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Kyle Larson addresses Indy 500 hopes, $800 Target visit and gives dad advice in Twitter Q&A

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Somewhere in the U.S. on Monday, Kyle Larson was bored while travelling.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver, fresh off his win at Michigan on Sunday, decided the solution to this problem was an impromptu Q&A session on Twitter.

Larson took questions for an hour about his past, future and flossing habits (they don’t exist).

Here’s some of the best answers from the now three-time Cup winner.

One of the most frequently asked questions around Larson is will he ever compete in the Indianapolis 500?

Larson seems pretty sure it’ll happen at some point.

Larson was asked what his dream track to build would be if money wasn’t an option.

The day after Joey Logano announced he and his wife were expecting their first child, the Team Penkse account requested some fatherly advice for their driver. Larson is father to 2-year-old son, Owen.

One of Larson’s primary sponsors is Target, the retail chain based in Minnesota that has sponsored Chip Ganassi Racing since before Larson was born in 1992

Larson was asked about his shopping habits at the store.

When asked about his favorite dirt and asphalt tracks, Larson named Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, California, and Bristol Motor Speedway.

Larson was also asked what the biggest moment of his racing career was. He chose his sweep of the 4-Crown Nationals, a USAC event at Eldora Speedway, on Sept. 24, 2011.

Where he thinks the Monster Energy All-Star Race should be run:

On whether it’s part of a driver’s job to sign autographs:

And finally, who is the one Cup driver Larson wants to compete against in a race on a dirt track:

and on Facebook

Dale Earnhardt Jr. not sure how to encourage young drivers to come out of shells

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For a long time, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had three driving forces in his life.

Doritos, Mountain Dew and driving race cars.

“I just thought ‘I like racing. I want to drive. I don’t want to do nothing else. I want to go lay on the couch,'” Earnhardt said Friday at Kansas Speedway.

That was the mantra of a young man without too many responsibilities, who kept to himself and put highlights in his hair.

Now an older and much more outgoing Earnhardt – minus the highlights – is the face of NASCAR. At 42 and with 26 races left in his Cup career, he’s a constant presence on Twitter and has his own podcast network.

With the end of his full-time racing career in sight, the 14-time most popular driver was asked about his early days in relation to the personalities of the young drivers coming into the series.

“When I first started racing I didn’t want to do anything but drive,” Earnhardt said. “I hated doing appearances and photo shoots and all that. I just thought that was just so boring. I didn’t really understand how important they were or how critical they were or the marketing and the happiness of the partner. A lot of different things play in the role of maturing you.”

For Earnhardt, one ingredient was becoming owner of JR Motorsports and its Xfinity Series operation made up of four full-time cars.

“Owning Xfinity teams taught me a ton about what partners want and think and what they like and don’t like and what they need from the driver and from the owners,” Earnhardt said. “It certainly shaped my opinion and changed it on how I approach those things. I don’t think I was impossible, but there were days when I was hard to work with and hard to deal with.

“And, I didn’t want that reputation when I finished driving. I want people to say that I was fun to be with and fun to work with and that I came in with a great attitude and did a good job, whether a photo shoot or a commercial shoot or a meet & greet, or whatever. And, I didn’t care about that when I was younger. I didn’t think about those things. I just thought I like racing. I want to drive. I don’t want to do nothing else. I want to go lay on the couch and eat Doritos and drink Mountain Dew and drive race cars.”

Then in 2008, Earnhardt left the nest at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and joined Hendrick Motorsports. Earnhardt credits his relationships with Jimmie Johnson, owner Rick Hendrick and sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller with beginning his growth into the person capable of giving a five-minute answer to almost any question.

“It just took me a long time to figure all that out,” Earnhardt said. “I just think being around Jimmie and Rick and my sister and people that have told me certain things time and time again, it starts to click and you realize the right way to be and to treat people and do things. I’m still not perfect. I’ve still got a lot of things I can do better.”

But it is 2017. As much as he may be entrenched with the NASCAR community and sponsors now, Earnhardt admits he’s not sure what to do to encourage millennial drivers to be themselves in the public eye.

“I don’t know how you get a guy, a young gun, to come out of his shell,” Earnhardt said. “There’s some guys that just don’t, or don’t want to.”

Earnhardt, who dragged his legs until he finally joined Twitter in 2014, can’t even convince Johnson to do his own podcast. Earnhardt credits Johnson with slowly chipping away at his resistance to Twitter.

“Jimmie has his limitations to what he wants to do,” Earnhardt said. “A lot of you know him well. And, the perception that we have of Jimmie as a person versus what a lot of people know is different. And that’s up to him. And, he wants it that way. I talk to him and say ‘Man, you ought to do a podcast.’ ‘Nah, I don’t want to do that. I just don’t want to do it.’ He’s like, ‘I have no interest.’ What he’s got going on as far as how much he exposes himself, that’s where he wants it. He doesn’t want to be more than he is to everyone. So, it really comes down to the driver just having that eagerness.”

Of all the drivers under 30, Earnhardt points to Ryan Blaney as being the ideal driver when it comes to be willing to do any and all things to grow his exposure. Blaney debuted his own podcast earlier this year.

“Blaney is incredibly eager,” Earnhardt said. “He loves going and doing new things. He’ll do any TV show, or whatever. The other guys are not quite that interested in it. They’re more focused on the car and driving and have worked so hard to get to this point and you know, ‘I don’t want to do all that other stuff, it doesn’t matter.’ But it matters, especially now. It’s changed tremendously as far as what sponsors will ask of you. The agreements to our sponsorships have changed incredibly as far as what our responsibilities are and what they need. And obviously, I say it all the time. Social media is a big draw. People want people who are active on social media. It’s changed a lot and you’ve got to change with it.”

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A look at Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s most popular tweets

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Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s NASCAR racing career has been long and memorable and will end after the 2017 season.

But his social media career has been short, insightful, news breaking and often times hilarious.

After years of dragging his feet, the 14-time most popular driver joined Twitter on Feb. 24, 2014 after his second Daytona 500 and NASCAR hasn’t been the same.

In hindsight, Earnhardt’s social media use has been a captivating look at the twilight of his racing career, which began with arguably one of the biggest wins of his career.

Here’s a look at Earnhardt’s eight most retweeted tweets.

  1. Feb. 24, 2014 – The morning after his second Daytona 500 win, Earnhardt poses with a statue of his late father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., that is outside Daytona International Speedway. It’s been retweeted 26,629 times.

2.  Feb. 24, 2014 – Just after 2:30 a.m. ET, the NASCAR and Twitter world changed forever when Earnhardt posted his first surprise tweet from Victory Lane after winning his second Daytona 500. It was Earnhardt’s first Cup win since the June 2012 Michigan race and only his second Cup win since 2008. It’s been retweeted 20,026 times.

3. Feb. 18, 2015 – Fourteen years after his father was killed in a crash on the last lap of the Daytona 500, Earnhardt acknowledged the anniversary. It has been retweeted 10,788 times.

4. January 19, 2017 – Earnhardt is an unabashed fan of sports outside of NASCAR, including of the NFL’s Washington Redskins and the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets. Earlier this year, Earnhardt couldn’t attend a Hornets’ home game. So he decided to give his tickets to one lucky winner. 7,925 people retweeted his post hoping to win.

5. Feb. 25, 2017 – The day before what would turn out to be his last Daytona 500 start, Earnhardt shared a video that had been posted by the official NASCAR Twitter account. Backed with the song “My Old Man” by the Zac Brown Band, the video is a fond remembrance of his relationship with his father. Roughly 7,600 people shared his sentiment.

6. Dec. 11, 2014 – This tweet takes a little bit more of an explanation. Ten months after joining Twitter, Earnhardt tagged rapper J. Cole in a tweet, mentioning he was “funny” with a hashtag #ShitChangedMyLifeBro. The hashtag is a reference to one of J. Cole’s songs, “Note to Self.” Cole referenced Earnhardt in the song after he saw in an ESPN interview that Earnhardt listened to one of his songs before races. The Twitter interaction led to 7,601 retweets and an ESPN: The Magazine cover story.

7. April 29, 2014 – Two months after joining Twitter, Earnhardt very simply wished his late father a happy birthday. It was retweeted more than 6,800 times.

8. Aug. 10, 2014 – Few personally know the tragedy associated with auto racing more than Dale Earnhardt Jr. On Aug. 9, 2014, sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. was killed when a sprint car driven by Tony Stewart struck the 20-year-old. Ward had approached the racing lane on foot following a crash at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York. The following morning Earnhardt tweeted his condolences to Ward’s family. It was shared 5,579 times.

Carl Edwards will join Twitter if he claims first Sprint Cup title

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At 2:32 a.m. ET on Feb. 24, 2014, Dale Earnhardt Jr. shook up the NASCAR and social media world.

He finally joined Twitter.

Earnhardt announced his presence with a tweet from victory lane after winning his second Daytona 500. Twitter has never been the same and we’re all better for it.

All “NASCAR Twitter” seems to be missing two years later is Carl Edwards and Paul Menard.

It’s hard to imagine anyone topping Earnhardt’s Twitter announcement. That would change if Edwards wins his first Sprint Cup title on Nov. 20.

“I have committed that if we win the championship I will join Twitter or participate,” Edwards said Tuesday during a test at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the track Edwards would claim the title at. With one race left in the Round of 12 Edwards is fifth on the Chase grid, 24 points above the bubble spot.

When the Chase began last month, every Chase driver’s nameplate across the top of their windshield was changed to show their Twitter username.

Except Edwards. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver’s nameplate read #CarlEdwards.

But Edwards, who has finished runner-up in the Chase twice (2008, 2011), has recently dipped his toe into Twitter.

“I actually sent out my first tweet via Randy Fuller, my PR guy the other day,” Edwards said. “But I couldn’t get a picture of it because I was using his phone.”

The tweet, on Oct. 6, memorialized the death of Dwight Laxton, who was Edwards’ team owner when he won the Baby Grand Stock Car Association title in 2002.

Chase drivers to have Twitter handles on windshields during postseason

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For the last few seasons, every Sprint Cup driver has had their names emblazoned across the top of the windshields on their cars.

In the Chase for the Sprint Cup, all 16 Chase drivers have the name labels turned yellow to help those watching the race know who is competing for the championship.

Now this season, all of the Chase drivers – except Carl Edwards – will have their Twitter usernames on their windshields.

For Edwards, who doesn’t have a Twitter account, the logo will say #CarlEdwards.

The Chase begins Sunday with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on NBCSN.

Below is the list of every Chase driver and their respective Twitter handles.

 

Chase Driver Car Twitter
Kyle Busch No. 18 Toyota Camry @KyleBusch
Brad Keselowski No. 2 Ford Fusion @keselowski
Denny Hamlin No. 11 Toyota Camry @dennyhamlin
Kevin Harvick No. 4 Chevrolet SS @KevinHarvick
Carl Edwards No. 19 Toyota Camry #CarlEdwards
Martin Truex Jr No. 78 Toyota Camry @MartinTruex_Jr
Matt Kenseth No. 20 Toyota Camry @mattkenseth
Jimmie Johnson No. 48 Chevrolet SS @JimmieJohnson
Joey Logano No. 22 Ford Fusion @joeylogano
Kyle Larson No. 42 Chevrolet SS @KyleLarsonRacin
Tony Stewart No. 14 Chevrolet SS @TonyStewart
Kurt Busch No. 41 Chevrolet SS @KurtBusch
Chris Buescher No. 34 Ford Fusion @Chris_Buescher
Chase Elliott No. 24 Chevrolet SS @chaseelliott
Austin Dillon No. 3 Chevrolet SS @austindillon3
Jamie McMurray No. 1 Chevrolet SS @jamiemcmurray

For all of your NASCAR coverage this postseason and in the future, follow all of NBC Sports’s NASCAR reporters on Twitter:

Daniel McFadin –

Dustin Long –

Nate Ryan –

Kelly Crandall –

Jerry Bonkowski –