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NASCAR on NBC podcast, Episode X: Dale Jarrett

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Dale Jarrett’s unique relationship to two generations of Earnhardts is among the highlights of the latest NASCAR on NBC podcast.

In the program’s 10th episode, the NBC Sports analyst and 1999 NASCAR champion talks about his role as a mentor to many Sprint Cup drivers – and explains that it was a conversation with seven-time series champion Dale Earnhardt that drove home the importance of leaving a legacy for the greater good.

“I sat in on a number of conversations that he had with NASCAR, and he wasn’t looking for something that would help him at Richard Childress Racing,” Jarrett said. “He was looking for things that were going to make for great competition and continue to grow numbers as far as the number of fans to make the sport bigger and better.

“I had a conversation with him after the first time I was in one of those meetings, and it struck me if the biggest name in our sport at the time could go in, and he wasn’t talking about things that would be beneficial to him and his race team. … That’s a lesson to me. I knew then that was something I wanted to carry forward.”

The 32-time winner in NASCAR’s premier series carried some sage advice to the next generation, including Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Jarrett recounted being at the victory celebration at Daytona International Speedway for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won the first Cup race at track after his father’s death.

“Dale Jr.’s been through something in his life that no one else has ever experienced,” Jarrett said. “So I didn’t know how to talk to him. I wasn’t trying to replace his dad. I wouldn’t even try to do that.

“There were times he was looking for someone to talk to, and it wasn’t as much me talking and telling him things as much as it was me just listening. I have what I think is a great relationship with him and I appreciate all that he’s been through and the way he has handled being the most popular figure in our sport for a long time.”

Among the other topics discussed by Jarrett, who was elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2013:

–His emphasis on reinvesting time in his children’s lives after retiring from driving (Jarrett is planning to attend more than 50 baseball games this season with UNC Charlotte, where his son, Zack, is an outfielder).

–His thoughts on the two-weekend winning streak of Kyle Busch and the defending series champion’s comeback from last year’s injuries. “You hate to see anyone have to deal with a devastating injury like that,” Jarrett said. “But it makes you appreciate things more. As crazy as it sounds, I’m not sure it wasn’t the best thing that could have happened to Kyle Busch. … He’s always been as talented as anyone I’ve seen drive a race car. There are things Kyle Busch can do with a race car, that other drivers, this includes Tony Stewart, can’t.”

–The legacy he wanted to leave behind of being known more for how he kept “the sport’s best interests in mind” than for how he performed on the track.

–His friendship with NBA analyst and former superstar Charles Barkley, who once went for a memorable and terrifying ridealong with Jarrett.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking below or download and subscribe to it on iTunes 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.

Sioux Chief to sponsor ARCA Showdown, East Series to race at Nashville Fairgrounds

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ARCA announced Saturday that Sioux Chief Manufacturing will be the entitlement sponsor of its 10-race ARCA Menards Series Showdown in 2020.

Sioux Chief Manufacturing is a Missouri company that designs and manufactures rough plumbing products, parts, and accessories for residential, commercial, industrial and government applications

Sioux Chief has been involved in ARCA since 2015 as a race event sponsor and special awards program sponsor and sponsored ARCA’s former Short Track Challenge.

As part of the deal, a newly increased point fund, combined with race purses, owner plan, and contingency awards, will offer teams a chance to compete for a share of over $920,000 in posted awards throughout the series.

The Sioux Chief Showdown will bring together the best drivers from the ARCA Menards Series, the ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West, formerly known as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Those events, held on oval tracks 1.25-miles in length and under and road courses, offer drivers who may not be able or eligible to run the full 20-race ARCA Menards Series schedule the opportunity to run for a championship. Combined with the overall ARCA Menards Series championship, and the East and West championships, drivers will have four separate championships to compete for in 2020.

The announcement was made at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis. Also present was promoter Bob Sargent of Track Enterprises, who announced that the ARCA Menards Series East would compete at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on May 2.

The Tennessean reported this week that the Nashville Fairgrounds was negotiating with Sargent to promote at least three races at the short track in 2020. Sargent’s involvement in the track comes after Nashville’s Fair Board voted to terminate its agreement with Formosa Productions to run the track over outstanding debt.

The ARCA Menards Series has competed at the Fairgrounds the last five seasons. The ARCA Menards Series East, formerly known as the K&N Pro Series East, competed there from 2007-08.

GMS Racing reveals full-time driver-crew chief lineup, number assignments

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GMS Racing has announced its full-time driver-crew chief lineup for the 2020 Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series season and number assignments for its trucks:

– Chad Norris has been named crew chief for Brett Moffitt and the No. 23 Chevrolet team. Moffitt drove the No. 24 in his first season with the team. Norris has been with GMS Racing for two years and directed the effort that delivered the team its 2018 Xfinity Series win at Talladega.

– Chad Walter will lead Tyler Ankrum and the No. 26 team. 2020 will be Ankrum’s first season with GMS Racing. Walter served as an engineer for Ankrum this season at DGR-Crosley. Walter has five wins and 42 top fives in 208 Xfinity Series starts as crew chief.

– Kevin “Bono” Manion is paired with Zane Smith on the No. 21 Chevrolet. 2020 will be Smith’s first full-time Trucks season after competing part-time for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. Manion has 24 wins as crew chief across all three national series since 2003. He led Martin Truex Jr. to his two Xfinity Series titles.

– Jeff Stankiewicz will remain as the crew chief for the No. 2 team piloted by Sheldon Creed.

Social Roundup: How NASCAR drivers are spending their offseason

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NASCAR’s Champion’s week is now behind us and we are firmly in the offseason.

Well, sort of.

The NASCAR world never really stops, which is evident simply due to the continued announcements for the 2020 season.

But with Joey Logano testing the Next Gen car at Phoenix earlier this week and Dale Earnhardt Jr. helping clean up North Wilkesboro Speedway for iRacing, it’s been anything but quiet.

Here’s a look at what else happened in the NASCAR community this week.

Someone needs to check in on Jimmie Johnson, he could be in his own version of Mr. Mom.

Chris Buescher is home again.

The 2015 Xfinity Series champion is back at Roush Fenway Racing for the 2020 Cup season and he’s got the firesuits and cars to prove it.

Brad Keselowski recently became father to a second daughter.

He’s now learning some important life lessons.

Former Front Row Motorsports driver Matt Tifft is now off the market after getting married to his fiance, Jordan. Now they’re on their honeymoon.

 

Matt DiBenedetto showed off one of the perks of being a Wood Brothers Racing employee.

Ryan Blaney and Bubba Wallace went somewhere warm to start their holiday.

Joey and Caitlin Gase welcome twin sons

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Xfinity Series driver Joey Gase and his wife Caitlin are now parents to twin boys

The babies were born on Wednesday. Their names are Jace and Carson.

More: Brad and Paige Keselowski welcome second daughter