaged a seventh-place finish that enabled him to jump five positions to eighth in the point standings. Although Earnhardt was not available for comment after the race, team owner Rick Hendrick seemed pleased with the #88 team's improvement. "They've worked really hard," Hendrick said. "Lance and Dale have great chemistry. I think if you listen to them on the radio, they're working well together. Dale had a great car. He would have been in the top five or had a real shot at it himself had he been able not to have that speeding penalty."(FoxSports)(3-22-2010)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. says his profanity-laced rant at Bristol Motor Speedway stemmed from frustration from a speeding penalty. Earnhardt had just cracked the top five in Sunday's race when NASCAR flagged him for speeding on pit road. He vented over his radio for several minutes, and snapped at crew chief Lance McGrew's attempt to calm him down. The penalty dropped Earnhardt to 26th, but he rallied to finish seventh. He moved up five spots in the standings to eighth. Earnhardt says the speeding penalty infuriated him because he had worked so hard to crack the top five.(Associated Press)(3-23-2010)

  • Special scheme for Dale Jr at Martinsville: Dale Earnhardt Jr is scheduled to drive the #88 AMP Energy Sugar Free Lightning Chevy at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2010. See image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(3-20-2010)

  • Special Patriotic schemes for Hendrick cars UPDATE: The four Hendrick Motorsports drivers are scheduled to drive special "Honoring Our Soldiers" patriotic paint schemes on Memorial Day weekend in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 30, 2010.(2-24-2010)
    UPDATE: Added images of the cars with the spoilers and not the wings. See my #5 Team Schemes page, #24 Team Schemes page, #48 Team Schemes page and #88 Team Schemes page for images of the schemes.(3-17-2010)

  • Win #190 for Hendrick: With #48-Jimmie Johnson's win last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports now has 190 wins in the Sprint Cup Series, which is the most in the modern era and second all-time [to Petty's].(HMS)(3-3-2010)

  • Hendrick concerned about axle problem: There is some concern at Hendrick Motorsports that the broken axle that left #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. with a 32nd-place finish on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway could be a more widespread problem. Earnhardt's crew chief, Lance McGrew, said the axle of race winner Jimmie Johnson was about six laps from breaking and that issues were discovered on other HMS cars during Saturday's final practice. "Oh, absolutely," McGrew told ESPN.com on Tuesday. "I'm sweating this weekend along with Atlanta, which is historically really bad on axles. To say there's not a stir about it would be an understatement." McGrew said so far no explanation has been found for the extreme wear. He said the problem first surfaced during Saturday's final practice when the left rear axle on Mark Martin's car, which shares a shop with the Earnhardts, looked "really bad." He said all four HMS teams replaced the axles before the race. "Ours wore out and [Johnson] barely finished the race," McGrew said. "There's no smoking gun, which is aggravating for us. But we'll get to the bottom of it."(ESPN.com)(2-23-2010)

  • Special scheme for Dale Jr. at Auto Club: #88-Dale Eanrhardt Jr. is scheduled to run an AMP Energy Juice scheme on his Hendrick Motorsports Chevy at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on February 21, 2010.(1-16-2010
    See images of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(2-17-2010)

  • Disney's "Handy Manny Big Race" with Dale Earnhardt Jr: Playhouse Disney's hit Emmy-nominated series "Handy Manny" puts the pedal to the metal with the premiere of the series' second primetime special, "Handy Manny Big Race," starring Wilmer Valderrama and guest starring #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and N'Sync's Lance Bass, Saturday, March 20, 7:00-7:25 pm/et/pt on Disney Channel. In this exciting primetime event for preschoolers and parents, Manny and the tools hit the motor speedway as a pit crew for the highly anticipated Wood Valley 500.
    Earnhardt said: "My 4- year-old niece is a huge 'Handy Manny' fan, so when Disney Channel approached me about doing this role, I did it with her in mind. It was fun doing it, and being 'Chase Crawford' for a while. I know Kennedy will enjoy seeing me on her favorite cartoon."
    Valderrama said: "Like NASCAR racing, 'Handy Manny Big Race' is something the entire family can enjoy together. I am so excited that we incorporated one of America's favorite pastimes and the legendary Dale Earnhardt, Jr. into the world of 'Handy Manny."
    In the special, Valderrama, Bass (who recurs on the series as surfer-dude Elliot) and the cast of Tools perform the new song "One Step at a Time." A music video for the song will premiere Saturday, March 6 on Disney Channel and online at Disney.com/HandyManny. In addition, PlayhouseDisney.com will give preschoolers the opportunity to decorate their own race car for the chance to have it featured on air during the premiere broadcast of "Handy Manny Big Race."
    In "Handy Manny Big Race," Manny and the tools help Elliot fix up his used race car to enter the big Wood Valley 500 race. The car turns out better than expected and everyone is ready to race - except Elliot, who's too nervous to drive. Famous race car driver Chase Davis (voiced by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) steps in to help, but Elliot's nerves get the best of him. With the tools as his pit crew, Manny gets behind the wheel in an attempt to win the race for the entire team. "Handy Manny" airs weekdays at 9:00 am/et/pt and weekends at 8:30 am and 10:30 am during Disney Channel's Playhouse Disney programming block for preschoolers. The series carries a TV-Y parental guideline.(ESPN/Disney)(2-13-2010)

  • Danica Patrick to make NASCAR debut at Daytona: Danica Patrick will make her NASCAR Nationwide Series debut in the #7 GoDaddy.com Chevy this Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, JR Motorsports general manager Kelley Earnhardt announced. Patrick, Earnhardt, and team officials convened Sunday following the ARCA event at Daytona, in which Patrick raced to a sixth-place finish in her stock-car debut. The decision for Patrick to compete in the Daytona Nationwide Series event is supported by sponsor GoDaddy.com and JRM co-owners Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Eury Jr., and Rick Hendrick. "To be the one driving that Go Daddy car at Daytona means a lot to me," Patrick said. "Racing in the Nationwide Series race was my goal during this entire two-month preparation process, but we wanted to make sure it was the right thing to do. The ARCA race was a blast, and I'm not ready for my first Daytona Speedweeks to end just yet. I want more racing." Patrick's entry in the Drive4COPD 300 puts her in a JR Motorsports tandem with Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will drive the #88 Hellmann's Chevy. Patrick will continue her Nationwide Series schedule on Feb. 20 at Auto Club Speedway and Feb. 27 at Las Vegas. Patrick is guaranteed starting positions in all three races based off JRM's acquisition of points from CJM Racing's #11 team, which finished 15th in the 2009 Nationwide Series owners point standings. GoDaddy.com will be the primary sponsor for 11 of Patrick's 13 Nationwide Series races in 2010. She started 12th in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 and finished sixth, including a late rally from 23rd position all the way to the front pack in just under 20 laps.(JR Motorpsorts)(2-8-2010)

  • Seven Cup drivers on America's 100 Most Powerful Athletes list: What is power? In athletics it is usually thought of as bulging muscles and dominating performance. But in sports today, power has a different meaning, as well: the earning potential of athletes, owners, agents, communities, and brands, ranging from breakfast cereal to beer. To determine who the 100 most powerful athletes are on and off the field, Bloomberg BusinessWeek teamed with CSE, an integrated sports and entertainment company that connects brands with fans, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek columnist Rick Horrow, to create the 2010 version of the Power 100. Unlike previous Power 100s, this year's ranking would focus only on the athletes-not the owners, the agents, the commissioners, or the coaches. On-field metrics included athletes who scored the best on the field (or the rink, the greens, or the court) over a two-year period. The more popular the sport, the more weight those achievements garnered.
    Drivers on the list: Jimmie Johnson, 21st; Jeff Gordon, 28th; Mark Martin, 41st; Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 45th; Tony Stewart, 48th; Carl Edwards, 67th; and Kyle Busch, 70th. Danica Patrick also made the list at 88th.(Business Week)(1-28-2010)

  • Two NASCAR drivers in Top 50 athlete earnings: For the sixth consecutive year, Sports Illustrated has compiled a list of the 50 top-earning American athletes in salary, winnings, endorsements and appearance fees. And for the first time, the average earnings of those on the list fell -- down $1.5 million per athlete to $23.6 million. That falloff is mostly due to lower earnings for No. 1 Tiger Woods and No. 2 Phil Mickelson, both of whom saw their on-course income shrink while also losing key endorsement deals. This year's list features 22 basketball players (a record nine who earned more than $20 million), 14 major leaguers, nine football players, three golfers and two NASCAR drivers. The two NASCAR drivers are #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. at 13th and #24-Jeff Gordon at 21st. #48-Jimmie Johnson, who won his 4th NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship in a row, is not on the list.(Sports Illustrated)(1-25-2010)

  • Dale Jr.'s nightclub expanding: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s wildly popular nightspot, Whisky River, is expanding beyond its North Carolina roots with a second location slated to open in Jacksonville, Fla., this spring. Now, Earnhardt Jr. and NASCAR fans throughout northeast Florida and its surrounding beaches have a place to experience the very best nightlight in the area at Whisky River - a venue renowned for its electrifying blend of live music performances, celebrity guests and dynamic DJs spinning everything from rock to country and more. Info at www.WhiskyRiverJacksonville.com.(1-24-2010)

  • Hess, Parker receive Papa Joe Hendrick Award of Excellence: Hendrick Motorsports employees Lynn Hess and Richie Parker were named recently as the 2009 Papa Joe Hendrick Award of Excellence recipients. The award embodies the spirit of Rick Hendrick's late father Joe Hendrick and is voted upon annually by Hendrick Motorsports employees. Hess and Parker were recognized during the company's Christmas party on Dec. 18. Inclement weather kept Hess from attending the event, but that didn't dampen her excitement. Hess has worked at Hendrick Motorsports fulltime since October 1999 as the administrative assistant for the #24 and #48 team shop, while also serving as the scorer some race weekends for the #24 team. Parker was on hand to receive the honor on Dec. 19, but the award wasn't the only thing that surprised the 2005 Clemson graduate. Parker, who started working at Hendrick Motorsports fulltime in 2005 as an engineer, was surprised to find his parents in attendance for the party.(HMS)(1-12-2010)

2009 News

  • #88 scheduled 2009 sponsor schedule
    Feb 7 Bud Shootout/Daytona, National Guard
    Feb 15 Daytona - AMP Energy Drink
    Feb 22 California - AMP Energy Drink
    Mar 1 Las Vegas, National Guard
    Mar 8 Atlanta - AMP Energy Drink
    Mar 22 Bristol, National Guard
    Mar 29 Martinsville - AMP Energy Drink
    Apr 5 Texas - AMP Energy Drink
    Apr 18 Phoenix - National Guard
    Apr 26 Talladega - National Guard
    May 2 Richmond, National Guard - Drive the Guard
    May 9 Darlington - Mountain Dew Special
    May 16 All-Star Challenge, LMS - National Guard/Dale Earnhardt Jr Foundation
    May 24 Charlotte, National Guard
    May 31 Dover - AMP Energy Drink
    Jun 7 Pocono, National Guard
    Jun 14 Michigan - AMP Energy Drink
    Jun 21 Infineon - AMP Energy Drink
    Jun 28 New Hampshire, National Guard
    Jul 4 Daytona, National Guard/Camo/Serving America
    Jul 11 Chicago - AMP Energy Drink
    Jul 26 Indianapolis - AMP Energy Drink
    Aug 2 Pocono - AMP Energy Drink
    Aug 9 Watkins Glen - National Guard
    Aug 16 Michigan - National Guard
    Aug 22 Bristol - AMP Energy Sugar Free Drink
    Sept 6 Atlanta - National Guard
    Sep 12 Richmond - AMP Energy Drink
    Sep 21 New Hampshire - AMP Energy Drink
    Sep 28 Dover- National Guard
    Oct 4 Kansas - National Guard
    Oct 11 California - AMP Energy Drink
    Oct 17 Charlotte - AMP Energy Drink
    Oct 25 Martinsville - AMP Energy Drink
    Nov 1 Talladega - AMP Energy Drink/JR Nation names
    Nov 8 Texas - National Guard
    Nov 15 Phoenix - AMP Energy Drink
    Nov 22 Homestead - National Guard

  • Hendrick Motorsports VP receives honorary degree: Doug Duchardt, a 1987 graduate of Missouri University of Science and Technology, will be one of 10 alumnae awarded an honorary professional degree on Saturday during the school's winter commencement ceremonies. Currently the Vice President of Development for Hendrick Motorsports, Duchardt earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the university in 1987. During his undergraduate career, he joined General Motors as a co-op student. That relationship grew over time, and after achieving a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue in 1992, Duchardt went on to become the director of GM Racing in 2003 and work closely with NASCAR teams. In 2005, he was named a vice president at Hendrick Motorsports, where he currently oversees race car design, engineering and production in the chassis, body and engine areas. "I appreciate my alma mater recognizing what's happened in my career, but it's really the result of being surrounded by talented people at General Motors and Hendrick Motorsports," Duchardt said. "There are a lot of distinguished alumnae from Missouri University of Science and Technology, and it's humbling to see the list of people being honored and the previous honorees. It's also encouraging that colleges and universities are paying attention to what happens in NASCAR and that our industry is relevant with any other mainstream business."(HMS)(12-28-2009)

  • Hendrick honored with Bill France Award of Excellence: Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports was honored with the Bill France Award of Excellence at the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony. The award was presented to Hendrivk by Betty Jane France, wife of the late Bill France Jr., who guided the sport from 1971-2003. "I wasn't expecting this one," Hendrick said during his acceptance speech at the Wynn Las Vegas. "This award means so much to me because of the relationship I had with Bill France and the respect I had for him." The award is not handed out annually by the France family, which has owned and operated NASCAR for 61 years. Named for NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., the award is presented when the NASCAR leadership believes someone is worthy of the recognition for contributions to the sport. "NASCAR has had many iconic figures throughout its rich history, and Rick Hendrick certainly falls into that category," Betty Jane France said. "Through the years, he has not only won our respect but our hearts as well." Hendrick did not know that Betty Jane France was at the banquet and the award was not listed in the agenda for the evening that celebrated Jimmie Johnson's fourth consecutive title in a season where Hendrick drivers swept the top three spots in the standings. "I've never seen him where he's in a position where he couldn't say what was on his mind," Johnson said after the ceremony. "It really got him. ... For a minute there, I thought he was going to need to sit down and start over and come back to the podium. It's amazing. It means so much to Rick because of his friendship with Bill. I could only imagine how much that means to him. And then this year, you look at the 1-2-3 and all the success. You roll it all up in one, he's going to remember 2009 forever."(SceneDaily)(12-6-2009)

  • HMS adds engineer to #88 from #5, teams work together: Rick Hendrick is hoping that what made the #5 team of Mark Martin so good in 2009 can help the #88 team of Dale Earnhardt Jr. get better. The two teams, housed in the same building at Hendrick Motorsports, are becoming "one big team with two cars" and Martin lead engineer Chris Heroy will now work with Earnhardt Jr. "They're making a lot of changes and a lot of suggestions that sound really good to make the team have a little more substance throughout the entire roster of the members that make it up," Earnhardt Jr. said Thursday. "I feel great about the changes. We started to work with some of these guys at the tail end, the last two or three races, and I hope it makes us better. It should make us better. I think as an entire unit, the 88 car could have been stronger and we had the resources, but there was a broken link here and there. Hopefully we've got that fixed and we will see the results on the race track."
    "That whole team over there is still trying to find its way; and by team I mean the whole 5-88 shop," said Johnson crew chief Chad Knaus. "Once they get that, and they're getting it ... they're going to be better next year."(SceneDaily)(12-5-2009)

  • Earnhardt says Danica talks still ongoing: Negotiations to bring Danica Patrick to NASCAR are ongoing with Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s race team, but the driver said he has not participated in the talks and isn't certain she will drive for his Nationwide Series team. JR Motorsports is co-owned by Earnhardt and Rick Hendrick, and both said the Patrick talks are being handled by Earnhardt's sister, Kelley. Earnhardt announced Thursday that Kelley Earnhardt and his cousin, Tony Eury Jr., have been given ownership stakes in the organization. Kelley Earnhardt has been the driving force in the team's bid to bring Patrick to a part-time NASCAR ride. "It's still sort of in the negotiation stages," he said. "Her and my sister are, I guess, managing that entirely. I have not been in any way, shape, or form involved." Asked what the odds are of Patrick signing a deal, Earnhardt didn't pick a number. "She's going to drive stock cars for somebody, someday," Earnhardt said. "It's just too much of a -- look at all the Formula One guys over here checking (NASCAR) out -- the writing is on the wall for her and several other guys. I think it's exciting. She would be great for our sport. She wants to see what's up."(Associated Press)(12-4-2009)

  • Earnhardt Jr. Scores 7th NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver Honor: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was awarded his seventh consecutive NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver award Thursday in Las Vegas, announced at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards event at The Venetian Las Vegas Hotel Casino. The result was determined by online voting during the course of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. The award comes one week after Brad Keselowski was named Most Popular Driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, giving the JR Motorsports owner/driver tandem its second consecutive sweep of most popular awards.
    Earnhardt Jr. joins Bill Elliott and Richard Petty as the only drivers to win the award at least seven times. His seven in a row falls short only to Elliott, who won 10 straight from 1991-2000. Earnhardt Jr. now sits behind Elliott (16) and Richard Petty (9) for most total awards.
    "I'm extremely honored to win this award again, and I'm happy for Brad to be able to win it again in the Nationwide Series," said Earnhardt Jr., who drives the #88 Amp Energy/National Guard Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports. "As always, I want to thank the fans. They've stuck with us, and I'm always humbled by that. We didn't have the year we were expecting on the Cup side, but Brad and Tony Eury Sr. and everyone at JR Motorsports did a great job this year on the Nationwide side, scored a bunch of wins, and I'm proud of all of them."(JR Motorsports)(12-4-2009)

  • Hendrick misses Homestead race UPDATE: A family emergency will keep team owner Rick Hendrick from celebrating a record-tying ninth Sprint Cup championship for Hendrick Motorsports on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hendrick's 29-year-old niece Alesha Gainey, the daughter of John Hendrick who was killed in the 2004 plane crash near Martinsville Speedway, is undergoing an emergency liver transplant in North Carolina. "Rick obviously wishes he could be here . . . [but] Rick's priority at this point is to support his family at this crucial time," Hendrick Motorsports general managers Marshall Carlson said.(ESPN)(11-22-2009)
    UPDATE: As much as Rick Hendrick wanted to be a part of Jimmie Johnson's record-breaking run on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, his family's needs were more important. Instead of watching Johnson win his fourth straight Sprint Cup title, Hendrick was at hospital in North Carolina as his 29-year-old niece, Alesha Gainey, underwent a liver transplant. Gainey is the daughter of Hendrick's brother, John, who, along with two other daughters, was killed in a 2004 Hendrick Motorsports plane crash on the way to Martinsville Speedway. Hendrick said the surgery went well and Gainey, although not completely out of the woods, is in stable condition and recovering in intensive care.(ESPN)(11-24-2009)

  • One track left with no win for Hendrick: Homestead-Miami Speedway is the only racetrack on the current Sprint Cup schedule where Hendrick Motorsports has not won a race. The organization, which will wrap up its 25th anniversary season this weekend, has recorded eight top-five finishes and 16 top-10s in 10 Cup events (39 starts) there (HMS). It is also the only race track that #24-Jeff Gordon has not won a Sprint Cup race and for #48-Jimmie Johnson, Homestead is one of six race tracks on the Cup circuit he has not won at [the others being Watkins Glen, Infineon Raceway, Chicago, Michigan and Bristol.(11-19-2009)

  • Hendrick denies having a deal with Danica: Rick Hendrick said Sunday he has no deal to bring IndyCar superstar Danica Patrick to NASCAR, and there's no certainty she'll even be driving stock cars next season. "I just think that they are not even close to making a decision on whether to even do it this year or next year," Hendrick said of Patrick and her representatives at IMG. "You never know until it's done. You never know until it's signed. And anybody can change their mind. When you get down to the nitty gritty of any deal, it's always complicated. There can always be someone who comes back and says `I can't do it because of this.' So until it's done, it's not done. And that's the honest truth." Patrick is reportedly in the final stages of a contract that would partner her on a limited Nationwide Series schedule with JR Motorsports, the team owned by both Hendrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. But speaking before Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway, Hendrick called the reports "premature" and insisted nothing is imminent. "I think everything is an option, and it's just too early to really comment on it," he said. "I can't give you anything concrete, because there isn't anything concrete right now. Nothing is imminent until it's signed. Too many things can happen." Hendrick, who just returned from a weeklong vacation in Israel, said there have been no new developments in talks with Patrick and that IndyCar remains her first priority. Existing contracts she has in that series could also complicate a potential venture into NASCAR. Patrick has said very little about her 2010 plans, including an apparent contract extension to stay with Andretti Green Racing. Part of that holdup is a pending change of team ownership, which is expected to be transferred solely to Michael Andretti.(in part from the Associated Press)(11-15-2009)

  • Earnhardt crew treated after wreck: Six pit crew workers for #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. were involved in a car accident Sunday morning on the way to Phoenix International Raceway, but all of them are expected to work the Checker Auto Parts 500 Sunday afternoon, team officials confirmed. All six men were treated and released at the PIR Infield Care Center after their vehicle was T-boned at an intersection near the track. Crew chief Lance McGrew was not in the accident and didn't want to speak about the incident Sunday morning when approached at the #88 AMP Energy Drink/National Guard Chevy hauler in the Sprint Cup garage. Earnhardt will start 18th in Sunday's race.(ESPN)(11-15-2009)

  • Danica to JR Motorsports? Maybe Not: Dale Earnhardt Jr. says a deal to put Danica Patrick in his Nationwide Series car isn't imminent, and even if it were, JR Motorsports wouldn't necessarily have the funding for the IndyCar Series' most popular driver. Multiple media outlets have reported in recent weeks that Patrick was on the verge of signing with JRM for a part-time Nationwide schedule next season while continuing to run the Indy Racing League. Patrick and JRM share a sponsor in GoDaddy.com, but Earnhardt says it doesn't make the deal a cinch. "We've had a relationship with GoDaddy, so that makes us look like a nice fit, but they're moving (next year), so we don't really have it anymore," Earnhardt said after Sprint Cup practice Friday at Phoenix International Raceway. "We're having to search around." JRM's #88 Chevy currently driven by Brad Keselowski is sponsored by GoDaddy.com, but the company will move to Cup next year to back the #5 Chevy of Mark Martin at Hendrick Motorsports, which has an alliance with JRM. Earnhardt says JRM has only "three-quarters to half a season" of sponsors for the #88 in 2010. Earnhardt says the lack of funding is what's driving JRM's interest in Patrick, who also has been pursued by Roush Fenway Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing. Patrick also has met with Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Childress Racing, and Earnhardt says he's talked to her along with Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick. Patrick lives in the Phoenix area, but offseason sponsor commitments are expected to keep her from attending Sunday's Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500. "She's very interested in trying NASCAR, and a lot of people weren't sure whether she was serious or not, but she is serious," Earnhardt said. "There's a lot to learn there for her. She's got to get in the cars. She's got a lot of (stuff) to do before she ever takes the green flag for anything. But she's talked to a lot of people. I've spoken with her a couple of times just about the lifestyle and the difference in the series vs. what she does now." Besides GoDaddy, Patrick has sponsorship ties to Motorola's Boost Mobile brand and Tissot. Earnhardt believes she might be able to bring those companies to NASCAR, though without some TV advertising campaigns that could be considered risqué.(in part from the USA Today)(11-14-2009)

  • Make-A-Wish helping boy meet Dale Jr.: Life hasn't always been easy for 4-year-old Bryce Tory, a Simi Valley youngster born with a congenital heart defect. But on Sunday, Bryce was all smiles when he learned his ultimate wish, to meet his favorite professional race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. in Texas this week, had been granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Tri-Counties. The foundation surprised Bryce and his parents, Yvonne and Dave Tory, on Sunday with a party at MB2 Raceway in Newbury Park to announce the news. Bryce and his family will be given a police and firefighter escort as they leave their home in Simi Valley for the airport on Thursday. Once in Texas, they will catch a helicopter ride to the racetrack to meet NASCAR driver Earnhardt Jr. and possibly see his #88 race car.(see full article at the Ventura County Star)(11-3-2009)

  • Delphi continues relationship with Hendrick Motorsports: Delphi announced that it will continue its associate sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports during the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The announcement was made at a press conference held at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) in Las Vegas. Delphi will be the primary sponsor for two Sprint Cup races with driver Mark Martin in the #5 Delphi/GoDaddy.com Chevy. The race details will be announced in the near future. Additionally, Delphi will be an associate sponsor of all Hendrick Motorsports 2010 Sprint Cup entries. Delphi will continue to be featured on the uniforms of all Hendrick Motorsports drivers for the 2010 season, including four-time Sprint Cup champion #24-Jeff Gordon, three-time defending Sprint Cup champion #48-Jimmie Johnson, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #5-Mark Martin. "Our long-standing relationship with Delphi has been fantastic," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "The association has been incredibly important to our company from both a quality and technology standpoint, and we look forward to having Delphi continue as a key partner for the 2010 season."(HMS)(11-3-2009)

  • McGrew will stay with Earnhardt, Jr.: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick has named Lance McGrew the full-time crew chief of the #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevys driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the Sprint Cup Series. The 41-year-old McGrew assumed the role May 28 on an interim basis. "I have total faith in Lance and what he's capable of accomplishing with Dale Jr.," Hendrick said. "There was a lot of pressure with how he came into this deal, and the way he's handled it has been extremely impressive. Lance is confident in himself and in his decisions, and all the outside distractions aren't going to faze him. He's a strong-willed guy who will keep his eye on the ball and not settle." McGrew will complete the final four races of the 2009 schedule, beginning with this weekend's AMP Energy 500 at Talladega, Ala., and return in 2010, which will mark the 11th full-time Sprint Cup season for Earnhardt.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(10-30-2009)

  • Steve Addington looking at options: Steve Addington said he was "surprised" by the change that will put replace him as Kyle Busch's crew chief and plans to explore all options inside and outside of Joe Gibbs Racing. On Tuesday, JGR announced that Dave Rogers, who has worked in JGR's Nationwide Series program will take over as crew chief of the #18 following Sunday's race at Tallaadega Superspeedway. Is it possible that Addington will leave JGR for another Sprint Cup Series team? "That would be ironic," Addington said Friday morning at Talladega. "Yes, I'm going to look at everything." One of those options could be the #2 Penske Racing car of Kurt Busch, which is losing Pat Tryson to Michael Waltrip Racing after this season. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. also could be in the market for a new crew chief, but Addington said he has yet to be contacted by anyone high up at Hendrick Motorsports.(ESPN.com)(10-30-2009)

  • "Get on the 88" scheme at Talladega: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevy will have a different look this weekend, thanks to the "Get on the 88" promotion from AMP Energy. More than 105,000 fans signed up to put their names on the #88 Chevy or pit wall banner for this weekend's AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. The #88 Chevy will feature more than 70,000 names on its black-and-green paint scheme for this weekend's race, while the additional names will appear on the pit wall banner. The fans who signed up to "Get on the 88" can go to www.AMPEnergy.com to find out if their names are on Earnhardt's Chevrolet or pit wall banner. By entering the same e-mail address used during registration, fans can search a grid on the car to see where their names are located. Earnhardt Jr. has led all but two of the 19 Sprint Cup races he has entered at Talladega for a total of 655 laps. Interim crew chief Lance McGrew and the #88 engineers have chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-475 for this weekend's 500-mile event at Talladega. Earnhardt Jr. last drove this chassis to a 39th-place finish Daytona in July after being in involved in a mid-race accident. Before that, Earnhardt Jr. raced this chassis to a season-high second-place finish at Talladega in April.(HMS), see images of the "Get on the 88" scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(10-29-2009)

  • Earnhardt Jr. presenting at CMA Awards: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will make a pit stop with country's finest when he appears as a presenter at the Nov. 11 Country Music Awards, the Nashville-based CMA tells People Magazine. Earnhardt is part of a round of presenters announced by the CMA for ceremony, which will air on ABC. Others include LeAnn Rimes, Kellie Pickler, Julianne Hough, and nominees Randy Houser (for new artist and video of the year) and Jake Owen (for new artist), along with the network's Robin Roberts and the stars of ABC's Wednesday night comedy The Middle, Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn.(People.com)(10-28-2009)

  • Danica and JR Motorsports/MWR? ESPN.com has confirmed that IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick is talking with JR Motorsports and Michael Waltrip Racing about running a limited schedule of about eight Nationwide Series races -- plus a few Truck and maybe ARCA events -- in 2010. Kevin Harvick Inc. could be a player. But sources say those aren't the only options as Patrick begins preparing for a potential NASCAR career after her IndyCar career is over.(see more at ESPN Insiders)(10-21-2009)

  • Jr. Nation fans to have names on the #88: At this year's AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, thousands of members of JR Nation will see their names on Earnhardt's #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevy as part of the AMP Energy "Get on the 88" promotion, which has ended. See an image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.
    The more than 70,000 fans who signed up to "Get on the 88" can go to www.AMPEnergy.com to see where their names will be on the No. 88 AMP Energy "Get on the 88"/National Guard Chevrolet that Earnhardt will drive Nov. 1 at Talladega Superspeedway. AMP Energy unveiled the special paint scheme at www.AMPEnergy.com last weekend.(10-19/20-2009)

  • Hendrick leans toward keeping McGrew: Rick Hendrick is committed to Lance McGrew remaining #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief for the rest of the Sprint Cup season and appears to be leaning toward keeping them together in 2010. "My philosophy has always been if you can fix something rather than start all over then I'd whole lot rather fix it," the owner of Hendrick Motorsports said before Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "When I see the car as the best car out there in my group for two or three of the races and then just have crappy luck, it's almost like, 'Hey, let's focus on the little things that can make it better.' " Hendrick's comments came 24 hours after Earnhardt expressed frustration with how his season has gone since switching from long-time crew chief Tony Eury Jr. to McGrew in June. Hendrick said he is encouraged with the performance of the team, noting again bad luck has contributed to six straight finishes of 17th or worse that has Earnhardt buried at 22nd in points. Hendrick said Earnhardt's struggles have made it tough for him to enjoy the success of his other three drivers. Jimmie Johnson entered Saturday's race first in points, followed by Mark Martin in second and Jeff Gordon in fifth. Hendrick said he has no timetable for when he will make a decision on Earnhardt's crew chief for next season. He wasn't quite sure what his driver meant when he said he needed a "dictator" like he had when Tony Eury Sr. was his crew chief in the Nationwide Series and early in the Cup series. But Hendrick didn't sound like a man that was ready to make a major change. "All I can look for in a team is we're getting better rather than backing up, and we're getting better," he said. "This is a hard deal. Sometimes, when you start to doing good and then you have a problem, it's worse than when you're steady Eddie. We haven't made any decisions other than we're going to try to do the best we can."(ESPN.com)(10-18-2009)

  • Dale Jr. feels he's at 'end of my rope': #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn't sound like a driver who was sure Lance McGrew should be his crew chief in 2010. In fact, he didn't sound like a driver who was sure about anything: "I'm about to the end of my rope," he said. NASCAR's most popular driver, who for months has been upbeat about the progress he was making under McGrew, appeared as low as he's been all season Friday at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "Yeah, I feel like I don't have any control, you know," Earnhardt said before practice for Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "[Rick Hendrick has] put me in a great position, but I haven't made the most of it or for whatever reason we're just not getting it done. I don't know what to do. We were top-15 in practice and we go out to qualify and we were one of the worst cars here. ... It's like really encouraging one day and the next day it's equally discouraging. That gets really old. I'm about to the end of my rope on it." Earnhardt isn't in favor of switching crew chiefs during the last six races, but he didn't give McGrew the ringing endorsement he has in the past. Hendrick recently said he planned to meet with his driver about the crew chief following this weekend's race. "I don't have the credentials to make the call," said Earnhardt, who made the switch to McGrew at midseason after a struggling start with Tony Eury Jr. "If I told you that I wanted to be with Lance next year I wouldn't be telling you that out of my knowledge of expertise and talent. I'd be telling because it's fun hanging out with him. Hell, you don't even know if Lance wants to do it. Hell, I wouldn't want it. It's a tough job." Earnhardt said whomever he works with needs to be a dictator like Tony Eury Sr., who was his crew chief for 16 of his 18 victories. Asked if McGrew wasn't that type of crew chief, Earnhardt said, "I didn't say that." Earnhardt added that Eury Sr. would have no interest in moving from his job as the crew chief for the #88 Nationwide Series team at JR Motorsports. Earnhardt is 22nd in points. His teammates are first (#48-Jimmie Johnson), second (#5-Mark Martin) and fifth (#24-Jeff Gordon). They have 11 wins among them. He has none.(see full story at ESPN.com)(10-16-2009)

  • Dale Jr. still leads drivers in sales: Danica Patrick has won just 1 of 81 IRL races (1.23%). But Dale Earnhardt Jr. has Patrick easily beat on that winning percentage. "Little E" has won 1 of the last 129 Sprint Cup races (0.77%) and he's 0 for the last 51. Yet, Earnhardt seems to be humming along in the business world. This week, Nationwide announced this week it was renewing its deal with him and we just got the NASCAR.com SuperStore sales rankings and guess what? Earnhardt is in his familiar No. 1 spot. Here's the list of the Top 10 best-selling drivers on the Web site:
    Top 10 Best-Selling Drivers
    1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    2. Tony Stewart
    3. Jeff Gordon
    4. Jimmie Johnson
    5. NASCAR-branded items
    6. Kyle Busch
    7. Carl Edwards
    8. Kasey Kahne
    9. Mark Martin
    10. Dale Earnhardt Sr.(CNBC.com)(10-14-2009)

  • Earnhardt Jr. hopes to sign Danica: Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Friday he has the utmost respect for Danica Patrick, the driver he hopes to sign to race a few Nationwide Series events next season for his JR Motorsports team. "I like Danica a lot," Earnhardt said. "I consider myself friends with her. It's interesting to see her interest in NASCAR. It's interesting for all of us. If we're a piece of that and we play a part in that, we'll have to see going down the road." Earnhardt said it is all in the hands of his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, his business manager. "Kelley's been managing the conversations between Danica and our team," Earnhardt said. "It's still in the early stages. I haven't really gotten in the middle of it." JR Motorsports is trying to reach a deal for Patrick to drive in eight to 10 Nationwide races next year. She is expected to continue to race full-time in the IndyCar Series for Andretti Green Racing.(ESPN.com)(10-10-2009)

  • Dale Jr. expects crew chief to stay same in 2010 UPDATE: from a Chevy Racing transcript, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was asked: Q) ON WORKING WITH LANCE MCGREW, HAVE ANY DECISION BEEN MADE ABOUT HIS COMING BACK NEXT YEAR AS CREW CHIEF?
    A) "Well, I just want to make it clear, I guess, that the decision is Rick's (Hendrick) and his management team. I like working with Lance. I get along great with Lance. We have had some great runs and I feel like I can build on that type of success and it happened more often, more consistently with Lance. And I hope that we're successful the rest of the year and that we go into next season with the same group of guys. But the decision isn't mine, and never will be mine. So, I hope that we'll have more success and continue to give Rick and the people that do make those types of decisions good reason to keep us as a team and keep us working together because I really do enjoy working with him. I feel like I'm a different race car driver than I've been over the last several years; just my temperament and my disposition throughout the races and the weekend. I still have to check myself every once in a while; I get a little angry, but just during practice and stuff when something you do to these cars can frustrate you. But for the most part, Lance is really great at controlling the situation and controlling our team and directing our team throughout the weekend and the races themselves. I've enjoyed the experience working with him."(Chevy Racing)(10-3-2009)
    UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports officials will sit down and determine whether Lance McGrew will remain as Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief probably in the next couple of weeks, team owner Rick Hendrick said Sunday.(SceneDaily)(10-5-2009)

  • Danica talking to Hendrick about NASCAR ride: Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., may soon be involved in a limited NASCAR arrangement, NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick confirmed to SI.com. The other side of the Patrick puzzle may soon fall into place as Hendrick said Sunday afternoon that Patrick's agent at IMG has met with the team about a limited schedule of ARCA and NASCAR Nationwide Series races to go along with the IndyCar Series contract she signed to remain at Andretti Green Racing. According to Hendrick, the plan would be to put Patrick in the JR Motorsports team that is owned by Hendrick driver Earnhardt, Jr. with sponsorship from GoDaddy.com. "We have no deal but she has spoke with Kelley Earnhardt [Dale Jr's sister who handles that teams business affairs] about a limited number of NASCAR races in that car," Hendrick told SI.com. "I have had some conversation and Kelley Earnhardt has had some conversation with that but Kelly is heading that up. GoDaddy.com would be involved because of their involvement with Danica and with JR Motorsports. Kelley talked to her in the last week. We are looking at how it matches up with her IndyCar schedule. We are interested and think it would be neat but it has to work out for both sides." Patrick signed a three-year IndyCar Series contract with team owner Michael Andretti two weeks ago but has remained quiet on that subject because of sponsor demands who want to have a major press conference to announce the signing. According to IndyCar Series sources, one of Patrick's sponsor contracts in IndyCar is about to expire so that announcement will not be made until the sponsor is ready to make the announcement. "She has signed the contract, they just want to make sure the sponsor is ready to make the announcement," said an IndyCar Series official Saturday afternoon. While details of Patrick's new contract have not been disclosed, Andretti indicated there are limits to how much racing she can do outside of IndyCar. Andretti wants his high-paid driver to focus on what he signed her to do -- try to become the first female driver ever to win the Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar Series title. So if Patrick signs with JR Motorsports or another team, look for her to run in fewer than 10 stock car events next season. In fact, five races next season would probably be a nice, logical step for her before she attempts to increase that schedule in 2011, if she likes the progress she is making.(SI.com)(10-5-2009)

  • Gordon, Earnhardt, Jr. lay wreath at Arlington: In the humid stillness of Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday afternoon, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #24-Jeff Gordon and team owner Rick Hendrick solemnly walked down a set of stairs toward the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They lined up, along with a member of the military honor guard who ceremonially patrol the tomb, and then stepped forward together to place a wreath in front of the giant marble structure. Hands over their hearts, they stood silently amidst the quiet of the cemetery where more than 330,000 men and women are buried. A few minutes later, in the basement of a nearby building just down the hall from the guards' quarters, the two National Guard-sponsored drivers reflected on the magnitude of what they had just experienced. "I was just nervous," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I get real nervous around appearances, but this one was real heavy. There's a lot of responsibility, and that was definitely the case for this." Like Earnhardt Jr., Gordon had never visited Arlington before and said he regretted not doing so earlier. "This is something I think every American should experience," Gordon said. "The peace, the security that we feel in the safety of our country is because of the men and women here at Arlington."(SceneDaily)(9-25-2009)

  • PRS Guitars donates guitars to drivers: This year's Chevy Rock & Roll 400 marks the fifth year that one winning NASCAR driver will walk away with a four foot tall, fifty pound trophy custom designed and built by PRS [Paul Reed Smith] Guitars from Stevensville, Maryland. In addition, this year six drivers will leave the track with their own PRS guitar that will help aid many more people down the road.
    Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, and Clint Bowyer have each won a race in Richmond under the domain of Chevrolet. To honor their success and their efforts, PRS held a special press conference Friday at Richmond International Raceway, during which PRS President, Jack Higginbotham presented the aforementioned drivers with a PRS Corvette guitar for their individual charities. Jack Higginbotham, President of Paul Reed Smith Guitars, said, "It is our hope that each of these guitars will develop its own story and have a positive effect on the lives of others. Whether it is cancer research, shelter for the needy or assistance for underprivileged children, each driver has a passion for their cause, and we are honored to help them in their mission."
    PRS's extensive involvement in racing began with a sponsorship of the world dominating factory Corvette C6.r racing team in 2003. During the past six years, PRS's involvement in racing has ranged from being a part of large-scale NASCAR events to its own grassroots "Laps For Life" charity event helping support the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland.(PRS Guitars site)(9-12-2009)

  • Dale Jr. and Jeff Gordon visting National Guard Unit: Before heading to Richmond, #24-Jeff Gordon and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will stop in Nashville, Tenn., to attend the 131st National Guard Association of the United States conference. Gordon and Earnhardt Jr. will meet with top leadership, including the National Guard's first four-star general, Gen. Craig R. McKinley.(HMS)(9-10-2009)

  • Tom Cruise to narrate Hendrick Documentry Film: "TOGETHER: The Hendrick Motorsports Story," NASCAR Media Group's documentary-style film chronicling the history of the eight-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship team, will air Sunday, Oct. 11 at 1:30pm/et on ABC prior to the network's Pepsi 500 race coverage from [Auto Club Speedway] Fontana, CA. Narrated by three-time Academy Award nominee Tom Cruise and presented by Pepsi, "TOGETHER" employs exclusive interviews, never-before-seen archival footage, thrilling racing sequences and rare family photography to detail the personal relationships and emotional events that have shaped one of NASCAR's most decorated organizations. The official "TOGETHER" trailer is available at www.refresheverything.com/hendrick. The Web site will feature regular updates of content from the film and provide fans the opportunity to upload video messages about their favorite Hendrick Motorsports moments. Select fan-generated clips will be shown during the Oct. 11 broadcast on ABC. The full-length version of "TOGETHER" with bonus material will be released Oct. 31 on DVD, and it will become NASCAR Media Group's first officially licensed title available on Blu-ray Disc. A portion of Hendrick Motorsports' proceeds from those sales will benefit the Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, N.C. Cruise, an auto racing enthusiast who starred in the 1990 NASCAR-themed motion picture "Days of Thunder," completed the narration work for "TOGETHER: The Hendrick Motorsports Story" in Los Angeles last month. The script was co-written by Emmy Award winners Shawn Truax and Ray Didinger. Film director Rory Karpf has spearheaded such projects as the Dale Earnhardt biopic "DALE," now the best-selling sports DVD in history, and the critically acclaimed "Ride of Their Lives." The NASCAR Media Group production team responsible for "TOGETHER: The Hendrick Motorsports Story" earned back-to-back Sports Emmy Awards in 2006 and 2007 for "Beyond the Wheel" and "Quest for the Cup."(HMS)(9-2-2009)

  • Keselowski officially signs with Penske for 2010: Penske Racing announced that Brad Keselowski will compete for the team full-time, beginning with the 2010 NASCAR season. Keselowski, a 25-year-old native of Rochester Hills, Mich., will drive the #12 Penske Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next season. He will also run a full-season schedule in the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series, where he will compete for a championship with the team. "We are very excited to welcome Brad to the Penske Racing family," said Roger Penske. "Brad has shown terrific success on track the past several years and has quickly established himself as one of the top young stars in racing. He comes from an impressive family background in motorsports. He is a proven winner and a welcome addition to our team."
    A third-generation driver, Keselowski has won at every level in which he has competed. He is currently ranked third in the Nationwide Series standings with three wins to his credit in 2009, including a dramatic victory in August at his home track at Michigan International Speedway. Keselowski also scored his first Cup Series win earlier this year at Talladega Superspeedway and he has produced three top-10 finishes in just eight Cup Series starts this season.
    "Penske Racing is one of the top teams in all of motorsports and I am honored to join Roger Penske's organization and compete for wins with his Cup and Nationwide Series teams," said Keselowski. "This is a great opportunity for me to continue competing in the Nationwide Series and to run my first full season in the Cup Series with a strong and experienced team."(Penske Racing), no word on Stremme's plans for 2010.(9-1-2009)

  • Dale Jr. looking for Brad K's replacement: JR Motorsports President Kelley Earnhardt confirmed that Kelly Bires is on the list of possible replacements for Brad Keselowski should the company and the driver part ways. Many in the garage have called Bires, who turns 25 Tuesday, the front-runner for the #88 Nationwide Series ride.(FoxSports)(8-24-2009)

  • Different look for Dale Jr.'s car at Bristol: Dale Earnhardt's #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy will feature a different look at Bristol Motor Speedway with a special AMP Energy Sugar Free/National Guard silver paint scheme. AMP Energy Sugar Free offers all the power of AMP Energy without the sugar or the calories (HMS). See an image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(8-17-2009)

  • Dale Jr. thinks racing can be improved: Dale Earnhardt Jr., #88 National Guard /Amp Energy Chevy met with media and discussed various things, including improving the racing:
    WHAT WERE YOU GETTING AT WITH RECENT COMMENTS ABOUT NASCAR ENGINEERS COULD DO MORE TO MAKE THESE CARS COMPETITIVE? "I just think, that everyone needs to..., what I am getting at is I think we need to open our eyes a little bit, everyone. I think media could address it a little stronger. I think that the drivers could be a little more vocal about it. I think NASCAR could probably be a little more urgent in improving our product. With the ultimate result is great, exciting racing that the fans will enjoy. That the drivers enjoy and so everyone is happy. That should be our quest always, even when things are good. I feel like especially right now, we need to really, really try to turn over every stone. That includes where we are with this COT and where we feel like its development is. And where we feel like its future goes and where we feel like this car goes; how it evolves. I just have a sense of urgency over the last couple of weeks I guess to see if we can't do better. I feel like, I just remember how the other cars drove. I liked how they drove and I like how this car is safe but I want to be able to race it like we raced the other cars. NASCAR is open to all of the drivers. I was just asked a question and gave an answer. I'm not trying to start a crusade against nobody or cause anybody problems. We all, I think, the drivers, myself included, we all work together with NASCAR to do this. I am just trying to remind everyone of the optimal goal and prize for us is to have better racing. Even when things are good, we shouldn't rest on any success we may be having. We are not really where we want to be, I don't think, as a sport. We need to do thinks to excite corporate America. Excite the fans. We need to get proactive immediately to make that happen."(Chevy Racing)(8-15-2009)

  • 350th start for Dale Jr.: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will make his 350th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start when he lines up for Sunday's CARMAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Since making his Cup debut on May 30, 1999, at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Earnhardt has scored 18 wins, eight pole positions, 87 top-five finishes and 140 top-10s. He ranks fifth among active full-time drivers with 6,473 laps led.(HMS)(8-15-2009)

  • Dale Jr's name off race track project: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s name has been dropped from the planned $640 million motorsports park off Interstate 65 in Prichard, whose investors now plan to use a new 5-cent sales tax to help develop the complex, according to investors in the project. "Dale is focusing on racing, and his sponsor demands have gone up incredibly," Bill Futterer of PSE-3 and Futterer Partners said Tuesday evening. Futterer's Raleigh, N.C., marketing firm is working on what had been called Alabama Motorsports Park, A Dale Earnhardt Jr. Speedway. "We have agreed not to extend his personal services agreement," Futterer said. Also gone are agreements with Earnhardt's sister, Kelly Earnhardt Elledge, and his race-driver brother, Kerry Earnhardt, Futterer said. He added, "we're not upset, and they are not angry." An effort Tuesday evening to reach Earnhardt through his Hendrick Motorsports race team was unsuccessful. Gulf Coast Entertainment, the group of 30 or so investors in the project, want a name that will fit what they see as a total entertainment complex, not just a race venue, he said. The project includes three tracks - a seven-tenths-mile oval with 75,000 seats, a karting track, and a road course - plus an RV park and basic infrastructure at the 2,400-acre site along Ala. 158. But developers envision their project as a draw for hotels, entertainment and retail venues that others will develop on the property. When fully built out, developers estimate the complex could create 4,800 jobs.(Alabama Live)(8-13-2009)

  • Dale Jr. not feeling well: The rain may be a good break for #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is being treated for flu-like symptoms. Earnhardt was an on IV at the infield medical center on Friday and team officials have put Brad Keslowski on standby as a backup driver. Keselowski is competing at nearby O'Reilly Raceway Park in Saturday night's Nationwide Series race. Crew chief Lance McGrew said Saturday morning that Earnhardt had a fever overnight, but Earnhardt feels the fever broke.(ESPN)(7-25-2009)

  • ESPN Promotional Campaign Kicks Off with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Spot: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is featured in a new ESPN promotional spot now running in advance of the launch of ESPN's coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, which begins July 26 with the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The spot can be viewed HERE.(ESPN)(7-17-2009)

  • Earnhardt says he'd like to run Indy 500 someday: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he would jump at the chance to drive in the Indianapolis 500 if there were not a conflicting NASCAR race on the same day. Rain washed out his plans for a ride in a two-seat Indy car on Thursday. Instead, he strapped himself behind the wheel and received a 10-minute driving lesson from former 500 winner Dan Wheldon. Earnhardt said he "picked his brains as hard as I could." And he said driving at Indianapolis "definitely interests me," though he has NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, N.C., on the same day. However, he said he and many other NASCAR drivers would try Indy if the schedules could be resolved.(Associated Press)(7-10-2009)

  • Eury Jr. to serve as Keselowski's crew chief this weekend: This weekend will mark the first time that #25-Brad Keselowski will work with crew chief Tony Eury Jr. Prior to this weekend, Keselowski worked with Lance McGrew, and the pair scored a team-high finish of seventh at Darlington Raceway. In the Nationwide Series, Keselowski works with Eury's father, crew chief Tony Eury Sr.(Hendrick PR)(7-9-2009)
    UPDATE: His race day results with #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a steady decline, crew chief Tony Eury Jr. lost confidence in his setups and strategies. He quit talking with Earnhardt on the radio because every brief conversation was dissected by critical fans and media. Earnhardt can feel the weight of NASCAR and its fans on him at times as the sport's most popular driver. And when he failed, it was his cousin and loyal crew chief who often took the often unfair hit. When team owner Rick Hendrick pulled the plug on the unproductive relationship in late May, Eury was ready to move on. "At some point in time you have to weigh it and say, 'Is it worth it?'" Eury said. "And it wasn't." Eury was back at the track Thursday for the first time since the longtime duo were separated with Earnhardt in the midst of one of the worst starts of his career. He'll be crew chief for #25-Brad Keselowski's Hendrick Motorsports team for Saturday night's race at Chicagoland Speedway - a less pressure-packed position than working with Earnhardt. Eury was excited, relaxed and talked about racing with "nothing to lose" this weekend, a sharp difference from his final races with Earnhardt.(Associated Press)(7-10-2009)

  • Wheldon giving Earnhardt Jr. IndyCar Two-Seater Ride at IMS: Two of the National Guard's biggest racing stars will be sharing a ride in an IndyCar this Thursday when Panther Racing driver, and former Indianapolis 500 winner, Dan Wheldon will give NASCAR Sprint Cup star #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. a ride in the Indy Racing Experience two-seater at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Earnhardt Jr. is in Indianapolis to promote the upcoming July 26th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and Wheldon is traveling to Canada immediately after Thursday's event for the Honda Indy Toronto IndyCar Series race, which will be held on Sunday. Earnhardt will also turn laps in the historic #16 Noc-Out Hose Clamp Special that Mauri Rose and Floyd David co-drove to victory in the 1941 Indianapolis 500.(Panther Racing PR)(7-8-2009)

  • Move to Cup unlikely for JR Motorsports: You can't cross JR Motorsports totally off of Brad Keselowski's list for a fulltime Sprint Cup ride in 2010, but it doesn't seem likely. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who co-owns JR Motorsports with Rick Hendrick, said on Friday it would be "quite a challenge for anybody to find the kind of financial support you need" to make the move from the Nationwide Series to Cup. He also talked more of Keselowski, who drives the JR Motorsports Nationwide car, as though he would be somewhere else after this season and how he looked forward to preparing another driver for the Cup series. "The way I see it Brad has a ton of opportunities and the doors are wide open for him,'' Earnhardt said. "We have to look at what our chances are for moving into the Cup series before we can put that before Brad."(ESPN Insider)(7-4-2009)

  • Special scheme for Dale Jr. at Daytona: To honor the National Guard and celebrate Independence Day, the #88 Chevy of Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run a special hand-painted camouflage ACU (Army Combat Uniform) scheme this weekend. The Hendrick Motorsports body shop needed two days and 14 coats of DuPont paint to finish the job. Earnhardt will unveil the paint scheme to National Guard soldiers and fans at Daytona's Bandshell on Wednesday. The Nationnal Guard "Serving America"/AMP Energy Chevy is a special paint scheme to honor National Guard soldiers who dedicate a portion of their time to serving their nation, state and local communities. Since first muster in 1636, National Guard soldiers have brought glory and honor upon themselves and the Guard through quiet and selfless service. Approximately 363,000 soldiers strong, the Army National Guard is the oldest component of the Armed Forces of the United States and celebrated its 372nd birthday in December 2008.
    Earnhardt has 12 wins at Daytona International Speedway. He won the 2004 Daytona 500, the 2001 Pepsi 400, two Budweiser Shootouts (2003 and 2008) and five NASCAR Nationwide Series events. Earnhardt also won his Gatorade Duel qualifying races in 2003, 2004 and 2008. At this year's AMP Energy 500 at Talladega, thousands of members of JR Nation will see their names on Earnhardt's #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevy as part of the AMP Energy "Get on the 88" promotion. More info at www.AMPEnergy.com.(HMS)(7-1-2009)

  • Danica Patrick to Hendrick? Dale Jr. to.....UPDATE denied: If Danica Patrick does jump from the Indy Racing League to NASCAR, as increasingly appears likely, the battle for her, according to sources close to the negotiations, is down to car owners Rick Hendrick, of Chevrolet, and Jack Roush, of Ford. According to these sources, Hendrick and General Motors' Chevrolet division are now suddenly the heavy favorites to sign Patrick. And the key would apparently be Hendrick's willingness to put her in a Sprint Cup ride for the full 2010 season. Roush has said he would like to see her run some NASCAR Nationwide and/or Truck events, along with six or seven Cup events, to get her accustomed to stock car racing. Hendrick reportedly is willing to go further. Patrick might take Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s spot on Hendrick's official four-team Cup roster, with Earnhardt moving to an expanded JR Motorsports operation. JR Motorsports, Earnhardt's own operation, run in partnership with Hendrick, would thus be stepping up to a full Cup program; Hendrick has already been talking with Talladega winner Brad Keselowski about Keselowski's future in NASCAR, with indications he could get a Cup ride with an expanded JR Motorsports venture, with Hendrick engines and Hendrick engineering. It is not clear how far along any Patrick-IMG-Hendrick negotiations have gone, but sources tell mikemulhern.net that the Patrick-Hendrick deal is very close to being a 'done deal.'(Mikemulhern.net)(6-28-2009)
    UPDATE - denied:been told by Hendrick Motorsports reps that there is absolutely no truth to this.(6-28-2009)

  • Sponsor search for 2010: We've been hearing for months that sponsors, including those at top teams such as Hendrick Motorsports, won't fully commit past this season. Team owner Rick Hendrick made that clearer on Sunday when he indicated that Kellogg's and Carquest may not return in their full capacity in 2010. "Our sponsors are coming back," Hendrick said after Martin won at Michigan. "We don't know to what extent. That's the question. As you go along with this economy companies are taking longer to get their budgets in line. They're not a year out, or not even eight months like they have been in the past. We're in good shape. We have a lot of sponsors inside our company that we're talking about, you know, splitting up the car. So look for the guys that are on it to be back, but there will probably be someone new along there with them." That not only goes for the #5, but the #24 of Jeff Gordon and #88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr. also could have more partners next season. Jimmie Johnson and Lowe's appear solid on the #48. The same sort of restructuring is going on at other organizations such as Roush, which is trying to find multiple partners to lessen the load of DeWalt [of #17 Matt Kenseth].(ESPN Insider)(6-18-2009)

  • "Serving America" scheme for Earnhardt Jr at Daytona: Next month at Daytona International Speedway, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will run the #88 National Guard "Serving America"/AMP Energy Chevy. It is a special paint scheme to honor National Guard soldiers who dedicate a portion of their time to serving their nation, state and local communities. Since first muster in 1636, National Guard soldiers have brought glory and honor upon themselves and the Guard through quiet and selfless service.(HMS), see an image of the car on the #88 Paint Schemes page.(6-17-2009)

  • Crew chief McGrew takes over for Dale Jr. at Dover: The interim crew chief for #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is taking over for the Sprint Cup race at Dover, a week earlier than originally planned. Lance McGrew was scheduled to work with #25-Brad Keselowski on Sunday, but he failed to qualify, freeing up McGrew to call the shots on Earnhardt's slumping #88 team. McGrew said after the driver's meeting that that the decision was made by owner Rick Hendrick and Hendrick competition director Ken Howes on Saturday night. "The powers that be decided to go ahead and give us a week head start," McGrew said. McGrew had been scheduled to start next week at Pocono Raceway. Team manager Brian Whitesell, who was scheduled to be the crew chief, will assist McGrew. Earnhardt starts 22nd at Dover International Speedway. Former Hendrick driver Kyle Busch took a shot at Earnhardt on Friday about the perception that his poor finishes were never his fault, always the crew chief. Earnhardt left his seat next to McGrew at the driver's meeting and took one in the front row for a brief chat with Busch. The two spoke for a little more than a minute before Earnhardt returned to his original seat.(ESPN.cpm/AP)(5-31-2009)

  • Tony Eury Sr. Q&A about Eury Jr and Dale Jr by Steve Richards of Performace Racing Network at Dover:
    Q: How is Tony Jr doing?
    A: "Tony Jr will be fine...he's just beat down...he's worn out. Everything that happened on that team is magnified four or five times from what any other team is and he's a guy that races to win and they haven't been able to do that. It's just dragged him down...beat him down. They got to trying so much different stuff and everybody's pullin' this way and pullin' that way and I think he just got totally confused and off his game. For the last four or five weeks they've been so frustrated trying to get the car to run and knowing that the pressure is on him, and everybody's lookin' at him. You can't turn the TV on...you can't turn the internet on but everybody's blasting him. They tried everything in the world to make Dale Jr happy and they haven't found it. He'll be fine..it may be a good thing for both of them."
    Q: How much has he talked to you about his situation?
    A: "We talk every week...if not a couple times a week. I try to help him and he tries to help me, but the guy is really beat down. The media has killed him, the fans have killed him...and I thought he handled it pretty good when it first started, but after a certain time it starts getting to you. I honestly believe things happen for a reason and they'll be better off apart I think."
    Q: How does the situation affect you on a personal level?
    A: "Well, you know, I'm kind of in the middle here. I work for the guy (laughs) that he was working for, so I'm kind of in the middle. I love Dale Jr to death...I love Tony Jr to death but I'm telling you this business is a cutthroat business. You've gotta stay on your game and if you're not on top of your game, their gonna make a change. That's what makes it harder when you are family or are related in a way, so that's why I say honestly I think they'll be better off.
    Q: How do you think Tony Jr will take to his new role in Hendrick's R & D shop?
    A: "Right now I think he's gonna take it fine because he needs a big breath of air. He does. There's nobody in that garage that's worked harder than Tony Jr has. He's there at 7:30 every morning and if you walk in his house at 10 o'clock at night he's still running programs and sims and everything else. He just needs a breath of air. I told him you just need to go work in your yard...do your four cup races and do your testing. I think Chad Kanaus has got some stuff for him to do and think he and Chad work good together while they were crew chiefs. I think he'll probably learn something helping Chad and hopefully Chad will learn something, but I don't see Tony Jr staying at an R & D team where they just race five, six or seven times a year. He's a racer and he wants to be at the race track every week and he's a winner.
    Q: Could you ever see Tony Jr back on the box as Dale Jr's crew chief again someday?
    A: "No, I don't think that will ever happen. I don't think they have any hard feelings between each other...they knew something had to be done, and definitely we knew who it had to be. I just don't think Tony Jr will ever put himself in that situation again and I don't think Dale Jr would want him in that situation either. It's just tough when you work for family. My whole racing career I've been involved in this Earnhardt deal and never had to really work anywhere else. It's a tough deal and family deal and when you're not running good, it's hard to fix when it's blood."(Performace Racing Network)(5-31-2009)

  • Earnhardt Jr's crew chief history: Although #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Eury Jr. struggled this year before Eury was replaced Thursday, out of the five crew chiefs Earnhardt has worked with in his Sprint Cup career, he's put up his second-best average finish with Eury Jr. Besides that, Eury Jr. is the only crew chief besides Tony Eury Sr. who has won with Earnhardt multiple times. Earnhardt won with Eury Jr. twice and had a 16.4 average finish. With Eury Sr., Earnhardt won 15 times and had a 15.7 average finish in 65 races. Check out Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Cup career with Tony Sr. calling the shots:
    Category -- Tony Eury Sr. -- All others
    Races -- 183 -- 156
    Wins -- 15 -- 3
    Top-5s -- 52 -- 35
    Top-10s -- 79 -- 61
    Average finish -- 15.7 -- 17.0
    Other Crew Chiefs:
    Pete Rondeau for 12 races [2005 Daytona 500 thru Coke 600 best finish 3rd]
    Steve Hmeil for 13 races [2005 Dover thru Calif 2005 winning at Chicago]
    Tony Gibson for 6 races, Eury Jr was suspended in 2007 [Coke 600 thru NHMS best finish 4th]

  • Eury to oversee road course testing for #48 team next week: Tony Eury Jr. is getting off to a quick start in his new role with Hendrick Motorsports' research and development group. On Tuesday, Eury will accompany the #48 Chevy team to Carolina MotorSports Park in Kershaw, S.C., to supervise road course testing with three-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson. The private two-day session is closed to the public and the media. Eury will lead the effort and refine the #48 team's setup for the June 21 Sprint Cup event at Infineon Raceway -- the first road race of the 2009 season. In addition to his research and development duties, Eury will crew chief Hendrick Motorsports' #25 GoDaddy.com Chevy Sprint Cup effort with driver Brad Keselowski for the remainder of 2009. "Having someone of Tony's caliber in this role is an asset," said Doug Duchardt, vice president of development for Hendrick Motorsports. "He will be partnering with our lead chassis engineer on various projects, and his experience will make him a great fit with Brad. Having that veteran leadership is important for a young driver." Keselowski and the Eury-led #25 team will next attempt to qualify at Chicagoland Speedway in July.(HMS)(5-30-2009)

  • Dale Jr. responds about Busch's dig: from a Team Chevy Driver Press conference transcript with #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.:
    ARE YOU SURPRISED ABOUT KYLE BUSCH'S COMMENTS EARLIER TODAY ABOUT YOUR CREW CHIEF SITUATION?: "Not really, that doesn't really surprise me what Kyle (Busch) says. He's always had a chip on his shoulder for me. I expect anytime he gets an opportunity to throw a jab in there he's going to do it. That's just his personality. We're working toward trying to figure out how we can make our deal work and that has nothing to do with Kyle (Busch). We'll see how this weekend goes and then move forward next week."(Chevy Racing)(5-30-2009)

  • Sour Grapes? Kyle Busch takes dig at Dale Jr.: #18-Kyle Busch said it point-blank: "It's never Junior; it's always the crew chief." Busch fired that opening volley of driver reaction Friday morning to Hendrick Motorsports' dismissal of Tony Eury Jr. as #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief on Thursday. Asked about Eury's replacement, Lance McGrew, with whom Busch worked in the Nationwide Series at Hendrick in 2004, Busch expressed pity for McGrew. "He's got his hands full, I guess, having to deal with what's going on," Busch said. "And if Junior doesn't run well, then he [McGrew] is going to be the 'problem' again." Still, Busch said he understood the move to bolster the driver who replaced him at Hendrick last season, both because of Earnhardt's star power and Busch's salary issues. "You've got to make the most popular driver in the sport competitive, so you gotta do what you gotta do, I guess," Busch said.(ESPN)(5-29-2009)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. on crew chief change: When Rick Hendrick announced he was replacing his cousin Tony Eury, Jr. as crew chief of the #88-National Guard/AMP Energy Drink Chevy, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was up in Michigan helping to promote the June 14th Sprint Cup Series race at MIS. Measuring his words carefully, Junior was clearly saddened by the split, but also said he understood why the move was made. "It was a very difficult situation. Obviously, when me and Tony Jr. went to work with Rick we expected to have a lot of success and be in a totally different situation than we are now. It's really disappointing, I guess, that we aren't making that happen. It's a situation, it's a relationship that's very important to me, the one with Tony Jr. We are family and it was a pretty big risk, I guess, for me and him both to make the move. We really wanted it to work. Unfortunately, we didn't succeed. Being this is a business, Rick and the guys decided we needed to go in a new direction. I'm supportive and confident in the decisions that they make. They have a lot of great success. Obviously, there is no arguing they know how to run a race team. I want to be in a good position where I run as well as I can. We have a lot of sponsors and a lot of responsibilities to put ourselves in that situation if we want to be able to race every weekend. I'm pretty confident. I still have a good resolve and a good initiative and motivation to get up and get to the race track every weekend and try to see when we'll turn this thing around. Rick and the guys are positive about the decision that we've made to make the change in crew chief. They seem confident about the decision. That kind of makes me feel pretty good about it. It makes the team feel good. At least their aware of situation and they're willing to make changes and do whatever it takes."
    Junior also went out of his way to say that Hendrick had shown plenty of patience. "To Rick's credit, they waited a lot longer to make this change than they probably would've considering me and Tony Jr. have a relationship like brothers. They gave us more time than anyone else probably would have gotten to try to make this work. To Tony Jr.'s credit, he tried everything he knew to try to give me what I needed at the race track. He worked and has always worked harder than anybody I know in the sport. The guy has devoted his entire existence to working on race cars. He's sacrificed extensive amounts to be where he is today. So it's really, really disappointing that it didn't work out, because we gave everything we have to be there. I think me and him deserved to have it work out, so it's really frustrating, but I've been through a lot tougher things. Situations like this come and go and you move forward. You've got to go out and perform under the circumstances the best we can this weekend. We'll band together and go do the job the best we can. I feel confident, I told Rick, me and Tony Jr. were aware of how delicate our situations was over the last several weeks. We knew we needed to step up our performance somehow, someway to be able to keep our situation intact. Me and Tony Jr. both told Rick throughout the last six to 10 weeks when they were looking at us closely to make the decisions they needed to make as a company and we would both support them whichever decisions they made. So that's what's happening." Listen to full interview at PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show.(5-28-2009)

  • New crew chief for Dale Jr.: Hendrick Motorsports today named Lance McGrew as interim crew chief of the #88 Sprint Cup Series team of driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. beginning with the June 7 event at Pocono Raceway. Team manager Brian Whitesell will lead the team this weekend at Dover. "Our performance hasn't been where it should be," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "It's impossible to pin that on any one factor, but a change is the right decision at this point. We have a plan in place, and we're going to move forward with it." Whitesell and Rex Stump, Hendrick Motorsports' lead chassis engineer, have been assigned to support McGrew on a full-time basis. Whitesell, who won two of seven races as Jeff Gordon's interim crew chief in 1999, will join McGrew and team engineer Tom Stewart on the #88 pit box to assist with race strategy. "We're going to put our full resources toward improving the situation and winning races," Hendrick said. "It's going to be a collective effort that includes all of our drivers, all of our crew chiefs and all of our engineers. Everyone in our company will be involved on some level." Tony Eury Jr. will move from the crew chief position into a key role with Hendrick Motorsports' research and development group. Eury posted one victory, one pole position, 19 top-10 finishes and 11 top-fives in 48 races with the #88 team. "I have mixed feelings, and that's just natural," Eury said. "But I enjoy working at Hendrick Motorsports, and this is where I want to be. I'll do whatever I can to help all of our teams and try to be a part of another championship. I think a new challenge will be good." McGrew, 41, earned the 2003 Nationwide Series championship with driver Brian Vickers. He won the October 2006 Sprint Cup race with Vickers at Talladega, and most recently led Cup rookie #25-Brad Keselowski to a seventh-place finish May 9 at Darlington. As a crew chief, McGrew has posted victories in all three of NASCAR's major touring series: Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck. He has won races with drivers Vickers, Jeff Gordon, Ricky Hendrick, Kyle Busch, Mark Martin and most recently Tony Stewart Feb. 14 at Daytona Beach.(HMS)(5-28-2009)

  • More rumors on #88 crew chief change UPDATE 2: a reliable source tells [Sports Illustrated] that Tony Eury Jr. won't be the crew chief of the #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. as of Dover this weekend. Whether that actually happens or not remains to be seen, but the two weeks in Charlotte made it obvious both driver and team need a change.(Sports Illustrated)(5-26-2009)
    UPDATE: Team owner Rick Hendrick, who has previously said he doesn't plan to make changes to Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 team, wasn't as definitive on Tuesday. "Could it change?" Hendrick said Tuesday following a meeting with NASCAR officials at the Research and Development Center. "We're talking about things. We're going to make decisions as the days go by, but we haven't made any decisions as it stands now." Earnhardt Jr. finished 40th in Monday's rain-delayed Coca-Cola 600. Hendrick did not specifically address breaking up Earnhardt and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. But in the past when discussing changes he made it clear that wasn't a consideration. He wasn't so clear on Tuesday with Earnhardt 19th in points, 203 behind Mark Martin for the 12th and final Chase spot. "We're always concerned when we have a car not run well," Hendrick said. "We're always meeting and trying to figure out how to make it better. We've got to come up with a plan and we've got to work toward that. We thought we had a pretty good plan coming to Charlotte. I was fairly pleased with the All-Star race and thought we would do better Sunday. We weren't."(ESPN)(5-26-2009)
    UPDATE 2: this weeks Hendrick Motorsports pre-race press release says: This weekend, the #88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-526. This chassis ran at......
    curious as every other week, going back to the Daytona 500, this was posted: This weekend, crew chief Tony Eury Jr. and the #88 engineers will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis........
    No more Eury Jr. mentioned and no quotes in the pre-race press release as usual.(5-27-2009)

  • Hendrick to appear on Oprah: Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, will make an appearance on the Tuesday, May 19 edition of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." The episode is entitled "Heroes in Hard Times."
    "The Oprah Winfrey Show" is produced in Chicago by Harpo Productions Inc. and syndicated to 214 domestic stations by CBS Television Distribution Group and to 143 countries by CBS Paramount International Television. It has been the No. 1-rated talk show for 22 consecutive seasons. Visit www.oprah.com for local listings.(HMS)(5-18-2009)

  • Hendrick set to return from illness: Sidelined the past several weeks by a fast-spreading sinus infection, NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick plans to return to the track this weekend after a five-race absence. Hendrick has not been to the track since Jimmie Johnson helped his boss celebrate his 25th anniversary in NASCAR with a March 29th victory at Martinsville Speedway. He skipped the next two events, races in Texas and Phoenix, for personal and business reasons. Then he was stricken with a sinus infection that spread to both his chest and ears, keeping him away from the track another three races. He needed tubes inserted in both ears to fight the infection. "They say the tubes are for kids, so I guess I'm a 59-year-old kid with ear infections," he said Tuesday. "I've got a weak immune system, and this infection just jumped on me. I was a sick puppy there for about three weeks. But I am much better, feeling more like myself." Hendrick's immune system was weakened by a long, but successful, fight with leukemia 12 years ago. "If I am not careful, I get knocked on my butt," said Hendrick, who spent more than four hours with employees Tuesday passing out the championship rings from Johnson's third title. The illness kept Hendrick away from wins by Jeff Gordon at Texas, and Mark Martin in Phoenix and Darlington, S.C. Hendrick watched all the races he missed on TV, admittedly screaming at his set and often second-guessing strategy through text messages to team vice president Doug Duchardt. He then called his drivers in Victory Lane, a scene often caught on live television that drew attention to his absence. Hendrick said he'll ease back into at-track activities with the All-Star race this weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway, where he traditionally celebrates Charlotte Speedweeks by treating employees from both his motorsports and automotive programs to weekends at the track.(ESPN/AP)
    AND: The Hendrick Motorsports Museum and Team Store has updated its exhibits and extended its hours for fans visiting during the upcoming race weeks. More info at hendrickmotorsports.com.(5-13-2009)

  • Dale Jr. Foundation Unveils All-Star Suite Fundraiser Event: The Dale Jr. Foundation, in recognition of its special primary paint scheme that will be featured on the #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy during the Sprint All-Star race [see an image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page], announced it will host an All-Star suite fundraiser to benefit several area charities. With the purchase of a Dale Jr. All-Star suite ticket, race fans can experience a variety of VIP activities surrounding the race, including an appearance by both Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Richard Petty. The money raised will benefit The Dale Jr. Foundation and Speedway Children's Charities. Fans that purchase an All-Star suite ticket get a reserved seat in a luxury box overlooking the 1.5-mile Superspeedway, complete with complimentary food and drink throughout the race. Also included are a cash bar, souvenir gift bag and eligibility for raffle prizes. Prior to the start of the 100-lap race, tickets holders will receive a pre-race pit tour and an appearance from Earnhardt Jr. himself, and NASCAR Legend Richard Petty, in the VIP suite. Dale Jr.'s All-Star suite tickets are still available for $288 a piece. Visit dalejr.com and click on the All-Star banner to purchase. To learn more about how you can help Dale Jr. make a difference, go to thedalejrfoundation.org.(JR Motorsports)(5-8-2009)

  • Special AMP/Dale Jr. Tradin' Paint can: AMP Energy has announced the launch of Tradin' Paint, a new limited time only Dale Earnhardt Jr. themed energy drink. The beverage is a collision of three flavors: Orange, Lime and Berry, with all the energy ingredients and great taste that consumers expect from AMP. Featuring the same paint scheme as Hendrick Motorsports' #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevy, Tradin' Paint has all the marks, dings and paint streaks that show up on cars during a hotly contested race, which fans refer to as "tradin' paint." Tradin' Paint is currently available in a 16-oz can nationwide through the end of the summer.(Pepsi PR)(5-7-2009)

  • MtnDew scheme for Dale Jr. at Darlington: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive a special #88 Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevy this weekend at Darlington Raceway. The #88 machine will display on its hood the new Mountain Dew logo unveiled earlier this year. The car will be painted in a metallic silver, black and "Mountain Dew" green. Mountain Dew has been a part of the sport since 1981, when Darrell Waltrip won his first of two championships in the Dew car. Last year's paint scheme had an "old school" retro feel, and this weekend's car will have a "new school" look. AND Later this month, Earnhardt's #88 machine will have a different look at the May 16 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. The 34-year-old driver chose white as the primary color for his Chevy, which will sport a paint scheme showcasing the Dale Jr. Foundation that weekend. Hendrick Motorsports' next top-five finish will be the organization's 700th in Sprint Cup competition. Since 1984, Hendrick drivers have scored 178 wins, 699 top-five finishes and 1,154 top-10s.(HMS PR), see images of the schemes on my #88 Team Schemes page.(5-6-2009)

  • Special National Guard scheme for Dale Jr at RIR: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive a special #88 National Guard "Drive the Guard"/AMP Energy Chevy at Richmond International Raceway. Get paid, get trained and get moving in the right direction with the National Guard. The "Drive the Guard" program was developed to assist National Guard applicants in obtaining full-time employment by assisting them in completing truck driving training at an approved school. Graduates will be guaranteed employment with a motor carrier related to the Commercial Vehicle Driver Training Foundation Inc. Qualified applicants will receive a pre-hire commitment at the time of application to the commercial driver training program (CDTFI). Participants can get their commercial driver's license, a monthly paycheck and a full-time job with a reputable trucking company while serving part-time in the National Guard, without the need to relocate. Visit www.cdtfi.org for more information. See images of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.
    May will be busy for the paint bay in the #5/88 shop as the #88 team prepares to run three special paint schemes in a row this month. After the Drive the Guard car this weekend at Richmond, Earnhardt plans to race a Mountain Dew scheme at Darlington Raceway. Finally, Earnhardt's Dale Jr. Foundation will take the hood during the Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway with a special design created by the 34-year-old driver. This is the final week that AMP Energy is giving fans a chance to win unique Earnhardt merchandise and VIP trips to the AMP Energy 500, which will be held in October at Talladega Superspeedway. To play, fans should enter the code found on the bottom of their AMP Energy beverage can.(HMS PR)(4-29-2009)

  • Dale Jr. and Mears are 'cool': from a GM Racing Dale Earnhardt Jr. Press Conference Transcript:
    TALK ABOUT YOUR OPINION ON THE PROBATION AND WHAT HAPPENED AFTER LAST WEEKEND'S RACE. "I don't really have one. Me and (Casey) Mears are cool. We've been buddies. What happens on the track stays on the track. It's good to be on probation every once in a while I guess."
    HAVE YOU TALKED TO CASEY ABOUT IT? "Yeah, me and Casey are real good friends so we definitely wouldn't go the week without having a discussion about it. He's having a better season this year but is still not satisfied and I'm definitely in the same position he is and we're just trying to run better. It's just frustrating. I knew that he had made a mistake because Casey doesn't run over people but I just lost my cool. It happens."
    WAS SOME OF THAT YOUR FRUSTRATION COMING OUT? "Well not really. I just hated leading the race and running good and then getting wrecked running 20th. That's all that was."(GM Racing PR)(4-25-2009)

  • Dale Jr. doesn't comment on rumors: asked about the rumor about swapping Hendrick Motorsports swapping crew chiefs between the #88 and #5 teams, all Dale Earnhardt Jr. would say: "I don't comment on rumors...that's all it is. A rumor is a rumor and I don't wanna get in the middle of that. I've got a job to do and I do it and shouldn't listen to rumors."(http://www.goprn.com>PRN's Garage Pass Radio show)(4-25-2009)

  • Current longest-tenured driver/crew chief pairings:
    After the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Saturday, Richard Childress Racing will swap crews and crew chiefs on the #07 & #29 teams, bringing and end to the second longest current driver/crew chief combination.
    Driver / Crew Chief: Start Date
    #48-Jimmie Johnson / Chad Knaus: October 2001
    #29-Kevin Harvick / Todd Berrier*: March 2003*
    #24-Jeff Gordon / Steve Letarte: September 2005
    #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. / Tony Eury, Jr.: September 2005
    #11-Denny Hamlin / Mike Ford: October 2005
    #31-Jeff Burton / Scott Miller: November 2005
    * - Ending after Sunday's race at Talladega
    (Sports Illustrated)(4-24-2009)

  • Drivers on CMT Cribs: Martin Truex Jr. will join Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kurt Busch as the featured celebrities on CMT Cribs when the latest episode airs this Saturday, April 25th. Packed with the latest in luxury living, top of the line toys and the wildest whips on the road, this season takes us to new levels of country living. Martin's segment will focus on his new garage. Be sure to tune into to CMT (Country Music Television) this Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 4:30pm/et/pt and re-air at 7:30pm/et/pt on that same day.(EGR PR)(4-23-2009)

  • Hendrick drivers win three in a row: #5-Mark Martin's win last week at Phoenix International Raceway came on the heels of two other Hendrick Motorsports wins -- #48-Jimmie Johnson at Martinsville and #24-Jeff Gordon at Texas -- and marked the third time Hendrick Motorsports has won three consecutive Cup events with three different drivers. Hendrick, the only team in NASCAR's modern era to have three different drivers win in three straight races, accomplished the feat in 2007 -- with Johnson, Gordon and Casey Mears -- and in 1989 -- with Darrell Waltrip, Ken Schrader and Geoff Bodine. In 1956, Carl Kiekhaefer's drivers won three in a row twice. Buck Baker, Speedy Thompson and Herb Thomas contributed to the first streak, while Baker, Jack Smith and Thompson were part of the other.(HMS PR)(4-23-2009)

  • Hendrick to swap #5 and #88 crew chiefs? UPDATE no truth to it? Sources within Hendrick Motorsports confirmed to Captain Thunder that discussions were held over the Easter break regarding the possible switching of crew chiefs between the #5 and #88 teams. Mark Martin's crew chief Alan Gustafson was said to be on the block and was willing to move to the #88 team and Martin was willing to support the move. The discussions over Easter ended with an agreement between the two teams and Mr. Hendrick to keep their current teams in tact for at least three more weeks to see if both teams could improve on the slow start they have endured through the first part of the 2009 Sprint Cup season. Sources said Tony Eury Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin, and Gustafson all agreed that if Mr. Hendrick wanted a change, they would be willing to swap Gustafson for Eury Jr. However, with Martin's win Saturday night in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix, any switch is now out of the question for the foreseeable future. Hendrick and Martin have no desire to take Gustafson away from the #5 team after the way they dominated the Phoenix race. Now, the timetable is set for the All-Star race at Charlotte on May 16th. If both teams continue to perform poorly, expect a change the week of the All-Star race. However, if Martin's team continues to gain momentum following their Phoenix win, and the #88 team continues to struggle, sources said Eury Jr. could be replaced by car chiefs Ron Malec of the #48 team or Jason Burdett of the #24 team.(CaptainThunderRacing.com and reported on the Bubba the Love Sponge radio show by Capt Thunder)(4-22-2009)
    UPDATE: Will rumors of a Hendrick Motorsports separation of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Eury Jr. ever end? Ever? Ever? Never, as long as there are upstart, cottage-industry Web-sites churning this stuff out, and others linking to it. "There's absolutely nothing to this," came an e-mail reply from high-up inside Hendrick, when the latest one was checked. The latest report appears on Jayski.com, picked up from CaptainThunderRacing.com, that meetings were held over the Easter break at Hendrick. Supposedly there was discussion of swapping crew chiefs, with Eury going to Mark Martin, and Alan Gustafson going to Earnhardt, if the two teams' performances didn't improve within three races. Here's how screwy this stuff can get. Right in the middle of the CaptainThunder report, there's a line, "However, with Martin's win Saturday night in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix, any switch is now out of the question for the foreseeable future." Then the report goes right on to say that new deadlines have been set for a possible switch: "If both teams continue to perform poorly, expect a change the week of the All-Star race." The wackiness warranted a double-check high-up at Hendrick, which brought the firm reply, "Not a shred of truth to any of it."(ESPN Insider)(4-22-2009)

  • Dale Jr. and Mears to be penalized? UPDATE 2: NASCAR officials will likely lower the boom on #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #07-Casey Mears for late-race and post-race antics here Saturday night at Phoenix. The two tangled several times late, bringing out the final caution that almost cost Mark Martin the win. Mears: "I didn't mean to get together with Dale Jr. I think he was trying to save fuel and make it to the end without stopping, and I wheel-hopped the car getting into the corner and ended up making contact with him. I guess he was a little bent out of shape about it because he spun me out after the checkered flag."(mikemulhern.net)(4-20-2009)
    UPDATE: NASCAR will NOT penalize Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Casey Mears for their post-race incident at Phoenix.(Virginian Pilot)(4-21-2009)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR announced that it has placed Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Casey Mears on probation for the next six races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as a result of their on-track incident last Saturday at the conclusion of the race at Phoenix International Raceway. Earnhardt, driver of the #88 team and Mears, driver of the #07 team, both violated Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing; hitting another competitor's car after the race had concluded) of the 2009 NASCAR rule book. The probation takes effect beginning with this weekend's event at Talladega Superspeedway.(NASCAR PR)(4-21-2009)

  • Dale Jr. comments on the demise of the #8: from a team Chevy Dale Earnhardt Jr. press conference Transcript:
    IS IT SAD THAT THERE IS NO NUMBER EIGHT AT THE TRACK THIS WEEKEND? "I'm pretty sad, but I don't think it will be gone for long. I read a lot of the input that you guys (media) had all week and sort of got the temperature of what the press was thinking and what the fans were thinking. The one thing that I kept thinking about when I was reading those articles was how glad I was that Robert (Yates) and Doug (Yates) and everybody at Yates -- that they were willing to work with me on the 88 because I don't have any malice about what Teresa's (Earnhardt) decision was on keeping that number.
    "If I was in her shoes I probably would have done the exact same thing and that has been the case with every other owner in the past. That's what the understanding is that the number belongs to them and I understood that. I really wasn't as upset about it as a lot of people probably thought I was and it wasn't as ugly of a situation as a lot of people felt like it was. I was glad that I found Robert (Yates) and the guys willing to talk about the 88 because that was a number with a ton of history and something that I could really wrap my hands around and get excited about. The eight will be back and someone else will add to it and do something great with it and hopefully it's Ganassi and Teresa (Earnhardt). Hopefully they can get it back on the race track and I wouldn't ever count them out. It's a tough economy. I just wish them all the success and I wish that they will get that car funded to where Aric (Almirola) can get back on the race track, he's a super guy and needs to be out on the race track with us and I think it's small pieces to the puzzle really. I don't think it's something that's going to be permanent, hopefully."
    DO YOU THINK YOUR GRANDMA (MARTHA EARNHARDT) IS UPSET ABOUT THE NUMBER NOT BEING HERE? "No, not at all. She especially, we have been around this sport for a long time and you have to get used to change and I've worked with a lot of different people. Some I wish today I was still working with, but circumstances prevented that and you have to be able to let go of that and move on and try to do the best you can. That's the same way in every situation in this sport. Yes I wish I would have never had to have changed numbers -- I had to under the circumstances and I am happy to have the opportunity to use the 88 and I hope I do a good job with it for all the guys that have used it in the past. That's really the only thing that I think about right now. Having that number there's a little bit of responsibility with it because it was pretty historic so I must concentrate on that, you know?"(Chevy/GM PR)(4-18-2009)

  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Defends Embattled Crew Chief UPDATE: #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has become accustomed to the topic. It's been one of the primary debates in NASCAR for several years, but the heat has increased this season. Is the often-volatile working relationship between Earnhardt, Jr. and his cousin, Tony Eury, Jr. conducive to winning races? Eury serves as the crew chief on Earnhardt's #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy. The two often engage in animated discussions - even arguments - over the scanner during races. Entering Sunday's Food City 500, Earnhardt ranks 24th in Sprint Cup points with just one top-10 finish. Many of Earnhardt's loyal fans blame Eury. Earnhardt addressed his struggles as well as his relationship with his cousin during a wide-ranging press conference Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "I have said it a hundred times - and it just doesn't seem to make a dent - but the guy that I feel bad for is Tony, Jr. because he gets criticized so badly," Earnhardt said. "Everybody in this room - and some of you have criticized him yourselves - know how smart a guy he is. He is a good mechanic and a solid crew chief." Clearly, Earnhardt has become frustrated with the attacks on his cousin by fans and media types. "[Eury, Jr.] just wanted to do this for a living, just like I do, but I'll take the fall," Earnhardt said. "I would rather be crucified than him. Every time I read in the paper that people are on his case, I feel like I am sending my brother to jail for a crime I committed, you know what I mean. I feel bad for him because he just wants to work and have fun." As for the free-flowing chats with his crew chief, Earnhardt said it comes with the territory in a hyper-competitive and emotional sport. "There are riffs between every driver and every crew chief, and they work it out or they don't," Earnhardt said. "I think me and Tony, Jr. do a pretty good job of working it out. Obviously, through everything we have been through, we still love each other to death and would do anything for each other."(Bristol Herald Courier)(3-21-2009)
    UPDATE: Car owner Rick Hendrick says he is fully committed to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and embattled crew chief Tony Eury Jr. The team has been under fire for its slow start this season. Earnhardt last week asked for relief from the constant criticism Eury has faced from fans and media. Hendrick says the driver and crew chief were part of a three-hour meeting Wednesday to figure out what's wrong with the #88 team. He says the team is under great pressure, but everyone is committed to turning this season around. After five races, Earnhardt has just one top-10 finish and is 19th in the standings.(Associated Press)(3-25-2009)

  • JR Motorsports headed to Cup? On the surface the announcement that Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Mark Martin and Scott Wimmer would share a 21-race schedule for JR Mortorsports in the Nationwide Series was all about luring sponsorship. Not really. JR Motorsports announced on January 16th that Fastenal would be the primary sponsor for the No. 5 for 14 races before the driver lineup was nailed down. But having five drivers with 91 career Nationwide victories and a pair of titles doesn't hurt during tough economic times when sponsorship, particularly outside of NASCAR's primary series, is hard to find. It's also good for the series, which needs top Sprint Cup drivers to attract fans. Success in the series also could fast-forward JR Motorsports transitioning to a Cup team. Earnhardt said last season that with costs the way they are it makes sense to consider such a move if he can find the right sponsor and drive combination. He's said little about it since, and for now he's focused on the Nationwide program. "This #5 team carries a strong tradition and a lot of expectations and we are fortunate to attract such quality talent to help carry on that tradition," Earnhardt said. "We had a similar setup with this team last year and we were able to go to Victory Lane twice. Obviously with this driver lineup there's no reason we can't exceed last year's win total."(ESPN.com)(3-19-2009)

  • Dale Jr Foundation scheme: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to run a special Dale Earnhardt Jr Foundation scheme in the Sprint All-Star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 16th. See an image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(3-17-2009)

  • Dale Jr. leads BMS pts last 10 races: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. has scored the most points in the past 10 Sprint Cup races at Bristol Motor Speedway (1,468), 50 more than his closest competitor Kevin Harvick. He has posted seven top-10 finishes, including one victory, in the 10-race span.(3-17-2009)

  • Special scheme for Dale Jr at Richmond: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to drive a special scheme at Richmond in May, the National Guard "Drive the Guard" Scheme. See an image on my #88 Team Schemes page.(3-3-2009)

  • Hendrick engine problems caused by bad parts: Hendrick Motorsports officials say a bad batch of parts led to engine failures by #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #5-Mark Martin in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. "Both cars had valve train failures that were related to a specific batch of parts from a vendor," said Doug Duchardt, HMS' vice president of development. Duchardt said the parts were not restricted to use by Earnhardt and Martin, whose cars are prepared out of the same building. He said they also were used by Hendrick drivers #24-Jeff Gordon and #48-Jimmie Johnson, as well as lease programs such as Stewart-Haas Racing. Earnhardt finished 39th and Martin 40th after both lost their engines within 25 laps of each other. Gordon finished second and Johnson was ninth, combining to lead 138 of 250 laps. #14-Tony Stewart was eighth and led three laps. "So we're glad it wasn't more widespread," Duchardt said.(ESPN)(2-24-2009)

  • Dale Jr. running out of time for championship? #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is approaching a dangerous statistical marker as he enters his 10th season as a Sprint Cup driver. Only two Cup champions -- Bobby Allison in 1983 and Dale Jarrett in 1999 -- raced as long as Earnhardt has before they won their first title. It took Allison 18 years racing full time before he won his only championship, two weeks before turning 46. Jarrett did it in his 13th season, five days before he turned 44. Earnhardt is only 34, so time is on his side, but history isn't. Of all the drivers who have suited up as full-time competitors for 10 years or more, Allison and Jarrett are the only ones who became champions in their second decade of racing.(ESPN)(2-14-2009)

  • Get Well - Martha Earnhardt: Martha Earnhardt, mother of the late Dale Earnhardt and grandmother of Dale Jr., fell last Thursday in her Kannapolis, NC home and broke her left leg above the knee. Been told Mrs. Earnhardt is doing well but is in long for a long recovery. Martha and Carol Gordon Bickford [Jeff Gordon's Mom] are coming out with a new cookbook. For more info on the book, see my Racing Book News page.(2-2-2009)

  • Gossage and Dale Jr bury the hatchet: Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage said he and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. have buried the hatchet. The two men had a two-week disagreement and exchanged barbs over who needs to do more for the fans in tough economic times -- speedway executives or drivers. "Dale Jr. is doing all he can and we're doing all we can," Gossage said. "I talked to Junior's representatives [Saturday] and learned some things they were doing that most people don't know about." One of those things is lowering prices on some of Junior's merchandise items. Gossage said Friday that Earnhardt should be willing to reduce prices on his souvenir products after insisting speedways reduce tickets prices, which most have done. "I want to commend Dale Jr. for taking that step," Gossage said. "That shows a real commitment on his part, and I respect him for it. I learned they already had reduced prices on merchandise, just as we have reduced ticket prices and concession prices." During the NASCAR media tour in Charlotte two weeks ago, Gossage and other speedway executives suggested some Cup drivers should do more to help promote the sport. On Thursday, Earnhardt pointed out to my colleague, Ed Hinton, several examples of how he does more than his fair share, and said other drivers also go the extra mile. But he suggested speedways needed to do more. So Earnhardt and Gossage were accusing each other of not doing enough. But Gossage said they both have a new understanding now of their respective positions. "Earnhardt and I realize everyone has to do more to get through this," Gossage said. "He's setting an example for others to follow and being a true leader in the sport."(ESPN)(2-10-2009)

  • Hendrick presented with first chassis 'Dusty': Before "Blacker," the most successful car in Hendrick Motorsports history, and before "T-Rex," the Chevrolet that prompted NASCAR's sanctioning body to rewrite its chassis rules: There was Dusty. The Chevrolet Lumina was an original, integral piece in the chassis-building history of Hendrick Motorsports. But the rustic car is more than a footnote in the company annals. It represents the innovative approach and optimistic spirit that team owner Rick Hendrick still infuses into his employees. To commemorate the organization's 25th anniversary, the restored Dusty was presented to Hendrick at the company's season kickoff luncheon on Jan. 20. The car was painted silver and bears the single letter "H" in lieu of a number on the side. A small metal plate stamped with "HMS 001 Dusty" sits on the crossbar that goes through the passenger seat. When Dusty first was built in 1989, it didn't have a chassis number anywhere on it. The precise craftsmanship served as the signature mark on Hendrick Motorsports' initial stab at car building. Under the direction of Gary Dehart, the Lumina -- originally identified as "HMS 89-1 test" -- was to be used for testing purposes. See full story at the Hendrick Motorsports site.(1-28-2009)

  • Mountain Dew scheme for Dale Jr: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to run a Mountain Dew paint scheme at Darlington Raceway on May 9th. See an image on my #88 Team Schemes page.(1-20-2009)

  • Memphis offers Dale Jr. Ribs for Life UPDATE: Make no bones about it. Dale Earnhardt Jr. likes Memphis ribs. So much so that he has a steady supply FedEx'd to his new home in North Carolina. His affinity for the city's most sought-after cuisine was obvious during a repeat episode this month of MTV's Cribs. It is unclear, however, when Earnhardt Jr. developed this indulgence for Memphis barbeque. In his only race in Memphis, Earnhardt Jr. drove the #3 ACDelco car to a runner-up finish behind Jeff Green in the inaugural Sam's Town 250 on Oct. 31, 1999. He returned in 2003 for a Cup test session in the #8 Budweiser car. And his JR Motorsports teams have competed in the Nationwide Series event here for three years in a row, with a best finish of fifth by Shane Huffman in the #88 in 2006. In an attempt to entice Earnhardt Jr. back to the track, Memphis Motorsports Park is extending a standing offer of a lifetime supply of Memphis ribs in exchange for a one-time competitive run in the city's fall Nationwide Series race. With two locations in the Memphis area, Pig-N-Whistle is the Official Barbeque Restaurant of Memphis Motorsports Park. The NASCAR Nationwide Series returns to Memphis Motorsports Park on Oct. 23-24. For more information or to order season tickets, call toll-free 1-866-40-SPEED or visit MemphisMotorsportsPark.com.(Memphis Motorsports Park PR)(1-17-2009)
    UPDATE: from the 2009 NASCAR Preseason Thunder Daytona Fan Fest: Saturday news conference transcripts:
    Q. I have some oddball questions. Number one, how much do you like Memphis barbecue, and the second part of that is are you aware of their offer to you of a lifetime supply and have you thought at all about taking them up on their offer?
    DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: Well, I don't really have that much use for that much barbecue, but the who do you work for?
    Q. NASCAR Scene.
    DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: Just making sure you don't work for Memphis (laughter). I don't know, those kind of deals kind of get under your skin a little bit because obviously I haven't raced there since 1999, and I probably won't be going back there any time soon, and they just use my name to try to sell tickets and try to start some gimmick. They were saying in their press release that they watched a television show called Cribs where I talked about Memphis barbecue and I specifically pulled out the package of barbecue that I liked, and it's called Rendezvous and I mentioned that on the show. So they knew that Rendezvous, if anybody has ever been to Memphis and ate there, they know it's great barbecue ribs, so they know that that was my favorite. But they mentioned their track sponsored barbecue place so they got a plug for no damn reason, and Rendezvous who has been there forever doesn't get a word in.
    Q. Now they will.
    DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: Now they will (laughter). Well, if they give me some Rendezvous ribs and up the ante just a little more than just ribs, we might talk about it. I don't know, it was a little frustrating. I should probably just take it easy because I know they're just trying to do their job. But I would have it would have been cool to get a heads up that they were going to do that; hey, man, we're going to use your name in this instead of getting it sprung on you. Vegas did the same thing. What was the deal a couple years ago, Mike? Some ridiculous deal for them to try to get people to buy tickets. I told everybody to go buy tickets to Talladega. It's a hell of a better race (laughter). I don't want to sound like a jerk about it because I know that it's tough times right now, and we're they're definitely in between a rock and a hard place trying to get people to come out there and watch races, but I was really more upset for the guys at Rendezvous that have been around for years, and everybody knows that's the best place in Memphis, hands down. Everybody can read right through that article. Who here has been to Memphis? And you guys never ate Rendezvous ribs? All right, then you can attest. They are consistent.(NASCAR PR)(1-18-2009)

  • Hendrick drivers to pop up on Kellogg's breakfast pastry: Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are coming to a breakfast aisle near you during the 2009 Sprint Cup season. The Hendrick Motorsports drivers will be featured on Brown Sugar Cinnamon flavored Limited Edition NASCAR Printed-Fun Pop-Tarts. In addition to the drivers, the team paint schemes and hauler designs will be printed on the individual Pop-Tarts pastries, which are Kellogg's most popular morning food product. The limited edition Pop-Tarts also will include NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports and driver trivia questions. The Brown Sugar Cinnamon flavored Limited Edition NASCAR Printed-Fun Pop-Tarts will be available throughout the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season at major retail outlets nationwide.(Hendrick Motorsports PR) Martin is scheduled to run special Pop Tart's paint schemes at Las Vegas, Bristol in Aug, Richmond in Sept and Charlotte in Oct.(1-15-2009)

  • At this year's AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, thousands of members of JR Nation will see their names on Earnhardt's #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevy as part of the AMP Energy "Get on the 88" promotion. Race fans can enter by simply logging on to www.AMPEnergy.com. The first to sign up will see their names on Earnhardt's car and others will appear on the team's pit wall banner. Participants will be notified before the Nov. 1 race with a confirmation of where their names landed. This marks the second year of the hugely popular program. A brand new AMPEnergy.com Web site has been launched. The site features an online magazine with the latest content, events and experiences surrounding Earnhardt and AMP Energy Racing. Its dynamic content is constantly changing, and the integration of Twitter, YouTube and Flickr feeds provides up-to-the-second updates. Check out the new site, including the "Shotgun" video directed by Stacy Peralta, at www.AMPEnergy.com.(1-5-2009)

2008 News

    #88 UNOFFICIAL scheduled 2008 sponsor schedule - on the hood
    Feb 9 Bud Shootout/Daytona, National Guard
    Feb 17 Daytona - AMP Energy Drink
    Feb 24 California - AMP Energy Drink
    Mar 2 Las Vegas, National Guard
    Mar 9 Atlanta - AMP Energy Drink
    Mar 16 Bristol, National Guard
    Mar 30 Martinsville - AMP Energy Drink
    Apr 6 Texas, National Guard
    Apr 12 Phoenix, National Guard
    Apr 27 Talladega - AMP Energy Drink
    May 3 Richmond, National Guard
    May 10 Darlington - Mountain Dew Retro
    May 17 All-Star Challenge, LMS - National Guard Citizen Soldier
    May 25 Charlotte, National Guard
    Jun 1 Dover - AMP Energy Drink
    Jun 8 Pocono, National Guard
    Jun 15 Michigan - AMP Energy Drink
    Jun 22 Infineon - AMP Energy Drink
    Jun 29 New Hampshire, National Guard
    Jul 5 Daytona, National Guard Freedom
    Jul 12 Chicagoland - AMP Energy Drink
    Jul 27 Indianapolis, National Guard
    Aug 3 Pocono - AMP Energy Drink
    Aug 10 Watkins Glen, National Guard
    Aug 17 Michigan, National Guard
    Aug 23 Bristol - AMP Energy Drink
    Aug 31 California - AMP Energy Drink
    Sep 6 Richmond - AMP Energy Drink
    Sep 14 New Hampshire - AMP Energy Drink
    Sep 21 Dover, National Guard
    Sep 28 Kansas, National Guard
    Oct 5 Talladega - AMP Energy Drink/Ride with Junior
    Oct 11 Charlotte - AMP Energy Drink
    Oct 19 Martinsville - AMP Energy Drink
    Oct 26 Atlanta, National Guard
    Nov 2 Texas - AMP Energy Drink
    Nov 9 Phoenix - AMP Energy Drink
    Nov 16 Homestead, National Guard

  • HMS Holdings suing DEI over engines UPDATE 2:: HMS Holdings, which operates the Hendrick Motorsports engine shop, is suing Dale Earnhardt Inc. for $1.5 million for the payment of a termination fee stemming from a contract to supply Hendrick engines to Ginn Racing. Ginn Racing, which also is a defendant in the suit filed Friday in North Carolina Superior Court, merged with DEI in July 2007. As part of the merger, DEI and Ginn Racing signed a termination agreement to a contract that was originally signed by Ginn in 2006. The termination agreement required payments to HMS of $1.754 million by July 31, 2007, and $1.5 million by Nov. 15, 2008, according to the suit. The first payment was made on time. The second payment has not been made, according to the suit. The original engine contract and termination agreement are not included in the suit, so it is unclear how much Ginn was paying to use Hendrick engines. HMS is asking for the $1.5 million, 12% interest and an additional $225,000. Hendrick Motorsports spokesman Jesse Essex said the company is looking forward to a swift resolution of the lawsuit. Dale Earnhardt Inc. Vice President John Story said the company has no comment.(SceneDaily)(11-25-2008)
    UPDATE - engines cost $12.8M base: If you're looking to lease engines from Hendrick Motorsports for a NASCAR operation, you'd better be prepared to open up your wallet. A legal battle being played out in North Carolina courts is offering rare insight into the usually secretive world of the sport's finances as the Hendrick operation seeks compensation from the Ginn Racing team that wound up as part of Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2007. According to a contract filed as part of the case, the Hendrick engine lease agreement with Ginn Racing called for Ginn to pay a base rent of $12.8 million in 2007 and $13.7 million in 2008 to lease engines for its three Sprint Cup teams and one team in what is now the Nationwide Series. The fee covered Cup engines for 36 race events and up to nine tests or special events and Nationwide engines for 35 events, according to the contract filed as part of a lawsuit by HMS Holdings against Ginn Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. over the termination fees resulting from the Ginn-DEI merger in July 2007.(Scene Daily)(12-20-2008)
    UPDATE 2: DEI claims that former NASCAR team owner Bobby Ginn is responsible for paying off any termination fees of Ginn Racing's engine leasing contract with Hendrick Motorsports. Both DEI and Ginn have been sued by Hendrick in North Carolina Superior Court over $1.5 million in fees that Hendrick claims is owed under the termination agreement signed when DEI bought Ginn Racing in July 2007. In its response to the suit filed Dec. 22, DEI claims that DEI and Ginn have a signed agreement that DEI would not be responsible for any claims or payments under the engine lease termination agreement. DEI asks the court to rule that Ginn is responsible for any payments. Ginn has not yet responded to the suit.(SceneDaily)(12-30-2008)

  • Earnhardt laps field in consumer index: #99-Carl Edwards and #48-Jimmie Johnson made gains, but #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. remained the runaway leader in the Davie Brown Index, which quantifies an athlete's relevance to consumer behavior. In polling of avid NASCAR fans conducted after the 2008 season by the Charlotte-based Millsport sports marketing agency, Earnhardt ranked first in awareness and nine "attribute" categories: appeal, notice, trend-setter, influence, trust, endorsement, aspiration, exposure and passion. The DBI also is used to quantify Hollywood celebrities, and Millsport vice president Ken Cohn says Earnhardt is creating a separation from other drivers unlike any celebrity the agency has seen. "Avid fans are at least 20% more passionate about Junior," Cohn says. Rounding out the top five in overall scores were #8-Mark Martin, #20-Tony Stewart, #31-Jeff Burton and Johnson, who advanced two spots from a NASCAR DBI survey in the spring that also was led by Earnhardt. Edwards, who finished second in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series, jumped 14 spots to sixth overall, ahead of #24-Jeff Gordon, #43-Bobby Labonte, #9-Kasey Kahne and #45-Kyle Petty.(USA Today)(12-18-2008)

  • Wrangler continues relationship with Dale Jr.: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will stay comfortable and stylish during 2009 with a continued relationship with the Wrangler brand. Today, the denim giant proudly announced it will once again be the official jean of Dale Earnhardt Jr. for a sixth consecutive year. Earnhardt Jr. will continue to be featured across a range of high-profile consumer promotions and Wrangler marketing initiatives.(Wrangler PR)(12-11-2008)

  • Most Popular Driver = Dale Jr.: NASCAR fans across the nation have once again made a statement about their favorite driver.  After tallying over one million votes, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the recipient of the 2008 NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver Award.  Throughout the race season, fans voted daily