see my Dale Earnhardt Tribute Page about the death of Dale Earnhardt
Contract Status: (if known)
Driver: 2017; Primary Sponsors: Nationwide 2017; Diet Mountain Dew 2015; Kelley Blue Book 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:
ON BEING TOO LOW FOLLOWING POST QUALIFYING INSPECTION FOR THE DAYTONA 500:
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)(1-17-2014)
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. 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)
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)
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:
Q) WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES AND FUTURE PLANS FOR JR MOTORSPORTS WITH REGAN SMITH STAYING AT LEAST THROUGH NEXT YEAR? HAVE YOUR PLANS CHANGED? IS IT EVOLVING AND WILL WE SEE DIFFERENT THINGS THERE? WHAT DO YOU LOOK AHEAD TOWARDS?
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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:
Q) FROM EVERYTHING I UNDERSTAND YOU ARE A PRETTY FRUGAL GUY SO COULD YOU EVER IMAGINE IF YOU WERE EVER TO GET MARRIED THAT YOU WOULD SPEND TWO MILLION DOLLARS LIKE THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER SAYS THAT YOU ARE GOING TO BE DOING LATER THIS YEAR?
Earnhardt Jr.: "I definitely would have a hard time writing that check (laughter)."
Q) WOULD YOU DO IT AT DAYTONA?
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."
Q) DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE GETTING MARRIED?
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)
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)
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)
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 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)
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)
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)
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)
Born to Win Print..by Garry Hill:
Dale Earnhardt Jr. In The #8 Dale Earnhardt Inc.
Chevy Takes The Checkered Flag In The
46th Running Of The Daytona 500
"The Great American Race" February 15, 2004
It is with great excitement that we [Garry Hill] present "Born To Win". The artwork captures Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s historic victory in the 2004 Daytona 500,"The Great American Race". 500 prints and 50 artist's proof prints have been produced, each signed and numbered by NASCAR licensed artist Garry Hill. 100 Prints And 50 Artist's Proof Prints are Being Hand Signed By Winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. More info and to see the print, go to garryhill.com.(2-16-2005)
Richmond International Raceway
Happy Hour Practice:
Friday, April 24, 2015, 1:00 pm/et
TV: FoxSports1 (FS1) 1:00pm/et
Born in APRIL
21 Bill Ingle, Bruce Silver, Bob Varsha, Greg Zipadelli, Ralph Seagraves
22 Wesley Gantt, Stella Paysor, Raygan Swan
23 U.S. Army Reserve, Brian Whitesell, Jason Keller, Phil Gould, Joe Keller, Skip Manning, Terry Glotzbach, P.J. Jones, Tommy Croft, Charles Gafrarar, William Shakespeare, Jacob Meetze
24 Hermie Sadler, Paul Wolfe, Harrill Hamrick, Stephanie Hillin, Amanda Lorenzen
25 Alex Bowman, Jason Lee, Alkie Cunningham
26 Martha Oliver, Jimmy Kitchens, Charles Moles
27 Shelly Bose, Jason Haynes, Austin Dillon, Jason Sheets
28 Tyler Hmiel, Jeff Neuendorf, Zach Case
29 Dale Earnhardt, Larry Frank, Angie Skinner, Chad Little, Jerry Schweitz, Alexandria Fennig
30 Michael Waltrip, Elliott Sadler, Andy Hillenburg, Joe Millikan, Amelia Joy Smith, Chris Browning, Ashton Glover, Frank Kimmel
Born in MAY
1 Randy Dorton, Johnny Sauter, Jimmy Parrott
2 Ed "Uncle Bud" Adamczyk, Kyle Busch
3 Greg Ely
4 Randy Tolsma, Bobby Burrell, Jennifer Eolin, Amanda Ebersole, Mike Thomas
5 Larry Pollard, Bob Welborn
6 Mike Borkowski, Tammy Jo Kirk, Jeff Hancock, Dean Mozingo, Gina Henson
7 Dave Steele, Danny O'Quinn Jr.
8 Bobby Labonte, Nathan Buttke, Don Hume, Jay Stewart, Judy Childress
9 Tim Fedewa, Scott Page
10 Amelia Andretti, Andy Rueger
11 Glenn Bobo, Tim Flock, NASCAR Hall of Fame
12 Jabe Thomas, Debra Adamczyk
13 Rich Bickle, Scott Eggleston, Bob Kennedy, Jim Spencer, Linda McReynolds, Kirk Almquist, Maggie Feeney Rossi
14 Steve Letarte, Bill Brooks, Dave Munari, Danielle Del Corio, Scott Lynch
15 Shane Hmiel, John Hubner
16 Josh Walker
17 Mike Shiplett, Craig Ferguson, Kevin Pennell
18 Mike Motil
19 Jody Ridley, Dario Franchitti, Danny Culler
20 Tony Stewart, Dave Despain, Steve Portenga, Mike Stefanik, Eric Norris, AJ Heister, Les Huntley
21 Cotton Owens, Mark Muller, Jeff Meendering, Brandon McReynolds, Rodney Fetters, Nathan McGuire
22 Jay Guy, Joey Knuckles, Janice Almirola
23 Kerry Tharp, Harvey Walters, Wally Dallenbach Jr
24 Joey Logano, Ricky Craven, Chip Ganassi, Lesa France Kennedy, Amy Rice, Brent Sherman, Colt Hammond, Tommy Chong, Jack Smith
25 Bud Moore, Paul Andrews, A.J. Foyt IV, Spenny Clendenen, Ross Kenseth, Kevin Hulstein, Smokey Yunick
26 Stacy Compton, Adam Gravitt, Kenny Trout
27 April Horner, Jeremy Mayfield, Dick Berggren, Van Colley, John Bickford, Carol Einarsson
28 Ray Fox, Butch Stevens, Marvin Panch, Dan E. Donnely, Ron Lemasters Jr., David Joy, Michael Klein
29 Joe Weatherly, Ken Schrader, Bobby Hamilton, Al Unser, Jimmy Means, Todd Berrier, John F. Kennedy, Germán Quiroga, Steve Allen, Kaye Jenkins, Jessica Taylor
30 Clint Bowyer, Erik Jones, Reagan Page, Gale Wilson
31 Jerry 'Dad' Adamczyk, Jack Baldwin, Gayle Barnwell, Pat Calkins, Charlie Lewis, Krista Voda, Faith Anne Yeley