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Junior’s Team Bailing As He Prepares To Bail

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, September 1 2017

Dale Earnhardt Jr. says things are not going well as his career winds down. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Andrew Coppley)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

DARLINGTON, S.C. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn’t hesitate to admit that he’s not happy about his season in the performance department, but he said Friday at Darlington Raceway he wants his team to come away from the 2017 season with positive memories.

“I’ve seen this situation in the past and teams that I have even been in fall apart, and it just goes worse, spirals out of control,” Earnhardt said during preparations for Sunday’s Bojangles Southern 500. “We’re dumping buckets of water out of the ship, trying to figure out how to get going and get it right.”

In 24 races this year, Earnhardt has recorded only four top-10 finishes and one top five. He also is still seeking a victory this season. One at Darlington or Richmond would secure him a position in the playoffs.

“I’m not giving up, but I’m not going to beat myself up over the head about what happens the rest of the season,” Earnhardt said. “We’re just going to work hard. I don’t want my guys to remember this season that we fought, fell apart and got negative, nasty and short with each other. I want those guys, even if we don’t win or have success, I want them to remember that we worked our guts out and we stayed at it to the very end. We fought hard to the finish. We are all very close and that is probably most important is that we remain positive and keep working together.”

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Various members of the NASCAR community are helping those in Houston that have been affected by the horrific flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Elliott Sadler said he would take his portion of his winnings in Saturday’s Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 and donate to the flood relief victims in Houston.

Jimmie Johnson said his sponsor, Lowe’s, had store employees on the “ground volunteering and doing everything they can, as they do in all disaster situations.”

“They announced a day or two ago that they had donated, I think, $500,000 to the efforts down there,” Johnson said. “It’s amazing work on their behalf. I’ll end up in Houston at some point, and then from the Hendrick side, we’re figuring out how we can get involved.”

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Chase Elliott and a couple of his friends headed for Europe last weekend and naturally the Belgium F1 race was on their schedule; however, they quickly learned their destination presented a few challenges.

“I couldn’t speak the same language as anybody over there,” Elliott said Friday at Darlington Raceway. “They didn’t speak English. I didn’t speak whatever they speak. I had a hard time finding where I needed to go. Luckily, I had one phone number to get in contact with somebody. They did speak English and I was able to get my pass. We just barely made it in there. (We) had to hike about four miles from our parking lot to get there, so I didn’t get to meet any drivers, which was fine.”

Elliott did get a close-up view of a couple of cars, which was “pretty neat.”

“It’s pretty incredible and the speed they are able to carry is definitely neat,” Elliott said.

Not only was the language barrier a bit of a problem, but so was the food.

“We typically would eat dinner and then have to go back and eat dinner again at McDonald’s because the food was just really bad a lot of places.”

Elliott said they visited Ireland for a couple of days and then traveled to Germany were they “came across the Autobahn.” They drove to Belgium for the F1 race and then to the Netherlands to return home.

“It was a great time, a lot of fun and kind of a good way to recharge the batteries and get going again for this last stretch.”

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Battling for a championship in two of NASCAR’s top three series could be a family affair this year for the Truex brothers. With the end of the regular season approaching, Martin Truex Jr. leads the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings while younger brother Ryan sits sixth in Camping World Truck Series points.

Martin said Friday it would be “awesome” to have both of them running for a title.

“I mean, especially for him (Ryan) it would be huge,” Martin said. “He’s been scratching and clawing for so many years now just to get a full-time gig. I’m really proud of him and his perseverance over the years to try to stay relative and just continue to work hard to try to get that shot. Hopefully, we can both get in it and have a little bit of good luck along the way and be going to Homestead with a lot to look forward to.”

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, September 1 2017
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