Long: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s engagement another milestone his fans have joined him on


The news struck as many wiped sleep from their eyes, beginning a morning routine.

Shock. Happiness. And about time. Those were among the reactions to the news that Dale Earnhardt Jr. proposed to longtime girlfriend Amy Reimann during their vacation in Germany.

This resonated with so many because Earnhardt, the 12-time most popular driver, doesn’t feel like a distant star but a friend or a member of the family. Even with all his money – he has career winnings of nearly $125 million – he shares similar qualities to those making minimum wage.

While many don’t have a Western town, wrecked race cars or a large tree house on their property, who wouldn’t want those things if money wasn’t an object? Despite his fame, he still likes to visit his favorite places in his hometown of Mooresville, N.C. He walked around Germany wearing a blue cap for his high school.

Earnhardt understands the roots that bind one to a community, family and friends. The strong bond he shares with fans led to the overflowing of excitement Wednesday morning. No doubt there are some fans who probably feel that they know Earnhardt better than they do some of their friends. Then again, long-time Earnhardt fans have experienced so much.

They saw a youth dressed in a black-and-silver Goodwrench crew uniform like those on his daddy’s team, saying he wanted to drive race cars. They saw a young man, red cap turned backward, after the loss of his father, sorting through the angst only days after the accident. They saw that young man triumph the next time NASCAR returned to Daytona International Speedway after this dad’s death and win, unleashing a cathartic celebration that was not just for him but for a sport.

His fans also saw the Club E days, the early success and the despondence when his car wasn’t fast, his results weren’t good and he walked around in a daze as to how to make it better.

Now they’ve seen the revival, hitting 40 years old last year and a marriage proposal. Will kids be next?

It seems a long way since that youngster said in an interview that racing “was all I’ve ever known,’’ the corners of his lips widening into that Earnhardt smile as he thought about what the future might hold.

No one could have imagined what he would experience. And what he would share with fans.

They watched him climb NASCAR’s ranks, winning titles in what is now the Xfinity Series in 1998 and ’99. They watched as a platinum-blond Earnhardt qualified for his first Cup race, the 1999 Coca-Cola 600.

“I ain’t never drove nothin’ that drove that good,’’ he said that night.

His father simply said: “I’m tickled.’’

Fans watched as Earnhardt grieved his father’s death. Less than a week after that fatal crash in the 2001 Daytona 500, Earnhardt was at Rockingham to race – and talk about what he had gone through.

“I miss my father,” Earnhardt said, followed by a heavy sigh. “I’ve cried for him out of my own selfish pity. I just try to maintain a good focus for the future and just remember that he’s in a better place, a place that we want to be.’’

When he finished speaking, Earnhardt bowed his head.

A few months later, he celebrated in Victory Lane in the first Cup race at Daytona since his father’s crash.

“I can’t believe this is happening to me,’’ Earnhardt said that night. “I don’t know why this is happening to me. I’m just going to stay close to my friends and to Tony (Eury Jr.) and to the people that make me feel good and maybe I’ll figure it out.”

Along the way, Earnhardt stayed close with the fans. His openness was reciprocated. So, it was only natural that Earnhardt, cautious to join social media at first, has embraced it more than most other drivers. It only seemed fitting that he shared the news of his proposal on Twitter.

Isn’t that what friends do?


NASCAR Saturday schedule at WWT Raceway, Portland


Saturday is a busy day for NASCAR. The Cup and Craftsman Truck Series are at World Wide Technology Raceway. The Xfinity Series is at Portland International Raceway.

Cup teams will practice and qualify ahead of Saturday’s Truck race at WWT Raceway. The Xfinity Series has practice, qualifying and its race Saturday at Portland.

World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Cup and Trucks)


Saturday: Sunny. Temperatures will be around 80 degrees for the start of Cup practice and climb to 89 degrees by the end of Cup qualifying. Forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 92 degrees around the start of the Truck race.

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  — Cup Series
  • 10:30 a.m. — Truck Series

Track activity

  • 10 – 10:45 a.m. — Cup practice (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Cup qualifying  (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 1:30 p.m. — Truck race (160 laps, 200 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Portland International Raceway (Xfinity Series)


Saturday: Mostly sunny with a high of 74 degrees and no chance of rain around the start of the Xfinity race.

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 10 a.m.  — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Xfinity practice (No TV)
  • 12 – 1 p.m. — Xfinity qualifying (FS1)
  • 4:30 p.m. — Xfinity race (75 laps, 147.75 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Truck starting lineup at WWT Raceway: Ty Majeski wins pole


Ty Majeski will lead the Craftsman Truck starting lineup to the green flag Saturday at World Wide Technology Raceway after winning the pole Friday night.

Majeski claimed his fourth career series pole and first of the season with a lap of 138.168 mph around the 1.25-mile speedway.

MORE: Truck starting lineup at WWT Raceway

Ben Rhodes, who won last week at Charlotte, qualified second with a lap of 137.771 mph. He was followed by Christian Eckes (137.716 mph), Carson Hocevar (137.057) and Stewart Friesen (137.007).

The series races at 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1.

Saturday Portland Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather


There have been different winners in each of the last nine Xfinity Series races this season. Will the streak continue Saturday at Portland International Raceway?

Those nine different winners have been: Sammy Smith (Phoenix), Austin Hill (Atlanta), AJ Allmendinger (Circuit of the Americas), Chandler Smith (Richmond), John Hunter Nemechek (Martinsville), Jeb Burton (Talladega), Ryan Truex (Dover), Kyle Larson (Darlington) and Justin Allgaier (Charlotte).

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Portland International Raceway

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 4:38 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:46 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 10 a.m. … Practice begins at 11:30 a.m. … Qualifying begins at 12 p.m. … Driver introductions begin at 4:15 p.m. … The invocation will be given by Donnie Floyd of Motor Racing Outreach at 4:30 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed at 4:31 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 75 laps (147.75 miles) on the 1.97-mile road course.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 25. Stage 2 ends at Lap 50.

STARTING LINEUP: Qualifying begins at 12 p.m. Saturday

TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the race at 4:30 p.m. ... Coverage begins at 4 p.m. … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 4 p.m. and can be heard on mrn.com. … SiriusXN NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Sunny with a high of 73 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: AJ Allmendinger won last year’s inaugural Xfinity race at Portland by 2.8 seconds. Myatt Snider finished second. Austin Hill placed third.

NASCAR Friday schedule at WWT Raceway, Portland


Craftsman Truck Series teams will be on track Friday at World Wide Technology Raceway to prepare for Saturday’s race. Cup teams will go through inspection before getting on track Saturday.

Xfinity Series teams will go through inspection Friday in preparation for their race Saturday at Portland International Raceway.

Here is Friday’s schedule:

World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Cup and Trucks)


Friday: Partly cloudy with a high in the low 90s.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 1 – 8 p.m. Craftsman Truck Series
  • 4 – 9 p.m. Cup Series

Track activity

  • 6 – 6:30 p.m. — Truck practice (FS1)
  • 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. — Truck qualifying (FS1)

Portland International Raceway (Xfinity Series)

Weekend weather

Friday: Mostly sunny with a high of 77 degrees.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 6-11 p.m. Xfinity Series (no track activity on Friday)