see my Dale Earnhardt Tribute Page about the death of Dale Earnhardt
Contract Status: Driver: 2017; Primary Sponsors: National Guard - 2014; AMP/Diet Mtn Dew - 2014
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."
Q) DID HE SURPRISE YOU WITH HIS MOVE INSIDE?
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."
Q) HE SAID HE WAS HAVING FUN WHEN HE HIT YOU ON THE BACKSTRETCH. I ASSUME YOU DIDN'T THINK IT WAS FUNNY.
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."
Q) DALE JUNIOR SAID THERE WILL BE A LOT OF WRECKING IN THE 500 BECAUSE THE SIDE DRAFT STALLS THE CARS OUT. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT?
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)
#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:
Q) FANS AND PEOPLE IN THE INDUSTRY SEEM VERY CONCERNED THAT YOU HAVEN'T ANNOUNCED ANY SORT OF SPONSORSHIP FOR THE RACES THAT ARE STILL OPEN. ARE YOU CONCERNED AT ALL?
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:
Q) ALL THINGS SEEM TO INDICATE THAT THE NO. 3 CAR WILL RETURN IN CUP NEXT YEAR. OBVIOUSLY WE HAVE SEEN IT RUN IN OTHER SERIES. WHAT WILL IT MEAN TO SEE IT IN CUP NEXT YEAR AT THIS TRACK?
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:
Q) HOW DISAPPOINTING IS IT TO BE RUNNING UP FRONT WHEN AN ENGINE LET'S GO?
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."
Q) WAS THERE ANY WARNING WHEN THE ENGINE LET GO?
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."
Q) YOU TALKED QUITE AWHILE WITH YOUR CREW CHIEF ONCE YOU CLIMBED OUT OF THE CAR. WHAT WERE YOU DISCUSSING?
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 Earnhardt 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:
Q) WHAT HAPPENED?
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."
Q) WILL YOU GO TO BED A LITTLE WORRIED TONIGHT?
Earnhardt Jr: "No, it's just part of racing."
Q) IS THIS ANY SORT OF A SETBACK?
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."
Q) DID YOU HAVE ANY WARNING THAT IT WAS GOING?
Earnhardt Jr: "No."
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)
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, goto garryhill.com.(2-16-2005)
Born in MARCH
8 Buddy Barnes, Mark Green, Wendy Calkins, Ronnie Thomas, Mark Smith, Kirk Shelmerdine, Frank Parrish
9 Jeanne Barnes, Kevin Graves, Fred Bickford, Wilma Blevins, Danny Sullivan
10 Matt Kenseth, Mike Wallace, Roy McCauley, Ginny McClure, Kelly Denton, Randy Biggs, Louis Ossinsky Sr
11 Kathy Cindric, Albert Garwood, Derek Daly, Troy Ruttman
12 Lynne Garrow, Casey Mears, John Andretti, Red Byron, Terri Brooks, Lorrie Earp
13 Jeff Spraker
14 Artie Kempner, Aric Almirola, Albert Einstein, Kristen Yeley, Tina Gordon, Harold E. Holly Jr., David Poole, Lee Petty, Bill Rexford
15 Andy Graves
16 Jay Guarneri, Kevin Cywinski, Troy Andrews, Katrina Spencer, Wes Adams
17 Tom 'Tiger' Pistone, Gloria Lewis, Dee Eolin, Doug Rice
18 Mark Donohue, Ryan Truex, Alex Garcia, Jack Smith, Derrick Gilchrist
19 Brian Burns, Wyatt Dallenbach, Chris Graves, Tom Umscheid
20 Jeff Thousand, Mike Messick Jr.
21 Larry McClure, Fonty Flock, Jeff Krogh, Bob Hayden, Joe Menzer, Mike Moore
22 Marianne Fairlie, Billy Hagan, Pam Miller, Todd Trickle, Ronald Hayden, Eric Bilyeu, Mike Bodick, Jerry Wittig, Randy Heffner, Darrel Haskins, Tim Harrison
23 Andrew Fairlie, Erin Crocker, Mike McCarthy, Wes Adams, chaplain Tim Griffin, Johnny Beauchamp
24 Jimmy Makar, Brenda Young, Jim Makar, Austin Petty, Scott Pruett
25 Peg Adamczyk, Danica Patrick, Dave Moody, Donnie Disharoon, Justin Marks, John Ray, Doyle Ford, Bobby Calkins, Aaron Eaton, Tortuga Twins
26 Nathaniel O'Hare, Nina Feeney, Austin Green, Doug Williams, Natalee Jarrett, Dan Ford, Blaise Alexander
27 Cale Yarborough, Andy Hall, Maurice Petty, Keith Wilson, Jeff Fuller, Bob Kelly, Rodney Combs, Gary DeHart
28 Shelby Pressley, Chris Meyers, Peter Jellen
29 Kim Wood Hall, Jamie DiPietro, Carole Houchins, Olivia Andretti
30 Pam Bickford
31 Angus Young, Richard Jackson, Scott Houston, Dana White, Rocky Ryan
Born in APRIL
1 David Gilliland, Ruben Garcia, Kim Irvan
2 Sam Johns, Dan Pardus, Ricky Hendrick
3 The Garrow's, Speedy Thompson, Shorty Rollins, Jeff Wernham
4 Bill France Jr., Justin Diercks, Robert Richardson, Scott Brzozowski
5 Mike Bliss, Buffy Waltrip, Brandy Wallace, Eric Kerley
6 Ken Bouchard, Jeffrey Overcash, Chris Carrier, Ramo Stott, Herb Thomas, George Elliott
7 MRO's Billy Mauldin, Loy Allen Jr., Chandler Parrott, Brittany Elliott, Russell Crowe, Bill Carpenter
8 Matt Yocum, Bill Fleischman, Monte Dutton, Butch Mock, Junie Donlavey, Eddie Wood, Robert Pressley, Mark Green, Kathy Ehret, Connie Champion
9 Suzanne Belber, Ed Schafer, Jacques Villeneuve, Jamie Little, Chuck White, Hunter Nicole Dodson, Richard Brown
10 John Dowd, Steve Bisciotti, Kasey Kahne, Robby Pearson, Neil Castles Jr., D.K. Ulrich, Tom Dignan Sr
11 Karsyn Jarrett, Bass Master, Al Keller
12 Mike Calinoff, Tim McCreadie, Lori Lucus, Richard Hutcherson Jr., Bob Strait, Duane Cross, Curtis Turner
13 Dr. Joe Mattioli, Dalton Buice, Dan Gurney, Mike Ford, Jessica Punch
14 Tony Raines, Steve Byrnes
15 Bobby Hutchens, Marty Smith, Kevin Conway, Jason Rudd, Brian Holshouser