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Stars offer their advice for the 2017 NASCAR Cup rookie class

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When they first came into the NASCAR Cup Series, drivers like Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott were given advice on what to expect.

Now, with Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez, Ty Dillon and Gray Gaulding making up the 2017 NASCAR Cup rookie class, it’s time for Busch, Truex and others to be the advice givers.

During the recent NASCAR Media Tour in Charlotte, several drivers were asked by NBC Sports about what advice they’d impart upon the rookies.

2004 Cup champ Kurt Busch had one of the best replies, followed by a serious addendum.

“Just pull in behind the 41 car and I’ll take you to the front,” he quipped.

On the more serious side, Busch added: “Being a rookie in the NASCAR Cup Series, it’s a responsibility and there’s a lot to learn, but you deserve this right to be here.

“You’ve raced well in the Xfinity Series. Daniel, you’re a champion, Erik Jones you’re a winner, Ty you’re a winner. Welcome to the club. This is a tough group, but you’re going to be just fine.”

Ty Dillon
Ty Dillon

Busch’s teammate at Stewart-Haas Racing, 2014 Cup champ Kevin Harvick, had some observations, as well.

“As you look at rookies in general, in my mind you see this a lot,” Harvick said. “You see guys come in and they will have a very good start to the year and they’ll get excited about everything that is going on and they’ll put a lot of effort into what is going on.

“The hardest thing for a rookie is having to manage their time as you get into the grind and through the year; really the second year would be harder than the first year. It takes drivers with experience and knowledge – and sometimes the young drivers have it and sometimes they don’t have it – to help your race team to grow, to push your team in the right direction, to progress your cars to where they’ll run faster.”

Last but not least, Harvick noted, “Learn how to manage your time and it’s okay to say ‘no’. … It’s important to take care of yourself.”

Martin Truex will have two rookies as Toyota teammates. Jones will be a teammate with Truex on the Furniture Row Racing team, while Suarez will drive the No. 19 car for Joe Gibbs Racing.

“(My) advice is just keep an open mind, enjoy yourself, try not to let the pressure get to you,” Truex said. “It’s such a big step, going from Xfinity to the Cup Series.

“Really, it’s like going from the first rung of the ladder to the top and I’m talking about a 25-foot ladder. It’s a big change. It’s a big jump, lot of pressure and a lot of people expecting you to do things. Just try to enjoy it and take it all in and learn as much as you can.”

Denny Hamlin will have Suarez, who replaces Carl Edwards in the No. 19 car, as one of his teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing.

“I think Daniel is more prepared than I ever was,” Hamlin said. “So I would imagine he would have a lot of success.”

But Hamlin also warns that Suarez could have a significant learning curve.

“No matter what, it’s a giant step and eventually you have to take it,” Hamlin said. “He just won the Xfinity championship. He was running in the top five every single week.

“So, like my dad said, what is there to accomplish? Move up to the next level and challenge yourself again. I think this is going to be a challenge for Daniel and Erik, but they’re as prepared as anyone I’ve seen in a while.”

And then there’s last year’s NASCAR Cup Rookie of the Year, Chase Elliott. As he enters his sophomore season in the Cup series, the son of a NASCAR Hall of Famer says this year’s rookie class is well prepared to make the jump to NASCAR’s marquee series.

“They’ve been racing long enough, they know what to expect,” Elliott said. “I don’t think me sharing something with them is going to be news to them. I think they have a good grasp of what’s going on.”

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NASCAR on NBC podcast, Ep. 90: Roger Slack

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Eldora Speedway general manager Roger Slack joined the NASCAR on NBC podcast to discuss his track’s past, present and possible future with NASCAR.

Slack detailed the run-up to the initial “secret” test with Tony Stewart and Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon that led to scheduling a Camping World Truck Series race that recently completed its fifth edition.

Slack also discussed the storied history of Eldora, which opened in 1954 and was bought by Stewart 50 years later.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the AudioBoom embed below or download and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts by clicking here. The free subscription will provide automatic downloads of new episodes to your smartphone.

It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here and also can be found on Google Play, Spotify and a host of other smartphone apps.

NASCAR America: How Daniel Suarez found out he was replacing Carl Edwards (video)

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On Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, Daniel Suarez recalled the moment he got the call that he was being promoted to replace Carl Edwards in the NASCAR Cup Series at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Suarez was at dinner back home in Mexico with family and friends when JGR officials called and him to be ready for a teleconference in a few moments.

Suarez stepped away, telling his dinner partners he’d be back shortly — which ultimately lasted 40 minutes.

When he returned to the dinner table, he couldn’t tell anything about the phone call — JGR officials swore him to secrecy — but he eventually revealed that he had been promoted to the NASCAR Cup Series to replace Edwards, who had decided to take a hiatus from his racing career.

Check out the video above.

 

 

NASCAR America: What Joe Gibbs Racing teammates really think of each other (video)

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Daniel Suarez appeared on Wednesday’s live broadcast of NASCAR America from the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina,

One of the funniest segments of Suarez’s visit was a video and verbal collage of how much he and his fellow Joe Gibbs Racing teammates really think of each other — all in good humor, of course.

Check out the video above where Suarez, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch answer the “tough questions” about themselves, as well as how they feel about their fellow teammates.

NASCAR America: Daniel Suarez’s journey from Mexico and VW Beetles to NASCAR champion (video)

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In winning last year’s Xfinity Series championship, Mexican native Daniel Suarez became NASCAR’s first international champion.

It was the culmination of a journey that began with his father and, interestingly enough, Volkswagen Beetles.

Check out Suarez’s story and the thoughts about his success and prowess by our NASCAR America analysts in the video above.

Speaking of VW Beetles, Suarez’s father sold his restoration shop to fund his son’s racing dream. Years later, Daniel repaid his father by purchasing a new restoration shop for him. See the video below.