Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn’t fight because everyone, including momma, is watching

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Everyone and their mother is talking about the post-race fight Sunday between Kyle Busch and Joey Logano.

That’s exactly why you’ll never see Dale Earnhardt Jr. throw a punch, at least not in public.

“I would not have done the same thing,” Earnhardt said on the latest episode of the “Dale Jr. Download.” “I know, maybe more than Kyle, there’s a lot of cameras. There’s a lot of people watching. You’ve got social media. You’ve got people getting this content a whole bunch of different ways. If you go up and punch a guy in the face, that’s going to be on TV all week.”

The most noteworthy video of the fight came not from TV cameras, but from NASCAR journalist Jeff Gluck. The original video has been viewed on YouTube 1.8 million times as of Tuesday afternoon.

“You’re going to show up at the racetrack on Friday or Thursday next week and you’re going to be asked about it everyday,” Earnhardt continued. “This will probably go on for a couple of weeks. NASCAR will take this content and it will be on every show that they do, every commercial. So you’ll see it over and over and over. NASCAR will take this fight and use it as an advertisement. ‘You got to come out see what happens at the next race.’ They will wear it out.”

MORE: NASCAR on NBC podcast: Kyle Busch vs Joey Logano.

Earnhardt questioned whether Busch wants to be in the position of having to be constantly be asked by the media – and family – about the fight.

“Momma’s watching, you don’t want to upset your momma,” Earnhardt teased. “She’s just a phone call away.”

Earnhardt went on to share some stories of the “few altercations” he’s had in racing career.

“I’ve never been in a fight like that,” Earnhardt said. “I’m not trying to play out my stuff on the main stage.”

The Hendrick Motorsports driver told the story of him and crew chief Tony Eury Sr. getting into it with Tony Stewart‘s crew chief after some rough driving between the two at Pikes Peak International Raceway in the Xfinity Series in the late ’90s.

“We got called to the hauler after the race,” Earnhardt said. “Tony Sr., he’s really fiery, got a bad temper. He was very upset. Tony Stewart comes in there. Tony’s fine. I could tell from the moment he walked in he wasn’t going to be a problem. But his crew chief … this guy comes walking in and the minute the door opens I can hear this guy talking and yapping. And he’s talking about me being a daddy’s boy and riding my daddy’s coat tails. I went over to Tony Stewart to get to this guy and Tony Sr. went under Tony Stewart;s (arm) to get to the guy.

“I got a hold of the guy, grabbed his shirt, swung and as I swung, he came out of his shirt. It ripped off. Tony Stewart’s just kind of there, kind of tangled up in this unwittingly. Nobody punched anybody.”

Later, after a story about calling Todd Bodine “a cue-ball headed fool” and wielding a jack handle, Earnhardt recalled a story from his late-model days, which resulted in his co-host calling him the “Kyle Busch of Hickory Motor Speedway.”

“We had the entire grandstands at Hickory Motor Speedway pissed off at us one week,” Earnhardt said. “We started last in this race called the Bobby Isaac Memorial. We were running third with about 20 to 30 laps to go. I got black flagged for passing a lapped car under caution. The guy was waving me by, which was totally legit. I didn’t think it was fair. The guy who was my crew chief-owner, says ‘pull in, this is bulls—. We’re getting out.’ So I pull in with a few laps left in the race. The whole grandstand is booing me at me. … Hickory is little bit 50-50 for Earnhardts. There’s a lot of Jarrett fans up there.

“We had ripped our fender off in the race, so it’s in the pits now. My crew chief or one of my crew members throws the fender onto the track, so they’re red flagged at this moment. Cleaning up a wreck. We throw a fender on the track. More boos. I flipped the bird from the pits to the booth. I know the scorer because I changed his oil at Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet. It obviously now looks like I’m flipping off the fans. Now the boos are turning into objects, cans and bottles.

“The guy comes to the dealership like a week later to get his oil changed and me and him have words. That kind of led to my firing from the dealership.”

Listen to the rest of Earnhardt’s stories and the podcast here.

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Atlanta Motor Speedway to delay repave at least a year

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The cries of drivers have been heard. Atlanta Motor Speedway will not repave its track as previously scheduled. Instead, track officials will evaluate the surface following the 2018 race there.

Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns the track, had planned to have the track surface repaved beginning in late March. It would have been the first repave there since 1997.

Engineers examined the track after the March 5 race to determine if the track surface could last another year with modest repairs. Track officials also consulted with Goodyear and others.

“There’s no question that the surface is worn out, but probably the most powerful lobby this side of Washington, D.C., was the biggest influence,” Ed Clark, president of Atlanta Motor Speedway, told NBC Sports of the drivers. “They kind of put the pressure on. I understand.”

After winning there, Brad Keselowski made his pitch not to repave the track.

“Drivers hate repaves,” he said. “We want to see the surfaces last as long as they can.  But the reality is nothing lasts forever, and this surface has made it a really, really long time, 20 years, I think, this season, and they should be really proud of that.

“My hope is they can get another year or two out of it, and I understand if they can’t, and you have to kind of leave it to their expertise and so forth.”

Clark said that work will need to be done to the track before next year’s race.

“The worst part is down the frontstretch in front of the grandstands,” Clark told NBC Sports. “There’s a lot of issues there. We’re actually going to have to cut a few areas and patch … to make it last through 2018. We consulted with Goodyear on that. They don’t think, as long as it is on the straightaway, it is a big issue from a tire standpoint.”

Clark said that the track surface will be sealed in October and should have the patching done before then.

“Let them go ahead and slip and slide one more time in 2018,” Clark said.

Clark said that while anything can change, he doesn’t foresee being talked out of a repave job too many more times.

“You have to see how the weekend goes and what happens,” Clark told NBC Sports. “We had to patch some places after the Saturday events this year, small places. Hey, if we could go two more, great. All you’ve got to do is walk out there and look at it. It is absolutely worn out. But if the drivers say, hey our choice is to race on this surface as it is.

“There comes a point (when a repave is needed). We do have a few drainage issues we do need to correct, some other things when the time comes. Right now, we’re going to get through 2018 and evaluate and see if that is the time or when is it.”

Clark said that when the track is repaved, Goodyear has expressed interest in having two test sessions to determine the proper tire for that 1.5-mile track instead of the customary one because of the track’s challenging surface.

Clark warns that with the excitement of Tuesday’s news, the day is still coming when the track will have to be repaved.

“I can’t see this going two more seasons, maybe only one,” Clark said.

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NASCAR America — My Home Track: 50 States In 50 Shows — Arkansas

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On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, we continued our series of My Home Track: 50 States in 50 Shows as our trucks rolled into Arkansas!

We visited two short tracks in the state that produced President Bill Clinton and Basketball Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen.

Plus we talked to NASCAR Hall of Famer and Arkansas native Mark Martin about racing in his home state.

NASCAR America: Is there cause for concern with Jimmie Johnson’s performance thus far?

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It’s no secret that Jimmie Johnson is off to a slow start in 2017.

The defending and seven-time NASCAR Cup champion has a starting average of 21.8 and a finishing average of 18.8 in the first five races of this season.

He has just one top-10 finish (ninth at Phoenix), along with 34th at Daytona, 19th at Atlanta, 11th at Las Vegas and 21st Sunday at Fontana.

And let’s not forget he’s 17th in the NASCAR Cup standings heading to one of his strongest tracks, Martinsville Speedway, this Sunday.

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, we discussed this: After such a slow start to the season, is there a cause for concern over Johnson’s performance?

NASCAR America: Mark Martin is definitely a Kyle Larson fan

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On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin shared his experience of racing in his home state of Arkansas, as well as the excitement he feels watching  Kyle Larson compete in the Cup series.