NASCAR America: Dale Earnhardt Jr. calls out Team Penske’s actions after Texas race

14 Comments

Last year, NASCAR put a stop to teams swerving wildly on cooldown laps after qualifying and races. The maneuvers were an attempt by drivers to get the rear of their cars properly aligned before inspection.

NASCAR began penalizing teams practice time for swerving following the fall Charlotte race.

Swerving is back in the spotlight after comments Dale Earnhardt Jr. made over his radio and then to the media after Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway. Tuesday night on NASCAR America, Dale Jarrett and Jeff Burton discussed the topic in the video above.

Earnhardt radioed his team that he saw the Team Penske cars of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano “swerving” and “downshifting hard” after the checkered flag.

After telling reporters  that the Penske cars had been the “class of the field,” Earnhardt said “we need to figure out what they are doing and see if we can’t make it better.”

This isn’t the first time Keselowski has been a part of the discussion regarding body manipulation. In 2012, it was Keselowski radioing his team during the Brickyard 400 about his amazement at how much skew was visible in the Hendrick Motorsports’ cars.

What does all this talk about swerving mean?

“What (Earnhardt) was saying was that he was seeing them downshifting really hard, when you downshift, that would move the rear end and try to get it back into place,” analyst Jeff Burton said on NASCAR America. “That doesn’t mean, per say, that they were cheating. They could be doing it for insurance. They may be right on that edge of where they could be in the rule and they’re afraid as things move around in the race, they could be illegal after the race. …

“I think it was Junior’s way to vent a little bit to his team, ‘Hey, those guys are doing something maybe we need to be doing. Then saying it publicly, that was probably a shot across the bow, saying this is something NASCAR should look at.”

NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell was asked about Earnhardt’s comments Tuesday by NBC Sports.

“We are constantly looking at what goes on,” O’Donnell said. “I think our inspection process has been the same in terms of this year, and we’ve had to write some penalties, so we’re staying on the teams and know that rear skew is an area that we want to continue to monitor.”

Watch the video above for the rest of the discussion and to see Keselowski’s comments about the Hendrick cars after a 2012 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Kasey Kahne‘s reaction to them.

Stats, Results for Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway

Getty Images
Leave a comment

John Hunter Nemechek led the final six laps to win the Camping World Truck Series’ M&M’s 200 at Iowa Speedway.

It’s his second win in two weeks.

Nemechek beat out Johnny Sauter, Brandon Jones, Grant Engfinger and Christopher Bell.

Click here for race results.

Johnny Sauter keeps Truck points lead, John Hunter Nemechek in eighth

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With his Stage 2 win and his second-place finish in the M&M’s 200, Johnny Sauter retains his lead in the Camping World Truck Series standings leaving Iowa Speedway.

Sauter has a 42-point lead over Christopher Bell.

Completing the top five is: Chase Briscoe (-76), Matt Crafton (-95) and Ben Rhodes (-123).

With his second win in two weeks, John Hunter Nemechek moved from ninth to eighth in the standings, 153 points back from Sauter.

Click here for the full points standings.

John Hunter Nemechek wins at Iowa, second Truck victory in a row

Getty Images
Leave a comment

At one point going four-wide on a restart with seven laps to go, John Hunter Nemechek drove from fourth to first to win the M&M’s 200 at Iowa Speedway.

It is Nemechek’s second Camping World Truck Series win in two weeks after an emotional victory at Gateway Motorsports Park. It is his fifth career win.

Nemechek passed low on Chase Briscoe and Johnny Sauter into Turn 1 and cleared them on the backstretch a lap into the final run. The No. 8 team changed four tires during the final caution. Sauter, who led 72 laps, did not pit.

“All year we felt really good about this whole stretch,” Nemechek told Fox Sports 1. “Gateway, Iowa and Kentucky. Hopefully we can go to Kentucky and make it three in a row.”

Driving the same truck he used to win last week, Nemehcek had to pass Sauter, Briscoe and Noah Gragson on the restart.

The top five was Nemechek, Sauter, Brandon Jones, Grant Enfinger and Christopher Bell.

Stage 1 winner: Christopher Bell

Stage 2 winner: Johnny Sauter

MORE: Race results

MORE: Points standings

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Brandon Jones’s third-place finish is his season best and first Truck top five since 2015 … Christopher Bell earned his sixth top five through nine races … Grant Enfinger earned his fourth top five, but it came at the expense of teammate Matt Crafton, who he caused to crash to bring out the final caution … Jesse Little finished ninth for his first career top 10 in his 11th start.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Ben Rhodes, Kaz Grala and Austin Wayne Self were in a wreck with three laps left in Stage 2 …. Ryan Truex’s night ended with 33 to go when he brought his truck to pit road for an engine problem. He finished 20th … Matt Crafton backed hard into the outside wall with 15 laps to go after being tagged by his teammate, Grant Enfinger, on his left-rear quarter panel. It is his first DNF of the year. Crafton finished 19th … Harrison Burton and Justin Haley crashed in Turn 4 coming to the checkered flag. Burton placed 11th; Haley 10th.

NOTABLE: The race was red flagged for 12 minutes and 26 seconds to clean up fluid from the three-truck crash at the end of Stage 2.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “That’s me. Four tires. That’s the man right there. Fire Alarm (Services). What do they want? They want a win and we got them one.” – Gere Kennon, crew chief for John Hunter Nemechek after winning the M&M’s 200.

WHAT’S NEXT: Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET on July 6 on Fox Sports 1.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s farewell tour begins at Sonoma with service dogs named in his honor

Sonoma Raceway
Leave a comment

To commemorate Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s career and his final start at the track, Sonoma Raceway gave the driver a gift he doesn’t have to take home and will benefit others for year to come.

During his Friday press conference, the track surprised Earnhardt with three Labrador Retriever puppies. Named “Dale,” “Junior” and “Amy” – after his wife – the puppies are being given to the organization Paws as Loving Support (PALS) Assistance Dogs.

Donated by Micons Labradors and Fieldstone Labradors and sponsored by the track, the puppies will be trained to help children with disabilities in the Sonoma community.

“I’d like to thank the track for their investment to make this happen,” Earnhardt said. “It really warms my heart. Amy is going to be excited but sad she is not here. We do love dogs and making a difference in people’s lives. I’m excited to maybe come back and see how the dogs are doing.”

Sonoma is the first track Earnhardt is racing at for the last time since he announced his retirement plans in April.

The puppies will take part in PALS thorough training process, including time with incarcerated youth twice a week, before being matched with a child with a disability and his/her family as a service dog or placed with a professional as a facility dog.

PALS Assistance Dogs trains dogs to help children with disabilities including Autism, Down syndrome and mobility impairments. Some are placed with professionals working with children with special needs as facility dogs. In addition, Courthouse PALS dogs provide emotional support and comfort to victims and witnesses of violent crimes before, during and at the conclusion of a trial.

“Dale has such a huge following among our fans and we wanted to find a way for his legacy to carry forward locally, well beyond his days as a driver,” said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway president and general manager. “These three puppies – Dale, Junior and Amy – will make a meaningful difference in the lives of young people in the North Bay for years to come.”

On race day, 10,000 “Thanks, Junior” hand-held fans will be given out and the No. 88 will be written in the sky by the Patriots Jet Team.

and on Facebook