Today, Monday April 29, 2013 is Dale Earnhardt Day. What is your favorite memory of Dale? Let us know in the comments below.
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Kevin Harvick was just a tick faster than Dale Earnhardt Jr as the final few laps counted down in Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville. And that was all it took for Harvick to make the final pass on Earnhardt for the lead on lap 497 of 500.
Harvick knew the win wouldn’t be all that popular given that he had to beat Dale Jr for it . “I hate to be the bad guy here, but we’re in it to win it,” said Harvick. “I’m just glad we led more than one lap this week.”
Earnhardt had gained the lead for the first time from Kyle Busch on lap 480 with an aggressive “rubbing is racing” pass. Junior put the nose of his No. 88 Chevy against the inside quarter panel of Busch’s No. 18 Toyota and refused to lift as the 2 cars entered the turn. The result was Kyle Busch getting loose up the race track and Junior going into the lead.
Did Kyle Busch think the pass by Earnhardt was a clean one? “Yeah, I was holding him up. I sucked,” said Busch. So it was good for him. I mean, he took the lead. No harm, no foul.”
Earnhardt described his pass for the lead this way: “I thought I had a nose on him getting into three and knew he was going to get down and crowd a little bit but I had to try to hold my ground. We were racing for the lead with just a few laps to go, so I think I did what any other driver probably would have done.”
The strong run by Dale Earnhardt Jr, and the disappointment he voiced in not winning after the race left no doubt that Earnhardt has the will to win. With consistent finishes near the front and a crew chief who knows how to adjust the car those wins are around the corner.
In his mind Earnhardt thought he had the race won with around 7 pals to go – as did his fans. “I was thinking at the end that I was meant to win that damn race,” Junior said. “Hell, I’m not sitting there leading that thing by seven car lengths thinking I’m about to lose.”
“I was definitely thinking I need to do what I think’s right every corner and try and win this race. I’ve got a hell of an opportunity right here and if I can put together decent laps, I might be able to keep the distance I had on him which was only about three or four car lengths.”
“We had the opportunity there to win a race, and I’m disappointed that I didn’t get the job done,” Dale Earnhardt Jr said. “It’ll probably bother me more and more as the night goes on. I’ll probably think about it a million times, what I could have done differently. But, you know, if I know what’s best for me, I should probably have a good attitude about what happened today.
“I’ll probably go into the next race and use it as momentum and confidence, as any other good driver would do, instead of worrying about how close we came.”
Junior reiterated his support for his new crew chief. “Steve’s a good crew chief,” said Earnhardt “and he’s going to give me more opportunities like this, I feel.”
But did Earnhardt feel like this proves he can compete and win? “Well, I ain’t really proved it to myself yet’” said Earnhardt.” I’ll let you know when I feel like I’m back, personally.”
I was impressed by Martin Truex Jr following his hard crash into the wall with a stuck throttle. A crash that took Kasey Kahne into the wall as well. Truex couldn’t get out of his car fast enough. Why? He wanted to check on Kahne and make sure he was alright.
Here’s your chance to have your say. What was your take on the race? Is Dale Jr back? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Chris Jenkins over at ThatsRacin wrote an interesting story about Kevin Harvick’s push to carry on Dale Earnhardt’s legacy as he has a legitimate shot to win a 7th Cup Championship for Richard Childress Racing on Sunday.
Harvick now admits that he wasn’t comfortable at first driving what everyone knew was a re-painted Dale Earnhardt race car that would forever be a Black No. 3 in the hearts of Dale’s fans.
“I embraced it zero in the beginning,” Harvick said Thursday, as drivers prepared for Sunday’s Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “I wanted to change the color of the car, I wanted new sponsors. If he wore a white suit, I wanted a black suit. I wanted zero to do with it.”
Today Kevin Harvick feels a little different. Read the full story then come back here and tell us what you think.
First of all let me apologize for asking a tricky question like Who was the first man to win the Brickyard?
Now let me tell you the back story of where all this is going.
Jeff Gordon did in fact win the first Brickyard 400 on August 6, 1994. But the question was not who won the first one.
Dale Earnhardt won the second Brickyard 400 on August 5, 1995.
Earnhardt was making the TV talk show rounds to talk about the race the following week when he proudly proclaimed “I’m the first man to win that race.”
The host looked a little puzzled and asked Earnhardt about Jeff Gordon’s win the previous year. Dale simply flashed that sly trademark grin of his and said “Wonderboy?”
Dale was a master of intimidating his rivals both on and off the track, and the rivalry between Earnhardt and Gordon was about as hot as it gets at that time. One of the two had the car to beat almost every week.
Dale’s Wonderboy comment was just another of his calculated moves to gain a slight edge over Gordon.
Mike Bianchi over at The Orlando Sentinel wrote an article last week claiming that Jimmie Johnson is the next Dale Earnhardt.
Well Iâ€™ve got news for you Mr. Bianchi. There is no next Dale Earnhardt â€“ and there never will be. Dale Earnhardt was one of those men who only come around once in history.
Dale Earnhardt Jr is not the next Dale Earnhardt. Kyle Busch is not the next Dale Earnhardt. And Jimmie Johnson certainly is not the next Dale Earnhardt.
Mr. Bianchi goes on to say that â€œfor nearly a decade now, NASCAR fans have been waiting for the second coming of Dale Earnhardt.â€ Most true hard-core fans recognize that Dale cannot and will not ever be replaced on or off the track.
Is Jimmie Johnson the greatest thing NASCAR fans have seen since Dale Earnhardt? Thatâ€™s what Mr. Bianchi would have you believe. Johnson has a long, long way to go to prove that statement to most NASCAR fans.
According to Mr. Bianchi, â€œJohnson will win the championship at the end of the year.â€ That may happen, but even then Jimmie Johnson will be 2 championships behind Dale Earnhardt.
How many different crew chiefs did Dale Earnhardt win Championships with? Iâ€™d like to see how many races Jimmie Johnson would win without Chad Knaus.
And Jimmie Johnson will never be the man that Dale Earnhardt was off the track. Dale helped a lot of people in a lot of ways. Some like Wessa Miller you will hear about. Some you will never hear about.
Mr. Bianchi was wrong when he said that we â€œmight as well put the No. 3 on Jimmie Johnson’s car.â€ Johnson has not earned the right to drive that number.
What do you think? Is Jimmie Johnson the next Dale Earnhardt?
Photo Courtesy NASCAR Media
Dale Earnhardt Jr went to Daytona for one reason — and one reason only â€“ Friday Night. To win the race. He didnâ€™t go to have a top five finish or a good points race. He didnâ€™t go to put on a show for the fans.
But what a show he put on. Earnhardt drove the No. 3 Wrangler Chevrolet all the way to Victory Lane in the Subway Jalapeno 250 Nationwide race.
Dale Earnhardt Jr knows how to drive a race car.
“I was so worried that I wasn’t going to win, ’cause nothing but a win would get it. For everybody,” an emotional Dale Earnhardt said in Victory Lane.
“I worked hard to try to win, not only for daddyâ€”I’m proud of him going to the Hall of Fame, and he would be proud of this, I’m sureâ€”but just all these fans. I hope they enjoyed this.â€
The win came because preparation met opportunity Friday Night at Daytona. It wasnâ€™t just the driver that was focused on winning. It was the entire team.
Crew chief Tony Eury Jr set the car up perfectly. He made the right calls at the right times to put the No. 3 car out front when it counted. Anyone that questions Euryâ€™s abilities as a crew chief needs to take a second look.
The pit crew was at the top of their game when it came time to service the car. The car was pitted by a group of guys who volunteered for the job. The same group of guys who pit Juniorâ€™s No. 88 Sprint Cup car.
A collaboration between Teresa Earnhardt, Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr saw that the car showed up at the track ready to race and win. Hendrick Motorsports provided the engine for the car.
Still it took a race car driver that knows his way around the two-and-a-half mile superspeedway at Daytona to claim the checkered flag. Earnhardt drove through traffic in the last half of that race as if he could actually see the air. Some say he can.
Earnhardt held off a last lap challenge from Joey Logano to win the race. Logano looked to make a run on Earnhardtâ€™s outside, but had no drafting help.
â€œHe had a pretty good run on the last lap, said Earnhardt..Â â€œHe kind of ducked out a little bit and then thought twice about it because I don’t know if the guys behind him were going to do it.Â Once they got back in line and felt that little shove I got off into three, I felt pretty confident we was gonna win.
Earnhardt continued the tribute to his father â€“ and the race fans â€“ on the Victory Lap. No burnout. Just an old school victory lap like another Earnhardt used to do.
What did the win mean for Dale Earnhardt Jr, for NASCAR, and what did it mean for you?
Photo Courtesy NASCAR Media
A celebration is under way today at Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated in Mooresville, North Carolina. This is the ninth annual Dale Earnhardt Day. Dale would be 59 today.
Dale Jr, Kelley, Kerry, Taylor and Teresa Earnhardt will be on hand for the ceremonies.
Richard Childress, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Teresa Earnhardt are going to unveil a special No. 3 Chevrolet that Dale Jr will drive at Daytona.
Also set to make its debut is a Dale Earnhardt Hall of Fame Chevy Camaro.
I hope youâ€™ll join me in saying Happy Birthday Dale!
Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus have mastered the art of psychological gamesmanship. They are experts at getting inside the hearts and minds of their opponents.
Drivers are more concerned about beating Jimmie Johnson than they are about making their own cars faster.
Johnson enjoys the games. â€œI get caught up in that mind game stuff and find a lot of satisfaction in it,â€ Jimmie Johnson said. â€œI told Chad before the year was over I want to win a lot to frustrate the competitors.
Kurt Busch is concerned
Just look at Kurt Buschâ€™s remarks after losing at Bristol despite dominating the race and leading 278 laps.
â€œI donâ€™t know, Iâ€™d rather lose to any of the 41 cars out there than the 48 car,â€ Busch said
â€œIt’s up to the best of us to knock him off the top,â€ Busch said after losing to Johnson in the closing laps of Sundayâ€™s Food City 500 at Bristol. â€œSo it’s rough. You know, they’ve won three times this year. Not that we need to, deserve to win, it’s just that they are winning every chance they’re given. We just need to position ourselves more to get those wins.â€
Matt Kenseth is worried about Johnson, too. During the spoiler test this week at Charlotte Motor Speedway Kenseth was asked about the upcoming race at Martinsville and Johnsonâ€™s winning record there. â€œHeâ€™s good everywhere,â€ said Kenseth.
What drivers can learn from Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi knows how to play mind games all too well. She called President George Bush a â€œtotal failureâ€ when Bush criticized Congressâ€™s inaction on important legislation.
“God bless him, bless his heart, President of the United States — a total failure, losing all credibility with the American people,â€ said Pelosi.
When Barack Obama was pushing for passage of his Obama Care plan Pelosi urged her colleagues to vote for it. â€œBut we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in itâ€™â€ urged Pelosi.
There are a few NASCAR drivers who can stand to learn a thing or two about mind games from Pelosi.
Chad Knaus does the same thing to other crew chiefs. Heâ€™s been known to walk through the garage on the morning of the race with a rear spring over his shoulder headed to the race car â€“ but never intending to change a thing on the car.
He just wants to get the other crew chiefs talking â€“ to throw them off their game.
When the No. 48 team was invited to participate in a Goodyear tire test late last year many drivers including Greg Biffle were complaining that Johnson was gaining an unfair advantage. Hereâ€™s how Chad Knaus responded to that:
“But as far as sending a message, I hope it does. I hope people talk about it. Like I said earlier, I hope people are worried. I hope people are talking about the fact that we tire tested and it’s wrong. All these people can get wound up about stuff that really doesn’t matter,” said Knaus.
Dale Earnhardt was the master
I havenâ€™t seen anyone this good at psychological racing since Dale Earnhardt. He wasnâ€™t known as The Intimidator just for what happened on the race track.
Once at Talladega when all the other drivers were busy dialing their cars in during practice Dale shook things up with a very simple move. He parked his car in the garage, covered it up, and went fishing.
Dale Earnhardt won 10 Cup races at Talladega.
Earnhardt once struck fear into the hearts of his fellow drivers when he made his famous comment about drivers complaining about the high speeds at Daytona. Essentially, he told them if they were afraid to drive the car they should go home.
So who else in NASCAR is good at psyching out their competitors? What tactics have you seen played out by drivers? Iâ€™d be happy to hear about it in the comments, or feel free to contact me.
What if Dale Earnhardt had Driven for Junior Johnson Instead of Richard Childress?
Rick Houston over at NASCAR.com asks Richard Childress a very important question.
How would Richard Childress Racing have turned out if Dale Earnhardt had raced for Junior Johnson instead of Childress?
â€œYouâ€™ll never know,â€ said Childress.â€ Dale was a huge player.â€
The article details how Junior Johnson had a deal with Earnhardt, and how Dale nearly went to drive for Johnson before sponsor conflicts came to a head.
Junior Johnson surely regrets the deal he brokered to send Earnhardt to the No. 3 car instead of a Junior Johnson car.
So do the sponsors who refused to back Earnhardt as his career was getting started.
Richard Childress would not have 6 NASCAR Championships without Dale Earnhardt.
But that street goes both ways. Earnhardt and Childress had a chemistry that would have never existed between Dale Earnhardt and Junior Johnson.
Dale Earnhardt would never have 7 NASCAR Championships without Richard Childress.
Authentic Dale Earnhardt Race Winning Car to be Sold
You see a lot of cars like this that were show cars or replicas â€“ but this one is the real deal. The car is for sale on eBay.
It comes with documentation showing that the car was built by Richard Childress Racing and raced by Dale Earnhardt.
Itâ€™s a 1990 Chevy Lumina that Dale won the Atlanta 500 in. The car was named Iron Head by Earnhardtâ€™s crew. If you look closely you will see where the crew engraved the name Iron Head.