For the first 8 days of his diet Dale Earnhardt Jr drank prune juice. Then he switched to carrot juice. For the record he likes the prune juice better.
Earnhardt noticed he was gaining a few pounds last year when he began having trouble getting onto his firesuits. Like most of us he thought the suits were shrinking. “Man, something is wrong with the washer,” Earnhardt said. But the scales were telling a different story.
In the past Earnhardt has been able to eat what he wants without giving much thought to his waistline. But at the end of last season he realized it was time to slim down a bit. During the NASCAR off-season he did just that. “I lost a lot of weight. 15 or 20 pounds. Just trying to do a better job of managing my calories and stuff like that”
Besides counting calories and watching what he eats. Junior spent 15 days on a de-tox diet suggested by a friend. No steaks. No burgers. Just veggies, chicken and fish. For 2 days it was nothing but fruit and vegetables. Prune juice to drink for the first 8 days, then carrot juice for the last 7. “It was pretty tough too. I was surprised I was able to make it,” said Dale .Jr
Did you notice Junior was gaining weight? What diet recommendations do you have for him?
Here is one of 6,788 Dale Earnhardt Jr Dark Knight Batman cars. Junior won at Michigan in this car.
After suffering a concussion at Talladega Dale Earnhardt Jr said he would miss the following two races at Charlotte and Kansas. That leaves just four more races in 2012; Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead.
Yes, he is likely 12th in the Chase at the end of the season no matter what. And yes, his fans wanto to see him race as much as he wants to be on the track.
Taking time off now would give him a chance to make a complete recovery and begin fresh in 2013′s Daytona 500. But Daytona is four months away and that is a long time for a racer to be out of a race car. Racing tends to keep the edges sharp.
It is a tough decision either way. What should Dale Jr do?
Dale Earnhardt Jr will not compete in Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Charlotte. He will also skip the following race at Kansas.
Earnhardt suffered a concussion in the last-lap 25 car crash at Talladega last Sunday.
Dale Jr and Rick Hendrick have made the right decision in withdrawing from the 2 races, even though it means an end to Earnhardt’s championship hopes and an end to his 461 consecutive Cup starts.
Regan Smith will be behind the wheel of the No. 88 during Earnhardt’s absence.
This is not Earnhardt’s first concussion. The last time he did not reveal it to anyone until months later and continued to race even though he knew he was not at 100 percent.
This time he is putting the safety of his fellow competitors, as well as his own health and safety first. Even though it may mean fewer people attending the races and fewer people tuning in to watch on TV.
Dale Earnhardt Jr has done the right thing, and he will be back.
What do you think about Earnhardt’s decision, and how will it affect the race Saturday night?
Not if you ask Junior. He walks through the Sprint Cup garage with an extra bit of confidence today. His head a bit higher and a spark in his eye. Earnhardt knows he has what it takes to be a Sprint Cup Champion.
Today at Chicagoland Speedway he took the No. 88 Chevrolet from a 42nd place starting position to a solid 8th place finish. He is now 7th in the standings, 17 points out of the lead.
Not if you ask Steve Letarte, Crew Chief on the No. 88. Letarte has given Dale Earnhardt Jr consistently fast and well-handling cars all year long. He has given Dale Jr a reason to be confident.
Not if you ask the media. Not long ago reporters who would regularly ignore Earnhardt or question his will to win are now talking about Junior’s chances after a very consistent series of top 5 and top 10 finishes in 2012.
Not if you ask a Dale Earnhardt Junior fan. His fans are ever confident and feel that he has a shot to win almost any race.
What about you? Who are you picking for the 2012 Champion?
Here is a Dale Jr retro diecast car from the first Kentucky race in 2011.
Dale Earnhardt Jr did not have the fastest car at the start of the Quicken Loans 400. But 400 miles later he did as the No. 88 displayed in the No. 1 position on the scoring pylon. Earnhardt started the race 17th and quickly fell back to 25th.
But 11 laps into the race crew chief Steve Letarte called for a spring rubber and a chassis adjustment on the black, Batman sponsored No. 88 and the car came to like after that.
By lap 70 Earnhardt passed pole-sitter Marcos Ambrose for the lead and quickly pulled away.
Earnhardt took the lead for the final time on lap 172 and never looked back for the final 28 laps.
The crowd in the grandstands roared their approval until there were only 5 laps to go. That’s when an eerie silence fell over the speedway except for the sounds of the engines. Fans seemed to be holding their breath waiting for something bad to happen. It didn’t.
With the confidence Dale Jr has been showing in 2012, along with the consistent finishes, it seemed that he was on the verge of winning. Today he closed the deal.
The win sets Earnhardt up for a championship run as he now sits 4 points out of the lead.
With the “when are you going to win again” question answered by Junior his fans have another question to ask.
“When are you going to win again?”
What do you think of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s latest win?
I have a very limited supply of these Dale Jr All Star cars on sale for $49.88
The following is a guest post.
By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service
RICHMOND, Va. — One of these days — and that day may come very soon — Dale Earnhardt Jr. will win a Sprint Cup race and put an end to what several writers have facetiously called NASCAR’s “long national nightmare.”
Earnhardt last tasted victory in the Cup series on June 15, 2008 at Michigan, not quite halfway through the first year of a lucrative contract with Hendrick Motorsports.
Since that race, Earnhardt has changed crew chiefs twice, a testament to his struggles to master the new racecar NASCAR introduced in 2007 and incorporated into the series full-time in 2008. He finished 25th in the final standings in 2009 and 21st in 2010.
When owner Rick Hendrick’s bold reshuffling of personnel after the 2010 season matched Earnhardt with Steve Letarte, Jeff Gordon’s former crew chief, Earnhardt’s performance improved. In 2011, he qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup for the first time since 2008 and ended the season seventh in the standings.
Earnhardt’s performance this year has put to rest any notion that last year’s success with Letarte was merely the sort of honeymoon that sometimes accompanies a crew chief change. Yes, Earnhardt’s winless streak grew to 138 races Saturday night at Richmond, but consider the rest of the story.
Since his last victory in 2008, Earnhardt has finished second seven times and third four times. Two of those runner-up finishes have come this year, most recently on Saturday night. Likewise, Earnhardt has fashioned two of his third-place runs this season, giving him four top-three finishes in nine races this year.
In seven of nine races, he has finished in the top 10. As a measure of his consistency this season, Earnhardt’s WORST finish this season is a 15th at Bristol. In the third race of the season, at Las Vegas, Earnhardt led more laps (70) than he had all last year (52).
Saturday night’s runner-up finish propelled Earnhardt to second in the Cup standings, five points behind series leader Greg Biffle.
All the numbers argue that Earnhardt is every bit as close to a breakthrough win as he believes he is.
A newfound maturity behind the wheel is part of the equation. When Hendrick announced the pairing with Letarte, one of Earnhardt’s first reactions was that he would have to tone down his language on the radio — because Letarte’s wife and children would be listening.
As a consequence, the invective that permeated Earnhardt’s radio chatter with cousin Tony Eury Jr., who served as crew chief until mid-2009, has all but disappeared.
“I’ve always been uncensored, (but) I think I’ve gotten a lot better since working with Steve,” Earnhardt said Friday before opening practice at Richmond. “Obviously, Steve is not family, and there are things you can say to your family, and you won’t say those things to other people.”
Instead of cussing his car, Earnhardt has learned to choose his words more carefully, and the quality of his feedback has improved.
“He’s definitely made me more accountable . . . for the words I choose to use and how I choose to describe the car to him,” Earnhardt said of his crew chief. “He’s not going to put up with me verbally abusing him or the equipment. I wouldn’t expect anything less than him being a professional as well.”
The performance on the racetrack is a litmus test of just how proficient the driver/crew chief collaboration has become.
When Rick Hendrick hired Earnhardt in 2008, his stated goal was to win races and championships. Those who scoffed at the notion and insisted that Earnhardt was merely a cash cow with a gift for moving merchandise from his fleet of trackside trailers are about to stop laughing.
Earnhardt will win a race this season, sooner rather than later, and he’ll likely win more than one. Hendrick will get his coveted 200th Cup win, and Earnhardt may be the one to deliver it.
That achievement would pale in comparison, however, to an 11th Cup title for the organization. Given the consistency of Earnhardt’s performance this year, seats at the head table for the Sprint Cup awards banquet aren’t out of the question for the driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet and his crew chief.
Have an opinion on this? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Just arrived! Check out this diecast.