Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he expects to get with car owner Rick Hendrick “shortly” to continue talks about a contract extension now that Earnhardt has been cleared to race.
Earnhardt, 42, was approved by doctors and NASCAR to return to competition Wednesday after running 185 laps in a five-hour test session at Darlington Raceway.
Earnhardt’s contract with Hendrick Motorsports expires after the 2017 season. Earnhardt and Hendrick had talks about extending the contract before Earnhardt was forced to sit out the final 18 races of this past season because of a concussion.
Now that Earnhardt is set to go in the 2017 Daytona 500 on Feb. 26, he and Hendrick can finish work on the extension.
“We’ll probably revisit that before the season starts,’’ Earnhardt said Friday in a conference call with reporters. “I’ve told you guys that before we got sick, me and Rick had been sitting down and talking about our future and the extension and what we wanted to do, and all that stuff was starting to come together.
“We’re going to revisit that here shortly. That’s definitely something on our list to get done.’’
Earnhardt is entering his 10th season at Hendrick Motorsports. He left Dale Earnhardt Inc. to join Hendrick for the 2008 season.
Since being at Hendrick, Earnhardt has won nine wins, including the 2014 Daytona 500 and finished as high as fifth in the points (2013).
Kyle Busch isn’t afraid to speak his mind, and he certainly did so after Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
NASCAR implemented a number of changes to make the racing closer, tighter and more exciting — including restrictor plates, a larger rear spoiler, aero ducts, and a smaller splitter — and achieved all that on many fronts.
But not for the younger Busch brother, who wasn’t pleased with the rules package. Was it actually designed to specifically slow him down rather than to even out things for the entire field?
Or was he just simply upset because he didn’t win a third Xfinity race in a row at IMS?
Check out how our NASCAR America analysts gauged the Xfinity changes in the above video.
Mark Smith, owner of TriStar Motorsports, died Saturday at his home, after a long battle with cancer, the team announced Monday. He was 63.
He began his racing career building engines for his brother Jack’s drag car in the 1970s. He moved his family from the West Coast in the early 1990s to pursue a career in NASCAR. He was the owner of TriStar Motorsports and Pro Motor Engines.
TriStar Motorsports fields the No. 14 in the Xfinty Series with JJ Yeley and the No. 72 in the Cup Series with Cole Whitt. The team stated the team will continue operations under the management of Bryan Smith, son of Mark Smith.
“It was dad’s dream to own and operate a NASCAR team,” Bryan Smith said. “He devoted his life to that dream and his family plans to honor his wishes by continuing our efforts in his memory.”
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Victory Junction Gang victoryjunction.org or NOVA (National Organization for Vehicle Access, part of the BraunAbility) novafunding.org.
The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. ET, Aug. 1 at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, North Carolina. They have created a Facebook page where you are encouraged to leave a story for the family to enjoy. (facebook.com/Remembering-Mark-Smith-301261653675224)
Given how wild the Brickyard 400 played out, the big wreck between race leaders Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. wasn’t exactly surprising.
Rather, with the way the race transpired from the opening lap, was the Busch/Truex wreck almost inevitable?
Truex got loose and washed up into the left rear of Busch’s car, sending both drivers and their respective cars into the outside retaining walls, hitting hard and ending their respective days.
Check out what our NASCAR America analysts had to say about the wreck from Monday’s show in the above video.
On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, Dale Earnhardt Jr. — who will become part of our NBC Sports Group in 2018 — looked back on a wild and intense Brickyard 400.
Earnhardt was one of several drivers whose day came to an early ending — in Junior’s case when he ran into the back of Trevor Bayne‘s car, destroying his radiator in the process.
All the mayhem and mishaps could be linked to over-aggressive driving, Earnhardt said, saying that every driver was in “attack mode,” especially on restarts.
Check out Junior in the video above.