The Intimidator won 34 times at Daytona and his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., has added 17 of his own wins in his NASCAR career. His last chance to add to the “Earnhardt mark” on Daytona comes Saturday in the Coke Zero 400 (7:30 p.m. ET on NBC).
NASCAR America’s analysts discussed what the legacy of the Earnhardt name is with Earnhardt Jr.’s impending retirement.
“The way their lives were intertwined, what they did on the race track has been intertwined,” Kyle Petty said. “The way the fans perceive what Senior was, what Junior is and what Junior has meant for this sport. What he has done recently as a leader of the sport, he has stepped into his father’s shoes. … When Junior stood up last year and said I’m not getting in that car because of my head injuries, I’m going to sit out.’ That’s leadership.
But he’s also one of the founders of Thunder Road International Speedbowl in his home state of Vermont.
Squier called into NASCAR America to talk about the 1/4-mile track, which awards the winner of the Milk Bowl Invitational with kissing a cow. I’m sorry, it’s not a cow.
“That is a genuine, Vermont beauty,” Squier clarified. “That’s what we promoted and advertised, that we were going to do our very best, we were sick and tired of all this nonsense about these ‘bimbos’ that would be in victory lane, that we would have ‘genuine Vermont beauty.'”
The Milk Bowl was once won by the current governor of Vermont, Phil Scott.
Watch the video for the full interview with Squier.
NASCAR America at 5:30 p.m. ET: Michigan recap, debris cautions and 50 States: Vermont
Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs for 90 minutes on NBCSN beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET.
Carolyn Manno hosts with Parker Kligerman from Stamford, Connecticut. They are joined by Steve Letarte and Slugger Labbe from Burton’s Garage.
The episode is dedicated to recapping the race weekend at Michigan International Speedway.
Here’s what to expect from the show:
Kyle Larson recorded his second straight win at Michigan on Sunday. We’ll hear post-race comments from him and find out what it means to win on Father’s Day.
We’ll examine the current Cup Series playoff picture with 11 races remaining in the regular season. Who’s in and who’s out?
The Xfinity and the Camping World Truck Series both provided thrilling finishes. We’ll recap the races at Michigan and Gateway Motorsports Park.
My Home Track: 50 States in 50 Shows stops in Vermont. Today’s featured track is Thunder Road International Speedbowl. Longtime track owner and newly elected NASCAR Hall of Famer Ken Squier calls in to tell us his fondest memories of “The Road.”
Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with the Monaco Grand Prix. Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500. The final part of the racing tripleheader is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).
Also, check out the video below as NASCAR America paid tribute to Squier’s long career announcing the sport.
Long: Hall of Fame moment is special for father and son
CHARLOTTE — Sleep has not come easy for Doug Yates in some time.
It has only gotten worse lately.
He can’t stop thinking of his father, Robert, who battles liver cancer. Robert has undergone chemotherapy, but at one point doctors said they weren’t sure what how to treat the 74-year-old former NASCAR team owner and engine builder who was selected to the 2018 Hall of Fame Class on Wednesday.
That helpless feeling of not solving a problem counters what Robert and Doug have done all their lives. If there was an issue with an engine, they worked harder and longer until they fixed the matter.
This they can’t.
While Robert Yates undergoes experimental treatments, Doug is there to help take care of his father. There are bad days, Doug says, wincing.
“What I see is a man who is broken down and built back up because he is watching his father,’’ said Whitney Yates, Doug’s wife. “Sometimes (Robert) is so sick he can’t do anything and Doug is there.’’
They are more than father and son. They share a treasured relationship not every boy and his dad experiences, their bonds woven early and strengthened with each day together.
Doug fondly recalls sleeping on a cot in a race shop when he was about 5 years old while his father worked on an engine through the night. They traveled to races together. Doug reminisces of a trip to Richmond where his father, tired from work, told his son, then 12, to take the wheel while he slept. Yet, when a deer ran across their path, it was Robert who asked his son if he saw that.
They often went to the race shop together. Although family, Robert was still the boss. He would be hard on his son at times, but Doug cherishes even those memories.
Robert was only teaching his son what it took to succeed. Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett won two Daytona 500s and Davey Allison won another for Robert Yates Racing. Jarrett won the 1999 Cup championship with the team. As an owner, Robert Yates won 57 Cup races and 48 poles.
Now, Doug is the boss. He oversees the “vision” his father had of the Roush Yates Engines shop, which powered Kurt Busch to a Daytona 500 win and Ford teams to four other victories in the season’s first 11 races.
“He wants to make (his dad) proud,’’ Whitney said of Doug. “He’s always trying so hard.
“Doug is always moving the bar. I think Robert is so proud of that.’’
While Doug does what he can for his father and the family business, he couldn’t control what happened at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The past three years Robert, Doug and the rest of the family came to the Hall of Fame to see if Robert would be selected. Five are chosen each year. Robert ranked sixth in votes received twice, just missing enshrinement.
Each time, Robert said the voting panel got it right.
“Selfishly, I didn’t think so, but he did,’’ Doug said. “That was a lesson for me. Everything happens for a reason.’’
As Wednesday approached, Doug Yates’ anxiety grew. It was worse Wednesday morning and throughout the day.
As Doug walked into Hall of Fame, ahead of his father, he conceded he was “nervous.’’
He also was prepared.
Doug stocked multiple tissues in the pockets of his slacks.
“If he didn’t make it, I was going to break down,’’ Doug said of his father making the Hall of Fame. “If he did, I was going to break down.’’
Robert also felt nervous.
“If I don’t get in,’’ Robert told himself before the announcement, “that’s the reason to work real hard to be here next year to get in.’’
The family didn’t have to wait long to celebrate.
Robert Yates, who received 94 percent of the vote, was announced first.
“Wow,’’ Doug said. “I’m glad that’s over.’’
His father, sitting a row in front of Doug, reached back. Doug leaned forward. They held hands.
After that it was a matter of relishing what had happened as four other men — Red Byron, Ray Evernham, Ken Squier and Ron Hornady Jr. — were selected to join Robert Yates in the next Hall of Fame Class.
Doug stay composed throughout. He wiped his eyes once.
When the ceremony ended, Robert Yates reached his arm around wife Carolyn and embraced her.
“My family means so much to me because they allowed me to work night and day,’’ Robert Yates said. “Do I love engines? Yes, whether one cylinder, two cylinders, six or 12 or 24. I love engines.’’
That passion led him to this moment.
“I feel like I could take a jack,’’ said the former jackman.