Getty Images

Darlington stripe going ‘green,’ Turn 3 towers renamed after Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jr.

Leave a comment

The famed “Darlington stripe” is getting a “green” facelift for the looming race weekend at the track “Too Tough To Tame.”

Darlington Raceway has announced Turn 4 will be painted green for the Sept. 1-3 race weekend as part of sponsor activation with Pee Dee Electric Cooperative and state-owned utility Santee Cooper.

The track is using 100 percent renewable energy to generate electricity at the track for the Xfinity and Cup series races.

As part of the environmental awareness initiative, fans can sign up to win three laps in a pace car around the track on Sunday, Sept. 3, at www.DarlingtonGreenStripe.com.

Darlington has also announced it will be renaming its towers in Turn 3 after Dale Earnhardt Sr and Jr.

The renaming comes as the track will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Earnhardt Sr.’s 1987 Southern 500 win and Earnhardt Jr.’s final Cup start at the track.

Earnhardt Towers will feature graphics that depict memorable moments of Earnhardt Sr. and Earnhardt Jr.’s careers featured on the backside of each tower. The Earnhardt Towers name will also be displayed on the front of the towers facing the track.

Earnhardt Sr. won at Darlington nine times in his Cup career, including three times in the Southern 500.

The towers will be dedicated on the morning on Sept. 1 prior to Cup and Xfinity practice in a ceremony featuring track president Kerry Tharp and Kelley Earnhardt Miller, co-owner of JR Motorsports and daughter of Earnhardt Sr.

“Darlington Raceway is fortunate to have many of the sport’s legends honored throughout our property,”  Tharp said in a press release. “We felt that it was fitting to honor Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr. for their positive impact on the sport and on the track Too Tough To Tame. Earnhardt Towers will forever celebrate and recognize their achievements and be a lasting landmark at our tradition-rich facility.”

and on Facebook

Kyle Larson wins Stage 1 at Miami, Brad Keselowski leads Championship 4 drivers

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kyle Larson won Stage 1 of Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, dominating by leading 67 of the stage’s 80 laps, holding a nine-second edge when he took the checkered flag.

Meanwhile, here’s how the four Championship 4 drivers finished after the first 80 laps of the scheduled 267-lap event: Brad Keselowski is second, Kyle Busch is third, Kevin Harvick is fourth and Martin Truex Jr. in fifth.

Truex, with six of his seven wins this season coming on 1.5-mile tracks like Homestead-Miami, wasted little time to take the lead away from pole-sitter Denny Hamlin.

The first caution of the race came out on Lap 6 when Joey Gase appeared to blow a tire and hit the Turn 1 wall hard.

During the subsequent pit stop, the only Championship 4 driver to hit pit road for four new tires was Keselowski, putting him off-sequence of the other contenders.

The move worked, though, as Keselowski quickly climbed from ninth on the restart on Lap 9 to third by Lap 12 and second by Lap 14.

Larson, who also pitted with Keselowski, took the lead away from Truex on Lap 13 and held on for the remaining 67 laps of the stage.

On Lap 38, Jimmie Johnson blew a right rear tire and came to pit road for four new tires. Even though there was no caution, all four championship contenders pitted over the following two laps.

On Lap 58, Harvick passed Truex and into third place for the first time in the race, zeroing on Keselowski in second.

Johnson got into the wall again on Lap 60, even though there was no caution, and sustained moderate damage, pitting for four tires and fuel.

Sixth through 10th were Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, Hamlin, Joey Logano and Clint Bowyer.

Watch: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s fans on what the driver means to them

Leave a comment

The fan base of Dale Earnhardt Jr. is large and devoted.

Those fans, affectionately called “Junior Nation,” has voted Earnhardt as NASCAR’s most popular driver 14 years in a row.

Justin Hartley of NBC’s “This is Us” is a member of Earnhardt’s fan base. The actor narrates the above essay on the close relationship between the driver and his fans.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. talks to Bob Costas about his career, legacy before final Cup start

Leave a comment

Sunday marks Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s last start as a full-time Cup driver in NASCAR.

NBC Sports’ Bob Costas sat down with the 14-time most popular driver before the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to get Earnhardt’s thoughts before he climbed in the No. 88 Chevrolet for the last time.

Earnhardt addressed what he hopes his legacy will be after 20 years in the sport as a driver, including his impact on attitudes towards concussions in sports in general.

Earnhardt, who will join NBC Sports in 2018, also talked about what life has in store for him in the near future.

Earnhardt also made sure to credit his devoted fan base for making his career possible.

“I understand the driving force behind my success and opportunity in this sport, whether it be inside the car or outside the car, is all because of Jr. Nation,” Earnhardt said. “This year we’ve tried our best to show appreciation to them.”

Watch the above video for the full interview.

 

Furniture Row Racing going for Cup title after year of success, tragedy

Leave a comment

It’s been a historic year for Furniture Row Racing, the Cup team that has its base of operations in an old water bed factory in Denver, Colorado.

With Martin Truex Jr. piloting the No. 78 Toyota, they won a team record seven races and a series record six races on 1.5-mile tracks. Combined with a dominating performance under the new stage racing format, Truex has put the team in its second Championship 4 in three years.

But it’s also been a season of perseverance and tragedy.

NBC Sports’ Nate Ryan narrates the above video essay on the story of Furniture Row Racing’s 2017 season.