Dale Jr. Download: Old friend surprises Dale with his father’s Rookie of the Year shirt

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On July 11, Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted a picture of a vintage shirt celebrating his father’s Rookie of the Year campaign in the Cup Series in 1979.

Earnhardt already owns two copies of the shirt, but they don’t fit. He said in the tweet he searches daily for an XL sized version of the shirt on eBay.

Earlier this week on the “Dale Jr. Download,” an old family friend and fan named Connie Goodman surprised Earnhardt with multiple old racing shirts, including the rare Rookie of the Year shirt.

The shirt was still in the packaging it had been wrapped in almost 40 years ago.

“We followed your dad’s career and once he got the Rookie (of the Year award), we bought the souvenirs,” Goodman said. “I thought, I’m going to buy one, that we wore … and I thought, ‘I’m going to keep one, because he’s going to be very famous one day.’ Just knew it.”

NASCAR America: Dale Earnhardt Jr. offers advice to Ricky Stenhouse Jr. about Daytona

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After bearing most of the blame for multiple accidents at Daytona International Speedway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has some bridges that need repair.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Petty had some advice for Stenhouse Wednesday on NASCAR America.

The first question posed to Earnhardt on Twitter (using the hashtag #WednesDale) in this episode concerned Stenhouse and the proper protocol for reaching out when a driver is involved in an incident.

“If he text messages any of these drivers, that just shows that he’s not truly remorseful.” Earnhardt said.

Before the age of cell phones, drivers would settle their differences at the end of race. Kyle Petty recalled a race in which he intentionally wrecked Dale Earnhardt Sr. after the Intimidator roughed him up at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Afterward, Earnhardt approached Petty and asked what that was all about.

“I just got tired of your (expletive),” Petty said.

“I thought so,” Petty recalls Earnhardt saying. And that was that.

But in today’s age when drivers tend to go their separate ways after a race, technology takes over.

“In today’s world with technology and all that – if you’re gonna call a guy, call him the next day,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said.

“If you wait until the next race weekend, the guy thinks that you’re not going to bring it up,” allowing the incident to fester.

After initiating an accident in 2009 by spinning Brian Vickers at Daytona, Earnhardt knew that it would take a while to rebuild trust among the other drivers.

“For Ricky, going forward, he needs to try to eliminate this from his next plate race,” Earnhardt said. “When he goes to Talladega later in the season, try not to continue this trend. Put a little space between this race and the next time you want to do something stupid. That’s what I always tried to do. If I screwed up, I’d lay low for a while.”

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter.

Comparing Cole Pearn, Martin Truex Jr.’s record together to NASCAR greats

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Martin Truex Jr and Cole Pearn have a good thing going.

Truex’s win Sunday at Sonoma Raceway came in his 123rd start with Pearn serving as his crew chief.

The two have had an eventful tenure in their four years together at Furniture Row Racing.

Since teaming up in the No. 78 Toyota in 2015, Truex’s second year with the team, the duo has scored 16 wins, 45 top fives, 75 top 10s and an all important championship last season.

How does their record so far compare to the first 123 races of other notable driver-crew chief pairings in NASCAR history?

Racing Insights compiled the info of nine pairings, including Truex/Pearn and Kyle Busch/Adam Stevens, who have 119 starts together. They would have 130 starts together if not for Busch missing 11 races in 2015 due to injury.

Truex and Pearn would have 124 starts together if not for a one-race suspension for Pearn in 2015.

The data includes five active pairings: Pearn/Truex, Stevens/Busch, Chad Knaus/Jimmie Johnson, Rodney Childers/Kevin Harvick and Paul Wolfe/Brad Keselowski.

Among the nine pairings, the best is Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond, who had two championships, 28 wins, 75 top fives and 91 top 10s in their first 123 races together.

The most comparable pairing to Truex/Pearn is Knaus/Johnson.

After 123 starts, they’re tied for 16 wins and 75 top 10s. While the Hendrick Motorsports pairing had two more top fives, Truex and Pearn earned their first championship faster.

Johnson and Knaus earned their first title in their fifth year together when they reached 176 starts together.

Check out the info below.

Pairing       Starts     Wins Top 5s   Top 10s Titles
Jeff Hammond/Darrell Waltrip 123 28 75 91 2
Cole Pearn/Martin Truex Jr. 123 16 45 75 1
*Adam Stevens/Kyle Busch 119 18 54 74 1
Rodney Childers/Kevin Harvick 123 13 59 84 1
Chad Knaus/Jimmie Johnson 123 16 47 75 0
Ray Evernham/Jeff Gordon 123 19 51 71 1
Kirk Shelmerdine/Dale Earnhardt 123 22 59 89 1 – Secured 2nd title in 125th start
Greg Zipadelli/Tony Stewart 123 14 47 76 0
Paul Wolfe/Brad Keselowski 123 11 39 61 1
 

*Only 119 starts together

NASCAR America at 5 p.m., ET: Dale Earnhardt Jr. returns

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is back from paternity leave to reinstate #Wednesdale. He will be joined by Rutledge Wood and Dale Jarrett from the Big Oak Table at the NBC Charlotte studio.

On today’s show:

  • Junior gets back in the saddle to talk about the upcoming Michigan race, Cup’s biggest storylines and the recent rules package changes in Xfinity.
  • Have a question for Dale Jr? Reach out to us on twitter using the hashtag #Wednesdale and the 15-time Most Popular Driver will answer it live on air.
  • 25 years ago, Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Dale Jarrett had an epic battle at Dover. We’ll ask both Dales what they remember from that day at the Monster Mile.
  • Following this weekend’s pace-car crash in the IndyCar series, we’ll take a look at some of NASCAR’s Most Bizarre Moments. An orange, a jet dryer, and a porta-john are just a few moments that will be showcased.
  • Dale Jr. puts his Xfinity owner hat on and talks about whether or not there should be even more limits on how many races Cup drivers can run in a season in the Xfinity Series.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

NASCAR America: Bristol is the ‘Dale Earnhardt’ of race tracks

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On Wednesday’s NASCAR America, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton and Dale Jarrett shared their memories from racing at Bristol, which Dale Jr. calls the “Dale Earnhardt of race tracks,” a reference to his father who won there nine times in his Cup career.

“He appreciated it for how challenging it was and how hard it is,” Earnhardt said. “You can run fast, man, but finishing a race, putting one together and winning, is hard to do.”

Earnhardt, Burton and Jarrett each won at Bristol in the Cup Series, with Earnhardt’s lone win coming in 2004 when he swept the race weekend.

Burton discussed how unique the August night race is in the scope of the sport.

“The pre-race energy is crazy,” Burton said. “There’s parachuters coming down, the kids singing the National Anthem … it’s just awesome. Even the Daytona 500, the Southern 500, that pre-race energy at Bristol, I don’t think anything can match that.”

Said Jarrett: “You went in with such anticipation of a great night and all you want to do is win. 160,000 people at this half-mile race track. That’s motivation in itself.”

Jarrett also said Bristol “was perfect” for Dale Earnhardt Sr.

“He hit us everywhere that we went if he needed to, but at Bristol he could blame it on the track. He’d be having you believe that by the time it was over, that it was the track’s fault, he didn’t mean to do it.”

Watch the full video above.