TaxSlayer.com [1 race] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following races in 2016:
Daytona, Sprint Limited* - 2/13
Nationwide Insurance [21 + 1 races] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following races in 2016:
Daytona, Budweiser Duel* - 2/18
Daytona - 2/21
Atlanta - 2/28
Las Vegas - 3/6
Auto Club - 3/20, Batman
Martinsville - 4/3
Texas - 4/9
Bristol - 4/17
Talladega - 5/1
Dover - 5/15
Charlotte - 5/29
Daytona - 7/2
Kentucky - 7/9
New Hampshire - 7/17
Pocono - 7/31
Darlington - 9/4
New Hampshire - 9/25
Dover - 10/2
Kansas - 10/16
Martinsville - 10/30
Texas - 11/6
Phoenix - 11/13
Axalta [13 races] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following races in 2016:
Phoenix - 3/13
Kansas - 5/7
Pocono - 6/5
Michigan - 6/12
Sonoma - 6/26
Indy - 7/24
Watkins Glen - 8/7
Bristol - 8/20
Michigan - 8/28
Richmond - 9/10
Chicago - 9/18
Charlotte - 10/8
Homestead - 11/20
Mountain Dew [2 + 1 races] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following races in 2016:
Richmond - 4/23
Charlotte, All-Star race* - 5/21
Talladega - 10/23
see Jayski.com's Dale Earnhardt Tribute Page about the death of Dale Earnhardt
Contract Status: (if known)
Driver: 2017; Primary Sponsors: Nationwide 2017; Axalta 2018; Diet Mountain Dew/AMP 2016; Kelley Blue Book 2015
Earnhardt, Jr's car chief delivers his own daughter: When you sign up to be the car chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. 's #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, there's quite a bit of understood pressure that comes along with the job. Sometimes there's even more pressure that comes along with being a husband, as Travis Mack learned early Wednesday morning. According to Mhis Twitter account, Mack, who heads into his second season as Earnhardt's car chief under crew chief Greg Ives, delivered his own baby girl at 3:15 a.m. in his home bathroom. "I delivered my baby girl at 3:15 this morning in our bathroom! Amazing experience. #GodIsGood My Wife is so strong." Mack tweeted.(NASCAR.com)(2-4-2016)
Retirement not on the radar for Earnhardt Jr.: Despite his peers Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart announcing their own retirements, #88-Dale Earnhardt's improvement on the track makes it difficult to answer one of the biggest questions that confronts the 41-year-old driver: When will he hang up his fire suit for good? For Earnhardt, it's a delicate balance. "I don't want to be here too long, (but) I don't want to (retire) too early," Earnhardt said. " You want to feel like the time's right. "(Gordon and Stewart) felt like the time was right. And hopefully I'm in the same position. I've said before, that you want it to be your decision. You don't want to be fired out of the sport. You want it to be on your terms." Earnhardt's own terms deem that the retirement process also be steady, well thought-out -- he wants to avoid saying "what if?" when the curtain does eventually fall. "I'd be a fool to turn this off right now," Earnhardt said. "To slow down this machine would take about a two-year plan. I will talk to Jeff and I'll talk to Tony about how they went about that decision and structured it. "But I can't even imagine when that would be because things are going so well ... We've got a job to do. Every year we keep getting better, we're racing better, we're winning. I feel like I've got to be here in that next step. If it flat lines, or I feel like I've flat lined or I feel like I'm part of the problem or I'm holding the team back, then we've got to start thinking about it. But everything's going in the right direction right now." The day Earnhardt decides to step aside from racing is yet to be determined. But it doesn't appear to be happening any time soon.(NASCAR.com)(1-23-2016)
Hero Face Off: #48 and #88 cars to feature Batman and Superman UPDATE: images started popping up on some websites (then were taken down) but lived on Twitter. The images were grainy images of the #48-Lowes / Superman and #88 Nationwide / Batman schemes. Hendrick Motorsports tweeted that "The masks will come off Jan. 19." Also Lowe's Racing and Nationwide each made a tweet on the subject. The images can be seen on the #48 Team Schemes page and the #88 Team Schemes page.(1-18-2016)
UPDATE: Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) and 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports today unveiled the latest pairing in their ongoing partnership, featuring two special paint schemes for drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson, to promote the upcoming and highly anticipated Warner Bros. Pictures film "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." Batman will be represented on Earnhardt's #88 Nationwide Batman Chevy and Superman will be featured on Johnson's #48 Lowe's Superman Chevy when the teammates square off during the March 20 Auto Club 500 Sprint Cup Series race in Fontana, CA. The "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" paint schemes were co-developed by Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Hendrick Motorsports. Earnhardt's paint scheme will showcase the Batman emblem and textures of the Caped Crusader's suit, while Johnson's car will feature the iconic S-shield and Superman suit textures. Additionally, Earnhardt and Johnson will wear custom-designed fire suits during the race weekend that feature the respective Super Hero logos.
"Hendrick Motorsports is the ultimate team in racing, with championship-caliber drivers and a proven track record of success, and we are thrilled to continue working with them to build out innovative activations that pair their drivers with the world's most recognized Super Heroes," said Dave Hedrick, senior vice president, Global Promotions, Branded Foods, Studio Licensing, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. "Fans of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson will love seeing their heroes face off as they take on the personas of DC Comics' legendary characters from 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.'"
Hendrick Motorsports, along with its partners Nationwide and Lowe's, have also teamed with WBCP to create "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" at-track activations for fans of all ages during the California race weekend. In addition to giveaways and themed activities, select costumes from the film will be on display. Licensed merchandise featuring the "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" paint schemes for the #48 and #88 cars will be available at participating retailers and online beginning Jan. 22.
"Nationwide is excited to join forces with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Batman, two iconic figures in their respective worlds, to create this incredible duo," said Mike Boyd, Nationwide's senior vice president of marketing. "We're looking forward to seeing our #88 Nationwide Batman paint scheme on the track and are sure it will be big fun for millions of race and Batman fans alike." As part of its involvement, Nationwide is offering one lucky fan a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the premiere of the film. The prize package includes airfare, lodging, two tickets to Sunday's race, a meet-and-greet opportunity with Earnhardt, two tickets to the red carpet premiere and more. Fans can visit nationwidebatman88.com to enter the contest.
"Jimmie has long been a Super Hero to the 265,000 Lowe's employees nationwide," said Lawrence Lobpries, Lowe's vice president of consumer marketing. "In addition to putting a bold, unique paint scheme featuring Superman, one of the world's greatest Super Heroes, in front of our passionate Team 48 fans, this partnership allows us to engage a new audience by bringing the thrill and action of the movie and NASCAR to our stores across the country."
On March 24, the eve of the "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" release, Lowe's stores nationwide will host a free Superman-themed Build and Grow clinic, where families can build a wooden replica of Johnson's Superman race car. Parents can register their children at lowes.com/buildandgrow beginning in March.
Announced in 2014, WBCP and Hendrick Motorsports are engaged in an ongoing strategic partnership to build on- and off-track programs teaming star drivers Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott, Johnson and Earnhardt with the most recognized characters in DC Comics Super Hero lore. Team partners have exclusive opportunities to align with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Comics-inspired releases. Collaborations have since taken place around Sprint Cup events at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Michigan International Speedway.
"Delivering more value to our relationships is something we think about every single day," said Patrick Perkins, Hendrick Motorsports' vice president of marketing. "The ability to bring together tremendous partners like Lowe's and Nationwide and align them with arguably the year's biggest action adventure film is an extraordinary opportunity. It creates ways to excite and entertain our current fans, reach new audiences and build special programs around everything from licensed merchandise to sweepstakes. When we began working with DC Entertainment, this is exactly the type of program we all envisioned, and we're proud to be involved."(Hendrick Motorsports)(1-19-2016)
WIX Filters joins Hendrick as technical partner: WIX Filters has joined Hendrick Motorsports as a key technical partner with an agreement that will supply innovative filtration products and provide critical development support to the 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions through 2019. With a four-year pact, WIX's air and oil filters will be used in competition by the four Sprint Cup Series teams of Hendrick Motorsports with drivers Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Its logo will be featured on team equipment, transporters and underneath the hood of Hendrick Motorsports' Chevrolet SS race cars. "Since the early 1960s when Richard Petty began using our filters, generations of motor sports champions have driven to victory lane with WIX," said Jennifer Gibson, brand manager for WIX Filters. "Adding a team like Hendrick Motorsports only further positions us as the number-one filter in motor sports, and we couldn't be more excited to see what that means on the track this season."(Hendrick Motorsports)(1-19-2016)
Mountain Dew sponsoring Earnhardt, Kahne, Elliott: Fans will be seeing a lot more Mountain Dew at the racetrack starting this season. Thanks to a three-year extension of PepsiCo's longstanding partnership with 11-time Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports, Mountain Dew is continuing as a primary sponsor of #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and welcoming drivers #5-Kasey Kahne and #24-Chase Elliott to its lineup beginning in 2016. The next phase of PepsiCo's racing program comes after 15 seasons of partnership with Hendrick Motorsports, including eight years of Earnhardt paired with Mountain Dew. In an unprecedented move, 2016 marks the first time the DEW brand will field a three-driver lineup. Mountain Dew will be primary sponsor of Earnhardt's #88 Chevrolet SS team for three races each season through 2018. Alongside him will be Elliott, whose #24 team will feature Mountain Dew as primary sponsor in two races annually. Kahne's #5 Chevy will have Mountain Dew as a primary sponsor in one race per year. All three teams will also showcase DEW as an associate-level sponsor. More details about the partnership and the 2016 race schedule will be shared in the coming weeks.(Hendrick Motorsports)(1-16-2016)
Grubb talks about leaving Gibbs: Darian Grubb told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Thursday that he was surprised that he wasn't back as #19-Carl Edwards' crew chief at Joe Gibbs Racing. "I guess fifth in points just wasn't good enough in some people's eyes and five points away from running (for the title at) Homestead," Grubb said on the show "Tradin' Paint." Grubb said he was told during last year's Chase that changes could be coming, nearly mirroring a situation he had in 2011. He was told during that year's Chase that he would not return as Tony Stewart's crew chief. Grubb then went on to help Stewart win the title, beating Edwards. "I was somewhat surprised," Grubb said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio about finding out his position could be in jeopardy last year at JGR. "The first conversation I had was one weekend of the Chase I was told at that point that I needed to get nine more solid weeks in, and I was like 'I've been through this before.' Last time it was six weeks. This time was nine. I knew something was going to come up with the change. I knew I was going to be making some changes. I didn't know what it was going to be. Then went on and found out it wasn't going to be a crew chief position, so I had to explore some options." Joe Gibbs Racing replaced Grubb with Dave Rogers, who moved over from #11-Denny Hamlin's team. Hamlin's new crew chief is Mike Wheeler. Those moves led Grubb, who has 23 career Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, back to Hendrick Motorsports. Grubb's new role is as vehicle production director at Hendrick Motorsports. He'll have responsibility for production operations in the chassis and body groups and work alongside technical director Kenny Francis.(NBC Sports)(1-8-2016)
Darian Grubb returns to Hendrick Motorsports: Hendrick Motorsports has named Darian Grubb to the newly created role of vehicle production director, where he will oversee every aspect of race car manufacturing for the 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions, effective immediately. Grubb, 40, assumes responsibility for production operations in the Hendrick Motorsports chassis and body groups. He will work alongside vehicle technical director Kenny Francis to support and grow the company's overall car development capabilities while collaborating across vehicle engineering, vehicle production and four Sprint Cup teams. Both Grubb and Francis report to general manager Doug Duchardt.
"We're excited to welcome Darian back to Hendrick Motorsports," Duchardt said. "His résumé speaks for itself, and he already has a deep understanding of our people, processes and culture. Teaming him with Kenny on our vehicle efforts mirrors the management structure of our engine operation, which has been very effective, and it adds more depth to the organization as a whole. Darian brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, and we know he will make us stronger."
A native of Floyd, Virginia, with a mechanical engineering degree from Virginia Tech, Grubb originally joined Hendrick Motorsports from Petty Enterprises in January 2003. He served as lead race engineer for the #48 Sprint Cup team from 2003-2006 and was interim crew chief during the first four races of its 2006 championship-winning campaign, leading Jimmie Johnson to a pair of victories, including the Daytona 500.
Grubb earned one win as crew chief for driver Casey Mears (#25 Chevy) in 2007 before being named engineering manager for the #5 and #88 Hendrick Motorsports teams for 2008. In 2009, he moved into a crew chief role at Stewart-Haas Racing, where in three seasons he won 11 races and the 2011 Sprint Cup championship with #14-Tony Stewart. Grubb then joined Joe Gibbs Racing, winning nine races with multiple drivers from 2012-2015. As a crew chief, he has 23 career Sprint Cup victories.
"It means a lot to come back to Hendrick Motorsports," Grubb said. "This is a role that will allow me to contribute to the success of the entire organization, which was very important to me. Kenny is someone I greatly respect, so the chance to work side-by-side with him was a big factor. Everything is familiar, and I think that will make for a smooth transition. The more we talked about the opportunity, the more it felt right. I'm ready to get started."(Hendrick Motorsports)(1-4-2015)
Dale Jr. heads to TaxSlayer Bowl UPDATE: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will once again head to the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. to participate in the coin toss to begin Saturday's [Jan 2nd] game between the Georgia Bull Dogs and Penn State Nittany Lions. TaxSlayer.com is beginning its seventh year as a sponsor at JR Motorsports and will extend that relationship to the Sprint Cup Series with Hendrick Motorsports in 2016. "I enjoy working with TaxSlayer and I think it's neat where we cross promote and sort of mix the two together where their involvement with the Bowl brings me to the Bowl," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I get to enjoy that experience. I had never been to any college games in my life until I started going to the TaxSlayer Bowl, even being a fan of the sport. It's fun for me and we are typically in the neighborhood that time of year being on vacation."(MRN)(1-2-2016)
UPDATE: It may be the NASCAR offseason, but Hendrick Motorsports and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were busy this weekend, taking part in the Tax Slayer Bowl between Penn State and Georgia on Saturday afternoon. The #88 TaxSlayer.com Chevy was on hand for fan photos, while Earnhardt took part in a Q&A outside the Jacksonville, Florida stadium. Prior to the game, Earnhardt took in the attention before driving onto the field to perform the opening coin toss.(FoxSports)(1-3-2016)
#88 team gets new chief engineer: Hendrick Motorsports confirmed the hiring of Tim O'Brien as the new engineer of the #88 Chevy for Dale Earnhardt Jr next season. O'Brien joined Hendrick in late November after a stint at Michael Waltrip Racing, which included serving as the lead engineer for the #55 Toyota this season. The Fort Wayne, Indiana native joined MWR and driver Clint Bowyer in 2012 after a healthy tenure at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates from 2005 to 2011. He earned a mechanical engineering degree from Purdue University and soon joined Ganassi's IndyCar program before leaping to his XFINITY Series program with driver Reed Sorenson. He has worked alongside veteran crew chief Brian Pattie for the past 10 seasons. O'Brien replaces Kevin Meendering who left HMS for a crew chief role at JR Motorsports and driver Elliott Sadler next season.(Catchfence)(12-15-2015)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. wins Most Popular Driver Award: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. collected his 13th consecutive NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver award Friday during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' annual Awards Ceremony held at the Wynn Las Vegas. Earnhardt is the only driver to have won the award since 16-time winner Bill Elliott was named the recipient at the conclusion of the 2002 season. Earnhardt was awarded the trophy and the National Motorsports Press Association will donate $10,000 in Earnhardt's name to the charity of his choice. NASCAR fans cast 410,000 votes during the year's 11-week voting window that ended with the Sprint Cup Series finale race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22. The NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver award completed its 63rd season, making it one of the oldest awards presented in NASCAR. The fan-driven contest is the only major award in NASCAR determined solely by race fans. "NASCAR fans are the greatest in all of sports," said NMPA President Brian Nelson, "and I'm delighted that Sprint and the NMPA have given them an opportunity to voice their support. The fans spoke loud and clear, and it's obvious they support Dale Jr." Voting totals increased 14 percent over 2014 in spite of a shorter voting window, and more than 40 Sprint Cup Series drivers received one or more votes this season. Race fans were encouraged to vote daily online and using the NASCAR Mobile app. "It is our duty as an organization to provide NASCAR fans with the best possible platform in which to participate, and to provide them with the best possible experience," said Nelson. The award is sponsored by Sprint, the entitlement sponsor and official wireless partner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.(NMPA)(12-5-2015)
Dale Jr.'s wedding will be after 2016 season: Dale Earnhardt Jr. won't be having a June 2016 wedding. Although NASCAR's Most Popular Driver tried to use his influence with the sanctioning body to expedite the release of the 2016 Sprint Cup schedule to select a date for his upcoming nuptials, Earnhardt and his fiancee Amy Reimann are likely looking at a winter wedding. "We haven't set a date," Earnhardt told Motorsport.com. "We know what time of year we want to do it - and it's probably going to be in next year's off-season. We have a long-time to plan things out. We've just kind of small-talked some venues - where and when - but we haven't sat down and talked about real plans. We've got to start soon though because it's going to be here before you know it. We were thinking about doing it next summer but then the schedule changes every year and we didn't want the race to fall on our anniversary. So we're going to do it in the off-season so we'll have the opportunity to celebrate it however we want."(Motorsport)(12-5-2016)
Hendrick Motorsports receives MAHLE Engine Builder of the Year Award: The NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers 2015 Awards Luncheon was a big one for Hendrick Motorsports. First, Jeff Gordon was presented with the very first Chevrolet Lifetime Achievement Award. #88 crew chief Greg Ives was then named the MOOG Steering and Suspension Problem Solver of the Year. In between both awards, Hendrick Motorsports was honored with the MAHLE Engine Builder of the Year Award for the 19th time. In particular, engine assembler Sam Vernatter was singled out as the winner of the award. Points toward the Engine Builder of the Year Award were granted after every race based on qualifying and finishing position, with bonus points for the team that led the most laps. "Randy Dorton started the legacy of Hendrick Motorsports and it lives daily in Jeff Andrews, Jim Wall, Scott Maxim and David Evans," Vernatter said. "Their leadership paves the way for our success." Hendrick Motorsports engines powered five of the top 12 finishing teams at the end of the 2015 season, including two of the top three.(Hendrick Motorsports)(12-4-2015)
Greg Ives receives MOOG 'Problem Solver of the Year' Award: Greg Ives, crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the Hendrick Motorsports-owned #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, received Federal-Mogul Motorparts' prestigious MOOG "Problem Solver of the Year" Award - including a handcrafted MOOG ball joint trophy and a check for $100,000 - during the NASCAR Sprint Cup NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas. Ives is the eighth recipient of the award, which honors the crew chief with the best overall performance during the Sprint Cup season. MOOG is the Official Steering and Suspension of NASCAR. Ives won the year-end MOOG award after earning a series-leading five weekly MOOG "Problem Solver of the Race" Awards. The weekly Problem Solver award is presented to the crew chief whose car delivers the greatest second-half improvement in average lap time while finishing on the lead lap. Runner-up for the Problem Solver of the Year award, with four weekly MOOG wins, was Justin Alexander, crew chief for Paul Menard and the #27 Chevrolet SS. A record 20 different crew chiefs won at least one weekly Problem Solver award. The MOOG brand, celebrating its 50th year of Cup racing, is the preferred choice of professional technicians and NASCAR crew chiefs. In recognition of the vital importance of steering and suspension components in overall vehicle safety and performance, NASCAR now mandates that Cup teams use MOOG Problem Solver parts, specifically ball joints and tie rod ends.(Federal-Mogul Motorparts)(12-4-2015)
Hendrick Motorsports names new Manager of Aerodynamics: Diane Holl is the new manager of aerodynamics for Hendrick Motorsports. Holl, 51, joined HMS last month after eight seasons at Michael Waltrip Racing where she served as Director of Vehicle Design. After earning her degree in mechanical engineering, the Guildford, England native's career started in Formula 1 with Ferrari as a chassis designer in 1987. Holl returned to England in 2002, where she worked with the McLaren Group as Principle Engineer. She returned to the U.S. five years later to join MWR. Holl replaces Kurt Romberg, who has since taken a similar role at Roush Fenway Racing.(Motorsports)(12-3-2015)
Axalta to sponsor Dale Jr. in 2016 IMAGE: Axalta Coatings Systems will continue its long-standing partnership with Hendrick Motorsports after agreeing to a contract extension that will expand its presence and take one of the most enduring sponsorships in NASCAR through 2018. Beginning in 2016, Axalta will become a primary sponsor of the #88 Chevy team of driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. for 13 Sprint Cup Series races annually, an increase of three per season. Axalta will also be featured as a major associate sponsor during all non-primary events.
The agreement extends a multi-faceted partnership -- now in its 23rd full season -- that began in November 1992 when the company (as DuPont) first sponsored driver Jeff Gordon and the #24 Hendrick Motorsports team. Gordon, who is in the midst of his final full-time Sprint Cup campaign, will continue to work with Axalta as a spokesperson and global business advisor. The multi-year relationship was announced earlier this year.
"We began a journey 23 years ago with Hendrick Motorsports and a young driver named Jeff Gordon. Eighty poles, 92 wins and four championships later, we are proud of the run we've had with Jeff," said Nigel Budden, Axalta vice president and head of its North America business. "Now, we are delighted to continue our relationship with Hendrick Motorsports and to adorn the hood of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevy SS with the Axalta logo in 2016. As our slogan says, 'We Paint Winners,' and by joining Dale we will continue to do so for years to come."
On the racetrack, Axalta's relationship with Hendrick Motorsports has yielded four Sprint Cup Series championships and 92 victories. Axalta has hosted thousands of customers at events and fashioned some of the most iconic paint schemes in NASCAR history. Earlier this month, the two companies broke ground on Axalta's 45,000-square-foot Customer Experience Center that will be located on the Hendrick Motorsports campus in Concord, NC.
"Axalta has built a model sponsorship program," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "For 23 years, they've recognized the opportunities NASCAR provides and understood how it drives value for their business. It's a unique relationship that's evolved with the times and has been consistently effective. We're very proud of what we've accomplished as partners and look forward to more successes together with Dale and the #88 team."
"Axalta and Hendrick Motorsports have an incredible story," Earnhardt said. "For me, it's meaningful to work with a sponsor that's been so committed to our sport and has such a rich history in NASCAR. Continuing the partnership is special for all of us, and I'm already excited about what the car will look like. I'm really looking forward to the opportunity."(Hendrick Motorsports)(10-6-2015)
IMAGE Axalta Racing debuted the #88 Axalta Chevy Tuesday afternoon at the Cromwell in Las Vegas. See images of the car on the #88 team paint schemes page.(12-2-2015)
Teammates to pay tribute at Homestead with 'Jeff Gordon yellow' numbers: Sunday will mark a momentous occasion in the history of Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR as a whole. Jeff Gordon will make his final start behind the wheel of the #24 Chevy. To honor the event, Axalta has provided a special paint scheme for Gordon to drive as he attempts to win a fifth NASCAR Cup Series championship in the final race of his final full-time season. But the remaining three Hendrick Motorsports cars will also celebrate the close of an iconic career.
In a collaboration Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick announced Tuesday morning on Twitter, Gordon's teammates and their partners worked together to run the familiar "Jeff Gordon yellow" for the car numbers on the #5, #48 and #88 Chevy as well. See the behind-the-scenes gallery of the application of the yellow numbers inside the race shops.(Hendrick Motorsports) and see images of the four cars on Jayski.com's:
#5 Team Schemes page;
#24 Team Schemes page;
#48 Team Schemes page;
#88 Team Schemes page.(11-17-2015)
Earnhardt Jr. wins at Phoenix: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Quicken Loan's for Heroes 350(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Jeff Gordon Raceway (Phoenix International Raceway) for his 3rd win of the season, 3rd win at Phoenix and 26th career win. Earnhardt Jr. led 22 of the 219 laps.
The race was rain delayed for over six hours, getting the command to start engines at 9:00pm/et and taking the green flag at 9:27pm/et. During a late race caution on lap 195, it started raining again, just after NASCAR red flagged the event at 11:30pm/et on lap 219, the rain came down hard. With more rain in the forecast, NASCAR decided to call the race and made it official. It is only the second Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix in 39 races to be rain shortened and the first since October 25, 1998 when Rusty Wallace won a race shortened to 257 of 312 laps.
#4-Harvick finished 2nd (for the 12th time in 2015 and 43rd runner-up finish in his career) followed by #22-Logano, #18-Busch, #48-Johnson (pole winner), #24-Gordon, #41-Busch, #11-Hamlin, #2-Keselowski and #43-Almirola.
The four drivers advancing to the CHAMPIONSHIP RACE of The Chase at Homestead-Miami Speedway are:
#24-Jeff Gordon (4 Championships)
#4-Kevin Harvick (1 Championship)
#18-Kyle Busch (0 Championships)
#78-Martin Truex Jr. (0 Championships)
Four drivers failed to win or score enough points during the Eliminator Round(3) to advance to the Championship Race:
There were 8 lead changes among 7 drivers and only 2 cautions for 29 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 106.512mph.
See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf). (11-15-2015)
Hendrick Motorsports and Freightliner Trucks extend deal: Freightliner Trucks has announced a five-year contract extension with 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports. In addition, the company announced a new five-year contract with defending NASCAR XFINITY Series champions JR Motorsports. Both racing teams now have agreements with Freightliner through the 2020 NASCAR season. With the Hendrick Motorsports partnership renewal, the team's over-the-road drivers will continue to stay behind the wheel of their custom Freightliner trucks to carry race cars, supplies and equipment to Sprint Cup events across the United States.(HMS)(11-14-2015)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. could be offered F1 ride: Tavo Hellmund who helped bringing Formula One racing back to the United States and his hometown of Austin, TX and to his father's homeland, Mexico, is now involved with a pair of F1 projects. If he and his group of investors succeed in acquiring a struggling F1 team, Manor Marussia, Hellmund said he'll offer a ride to none other than NASCAR's ultrapopular Dale Earnhardt Jr. He's also involved in a plan to create an F1 track in California, a project different from the urban street race in Southern California that Hellmund said F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is currently pursuing. Hellmund's investor group is looking to purchase at least a controlling interest in the Manor Marussia race team from British businessman Stephen Fitzpatrick. If that does happen, a big goal of the team would be to put an American driver on the grid. Hellmund said he's serious about his first choice being Dale Jr., even if that seems like a pie-in-the-sky idea. A more realistic option would be his second choice, Alexander Rossi. He raced in the U.S. Grand Prix this year and has competed successfully in a couple of series that are considered steppingstones to F1.(Culled from an article at the Austin American-Statesman)(11-13-2015)
Meendering leaving Earnhardt's Cup team to crew chief in XFINITY: Kevin Meendering currently serves as the chief engineer on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 Sprint Cup Series team. In 2016, he will move to the Xfinity Series next season as a crew chief. Meendering will serve as crew chief for driver Elliott Sadler next season at JR Motorsports, sources familiar to the move confirmed. Sadler, 40, joined Roush Fenway Racing this season after spending the two previous seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing. He is currently sixth in the series standings with four top-five and 10 top-15 finishes in 30 races.(Motorsport)(11-8-2015)
Earnhardt Jr comments on final restart: #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. met with the media after Sunday's race at Talladega:
Walk us through the final restart and your take on it:
Earnhardt, Jr. "I couldn't believe he (Joey Logano) gave me the bottom. I was like 'man this is a gift.' I was going to win the race for sure, but that caution came out. I'm fine with the new rule. Everybody is going to debate that we were thinking before the race that they made a good change on the green-white-checkered to go to one and I still feel that way. Per the rules we run second. I can live with that. The #22 (Joey Logano) did a great job. He had a hell of a round winning all three races. If he wins the championship he can look back on this round here as the one that set him up."
"I'm proud of what we did today. We did everything we needed to do, just fell about the width of the splitter. You know how I hate that splitter, so, another reason (laughs)."
Should NASCAR have let you run longer under that green-white-checkered before throwing the caution?
Earnhardt, Jr. "Another 100 yards I would have been in the lead, but NASCAR makes the calls. They are the governing body and I have 100 percent faith in the choices that they make. I'm not going to be too upset about it. I did everything I could. I'm proud of myself. I'm proud of my team. My guys did a good job on pit road. We had a little issue, but if this group sticks together we are going to do great things next year. I believe in all of them. I'm proud of what we did. We can sit here and pout about this day, but we didn't do good enough in the first two races of this round. If we had done better in those first two races of this round we would not be worried about losing by a splitter. We didn't do a good job in those first two races. We've got to try to win another race before the year is out, have some fun. Martinsville is coming up. I'm excited about that. We've got a great team. This is my first year with Greg and we are just going to get better. He is just going to get better. We've got a lot to look forward to. It's disappointing, but I'm proud of the car. We really worked hard and we did a hell of a job today."(Chevy Racing)(10-26-2015)
College athletes on pit road: So who and how many college athletes are now on NASCAR's pit road? As the pit crews evolves so do the athletes that pit. That being said, the influx of college athletes to pit road has been a huge topic of conversation over the last few years. Getting the exact names and numbers of the guys on pit road is an extremely hard stat to get. The turnover is high so no stat is going to be 100% correct. So here ya go...the most in-depth article you'll find on ex college athletes on pit road circa Fall of 2015.
The best way to start this is to give some basic facts. We based our stats off of 39 full time running Cup teams. That gives us a total of 234 total crewmen on pit road. Out of those 234 total crewmen, 62 of them played college ball. That's a total of 26%. That number might seem low for what you were thinking, but we think it's right on track. If we were to do that same stat for developmental crewmen then we're guessing it would be more into the 80% range. Taking those 62 pit crew members and breaking them down into what position they pit looks like this. Leading the way is the Carriers with 21 at (34%), followed by Jackmen 16 (26%), Gasmen at 16 (26%), and Changers with only 9 representing 15%. The interesting thing about this is that your Changers are the most important position on pit road and they have the least amount of college athletes.
Looking into these stats even more we find that 49 (79%) played football followed by Baseball with 8 (13%). Basketball, Wrestling, and Soccer make up the remaining 8%.
As far as where these athletes pit, the breakdowns look like this. HMS leads the way with 16 (26%) followed by JGR with 8 (13%). The next two companies with the most would be SHR and MWR with 5 each representing (8%) for each company. Take into consideration we are comparing some 4 car teams to those with 2 or 3 cars so the stats might look a little skewed but the numbers are what they are.(PitTalks)(10-26-2015)
Warnings issued after Kansas: NASCAR handed out warnings to teams Wednesday afternoon for issues discovered in technical inspection last weekend at Kansas Speedway, where the Sprint Cup Series competed in Race #2 of three in the Chase Contender Round. Of the four teams issued a warning, only one -- the Hendrick Motorsports team of driver #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- is in the Chase. Earnhardt's #88 group received its warning for twice failing pre-race inspection for Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400. The non-Chase team of driver #7-Alex Bowman was given a warning for likewise flunking pre-race inspection twice. The #83 team of driver Matt DiBenedetto, meanwhile, was given a warning for failing pre-qualifying inspection twice at Kansas. The #21 Wood Brothers Racing team of part-time Sprint Cup driver Ryan Blaney was hit with a warning for failing to comply with Section 10.7.2.b of the NASCAR rulebook. This is the second consecutive week that NASCAR has issued a written warning to the teams of Earnhardt and Blaney.(Fox Sports)(10-22-2015)
Earnhardt Jr. looking to tie record at Talladega: When #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes the green flag in the CampingWorld.com 500 on Sunday, Oct. 25, he'll not only be looking to sweep into Victory Lane at the Talladega Superspeedway for the second time this season, he'll also be trying to write his name into the track record book in a special way alongside his Dad - Dale Earnhardt Sr. - and Pete Hamilton. With a win, Earnhardt Jr. would join the duo as the only drivers in NASCAR history to win three of the four races run at NASCAR's "Super" superspeedways - Talladega and the Daytona International Speedway - in a single season. Earnhardt Jr. finished third in the season-opening Daytona 500, but won the GEICO 500 at Talladega in May after leading 67 of 188 laps and the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona in July to set up his shot at racing history. He'd love nothing more than to join the elite company of his father (accomplished feat in 1990), who was driving for Richard Childress Racing, and Hamilton (1970), who was driving for Petty Enterprises.
Hamilton and Earnhardt Sr. both came close to achieving NASCAR's version of a Grand Slam only to have strange strokes of misfortune cause them to come up just short. In 1970, Hamilton won the Daytona 500, swept the two races at Talladega and had a competitive car in the early going in the July 4th Firecracker 400 at Daytona before a strip of insulation broke loose and went down the carburetor, choking the life from the engine and putting him out of the race after only 46 laps. Twenty years later, Earnhardt Sr. appeared well on his way to winning his first Daytona 500 when he, while leading, ran over some debris and cut a tire going into Turn 3 on the last lap and Derrike Cope sailed by for the victory. Earnhardt Sr. went on to sweep the two Talladega races and the July race in Daytona in 1990 to come oh-so-close to perfection.
Earnhardt Jr. holds the mark for consecutive victories at NASCAR's biggest, baddest track with wins in four straight races from 2001 to 2003, including a sweep of both races in 2002. He has six wins at the track in 31 career starts and has recorded 11 top-five finishes and 15 top-ten finishes. The six wins tie him with Jeff Gordon for second on Talladega's all-time victory list behind only Earnhardt Sr. (10).(TSS)(10-22-2015)
New look for #88 Nationwide Chevy in 2016 UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in the midst of the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. But that doesn't mean it's too early to look ahead to the 2016 paint scheme for his #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS. Nationwide did just that, surprising 10 fans with the experience of a lifetime. See the video on the Hendrick Motorsports website and see an image of the car on the 2016 #88 team paint schemes page.(10-13-2015)
UPDATE: A late friend will be honored by the newly released paint scheme on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevy for the 2016 NASCAR season. The side panels of Earnhardt's #88 Chevy will be painted gray - a nod to the car known as the "Gray Ghost" once driven by Buddy Baker. Baker, who died in August, won the 1980 Daytona 500 in an Oldsmobile painted gray, silver and black - hence its nickname. "It's my all-time favorite paint scheme," Earnhardt said recently at his Hendrick Motorsports shop. "So we've put a touch of the 'Gray Ghost,' on this car. With Buddy's passing, it made me want to do it even more, to acknowledge him and what he's done. It turned out to be a good-looking car. It looks good on paper, but you never know until it's on the track."(Charlotte Observer)(10-15-2015)
Earnhardt Jr. says no retaliation against Edwards: If you thought #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was considering any sort of payback on #19-Carl Edwards for a racing incident Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, you thought wrong. Earnhardt used his forum on the "Dale Jr. Download" - a weekly podcast on the driver's Dirty Mo Radio network - to explain to fans why he won't be retaliating against Edwards. "A lot of people want me to go wreck Carl," he said. "I'm not going to do that, because if I'm trying to wreck Carl, I'm not winning Kansas, I'm not winning Talladega. You can't go chase after a guy and put him out of the race and accomplish what your goals are. Our goals are to go to those races and win, that's what we're going to do." Two laps prior to the incident, Earnhardt had thrown a big block on Edwards while racing for position. Earnhardt said he didn't want to give up a spot in the Chase, and was racing hard at that point in the race. But when he tried it again two laps later, Edwards held his ground. The cars made contact and Earnhardt hit the wall, but Earnhardt said it was "both of our responsibility." "We're not going to worry about Carl or start some (bull) show between me and him," he said. "It's over and done."(USA Today)(10-13-2015)
Drivers not happy with track cleanup UPDATE NASCAR comments: #18-Kyle Busch and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. were angry at NASCAR for what they felt was a lousy job cleaning up the track in the top of the groove between Turns 1 and 2 from a #51-Justin Allgaier oil spill on lap 182 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Both drivers hit the wall as they tried to put themselves in position to finish on the lead lap. Earnhardt, one lap down, ended up in the wall shortly before lap 200 and wound up four laps down in 28th. Busch hit it about 15 laps later, finishing one lap down in 20th. "You can't pass anybody -- it's a single-lane race track and then [a driver] put oil on the top lane [where we] to try to make anything happen and then you put yourself in the fence -- so thanks to NASCAR for cleaning that up," Busch said sarcastically.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director Richard Buck said NASCAR had cleanup workers actually walk the areas where drivers complained about oil, and they felt no oil, just the kitty litter-type absorbent. Earnhardt said NASCAR might have missed the oil because of shadows on the track, but Buck said workers and the pace-car driver did not feel any oil. "I've raced this [stuff] for 20 years," Earnhardt said. "I know what oil and [the absorbent] Speedi Dri is. We hit fluid, flew into the freaking wall hard. That's not Speedi Dri. There was oil up there. ... I hit the f---ing wall. I know I hit oil. I hit it. I promise. I'll argue with them all day long because I know I'm right."(ESPN)(10-11-2015)
UPDATE: A NASCAR executive said Monday that officials will talk to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch about their insistence they hit oil in Sunday's Bank of America 500 after the track surface had been examined. Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive VP and chief racing development officer, addressed the matter on "The Morning Drive" on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "In this case, we did not see oil,'' O'Donnell said. "I can't debate Kyle and (Earnhardt), they're in the race cars. If they say they hit it, it's not something that we saw out there. We'll continue to talk to them and see what maybe we can improve on in the future. We had personnel even out on the track, getting down on almost their hands and knees to make sure there wasn't any.'' O'Donnell said series officials thoroughly examined the track during the cautions. "Under any caution and condition, we obviously send out all the safety equipment to look and see if there is any oil from their perspective on the track,'' O'Donnell said. "We did that in this case. We had (pace car driver) Brett Bodine run through it multiple times and confirm back up to race control that the track was in good shape to go ahead and restart. Hopefully, there wasn't any. We go out there and we go check and did our process multiple times and they did not see any. Ultimately, we're not in the car and driving the car. From our view, the race was in good shape to get restarted and it always has to be before we go back green. That's where we were and felt like we did everything we could to ensure that the race track was in a safe condition.''(NBC Sports)(10-13-2015)
Earnhardt Jr. WAS going for a win on his birthday BUT...rain: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. turn 41 today, October 10th. He will attempt to become only the 4th driver to win a Sprint Cup Series race on their birthday. Cale Yarborough, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth are the only NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers to ever win a points paying race on their birthday. Yarborough's birthday March 27, won in 1977 at North Wilkesboro Speedway and a second time in 1983 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Kyle Busch won at Richmond on May 2, 2009, to become only the 2nd driver to win on their birthday, and only the third time ever.
Matt Kenseth won at Las Vegas on March 10, 2012, to become only the 3rd driver to win on their birthday, and only the 4th time ever.(10-10-2015)
BUT with the race being postponed by rain until Oct 11th, this will not happen.(10-11-2015)
Special Halo schemes at Kansas for #1 & #88: Guardians having gone gold, Microsoft's marketing efforts for the blockbuster shooter are shifting into high gear--literally. Microsoft and 343 Industries have announced that two cars in next weekend's Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR event in Kansas City will be decked out with Master Chief and Spartan Locke paint jobs. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the Chief car, while #1-Jamie McMurray rides with Locke. The Hollywood Casino 400 race takes place on Sunday, October 18. The battle between Chief and Locke is at the heart of Halo 5's galaxy-changing story. "We have many NASCAR fans at the studio--myself included--and we're excited to see both cars compete at Kansas Speedway," 343 boss Kiki Wolfkill said in a statement. This is the first event in NASCAR history that Halo has sponsored. But it's not the first time video games have showed up on the race track, as Nintendo promoted Mario Kart with a custom car, while retailer GameStop regularly sponsors drivers.(GameSpot), see images of the schemes on the #1 Team Schemes page and #88 Team Schemes page.(10-8-2015)
Earnhardt Jr. wants to keep pit crew for 2016: When it comes to keeping his pit crew intact throughout the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a strong proponent of the status quo. Never mind that Earnhardt's #88 team picked up front tire changer Scott Brzozowski from Jeff Gordon's #24 squad after the 24 hired free agent Nick O'Dell, late of Joe Gibbs Racing. That change aside, Earnhardt wants to keep his over-the-wall gang as is-for strong reasons-even though some have suggested Earnhardt might benefit from the temporary reassignment of some of Jimmie Johnson's crew, with Johnson eliminated from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in last Sunday's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway. "I really would like to keep my guys-I'll be honest with you," Earnhardt said on Tuesday during a Chase Contender Round question-and-answer session with reporters at the NASCAR Hall of Fame heading into the round's opener Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "I don't think you build a guy's trust ... he needs to know you believe in him. The same way for the driver. The driver needs to know the team believes he can do it. I think the carrier, the changer, all those guys want to know that the driver and everybody involved believe in them when they go over the wall. If I take the 48 guys because I think they're better, then what am I going to do next year? I'll have to start from scratch again. All those guys that are on my car now are going to be (ticked) off because I didn't believe in them, because I took the 48 guys when the going got tough. So I don't believe in doing that. I believe that my guys can do it. I think that we'll find a combination that works for the rest of the year and beyond."
Now that Brzozowski is on his team, Earnhardt would prefer to keep him, too. The front tire changer has been a mainstay on Gordon's team since 2013. "I hope that Scott wants to stick around beyond this season," Earnhardt said. "I actually talked to him a bit today. It's not like we need too many changes. We just need one key guy that can come in and elevate the standard and push everyone. Over the past couple years, when we've had great crews, a lot of the guys that we've been working with this year have been on those teams. But if you get one guy in there who's kind of a key player, or a bit of a superstar, like a wide receiver or a quarterback is to a football team, he can really elevate the play of everybody around him and boost the entire crew-just the confidence those guys having going over the wall when he's a part of it changes the whole consistency of the team. We really want Scott to wrap his brain around staying with us."(NASCAR Wire Service)(10-7-2015)
2016 #88 TaxSlayer.com scheme unveiled: Last month, TaxSlayer.com announced that it had expanded its relationship with Dale Earnhardt Jr. to include an affiliation with Hendrick Motorsports. As part of the partnership, TaxSlayer.com will receive primary placement on Earnhardt's #88 Chevy for one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race next season. The Sprint Cup race in which Earnhardt will drive the #88 TaxSlayer.com Chevy is still to be determined. But the brand new paint scheme for 2016 has been revealed. The red and black design received a makeover, and Earnhardt himself spearheaded the redesign. To celebrate the occasion, fans will have the opportunity to win a limited-edition, vintage Earnhardt and TaxSlayer T-shirt (more info at HMS site), see an image of the car on the 2016 #88 Team Schemes page.(10-7-2015)
Late caution saves Earnhardt, Jr's. Chase chances: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #1-Jamie McMurray had a "game seven" moment in the third race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Earnhardt Jr. outran McMurray in a late-race battle that could be the dividing point between an ultimate payday of millions of dollars. Earnhardt Jr. finished third and McMurray fourth in the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway, and that one position kept Junior in the running for the championship and closed the door on McMurray. Earnhardt Jr. passed McMurray on the outside on the race's final restart and stayed in front of him the rest of the way to drive into the 12th and final Chase spot going into Race Four next weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Earnhardt Jr. and McMurray tied in points (2,098) after the first three Chase races, but Junior won the tiebreaker (best finish in the round). The last green flag flew on lap 377 (of 400) after a caution for oil on the track. Twenty laps earlier, Earnhardt Jr. got a season-saving break when #34-Brett Moffitt hit the wall and caused the race's next-to-last caution. Junior had reported a loose wheel to his pit and later said he would have had to pit under green if the caution had not flown. "The left rear was falling off," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I was a couple laps from coming in. It was shaking real bad in the corner, and it started shaking on decel(eration), and I knew it was a matter of time before it was coming off. It wasn't going to make 50 laps. We had 50 to go at that point, and I wasn't going to bash my head against a concrete wall somewhere for a damn loose wheel, so we just came in sooner than later."(USA Today)(10-5-2015)
#18 JGR team makes pit crew change UPDATES: The #18 Joe Gibbs Racing team and longtime front tire changer Nick Odell have parted ways. Odell was changing this past weekend in the Chase opener at Chicagoland in a race in which Kyle Busch finished ninth. This is an unusual development considering the timing and that the #18 pit crew has been intact for eight years and is a tightly knit group. This has been regarded as one of the best pit crews for years, and Odell is a great talent.
Josh Lesley will replace Odell as the front changer this weekend in the second race of the Challenger Round at New Hampshire (NASCAR.com/PitTalks)(9-22-2015)
UPDATE Odell to the #24? Ex #18 Joe Gibbs Racing tire changer Nick Odell is close to a deal with Hendrick Motorsports and the #24 team. After the news last Monday that Odell had been released by JGR, almost every team on pit road had some level of interest in talking with him. After sitting out Loudon, PitTalks sources say Odell is very close to finalizing his deal with HMS. If this deal goes down, then front tire changer Scott Brzozowski of the #24 becomes the man in question. Brzozowski came over to HMS a few years back after spending time on the #39 of Ryan Newman. HMS has four teams and Brzozowski is a top talent, seeing where he fits in will be the next piece in the puzzle. As far as when Odell starts changing tires for the #24, no idea. Supposedly the deal is almost done but we have not confirmed with HMS to verify.(PitTalks)(9-29-2015)
UPDATE 2: Nick Odell, who had served as #18-Kyle Busch's longtime front tire changer, will be #24-Jeff Gordon's front tire changer this weekend at Dover International Speedway. Front tire changer Scott Brzozowski, who had been on Gordon's team, moves to #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s pit crew. Brzozowski replaces Dave Mayo, who returns to a backup role. Mayo was elevated to Earnhardt's pit crew before the Chase.(NBC Sports)(10-3-2015)
Different look for Earnhardt, Jr. at Dover: Nationwide is the exclusive insurance partner of Plenti, the rewards program that lets consumers earn Plenti points at one place and use them at another, all with a single rewards card. Anyone who joins Plenti is able to collect and combine points across brands, making it easier and faster to earn and use rewards points. For a limited time, Plenti members can earn 888 points for completing an eligible auto quote in participating states. The Plenti campaign will also highlight Nationwide's Race to Vegas promotion so fans can enter to win a trip to the 2016 Las Vegas race weekend, where they will attend the race and meet Earnhardt. Visit nationwide.com/NW88JR for offer and program details. The #88 Nationwide Plenti car and campaign are examples of how Nationwide is leveraging the sponsorship to promote key initiatives that are important to growing its business and delivering tangible, distinct benefits to its members. Earnhardt has one win at the "Monster Mile," which came in the 2001 fall race, when he led the final 39 laps en route to victory. He's earned four top-five finishes and eight top-10s at the concrete oval since his trip to Victory Lane in 2001, and had a notably good weekend in the fall of 2013, starting from the pole and finishing second.(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #88 team paint schemes page.(9-30-2015)
Dale Jr. to serve as TV analyst for XFINITY Series in 2016 UPDATE oops: During an interview with "FOX Sports Live" co-hosts Dan O'Toole and Jay Onrait, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. revealed he'll join the FOX NASCAR team in the booth as a driver analyst for FOX Sports' coverage of the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2016. "I had tweeted that I was interested in doing some XFINITY races, so I think I would like to try it," Earnhardt said in a video posted in "The Jay and Dan Podcast. (FOX) extended the offer to me that we can give it a shot. I want to go up there next year and watch a few races, or watch one race, and see what I'm getting myself into. It looks like a lot of fun." Sprint Cup drivers Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer and Danica Patrick have all taken turns behind the mic for FS1's XFINITY Series coverage this season. "All the drivers who did it ... looked great, sounded great, and they seemed to have a lot of fun doing it," Earnhardt said. "I don't know if it's a career path for me -- it just depends -- or whether I even have any talent in the booth."(FoxSports)
UPDATE: Clarification from FOX Sports Regarding the Possibility of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Working as a Race Analyst in the NASCAR XFINITY SERIES Booth in 2016: While FOX Sports has had informal conversations with Dale Earnhardt Jr. about joining the FOX Sports NASCAR XFINITY Series booth in the future, as several of his fellow racers did in 2015, nothing has been determined. FOX apologizes for the confusion.(FoxSports)(9-24-2015)
Hendrick Motorsports newest class of pit crew recruits announced: Wednesday afternoon on the Hendrick Motorsports campus in Concord, NC, the organization held its very first Signing Day ceremony to celebrate the newest class of pit crew recruits. "It's really neat to be a part of the first Signing Day ever for Hendrick Motorsports for the pit development program," Hendrick Motorsports President Marshall Carlson said. "It's a tradition in other sports. If you look at what we tried to do over the last few years really elevating our whole athletic department and these athletes - bring them in and trying to get out to a wider range of recruits - the investments we've made in coaching, the facilities, it's really fitting that we would start to do some of the traditional things that other sports do to celebrate the success that the coaches and the recruiting class are bringing to our company."
Director of Human Performance Andy Papathanassiou introduced the new athletes, several of whom had brought family and friends to take in the ceremony. "In this particular class, we brought in seven athletes," Papathanassiou said. "Our classes have ranged from seven to about a dozen. Year after year we start recruiting, gathering 50 names, knock that down to about 30 that we see in person, and we physically evaluate them. We bring in 20 for a two-day minicamp where we put pit crew equipment, pit stop stuff in their hands and then pick our recruiting class from there. These are the winners of a very long and arduous process." The pit crew recruits: Spencer Bishop, Tire Carrier; Ryan Cheek, Jackman; Rod Cox, Tire Changer; Matt Lehman, Fueler/Jackman; Mike McClure, Fueler/Jackman; Roman Perryman, Tire Changer; Max Thomusseit, Tire Carrier. More info and a quick glance at the newest developmental pit crew members at HMS site)(9-24-2015)
Earnhardt's TaxSlayer.com relationship expands to Hendrick Motorsports: TaxSlayer.com, which provides quick and affordable tax-filing solutions to its customers, announced today it has extended its partnership with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his company, JR Motorsports, and expanded it to include an affiliation with Hendrick Motorsports. TaxSlayer.com will receive primary placement on Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevrolet SS for one Sprint Cup Series race in 2016 and associate-brand placement through the remainder of the year with his Hendrick Motorsports team. Additionally, TaxSlayer.com will begin its seventh year as a key primary for JR Motorsports, the company owned by Earnhardt Jr. that competes primarily in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. TaxSlayer.com will receive primary placement on the #7 and #88 Chevrolet Camaros for 10 races next season.
"It has been a privilege to be associated with Dale Jr. and JR Motorsports for so long, and we're excited to add a new chapter with Hendrick Motorsports next season," said TaxSlayer.com President and CEO Jimmy Rhodes. "We have found an immense loyalty among NASCAR fans, but especially with Dale Jr.'s fans. We want to continue growing this partnership."
TaxSlayer.com has been involved in NASCAR team sponsorship since 2009. It began its affiliation with JR Motorsports in 2010, becoming the cornerstone partner for the company. Since then, JR Motorsports has won multiple races with TaxSlayer.com, including Regan Smith's popular victories at Talladega and Michigan in 2013. "TaxSlayer is one of our longest-tenured sponsors at JR Motorsports," said Earnhardt Jr. "It's quite incredible how both of our companies have grown in that time. I'm extremely loyal to them. I hope the fans are, too. We've done great things together, and I'm really looking forward to racing a TaxSlayer car in Sprint Cup next year."
The Sprint Cup race in which Earnhardt Jr. will drive the #88 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet SS is still to be determined. The 2016 season will be Earnhardt Jr.'s 17th in Sprint Cup and ninth at Hendrick Motorsports. He has 25 career victories, eight of which have come under the Hendrick Motorsports banner, and has been voted NASCAR's Most Popular Driver 12 consecutive years.
"When a partner has success and wants to do even more, it's gratifying for everyone involved," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and a partner in JR Motorsports. "The TaxSlayer program has been incredibly effective, and all of us are committed to building on that foundation together. We're looking forward to seeing them across both series next season."
To celebrate the extension, TaxSlayer's red and black paint scheme will receive a makeover, as Earnhardt Jr. himself spearheaded a redesign for the 2016 season that will apply to both series. The paint scheme will be revealed Oct. 5. The 2016 campaign will mark the 12th season of Xfinity Series competition for JR Motorsports. The company has garnered 25 victories and one championship during that time.(JRM/HMS)(9-23-2015)
Pit crew changes to the #88 team: The #88 Hendrick Motorsports team has made a couple of recent changes to its pit crew. David Mayo is back as the team's front tire changer after being replaced earlier in the season by Kevin Novak. Mayo is a longtime changer replacing Novak, who spent time at Roush Fenway Racing and then the #38 car this year before getting a shot with the #88 team at Darlington and Richmond. To go along with the change made on the front, there was a change made in the rear. In late summer, Devin DelRicco replaced rear changer Joe Slingerland. DelRicco will continue in that position heading into the Chase.(PitTalks / NASCAR.com)(9-16-2015)
Earnhardt Jr. will 'step up' throwback game next year: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. said during Tuesday's edition of the "Dale Jr. Download" podcast on Dirty Mo Radio there's plenty of work still to do when it comes to keeping pace in embracing Darlington Raceway's throwback theme. Earnhardt enjoyed not only the fruits of a grueling weekend at the historic track, but all of the vintage touches from an industry-wide retro event. His Hendrick Motorsports #88 crew joined in the fun with a paint scheme paying tribute to Cale Yarborough in his Valvoline years, but Junior said more can be done to prepare for the next Bojangles' Southern 500. "I hope that the throwback idea at Darlington is going to stick," Earnhardt said. "I'm pretty sure it will after this weekend. There was a lot of teams that went the extra mile -- Larson and his guys, the 3 group, the Petty group did an awesome job, the Wood Brothers, they looked great. Think we're going to see this every year. At least I hope that the teams come back harder next year. I know we've got to step our game up to compete with some of these guys on the throwback schemes, so it's going to be a lot of fun. Hopefully this is something that is a bit more of a tradition over the years for Darlington."(NASCAR.com)(9-9-2015)
Earnhardt, Jr. waiting on 2016 schedule to set wedding date: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has said he and Amy Reimann plan to wed next summer after getting engaged June 17 in Germany. With NASCAR racing nearly every weekend, there will be few options for them to choose a summer wedding. Earnhardt will be in a friend's wedding this weekend - the final off weekend of the Sprint Cup season - and is looking forward to his wedding. "I'm probably going to be doing it this time next year," Earnhardt said. "Once we get that damn schedule. I've been asking (NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike) Helton since New Hampshire what's going on." NASCAR's officials have suggested that the 2016 schedule should be released in early September.(NBC Sports)(8-30-2015)
Earnhardt Jr. to run Valvoline throwback scheme at Darlington: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. may be driving the Valvoline car on Sept. 6, 2015, at Darlington Raceway, but thanks to a "throwback" paint scheme, his fans will likely feel as if they're watching a race more in line with his father's early career and track opponents. Earnhardt and Valvoline's presence on the Darlington track at the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event will pay homage to the brand's storied history in motor sports with an early-1980s look inspired by Valvoline cars driven by some of the era's racing icons, including Cale Yarborough, Ron Bouchard, Neil Bonnett and Buddy Baker. "I love the history of the sport and really enjoy paint schemes from the past," said Earnhardt, NASCAR's 12-time most popular driver. "To be able to run a car inspired by many of my racing idols is pretty special. Valvoline has been involved in NASCAR for a long time, and it's awesome they wanted to do a program like this at Darlington."
The one-race sponsorship of Earnhardt's #88 Chevy marks an elevated partnership between Hendrick Motorsports and Valvoline, which in September 2013 announced a four-year agreement that kicked off last season. The new sponsorship at Darlington represents Valvoline's first primary paint scheme since that time. "As Valvoline approaches its 150th anniversary, we are proud to support Hendrick Motorsports and Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the upcoming 'throwback' Southern 500 by paying tribute to the legendary drivers who have contributed to the legacy of Valvoline racing," said Sam Mitchell, Valvoline president. "We look forward to being part of yet another exciting competition at Darlington for the history books."
"I remember our first Southern 500 win back in 1986," said Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, whose teams have earned a record 14 Sprint Cup victories at Darlington. "It was an incredible era that featured some amazingly talented drivers, and it's exciting to see Valvoline recognize them with this paint scheme. We're extremely proud of our partnership and delighted to see it grow with this program."
In addition to the 1980s-inspired red and blue paint scheme, Earnhardt's fire suit will pay homage to this specific era of racing history. The two-time Daytona 500 winner helped design Valvoline's "throwback" look after reviewing the various styles of legacy cars and drivers. He also worked alongside performance and protective footwear and apparel designer Alpinestars to develop a suit that would take NASCAR fans back 30-plus years. The Darlington paint scheme also sets the tone for Valvoline: LEGACY, a program ahead of the brand's 150th anniversary celebration in 2016 designed specifically to tell the story of its motor sports history, commitment to excellence and dedication to developing cutting-edge motor oil. As part of Valvoline: LEGACY, NASCAR fans will soon have access to a special video series, which will be available via the Valvoline YouTube channel, in advance of the Sunday, Sept. 6 race. These LEGACY videos will feature Earnhardt, as well as Yarborough (1982 Darlington winner, NASCAR Hall of Famer and past Valvoline driver) and Ray Evernham (three-time Sprint Cup Series champion crew chief, television broadcaster and NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee). Additionally, a limited-edition die cast replica of Earnhardt's No. 88 Valvoline Chevrolet SS will be available in participating Wal-Mart stores across the United States beginning on Aug. 31.(Hendrick Motorsports / Valvoline PR), see images of the car on Jayski.com's #88 Team Schemes page.(8-24-2015)
Bus company suing Hendrick: The trustee for bus company DesignLine is suing to recover $300,000 from car dealer Rick Hendrick and his NASCAR race team, according to a bankruptcy court filing. DesignLine issued Hendrick three payments of $100,000 each in 2011 and 2012 after the company's chairman borrowed $800,000 from Hendrick in 2010. Buster Glosson, a retired Air Force lieutenant general, borrowed $800,000 from Hendrick in February 2010. The suit states DesignLine "received no benefit" from the borrowed money. The remaining $500,000 owed was amended to a promissory note in 2012, according to the suit. Glosson and his son, former DesignLine CEO Brad Glosson, bought and moved the bus company to Charlotte in 2006. Elaine Rudisill, the trustee for DesignLine, could not be reached Tuesday afternoon. In the suit, she refers to a DesignLine memo in 2011 calling for monthly payments of $100,000 to Hendrick for design, testing and advice on suppliers. DesignLine records "do not reflect that (Hendrick) provided any of the ... assistance" and "later reflect an amended memorandum ... that HMS is owed monies from the 2009-10 time period." A Hendrick spokesman declined to comment.(Charlotte Business Journal)(8-14-2015)
Congrats to Ray & Erin Evernham on the birth of their daughter, Cate Susan Evernham, Saturday morning. Evernham works at Hendrick Motorsports.(7-25-2015)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. [the band] changes name: After years spent named after the nonexistent son of a famous race car driver who himself is already the son of yet another famous driver, the band Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. has decided to change its name. According to a post on its website, the group will now be known as JR JR, with its two members claiming they've grown out of the gimmicky moniker. With a new album on the way in the semi-near future, the move could be a smart one. Then again, changing a band's name midway through its career might also be confusing to its already existing fans. In its Facebook post, the group makes it clear that the name change has nothing to do with the actual Dale Earnhardt Jr., choosing to include a letter he sent them in 2011 where he says he's not only cool with their name, but actually enjoys their music.(A.V. Club)(7-16-2015)
Earnhardt, Jr. receives ChalleNGe Champion Award: Prior to Saturday night's at Kentucky Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. received a special award. It was the 2015 ChalleNGe Champion Award from the National Guard Youth Foundation. The National Guard Youth Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the nation's school dropout crisis by giving youth a second chance through the National Guard. The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program is conducted at 35 academies across the country and consists of a five-and-a-half month residential phase and a 12-month post residential phase during which mentors continue to provide guidance and support to graduates. In July 2013, Earnhardt raced with the NGYF logo on his car at Kentucky and invited a few NGYF cadets to attend the race. They received special tour of Hendrick Motorsports and a VIP experience at the track.(Hendrick Motorsports)(7-13-2015)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins at Daytona: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Coke Zero 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway in a Green-White-Checkered finish for his 2nd win of the season, 4th win at Daytona, 10th restrictor plate race win and 25th career win. Earnhardt Jr. led the most laps at 96.
There was a big wreck at the end of the race when #11-Hamlin and #4-Harvick made contact, turning the #11. #3-Dillon's car hit the #11 and launched over the field of cars and into the catchfence. The catchefence was damaged but kept the car on the track. Reports had three fans suffering minor injuries. The #3 Chevy was destroyed, the engine ended up in the grass, but Dillon was uninjured, waving at the crowd after exiting the car.
Unofficially #48-Johnson finished 2nd [his 45th career 2nd place finish] followed by #11-Hamlin, #4-Harvick, #41-Busch, #24-Gordon, #3-Dillon, #31-Newman, #6-Bayne and #15-Bowyer.
The race was rain delayed until it started 11:42pm/et.
The first wreck was on lap 3 when #38-Gilliland, who was running 4th, came down in front of #15-Bowyer, touching the nose of the #15 and spinning the #38. Others involved trying to avoid the #38 were: #9-Hornish Jr., #10-Patrick, #16-Biffle, #22-Logano, #26-Burton, #32-Labonte, #46-Annett and #62-Gaughan.
Harvick increases the drivers points lead to 63 points over #88-Earnhardt Jr., who moved to 2nd. #78-Truex Jr. who came into the race in 2nd place, fell to fifth, after wrecking and finishing 38th during one of the big wrecks.
#18-Busch wrecked early but recovered got two free passes and finished 17th.
Busch is 128 points out of 30th (to get in the Chase) and needs around a 13th average finish to crack the top 30 in the 9 races before the Chase.
There were 22 lead changes among 12 drivers. There were 9 cautions for 43 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 134.941mph.
See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).(7-5-2015)
Earnhardt Jr. and Gordon comment on the Confederate flag issue: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #24-Jeff Gordon met with media and discussed many issues, including thoughts about the Confederate flag, the transcripts in part:
Q) WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON THE STATEMENT NASCAR ISSUED THIS WEEK ON THE CONFEDERATE FLAG?
Earnhardt Jr. "I've made my comments on the Confederate Flag several times and I stand behind NASCAR's stance to remove it. I think it is offensive to an entire race. It really does nothing for anybody to be there, flying. It belongs in the history books and that's about it."(Team Chevy)
WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO NASCAR'S STATEMENT THIS WEEK REGARDING THE CONFEDERATE FLAG?
Gordon: "As far as the confederate flag I think that... I know how we approach it at Hendrick Motorsports and that is everything that we can control. We have eliminated the ability to use it in anyway or it show up in any of the things that we are involved with. I think that is the stance I see that NASCAR has taken and have had that stance for several years. To me I'm in support of what they are doing. It's a delicate balance. We race all over, but the South is an area where we have a lot of fans. Everyone has different opinions and expression of that. I support NASCAR and the stance that they are taking."(Team Chevy)(6-27-2015)
Earnhardt welcomes leadership role: As a member of NASCAR's newly formed drivers' council, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had the ears of the fans, drivers and NASCAR in the past four weeks. And now that he's more comfortable than ever about giving his views on the sport, Earnhardt appears to relish his place on the council, which met with NASCAR executives for the first time May 30. At a promotional appearance on a hot midweek afternoon a couple of weeks ago for Amp energy drinks, one of his sponsors, Earnhardt acknowledged that he's more opinionated now than he was when he started racing. "All the drivers have very strong opinions, and we all feel like we have a handful of answers of things that we could change to make this sport better," Earnhardt said before going onstage. "I don't know that my ideas are better than anyone else's. We all sort of get together and talk it over."
Being elected as an inaugural member of the council shows that Earnhardt could fill the role that his father once played in the garage as the person who can walk into the NASCAR hauler and truly have the ear -- and respect -- of NASCAR brass. Jeff Gordon somewhat assumed that role in the 2000s. Earnhardt isn't necessarily ready to fill that role when Gordon retires after this season, nor does Earnhardt feel that one driver should have that role. The council membership is designed to change year to year; it includes the top driver from each manufacturer, some past champions, the top rookie and other members selected to represent a cross section of the standings. "You take a little pride in that your peers respect you," Earnhardt said about his selection to the council. "I think we all share that respect for each other and won't be on the council every year. The way the voting is with the points and everything and the way the guys are kind of chosen and locked in, it will change every year, which is going to be good because it will get fresh guys in there with new ideas."
"There's a lot of guys that are not on the council that probably belong on the council," Earnhardt said. "There's more drivers, certainly, qualified, deserving and smart. There's a lot of guys with a lot of amazing ideas that should be in that room. But NASCAR thought it would be good to sort of keep it down to a small number so the conversations are reasonable." Earnhardt isn't sure what impact the council will have this year. He believes this group is laying the foundation. "It won't really bear fruit right off the bat," Earnhardt said. "It will take a few meetings. Let's get down the road several months so we can understand how to talk to each other and how to work together. Then this next crop of guys, whoever comes in the council next year, will be more productive then."(see full article at ESPN.com)(6-23-2015)
Microsoft Windows 10 to Sponsor Earnhardt Jr.: A global leader in technology and innovation, Microsoft has ramped up its involvement in NASCAR with new multi-year official agreements with both the sanctioning body and 11-time Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports. The collaborations designate Microsoft as an Official Technology Partner of NASCAR and a major technology partner of Hendrick Motorsports.
Hendrick Motorsports will adopt the Windows 10 platform and Microsoft Azure to deliver technology solutions to help improve performance on and off the track. In addition, Microsoft will support the upcoming launch of Windows 10 with primary sponsorship of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevrolet SS at Sonoma Raceway on June 28 and Pocono Raceway on Aug. 2. Windows 10 will be the Official Operating System of Hendrick Motorsports.
"NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports are perpetual innovators in motorsports," said Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President, Developer Experience and Evangelism at Microsoft. "This sport demands constant innovation, to have its boundaries pushed, so that the sport delivers the exciting experiences expected by fans. The Windows mobile inspection application we launched last year is a great example of how innovative solutions can push boundaries and make the racing experience even better. We're looking forward to the next solutions that we can deploy with both NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports to push each of our organizations forward."
Microsoft will utilize two-time Daytona 500 champion Earnhardt as a spokesperson to promote Windows 10, which will be available July 29 as a free upgrade for qualified Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices.* In addition, its new multi-year partnership with Hendrick Motorsports will incorporate technology solutions and training across the team, including competition, business and IT functions.
"I'm a big technology user and really enjoy Microsoft products," said Earnhardt, who is NASCAR's 12-time most popular driver. "Kicking off the Hendrick Motorsports relationship with Windows 10 is a unique opportunity, and there's no doubt our ongoing technical partnership will help us raise the bar in many areas. It's great to see Microsoft is having such a positive experience with NASCAR and wants to do more across the sport. We're excited to be a part of that."(HMS), see image of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page.(6-22-2015)
Congrats - Dale Earnhardt Jr.: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced on twitter that he and girlfriend Amy Reimann are engaged. No date or details mentioned.
While vacationing in Germany learning about his ancestors during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series off-week, Dale Earnhardt Jr. proposed to long-time girlfriend Amy Reimann. And she said "yes."(HMS)(6-17-2015)
Earnhardt Jr. comments on retirement: After watching #24-Jeff Gordon compete in his final season in NASCAR, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. says his final lap around the NASCAR circuit may soon follow. "I'm turning 41," he said Friday in a press conference at Michigan International Speedway. "So it's on the horizon, as far as my retirement."
"I have to watch Jeff (Gordon) and talk to Jeff (Gordon)," Earnhardt said. "(I have to) talk to other drivers, like Dale Jarrett - guys that I trust - about their decisions and what they would have done differently and what to keep your eye on, be prepared for, what shocked them or what they weren't prepared for. You know, what was their decision like years later? Do they feel like they made the right decision?"
"Do you run as long as you possibly can, even stay longer than you should? Do you go out on top when you feel like you're competitive? Those are questions that a lot of drivers have to answer eventually for themselves."(Sporting News)(6-14-2015)
Drivers met with NASCAR on Saturday UPDATE:In a first of its kind, NASCAR met with a group of Sprint Cup drivers for about two hours Saturday night, discussing safety, competition, attendance and more. #11-Denny Hamlin, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., and #4-Kevin Harvick confirmed they were among about eight drivers in the meeting, which was held in the Kent Room at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. It marked the first time that a council of drivers - selected by their peers - had met with NASCAR in such a formal setting. "The drivers got together and organized a vote and all the drivers voted for the guys they wanted on this council," Earnhardt said before Sunday's race at Dover International Speedway. "NASCAR asked us to do that so we could get together and just have a better ability to communicate. It's just a better way to have discussions." A source told NBC Sports that NASCAR was represented by Mike Helton, vice chairman, and Steve O'Donnell, executive vice president and chief racing development officer, among others. "The drivers, we always talk amongst ourselves anyway, but having that open line of communication to NASCAR has never been this open before," Hamlin said before Sunday's race at Dover International Speedway. "You look around the room and you're like, 'Wow, this is a monumental time to where you've got the powers that be and some of the greatest drivers talking about how we can make this sport better." The meeting comes after a recent spat of complaints from drivers about the rules and racing. So what was discussed? "There was talk of competition," Earnhardt said. "What we think about the new package and the direction that they want to go and what we're doing with tires and testing." NASCAR recently came out with a rules update eliminating the 2016 tire testing at all Goodyear tire tests until October. Hamlin said safety was a big topic discussed. "We talked about a lot of safety issues we want to see changed at various racetracks," Hamlin said. "We went racetrack by racetrack, and I feel like we're going to make our sport better." NASCAR did not offer details of the meeting. Brett Jewkes, NASCAR senior vice president and chief communications officer, issued a statement: "NASCAR meets with drivers frequently on a wide range of topics. As part of our ongoing commitment to foster dialogue between all stakeholders, we've met formally with drivers on several occasions this season, including here at Dover. We'll meet with them again later in the season as normal course of business. The meetings have been productive and we find the dialogue very valuable." Hamlin said he's unsure how often the group will meet but expected it would be "at least a few times a year."(NBC Sports)(5-31-2015)
UPDATE: Three-time NASCAR champion #14-Tony Stewart confirmed he was among a group of drivers that met with NASCAR officials for about two hours Saturday evening at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino adjacent to Dover International Speedway. Stewart came away impressed by the intent and encouraged by the content of the discussions. He said it was the first time in his 17 years in NASCAR racing he can remember this kind of informal get-together session between the sanctioning body and a group of drivers that also included Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle among others. "They want to sit down, and they want to listen," Stewart told NASCAR.com on Sunday just prior to the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks. I think it's just everyone staying on the same page which is good. It was a good thing, it was positive and makes me feel good about our sport that they want to keep everyone staying on the same page. I'd call it very, very positive."(NASCAR.com)(6-1-2015)
Hendrick enshrined in North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame: Friday night [May 15] in Raleigh, North Carolina, Rick Hendrick was honored as a Hall of Famer. Along with nine other inductees, the owner of Hendrick Motorsports and Hendrick Automotive Group was enshrined in the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. "It's such an honor for me to be here tonight," Hendrick said on stage after being introduced by fellow North Carolina Sports Hall of Famer Woody Durham. Joining Hendrick in the Class of 2015 were Jeff Bostic, Joe Bostic, John Clougherty, Freddie Combs, Gene Littles, Jerry McGee, Lenox Rawlings, Charlotte Smith and Andrea Stinson. "Congratulations to all the inductees here tonight," Hendrick said. "I feel kind of humbled, because most of you folks have earned your status on your own. You are great ball players, great referees, and with me, I take a team. I have to rely on a lot of people." He then asked his "teammates" from both Hendrick Automotive Group and Hendrick Motorsports to stand and be recognized. Under his leadership, Hendrick Motorsports has grown from five employees to more than 600, while Hendrick Automotive Group has expanded from nine employees to 10,000.(HMS)(5-17-2015)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins at Talladega: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the GEICO 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway for his 1st win of the season, 6th win at Talladega and his 24th career win. The win is the first Sprint Cup Series race win for #88 crew chief Greg Ives.
#48-Johnson finished 2nd [the 45th 2nd place finish of his career] followed by #27-Menard, #21-Blaney (best career finish), #78-Truex Jr., #31-Newman, #9-Hornish Jr., #4-Harvick, #11-Hamlin and #98-Wise (his career best finish).
Harvick maintains the points / Chase lead with 394, 40 points over #78-Truex Jr.
Pole winner #24-Gordon led 47 laps and ran up front most of the race until late in the race when he sped on pit road and had to start at the rear, then was caught up in #19-Edwards wreck at the end of the race.
There were 27 lead changes among 15 drivers. There were 6 cautions for 23 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 159.487mph.
See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).(5-3-2015)
Earnhardt, Jr. talks about safety efforts:
What are your thoughts on the new tire barriers right in front of pit road? are you surprised that there are still spots in some tracks where there is absolutely nothing but concrete in places where drivers could potentially end up?
#88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. "I think that the changes that were made in the last 10 to 15 years to help safety have been great. We put barriers where we felt like were common places the cars hit. But as we found out over the last couple of years, specifically, we'll find all the empty spots where there aren't any barriers. And I think that NASCAR is taking some steps to make it right. The tracks are taking some steps to move it along. You never can be safe enough. You never can do enough to be safe and keep the competitors safe and keep the fans safe. You never can do enough. So you shouldn't ever stop trying. But unfortunately, it takes an accident like that to wake everybody up and make things happen. I know that NASCAR was very disappointed that there wasn't a SAFER barrier on the wall at Daytona and that Kyle (Busch) was injured. And it's real unfortunate to have to go through that whole process to really fire this thing kind of back up and get people moving on it.
"But, at the same time, I appreciate the things that they're doing. And I know that the tire stuff is temporary. The tires are better than the concrete wall, but at the same time those tires can be a problem when you get into those. So I guess their intent, over time, is to get SAFER barriers where they feel like they need it. And until then, we'll have these tires in those areas. I'm happy with the things the tracks are doing. You look back at the cockpit of these cars when I first started driving them, and look at the advances we've made inside the cars and outside the cars, and when I was racing in 1998 and '99 and 2000; and when I was racing Late Models without headrests and neck restraints, I never once was worried about anything ever happening to me. You get complacent, I think.(Chevy Racing)(3-28-2015)
Earnhardt Jr. tops NASCAR's Highest-Paid Drivers: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. ranks as the NASCAR's top earner for a seventh straight year with earnings of $23.8 million (Jeff Gordon was the last driver to finish ahead of Earnhardt in 2007). NASCAR's licensed merchandise sales have plummeted, but Earnhardt remains the sport's biggest star and top seller. His 2014 Daytona 500 Race Win die-cast was the best-selling die-cast in the history of Lionel Racing. Earnhardt had five of the top six selling model cars last year. Forbes earnings estimates include salaries and endorsements, as well as the drivers' share of winnings/bonuses and licensing income for the 2014 season. The top 12 banked $187 million last year, versus $192 million in 2013. There is a dramatic drop in driver earnings after the top 12 with sponsorship money and the best drivers flowing to the elite teams in recent years. #48-Jimmie Johnson ranks No. 2 with earnings of $22.5 million last year. Johnson is in the final year of his contract with Hendrick Motorsports, but is working on an extension through 2017 to match the term of his car sponsor Lowes.
#24-Jeff Gordon banked $18.6 million last year, third best in the sport, and his merchandise sales were the second highest. Expect a bump this year after Gordon announced in January that 2015 would be his last year driving full-time in NASCAR. Rounding out the top five earners are #4-Kevin Harvick ($15.5 million) and #11-Denny Hamlin ($15.2 million). #10-Danica Patrick ranks No. 8 with earnings of $13.8 million.(see full story and list at Forbes.com)(2-19-2015)
NASCAR's Most Valuable Teams: NASCAR's most valuable team, Hendrick Motorsports, is now worth $350 million, and it boasts the sport's most valuable sponsorship portfolio. Last year the team collected nearly $120 million from sponsors alone, while only two other teams generated that much in total revenue. The biggest source of that earning power is the four stars that Hendrick has behind the wheel: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #5-Kasey Kahne.
Second behind Hendrick and closing the gap is Joe Gibbs Racing, up 18% to a value of $201 million this year. Gibbs has maintained strong relationships with companies like FedEx, Dollar General and Mars, which sponsors Kyle Busch's famous M&Ms car. And in 2015 the driver lineup of #18-Kyle Busch, #11-Denny Hamlin and #20-Matt Kenseth will be joined by #19-Carl Edwards as Gibbs expands to four cars. It will be only the third team to do so this year, joining Hendrick and Stewart-Haas, which went to four last season.
And Stewart-Haas, now at a value of $186 million, is third on the list. That 26% surge in value over last year should be little surprise to fans of the sport. The team has been consistently improving, and revenue has climbed from $68 million in 2010 to $120 million last year. The most recent increase was thanks in large part to Kevin Harvick, who joined the team last year. Harvick not only brought a 22-race sponsorship with Budweiser over from Richard Childress Racing - last year the team ranked second in total sponsorship income with around $87 million - but he also then won the 2014 Sprint Cup in the premier of NASCAR's new Chase format. Harvick's stellar season was worth $12.8 million in total winnings; only one other driver managed to break $9 million.(see full story and list at Forbes.com)(2-19-2015)
Earnhardt Jr. having too much fun to think about retiring: With Hendrick Motorsports teammate #24-Jeff Gordon ready to call it quits at the end of the upcoming season, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was asked Thursday about his own eventual retirement. After all, Earnhardt is only three years younger than Gordon. Will the 40-year-old still be racing past the age Gordon is now? "Jeff made his decision based on factors in his life, whether it be his health or his kids," Earnhardt said. "... I don't have any back issues and I don't have any kids on the way. I don't have any factors." Right now, Earnhardt said he can't think about quitting because he's enjoying his job so much. He said the last five years have been the most fun he's ever had driving a race car. "I didn't even know I could have this much fun," he said with a grin. "Last year, I felt like a kid. I had the same feeling I had when I would drive down to Myrtle Beach with my Late Model. We were just on top of the world having so much fun. That freedom came back in the last couple years to just enjoy it and just release the pressure. So that's made me really think I can do this a lot longer. I think I'll stop racing when my health is an issue or I don't feel like I'm in a competitive car or I feel like I've lost a step."(USA Today)(1-30-2015)
Earnhardt Jr. interested in driving in Truck Series race: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Thursday admitted an interest in making at least one start for JR Motorsports' new Camping World Truck Series program, which will field a part-time entry for 17-year-old Cole Custer this season. "I've never driven a truck before and I've always had that interest to race in the truck," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I'd tell you I would run Martinsville, today, but Cole's going to get all the shorter tracks due to his age, and we need to get him that experience when we can, and it's a great opportunity at Martinsville for him to run. So if I run a race, it'll be at a bigger track where Cole's not quite cleared to run through NASCAR's process. It ain't going to be Daytona."(FoxSports)(1-30-2015)
Congress cuts National Guard sponsorship funds: Congress has stripped funding for the Army National Guard's sponsorship of motor sports following revelations that advertising on race cars did little to generate recruits. Lawmakers cut the Guard's advertising budget by $13.8 million, the same amount the service had requested to sponsor race cars, said Maj. Earl Brown, a Guard spokesman. In August, the Guard announced that it was ending its sponsorships of Dale Earnhardt Jr. of NASCAR and Graham Rahal in the Indy Racing League. In 2014, the Guard spent $105 million on advertising aimed at attracting recruits and enhancing its image. That included sponsorships for NASCAR that cost $32 million and $12 million on IndyCar. The Guard has said it sponsorship of NASCAR was aimed at building "brand awareness" for the service.(USA Today)(12-15-2014)
Nationwide expands sponsorship of the #88 Chevy: Nationwide has expanded its three-year relationship with Hendrick Motorsports to become the majority sponsor of driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #88 Chevy team beginning with the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Nationwide, which in May announced it will join Hendrick Motorsports as a corporate partner, will increase its primary sponsorship of Earnhardt to 21 Sprint Cup events, including the Daytona 500, for each of the next three seasons. The revised agreement provides Nationwide with nine additional primary races in 2015 and eight additional primary races in both 2016 and 2017.
"We're thrilled to be deepening our partnership with the Hendrick Motorsports team," said Matt Jauchius, chief marketing officer at Nationwide. "We look forward to seeing Nationwide on the #88 for NASCAR's biggest races over the next three seasons." Nationwide is making an early debut as Earnhardt's primary sponsor during this weekend's Sprint Cup event in Richmond, Virginia, where it is previewing the 2015 #88 Nationwide Chevy paint scheme.
"That Nationwide has already elected to grow the sponsorship sends a clear message about the opportunities they see and how well our teams are working together," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "It's quickly become a strong relationship, and we're committed to building on that foundation and delivering results in every facet of the program."
"I know the people at Nationwide extremely well and truly appreciate how invested they are in our team and our sport," said Earnhardt, whose family has been insured by Nationwide for more than 35 years and who has been featured in its national advertising since 2009. "It's extremely gratifying that they recognize so much value in the partnership and want to do more. Having this kind of support and seeing so many positive things happening around the team feels really good."(HMS)
see an image of the car on the #88 Team Schemes page.(9-5-2014)
Warner Bros/DC Entertainment join forces with Hendrick Motorsports: Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP), in conjunction with DC Entertainment (DCE), has joined forces with Hendrick Motorsports in a unique three-year agreement that will allow the team and its partners to develop consumer promotions and original content to engage youth, drive fan excitement and energize licensed merchandise initiatives. WBCP and DCE will work with Hendrick Motorsports and its partners to build on- and off-track programs teaming drivers #5-Kasey Kahne, #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. with the most recognized characters in Super Hero lore, including Batman, Superman, The Flash and Green Lantern.
Potential programs include co-developed car paint schemes, comic books and digital content incorporating DC Comics Super Heroes and illustrated likenesses of Hendrick Motorsports drivers. Team partners will have exclusive opportunities to align with upcoming Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Comics-inspired programming and releases.
The first joint program will come to life around upcoming Sprint Cup events at Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 25) and Michigan International Speedway (June 15) where Superman, the world's first and most recognized Super Hero, will be featured on Earnhardt's #88 Chevy. The Superman-themed paint scheme will pair the Army National Guard with the Superman Hall of Heroes, a new online gift-giving portal that empowers consumers to honor their personal heroes; those who have made a positive impact on their lives or the lives of others. The #88 National Guard/Superman Chevrolet SS will be unveiled May 21. Fans can learn more by following Hendrick Motorsports on Facebook and Twitter.(Hendrick Motorsports)(5-15-2014)
Nationwide Insurance to sponsor Earnhardt Jr.: The #88 Hendrick Motorsports team will "Join the Nation" in 2015 thanks to a new three-year partnership that will pair Nationwide Insurance, a leading insurance and financial services organization, with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. As the exclusive insurance and retirement planning sponsor of Earnhardt's #88 Chevy, Nationwide Insurance will be a primary partner for 12 Sprint Cup races in 2015 and 13 events in both 2016 and 2017. The company also will be an associate-level sponsor of the #88 race cars throughout all three seasons.
"The Earnhardt family has trusted Nationwide for their insurance needs for more than 35 years, and Dale Jr. has a positive impact on our brand's reputation and brings pride to Nationwide members and our associates," said Matt Jauchius, chief marketing officer for Nationwide Insurance. "Expanding that relationship to incorporate the prestigious operations at Hendrick Motorsports and collaborating with Rick Hendrick and his team is a great fit for Nationwide Insurance."
Hendrick Motorsports will work with Nationwide Insurance to support consumer, business and employee offerings in the auto, home, life and classic car insurance and retirement categories. NASCAR fans can immediately benefit through insurance discounts offered via the free JR Nation fan club. Membership is available by visiting www.jrnation.com.
"Nationwide is always top of mind when you think of companies that truly leverage the power of NASCAR," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "We're proud to welcome them to the #88 team and grow their relationship with Dale Jr. Working together, we'll build another program that moves the needle for their business. The opportunities are endless."
"I've always enjoyed working with Nationwide and really believe in their products and services," said Earnhardt, who Nationwide Insurance has featured in national advertising since 2009. "It'll be fun to work with them in a new way, and I know everyone on the team is looking forward to the partnership. They've invested in our sport and built a strong reputation with NASCAR fans, and this opens up doors to do even more great things."(HMS)
AND Hendrick Motorsports teammate #5-Kasey Kahne is sponsored by Farmers Insurance. Hendrick Motorsports issued a statement regarding Farmers' status: "Our team has a terrific relationship with the people at Farmers Insurance, and we're having positive discussions about the future. The announcement regarding the #88 team does not impact our ability to continue the partnership beyond 2014."(MRN)(5-2-2014)
Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Daytona 500 win available On DVD: On Tuesday, April 1, 2014, fans will be able to relive Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s second Daytona 500 win via a limited collector's edition DVD, produced by NASCAR Productions. The DVD highlights the #88's path to victory, overcoming obstacles such a long rain delay and a late caution flag to set up a frantic finish, ultimately resulting in Earnhardt Jr. hoisting the Harley J. Earl trophy in Victory Lane. The DVD will be available for purchase on the NASCAR.com Superstore.(4-1-2014)
New sponsor for Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Kelley Blue Book, the vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry, has joined Hendrick Motorsports as a primary sponsor of the #88 Chevrolet SS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2014 and 2015. The two-year agreement includes full-season associate sponsorship, which provides Kelley Blue Book prominent brand placement on the #88 race cars throughout the Sprint Cup schedule, and primary sponsorship of Earnhardt in one event annually. The 2014 season will be the first as a NASCAR team sponsor for Kelley Blue Book, a subsidiary of AutoTrader Group.
"Kelley Blue Book's sponsorship in NASCAR is the next step in communicating our brand strength and recognition as a vehicle valuation pioneer and leader for new-car shopping and research," said Steve Lind, vice president of operations for Kelley Blue Book. "By supporting successful race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Hendrick Motorsports, coupled with NASCAR's brand equity, we will reach even more consumers with our message-providing helpful, transparent information on KBB.com to help car shoppers make the best decision possible."
"I'm looking forward to our partnership with Kelley Blue Book," said Earnhardt, who will drive the #88 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet SS at Sonoma Raceway on June 22. "As a car enthusiast and dealership owner, I've trusted them for years for vehicle valuation and information. It's exciting to work with a partner that's new to the sport, and I'm proud Kelley Blue Book will be on board with the #88 team for their debut season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series."
Through its website, KBB.com, Kelley Blue Book is changing the way people shop for a new car. It now offers the KBB.com Price Advisor, which features a new range-based pricing layout, including the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price, which shows the average price other customers in the same area paid for the same vehicle. Other resources include 5-Year Cost to Own data, and consumer and expert reviews and ratings.
In addition to individual consumers, Kelley Blue Book's various products and services are available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies, and governmental agencies. Partners include Hendrick Motorsports' sister company, Hendrick Automotive Group, which operates more than 120 automotive retail franchises across the United States.
"On the dealership side, we've worked with Kelley Blue Book for many years," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group. "NASCAR is a terrific marketing platform for their products and services, and it presents new opportunities for our companies to work together. We're excited to welcome a new partner and team them with an incredible spokesperson in Dale Jr. It's a great combination with the potential to grow even more."(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #88 Team Schemes page.(2-13-2014)
Dale Jr's Whisky River Jacksonville closes: Whisky River, the St. Johns Town Center-area restaurant/nightclub owned by NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt Jr., has closed. Doors at the restaurant were locked during a visit at 1:30 p.m. Friday. And though lights were off inside the restaurant, one of four flatscreen TVs on the restaurant's emptied patio was on, tuned to ESPN. By mid-afternoon, Whisky River's Facebook page had been removed and the restaurant's website simply read "Whisky River Jacksonville has closed." Bar Management Group, which operated the restaurant for Earnhardt, issued the following statement to Times-Union news partner First Coast News: "After four years, the management company behind Whisky River Jacksonville has decided to close this location, and is working with the landlord with respect to its closing."(Florida Times-Union)(1-18-2014)
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)
Born to Win Print..by Garry Hill:
Dale Earnhardt Jr. In The #8 Dale Earnhardt Inc.
Chevy Takes The Checkered Flag In The
46th Running Of The Daytona 500
"The Great American Race" February 15, 2004
It is with great excitement that we [Garry Hill] present "Born To Win". The artwork captures Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s historic victory in the 2004 Daytona 500,"The Great American Race". 500 prints and 50 artist's proof prints have been produced, each signed and numbered by NASCAR licensed artist Garry Hill. 100 Prints And 50 Artist's Proof Prints are Being Hand Signed By Winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. More info and to see the print, go to garryhill.com.(2-16-2005)
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL
Happy Hour Practice:
Saturday, February 20, 2016, 12:15 pm/et
TV: FoxSports1 12:15pm/et
Born in FEBRUARY
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