Wednesday, July 20, 2016

CONFIRMED: Earnhardt Out For Indy and Pocono, Gordon To Drive #88 Chevrolet

Earnhardt will remain sidelined
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will remain on the sidelines for at least two more weeks, after his doctors declined to clear him for competition in the aftermath of his latest bout with concussion-like symptoms.  

Earnhardt will miss this weekend’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as well as next Sunday afternoon’s event at Pocono (PA) Raceway. Hendrick Motorsports has tabbed four-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon to replace Earnhardt at Indianapolis and Pocono. He is a five-time winner of the Brickyard 400 at Indy and owns six career checkered flags at Pocono Raceway; both series records. He most recently competed in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  

Earnhardt underwent further evaluation Tuesday at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program, after revealing on his Dale Jr. Download” podcast that he has been struggling with balance and nausea.  

“Our focus is giving Dale all the time he needs to recover,” said HMS owner Rick Hendrick today. “There’s nothing we want more than to see him back in the race car, but we’ll continue to listen to the doctors and follow their lead. What’s best for Dale is what’s best for Hendrick Motorsports and everyone involved with the team. We’re all proud of him and looking forward to having him racing soon.” 

Hendrick also commented on his choice of Gordon to drive the No. 88 Chevrolet in Earnhardt’s absence, calling him “a team player. I know he’ll be ready, and I know Dale has incredible trust in him. It’s going to be an emotional weekend with Dale not being there and seeing Jeff back behind the wheel.” 

Hendrick and Gordon will meet with the media Friday at 10:30 a.m. ET in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway media center.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

BREAKING NEWS: Earnhardt Out Of NHMS With Concussion-Like Symptoms

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will not compete this weekend’s New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after experiencing concussion-like symptoms for the second time in his career.

Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, was evaluated this week in Charlotte, NC, and has not received clearance from his physicians to race. Alex Bowman will replace him this weekend at New Hampshire.
“I wasn’t feeling great the week going into Kentucky (Speedway) and thought it was possibly severe allergies,” said Earnhardt in a written statement issued by Hendrick Motorsports. “I saw a family doctor and was given medication for allergies and a sinus infection. When that didn’t help, I decided to dig a little deeper. Because of my symptoms and my history with concussions, and after my recent wrecks at Michigan and Daytona, I reached out and met with a neurological specialist. After further evaluation, they felt it was best for me to sit out.
“I’m disappointed about missing New Hampshire this weekend. I’m looking forward to treatment with the goal of getting back in the race car when the doctors say I’m ready.”
A timetable for Earnhardt’s return has not been established. Hendrick Motorsports will provide an update next week regarding their plans for the July 24 event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“I’m proud of Dale for standing up,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “The number-one priority is his health, so we’re going to give him all the time he needs. We completely support the decision by the doctors and will be ready to go win races when he’s 100 percent. In the meantime, we have full confidence in Greg Ives and the team, and we know they’ll do a great job.” 

In 2012, Earnhardt suffered a pair of concussions in a six-week span that sidelined him from two races at the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. He announced in April of this year that he will donate his brain to science, post-mortem, in an attempt to advance research into Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

He is currently 13th in championship points, just 32 points above the current Chase cutoff. NASCAR has awarded medical waivers to drivers in the past, based on similar cases; allowing him to still qualify for the Chase, despite not attempting to qualify for every regular-season event.

NASCAR has not commented on whether he will be awarded such a waiver.

COMMENTARY: Gordon's ESPY Snub Should Have Been Expected

ESPN gave NASCAR another backhanded slap last night in Los Angeles, and honestly, we should have seen it coming. 

As part of the annual ESPY Awards ceremony, singer Justin Timberlake took to the stage at Microsoft Arena to honor a trio of retiring sports legends; former Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and Olympic soccer gold medalist Abby Wambach. Each athlete was the focus of a video montage highlighting their respective career – narrated by fans reliving their highest highs and their lowest lows – before receiving the ESPY “Icon Award.” 

Those honors were well-deserved. Notably absent from the list of honorees, however, was four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, who also hung up his competitive helmet at the end of the 2015 season. 

ESPN’s exclusion of Gordon -- an athlete with as many championships as Peyton Manning and Abby Wambach have Vince Lombardi  trophies and Olympic gold medals combined – was insulting and inexcusable. It was also the latest in a long line of snubs for a sport that – in the minds and hearts of the decision-makers at ESPN – still does not deserve a place on the national sporting stage.

During the network’s most recent run as a broadcast “partner” from 2007 through 2014, NASCAR clearly ranked a step below the traditional stick-and-ball sports in the estimation of the Bristol, Connecticut brass. At the time, ESPN had a number of other broadcast contracts in play; creating a number of maddening schedule conflicts. During college football season, the opening laps of NASCAR Nationwide Series races were frequently bumped from ESPN to the company’s ESPN Classic or ESPNEWS channels, rendering them unviewable by basic cable viewers. Other broadcasts were bumped in favor of Little League baseball and tennis; events with ratings far lower than NASCAR’s. Post-race coverage and Victory Lane interviews were sometimes abbreviated -- or eliminated entirely --- as the network rushed away to other, apparently more important events. 

Manning, Wambach, Bryant: Honored
ESPN’s flagship SportsCenter broadcasts treated NASCAR like the proverbial red-headed stepchild, foregoing Monday morning race results in favor of in-depth analysis of last night’s clash between baseball cellar-dwellers. When NASCAR did make the SportsCenter cut, viewers were afflicted with anchors who knew little or nothing about the sport. In October of 2008, SportsCenter reported that Roush-Fenway Racing drivers Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle topped the championship standings; unaware that Johnson has spent his entire career at Hendrick Motorsports, not Roush-Fenway Racing. 

Most days, SportsCenter delved into NASCAR only to provide anchor-buffoon Keith Olbermann with an excuse to roll-out his juvenile Dick Trickle jokes, just one more time.  

ESPN’s NASCAR nadir came in August of 2014, in the hours following the tragic death of Sprint Car driver Kevin Ward, Jr. in an on-track incident involving former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart.

Just one week after correctly choosing not to air graphic footage of Indiana Pacers star Paul George breaking his leg in a practice game, the self-proclaimed “Worldwide Leader in Sports” inexplicably broadcast the grisly, unedited video of Ward’s death, over and over again. SportsCenter re-racked the footage dozens (if not hundreds) of times over the next 24 hours in a shameless, callous display of tabloid journalism. 

Immediately following the next day’s Sprint Cup Series broadcast from Watkins Glen, ESPN aired a long-form report on the incident, featuring additional airings of the accident video, stand-ups from a clearly uncomfortable Mike Massaro at the Ontario County (NY) Sheriff’s Office and analysis from legal expert Roger Cossack, who incorrectly predicted that Stewart would eventually be charged with manslaughter. The broadcast angered NASCAR fans and set the stage for the network’s departure from NASCAR, just a few weeks later.  

Gordon: Snubbed
Based on ESPN’s track record of shoddy treatment, last night’s latest snub came as no surprise. 

There is no doubt that Gordon should have stood alongside Bryant, Manning and Wambach last night in Los Angeles. His omission, however, speaks volumes about the presenters and nothing about him. 

Do we care that one of the greatest champions of our sport was unceremoniously ignored last night? Yeah, I suppose we do.  

Should we care? Probably not. 

After all, we’re talking about the ESPYs here, not the Nobel Prize. Despite national television coverage on ABC (parent company of ESPN), the ESPY Awards are little more than a three-hour self-aggrandizement; a celebration of self by a network already far too enamored with itself and aired (not coincidentally) on a night where no professional sports are played, anywhere in North America. 

In the end, I am confident that Gordon will survive last night’s snub. Ninety three career Sprint Cup victories – third on NASCAR’s all-time win list – and a guaranteed, first-ballot spot in the NASCAR Hall Of Fame will do that to a guy.  

Deserved as it may have been, last night’s ESPY hardware would have faded into the background on Gordon’s mantel, dwarfed by all those race and Sprint Cup championship trophies. 

In the end, I guess, it’s no big deal. 

After all, former NASCAR On ESPN commentators Allen Bestwick and Dale Jarrett have moved on to other networks – or in Bestwick’s case, other sports -- and continue to do outstanding work. Ricky Craven and Marty Smith continue to cover NASCAR for ESPN, providing balanced, experienced, knowledgeable commentary that makes up for the shortcomings of the rest of their network.  

We’re fortunate to have them, and fully capable of differentiating them from their employers, who sadly, continue to underwhelm.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Burton, Estes Together Again For Two NXS Races

Biagi-DenBeste Racing has announced a new partnership with driver Jeb Burton and Estes Express Lines for two NASCAR XFINITY Series races this season. Burton will pilot the No. 98 Estes Ford at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 23 and Richmond International Raceway on September 9. 

This partnership will mark the second time Burton has driven the No. 98 Ford, including a 15th-place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2014. Most recently, Burton competed in 11 NASCAR XFINITY Series races with Richard Petty Motorsports, recording one Top-10 and four Top-15 finishes.

"I'm really excited to get back on the track in the XFINITY Series with Biagi-DenBeste Racing," said Burton. "They've shown they have fast cars and just scored a big win at Daytona," said Burton. "I'm thrilled to again partner with Estes. They are a great company and have been big supporters of my career." 

Estes Express Lines is a full-service freight transportation provider, headquartered in Burton's home state of Virginia. The Richmond-based company has previously partnered with Burton in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Camping World Truck Series. 

Estes President and CEO Rob Estes weighed in on the sponsorship. "We're proud of our association with this Virginia native who has gone on to gain national recognition. It's exciting to once again support him as he takes to the track in the No. 98 Estes Ford in Indianapolis and Richmond. We want to thank our vendors who helped make sponsoring these two races a reality. The Estes team is very excited to be part of the 2016 season, and our 16,000 employees nationwide will definitely be rooting for him."

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Moffitt In For Tifft This Weekend In Kentucky

Brett Moffitt will join the Red Horse Racing stable in Thursday night’s Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway, subbing for Matt Tifft in the No. 11 Toyota Tundra. 

Tifft underwent surgery for removal of a benign glioma in the brain, after the tumor was found during treatment and evaluation for a recent disc condition in his back. Tifft is expected to undergo rehabilitation soon and once cleared by physicians is expected to return to racing. The rookie is anxious to return to the race track as soon as possible. 

"Obviously, we're thinking of Matt and can't wait for him to return, so we're sending him our best wishes and we hope to see him back at the track soon," said Moffitt. "I hate that it's under these circumstances, but I'm really grateful for this opportunity with Red Horse Racing and I hope it can lead to more."  

Moffitt, the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year, has 38 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts, one XFINITY Series start and two Camping World Truck Series starts.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Kurt Busch Joins Growing List Of Logano Rivals

Busch was unhappy with Logano's last-lap tactics
Add Kurt Busch to the list of drivers unhappy with the tactics of rival Joey Logano. 

Busch was fourth on the final lap of Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, before contact with Logano sent him spinning through the infield grass en route to a 23rd-place finish that left the Stewart Haas Racing driver seething. 

"We positioned ourselves to be the car to get a good run off the bottom,” said Busch, who is now 0-for-62 in restrictor plate races at Daytona and Talladega. “It just didn't work out with him trying to drive straight through us. It would have worked out better if he would have pushed us. We could have had a shot at (Brad Keselowski).” 

Saturday night’s clash was the latest in a series of set-tos for Logano, punctuated by a 2015 feud with Matt Kenseth that began with Kenseth spinning out of the lead at Kansas Speedway and ended with Logano being harpooned out of a potential win (and championship contention) at Martinsville. 

Logano: "I hate that I got into Kurt..."
There have been other clashes, as well, including a 2013 Bristol dispute with Denny Hamlin that may (or may not, depending on who you ask) have led to Hamlin’s broken back at Auto Club Speedway later that season. There was a second Fontana fracas with Martin Truex, Jr., and harsh feelings from Kevin Harvick following this year’s Daytona 500. All directed at a Penske Racing driver who – some say – steps over the line too easily and too often. 

Logano called Saturday’s the final lap,hard fought, for sure,” saying, “I hate that I got into Kurt at the end, racing to the line. I had a run to turn up underneath him. When you do that, the cars get free. I was there and he tried to catch it and I was there again. 

“It is a product of this (kind of) racing,” said Logano, pointing to a 19-car melee that eliminated a number of contenders early in the event. “I hate that it happened. The last thing I want to do is hit someone like that. Unfortunately, it happened.”  

Busch saw it differently, saying, “We did everything right tonight, except cross the line where we were supposed to.”  

Crew chief Tony Gibson was more succinct, tweeting, Stupid is as stupid does!!! #22 

Logano sees he has a chance to outrun his teammate, so he’s going to wreck you to (do it),” said Gibson, post-race. “It's just a shame. We had a fast car, (but) Logano races people like that. That's why he'll never win a championship. If he keeps pissing people off like that, he's never going to win. It's just stupid. Stupidity.” 

Roger Penske for the defense
Logano did have one outspoken supporter following Saturday night’s race. Team owner Roger Penske said his driver "has taken undue criticism -- from my perspective -- based on some of the things that have happened. Certainly you can go back (and criticize), but I can name three or four things that certainly weren't his fault.

"Honestly, I think he's one of the best drivers on the race track, day in and day out. Sure, people make mistakes.
A lot of these drivers knock somebody off the track, and say, ‘Hey, I’m sorry.’ But they don’t let Logano do that. As far as I'm concerned, I'm behind him 300 percent. 

“This is not a popularity contest,” said the man they call `The Captain.’ “And anybody that thinks it is, shouldn’t be sitting here. This is racing and unfortunately, some people have different ideas. But I wouldn’t trade these two drivers for anyone. They’re young, they’re aggressive and they win races. They work well with the sponsors, and they’re high integrity guys, so move on from there.”

“I'll talk to Kurt,” said Penske, who ironically fielded the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil entry for Busch in 2011. “He didn't do it on purpose. At the end of the day, that's racing as far as I'm concerned. 

Busch, however, is not likely to be swayed. After Saturday’s race, he accused Logano of making “an aggressive mistake,” adding “you can't go from fifth to first. There's just no shot at it. It's a shame that we ended up spun around and wrecked. We could have come out of here with the point lead." 

No matter whose side you’re on – and there are plenty of observers in either camp --  it looks like ever-smiling Joey may have to watch his back again in coming weeks, once again worried about an unhappy rival exacting his pound of flesh.

It’s a scenario he is rapidly becoming accustomed to.




Thursday, June 30, 2016

Skinner Blitzes Goodwood Field

Mike Skinner drove his No. 5 Cessna Toyota Tundra to Victory Lane in the NASCAR class at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex, United Kingdom Sunday. The 1995 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion also finished third overall, with a 50.44-second effort up the 1.16-mile course.  

"I'm always honored to compete at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and race up Lord March's famous hill climb course," said Skinner. "We have such wonderful support from our partners like Cessna, Toyota, Caymus Vineyards, as well as our financial partners--SunTrust, Sentinel Real Estate, FocusPoint, Warrington and Florence Capital. With the support of my good friend and team owner Andrew Franzone, who also drives the second of the three NASCAR trucks that we bring, and our team from Racecar Solutions, we're able to build a strong truck every year.  

“To be able to say that we've won our class each of the last three years is great; but to say that we finished third overall is even more impressive, since the event is typically dominated by four-wheel drive, Pikes Peak-style hill climb machines. I'm really proud of our effort this year. It was awesome to watch Andrew drive on the course. We missed having Bill Goldberg drive our third celebrity truck to raise awareness for Hope For The Warriors, but it opened up a great opportunity for us to put Richard Childress Racing development driver Carter Stokes, as well as US Marine Corps veteran 1stSgt Travis Hanson in our third Toyota Tundra." 

The 2016 event was marred with weather, as rain showers threatened the forecast throughout the entire three days. After running fifth and eighth in Friday's two batch runs among the field of 53 cars, all three trucks sat out during their batch run on Saturday morning, due to a wet course. On Saturday afternoon, Skinner returned to the track for a qualifying run, which placed him 13th in the heavy rain. By Sunday's finals, Skinner shaved nearly three seconds off his time, clocking the 50.44-second run, despite constantly changing track conditions.  

"It was awesome to see Mike drive so well in those slippery track conditions and heavy rain," said Franzone. "They say these trucks are built for a good time, not a long time, and this weekend surely put that to the test. Having driven the same course throughout the entire weekend myself in our second truck, I know how awesome Mike's times were throughout all three days, especially during the final shootout run on Sunday. I want to thank all of our supporters for rallying around the Drive For Hope program, which we're so happy to be a part of, while raising funds and awareness for Hope For The Warriors." 

The victory was made possible through joint partnerships with Textron Aviation, Cessna, Beechcraft, Bell Helicopter, Bad Boy Off-Road, E-Z-GO, Toyota, Caymus Vineyards, National Wild Turkey Federation, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Charlie 1 Horse Hat Company, Florence Capital Group, FocusPoint, Justin Boots, Maui Jim, Max Papis Innovations, Sentinel Real Estate, SunTrust, and Warrington Asset Management. 

Hosted by Lord March at the Goodwood Estate in West Sussex, United Kingdom, the Goodwood Festival of Speed features every kind of car imaginable from the 1800s through today while also attracting some of the most accomplished drivers in motorsports. In 2017, the festival will celebrate their 25th anniversary. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Townley, Gallagher Fined For Gateway Fight

Drivers John Wes Townley and Spencer Gallagher were sanctioned by NASCAR today for their roles in an incident in Saturday night's Camping World Truck Series race at Gateway Motorsports Park. 

Townley and Gallagher were fined $15,000 and $12,500, respectively, after they tangled twice on the race track and once outside of their racers. Both were also placed on probation until Dec. 31. 

After a review of the on-track altercation and ensuing physical quarrel in the Drivin for Linemen 200, competition officials fined.  

They collided on lap 145 of the 200-lap event Saturday night, with Gallagher's Allegiant Air Chevrolet clipping Townley's Zaxby’s Chevy and sending it spinning in Turn One. Townley turned the tables 10 laps later, with both trucks making heavy contact with the outside wall. After an exchange of verbal pleasantries, a brief wrestling match ensued, with Townley landing a number of punches before they were separated by NASCAR officials.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Tifft Diagnosed With Brain Tumor, Surgery Scheduled In Coming Days

Joe Gibbs Racing announced today that driver Matt Tifft will undergo surgery for removal of a low-grade glioma in his brain. 

The slow-growing tumor was found during treatment and evaluation for a recent disc condition in his back. Tifft is expected to undergo surgery and rehabilitation soon and once cleared by physicians, is expected to return to racing. The JGR rookie is anxious to return to the race track as soon as possible. 

In his absence, David Ragan will drive JGR’s No. 18 Surface Sunscreen/Rugged Maniac Toyota Camry XFINITY series entry on Friday night at Daytona International Speedway. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Stewart Experiences Full Range Of Emotion During Triumphant Sonoma Weekend

Chris Trotman, Getty Images for NASCAR
Friday afternoon, Tony Stewart told the world that he is unhappy with his life as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver. 

Forty eight hours later, he looked like the happiest man on earth. 

Stewart -- a three-time series champion who has announced plans to retire at the conclusion of the 2016 campaign – held court with the media Friday at Sonoma (Cal.) Raceway, criticizing his fellow drivers and complaining that “driving a Sprint Cup car does not make me happy right now.

"I had Jamie McMurray screw us up,” said Stewart following Friday’s final practice. ”He was trying to do a qualifying lap. Some of the things some of these guys do nowadays doesn't make sense. When we had Dale Sr. and Rusty Wallace and Dale Jarrett… they were able to get their arms around these guys and make them listen. There is really nobody here that can do that anymore. Everybody is out of control out there.” 

Stewart also doubled-down on his earlier promise to return to open-wheeled Sprint Car racing next season, for the first time since the on-track death of Kevin Ward, Jr. in August of 2014. 

“I'm ready to do stuff that makes me happy, and driving a Sprint Cup car does not make me happy right now,” he said.” A lot of things have changed. The atmosphere has changed. There is so much stuff in the garage area that has changed that it was time for me to make a change with it. I've dedicated 18 years of my life to this series and it's done great by me. I've made a great living doing it, but at the same time, there are things I want to do other than be at a NASCAR track three days a week for 38 weekends a year.  

“I never dreamed there was going to be a time that I would think about something like this,” he admitted. “It wasn't overnight. There were weeks that I would think, `Man I really want to go to Monaco and see the Monaco Grand Prix,’ or ` I really want to go to Knoxville for the A-main of the Knoxville Nationals or the Kings Royal at Eldora.' There are things I want to do that, because of our schedule, I don't have time to do.  

“It's time for me to do them." 

Blaine Ohigashi, Getty Images for NASCAR
Friday’s media session was vintage Stewart; outspoken, opinionated and unrepentantly cantankerous. In hindsight, it may also have been therapeutic. For as soon as the green flag flew Sunday afternoon, Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet – a car he ranked no better than a Top-15 prospect prior to the start -- was a contender, running lap times equal to the leaders while gradually making its way forward from a 10th-place starting spot. 

A savvy final pit stop, taken three laps sooner than the other frontrunners, combined with a fortuitous debris caution in the late going to push Stewart into the lead. Once there, the Indiana native did the rest, prevailing in a thrilling, last-lap battle with Denny Hamlin to win the Toyota/Save Mart 350. The win – Stewart’s first since first since June 2013 at Dover International Speedway -- erased the biggest roadblock standing between him and a berth in the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, virtually ensuring that he will race for the championship in his final season as a NASCAR driver. 

Wrapped in the emotion of a tumultuous Sonoma Victory Lane, Stewart was understandably in a happier frame of mind. Though clearly exhausted -- both physically and emotionally – the three-time Sprint Cup Series champion said the importance of Sunday’s triumph was already beginning to hit home. 

“They’re all good,” said Stewart, slumping onto the front fender of his battered Code 3 Associates Chevrolet. “It doesn’t matter where you get them. Especially at a place you’re (racing) for the last time, it means a bunch. It’s special, trust me."

Asked about his final-turn pass of Hamlin, Stewart joked, “If it had been a street fight, he would have two black eyes." 

Hamlin agreed, saying, "Once I knew he had position and we had a wall on the other side of us, I knew there was a pretty good chance that we were going to go into that wall. I didn't know if he would physically spin me out, (but) I thought there was a very good chance of it, because that's his opportunity to get in the Chase. This was by far the best he's run all year, and he's in his final season. So his give-a-s#it factor was probably really low. 

“Tony has been ultra-fair to me,” admitted Hamlin. "He has treated me really well my entire career. It's not like I gave him (the win) by any means. He gave me an opportunity to move him, and I did. Then I got it back. It's just part of the deal." 

Stewart was in rare form for his post-race media availability, as well, laughing that Camping World Truck Series driver John Wes Townley "made my Top-5 hero list of all time" by lobbing on-track punches at adversary Spencer Gallagher the night before. In the end, however, he made it clear that Sunday’s win was not a mission-accomplished moment for him, or his Stewart Haas Racing teammates. 

"I'm okay if this is the last one I get, “he said. “But I'm not content. I want more. You guys know me well enough to know I'm not laying down." 

Prior to Sunday’s race, Stewart shared some prophetic final words with first-year crew chief Mike Bugarewicz, saying, “If I get angry and start yelling at you today, just remind me to have fun.” 

“We always talk about that,” revealed Bugarewicz. “What’s most important -- for all of us -- is to just enjoy it, take it in. You have to do that.” 

In the end, though, the day was best summarized by Stewart’s 78-year old father, Nelson, whose relationship with his son has been as tempestuous as any other in Smoke’s world.

“I knew they were going to have to take it away from him,” said the elder Stewart, as a steady stream of well-wishers offered congratulations and a mammoth crowd roared its approval. “He wasn’t going to let them have it. You get him that close to the checkered flag, and he’s not going to let it go.

“That’s the world lifted off him, for sure,” he said. “They caught me crying on TV, and I don’t care.”




Friday, June 24, 2016

Does Teresa Know? Jeffrey Earnhardt To Run Intimidator Scheme At Darlington

Go Fas Racing unveiled the throwback paint scheme that the No. 32 CorvetteParts.Net Ford Fusion will carry this September in the Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. The No.32 Ford will pay tribute to Jeffrey Earnhardt's grandfather, Dale Earnhardt, Sr., with a design that combines the No. 3 and No. 2 driven by Earnhardt on his way to 17 Top-10 and nine Top-5 finishes in 1981, including a sixth-place finish in the Southern 500. 

"I'm pretty excited to have the famous yellow and blue paint scheme in honor of my grandfather for this year's Southern 500," said Jeffrey Earnhardt. "My grandfather ran this paint scheme in 1981, when he started the season as the No.2 car driving for Rod Osterlund. When Richard Childress purchased the team halfway through the season, it became the famous No.3 car, so you have that 32 connection. It's pretty cool to have the chance to bring it back this year. I know we'll have a lot of fun with it, and hope the fans enjoy it as well." 

In a NSCS career that spanned 27 years, Earnhardt Sr. collected seven championships and 76 victories, along with 281 Top-5 finishes and 25,684 laps led. He also won four IROC championships and scored 21 victories in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.