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Ryan Blaney has experienced the ‘positive and negative’ of being endorsed by Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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During his retirement press conference on Tuesday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was asked who the NASCAR world should be excited about as it ventures into a future without him on the track full-time.

The 14-time most popular driver’s response was lengthy, but he went out of his way to name four drivers.

First there was Kyle Larson (“cool as a cucumber”) and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott (“so easy and approachable”).

Then Earnhardt listed off Wood Brothers Racing’s Ryan Blaney and Roush Fenway Racing’s Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., who competes in the Xfinity Series.

“You see the stuff that Blaney and Bubba do, and they’re not afraid to really show their personalities,” Earnhardt said. “That’s completely different than any of us older guys. We’ve never been like that. So this is a new batch of guys that are going to do things in a new way. They’re going to bring a lot of color and excitement and energy to the sport. We’ve just got to get them in front of the fans, let the fans get to know them, and I think the rest will take care of itself. But I’m thrilled. We definitely have tons of talent. There is no question. But I love the people they are.”

Blaney, the son of former Cup driver Dave Blaney, has an unique relationship with Earnhardt that’s been in the spotlight this year. Blaney is neighbor of Earnhardt’s and lives on property he owns.

Their friendship was slightly strained after incidents at Phoenix and Martinsville.

On Friday at Richmond International Raceway, Blaney  addressed the “positive and negative” to being endorsed or even talked about by the biggest figure in the sport.

“I have seen both sides of that this year to be honest,” Blaney said. “From the Phoenix and Martinsville deal to him saying that stuff. He has a very big impact of what people think, whether it is fans or in the garage area. Him talking up younger drivers or the sport in general is going to get his fans excited about the future of going forward even though he won’t be driving next year.

“What he says will be very important. I know he has always said great things about the sport and drivers in it and been very positive which makes him a great person and great ambassador for the sport. It means a lot to hear him say those things. Like I said, I know he says that about a lot of young drivers and try to set everything up for the future, but it is nice to be a part of that conversation when he speaks.”

Larson, who is in his fourth full Cup season with Chip Ganassi Racing, said it is ” pretty cool to be in that category” created by Earnhardt.

“Hopefully we all have a lot of Junior’s fans kind of dispersed to cheer for us and don’t just leave the sport totally,” Larson said. “It’s going to be interesting to see, with him retiring, how it changes the sport, popularity-wise. It could be good. It could be bad. Who knows? I think all of us young guys are ready to kind of fill in his shoes a little bit.”

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.