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?
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?
After 200 wins in the Sprint Cup series Rick Hendrick called for a celebration at the Fillmore in Charlotte. Brad Paisley performed while current and past winners for Hendrick Motorsports celebrated. Here are the photos.
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.
Forbes has named Jimmie Johnson America’s Most Influential Athlete for the second straight year.
6 of the top 10 on the list are NFL quarterbacks. No. 7 on the list is the only other NASCAR driver in the top 10 – Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Earnhardt was 3rd on the list last year. Jeff Gordon also appeared last year but he did not make this year’s cut
“It is just a huge honor,” said Johnson. “I think it’s very good for NASCAR.
The rankings are based on public opinion polls conducted by Nielsen and E-poll. 1100 US adults were surveyed. The poll measured each athlete’s likability and their marketing influence toward consumers.
He has 5 NASCAR championships, but is Jimmie Johnson really more influential than Tim Tebow (No. 2), or Peyton Manning (No. 3), or Dale Earnhardt Jr (No> 7)? After all, Earnhardt has been voted NASCAR’s popular driver year after year.
I suppose the answer depends on who you ask. Forbes did not say who the 1,100 people were who were polled. Pose the same question to a group of race fans at Talladega and the results could be altogether different.
If influential means being liked and having the ability to represent sponsors and influence purchases then who is NASCAR’s Most Influential Driver?
NASCAR’s reigning champion Tony Stewart felt the pressure from Jimmie Johnson as the final handful of laps wound down. Stewart was so concerned with Johnson that he asked his team to ask NASCAR to make sure that Johnson did not lay back to get an extra bit of momentum on the final re-start.
When the green flag fell for the last time Johnson and Stewart rocketed ahead of the field and it was Stewart getting to the checkered flag first for the win.
It was the first Vegas victory for Stewart, leaving only Kentucky and Darlington as tracks Smoke has not won at.
Ironically the move Stewart warned about was the same one he himself had used with about 3o laps to go to grab the lead from Brad Keselowski on another re-start.
Dale Earnhardt Jr was fastest at the start of the race leading 73 laps early on, including the first 43. But Earnhardt’s shot at victory faded when he took 4 tires on a pit stop, while most other teams only took 2.
What were your thoughts on the race? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Dale Earnhardt Jr had a confident tone even after disaster struck during Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout. The race ended in a crash for Junior.
“I like this kind of racing better,” Earnhardt said, talking about the big pack style of racing that Daytona is famous for. “At least I know what to expect. I feel like I have a better chance with this style than I did last year for damn sure.”
“You just hold your damn car where it needs to be and not drive around like an idiot,” Dale Jr explained. “If you want to drive your car in a straight line and be sensible it is possible.
Pack racing fits Earnhardt driving style better. He is a calculating driver when it comes to superspeedway racing. Always thinking a step ahead.
Earnhardt described how the car drives with NASCAR’s new aero package designed to eliminate 2 by 2 tandem racing. “There‘s just a massive closing rate, said Earnhardt.”If you get bogged down guys can just fly around you.”
Earnhardt hopes the Daytona 500 will go a little smoother than the Shootout. “Being 500 miles guys might use a little better judgment, but I wouldn’t count on it. It’s a pretty big deal to win and it’s going to be a lot of guys pretty excited about their prospects of winning it. Still pretty much any car can win. The lottery’s still there for the whole field.”
Earnhardt has a fast car. He qualified 3rd on Sunday afternoon. Next up are the Gatorade Dual 150s.
What do you think about this style of racing so far?