Team 88: Something Proven

To be numbered among the best, the critics said they had a lot to prove. The driver, the progeny of a seven-time champion, was derided as one born on third base, but cheered as though he had hit a triple. He's been called a choker, gun shy, lazy and all manner of things in an effort to explain why he had not achieved his father's proficiency. The crew chief once took the reins from the master pit boss for a four-time champion. In a play off of his name, he was called "Pop Tart." Memes gra ...

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Daytona May Just Be The Beginning For Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Ten years has a way changing things. In 2004, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his first Daytona 500, his 10th career victory. He looked like he had the world on a string. The win would be the first of six that season, one in which a profanity uttered during a victory celebration cost him money and cost him points. He suggested his fifth win at Talladega wasn't any big deal because his legendary father won ten at the track. Sunday night, high on victory, Junior said something about Mooresville, No ...

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IS STEVE LETARTE GETTING HIS DUE?

A look at the NASCAR Cup standings shows Carl Edwards leading the way. Kevin Harvick is second. And lo and behold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. sits third, the highest ranked car out of Hendrick Motorsports. Junior Nation is rejoicing after three years with their man once again having a legitimate shot to win each week. Yet, I am looking for the appropriate tip of the hat to 2011 crew chief Steve Letarte. Victory Lane is the Promised Land. Granted Earnhardt has not visited there since 2008, but his perfor ...

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DALE JR’S 2011 PROGRESS IS CAUSE FOR ‘NATION’S’ OPTIMISM

 Amid the reports of high gas prices, high unemployment and high deficits, the nation can use some good news. It doesn’t matter if you live in this great nation we call the U.S. of A., “NASCAR Nation” or “Junior Nation,” we can all use a feel good story, and a return to contending form by one Ralph Dale Earnhardt Jr. could fill the bill quite well, thank you very much.The facts won’t be ignored: it’s a poorly kept secret Junebug hasn’t seen Vi ...

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THE RIGHT PEOPLE MAKE A WINNING TEAM

People are interesting creatures. Some mix well together and others do not. Have you ever met someone who you did not like? Yet that person has friends and they like each other. There must be something appealing about the person you didn’t care for. That appeal just matches up to someone else.NASCAR drivers and crew chiefs can bring out the best or the worst in each other. A very talented driver can be paired up with a very talented crew chief and together they can achieve… mediocri ...

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WHY IS BEING DALE EARNHARDT JR.’S CREW CHIEF SO DIFFICULT?

Steve Letarte became Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s third crew chief since joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2008, which begs the question, "Why is it so difficult to be Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief?" Junior seems like an affable guy, he's backed by one of the strongest owners in NASCAR, he's got his own theme song and the team works side-by-side with five-time champion Jimmie Johnson. So why is there more turnover here than a McDonalds short order cook? Here are the top five challenges to ...

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JEFF GORDON TIRED OF ‘NO CIGAR’

Jeff Gordon. The name is iconic to auto racing. His wins and championships have reserved his future seat in NASCAR’s Hall of Fame. Gordon’s celebrity status has drawn millions of new fans to stock car racing in the past 20 years.  So why can’t he win a race? Since 2007 he has only visited victory lane one time. That being an initial Texas win in 2009. But also during that time frame he has had a series of near misses.Last year the four-time champion finished third in to ...

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GORDON TIRE STRATEGY CAME UP SNAKE EYES

Jeff Gordon brought back memories of days of old Sunday in Las Vegas. For most of Sunday’s 400-mile Cup race it appeared Ray Evernham was on top of the pit box and the "Rainbow Warriors" were servicing the Gordon machine on pit road. Until the final stop.The last yellow flag waved within the fuel window of the field and shortly after a round of green flag stops were completed. A shorter run to the checkered was set up and the race's complexion changed on the spot. Gordon&rsquo ...

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