Let’s flash back to 2008, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. joined Hendrick Motorsports as Kyle Busch exited.
Dale Jr. was coming in on a hot streak from DEI; all indications were he would contend for titles at Hendrick, NASCAR’s hottest team at the time.
Kyle Busch was a couple years into his time at Hendrick, and was young, brash, had promise, but was a handful to deal with.
Hendrick Motorsports chose Dale Jr. They let Kyle go off and sign with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Let me get this out of the way early: Kyle Busch is one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers, both now and in the overall history of the sport. As the King himself said, Kyle could have competed for wins in any era of the sport. He’s a wheelman to the core, with great natural instincts on how to handle a racecar. He’s a first-ballot lock for the Hall of Fame once he retires and becomes eligible.
His 200 wins are an impressive accomplishment and show he is a true talent, regardless of how you view him personally or what you think of his off-track antics.
But that’s where I stop. The endless adoration parade that’s likely to come this week is something I’ll sit out. And here’s why. Numbers do not lie.
Remember the name Hailie Deegan.
Just 17 years old, she earned her second career victory in the K&N Pro Series this week at the Las Vegas Dirt Track, and the win came via a thrilling last-lap pass. She now leads the points standings in the K&N Pro Series, the first female racer to do so.
She also made news this week by announcing she’ll run six races in the ARCA series this year for Venturini Motorsports, yet another opportunity for her to show she has the goods to make the leap to the big 3 NASCAR series.
What’s refreshing about Deegan is she’s not looking to move up just to move up. She wants to win and be strong at every level before she makes the next step, and at age 17 she has the time to do that.
With the talent she’s shown thus far, I foresee her doing well in ARCA, and being in the Truck series within a couple years. A good performance there, and the proper sponsorship, and moving up to Xfinity is likely.
Cup is a whole different ballgame, but if it takes Deegan until she’s 23 or 24 to make it that far (and I think she will eventually get to Cup), there’s still plenty of time for a lengthy career, and it will likely be in strong equipment if she continues to show the type of talent she’s shown so far in her young career.
BMW driver and brand ambassador Alessandro Zanardi’s start in the BMW M8 GTE at the 24 Hours of Daytona (January 26-27) is not only possible thanks to technical adjustments that BMW M Motorsport engineers made to the car, but also thanks to innovative and creative solutions for procedures during the race. Primarily, the driver changes between Zanardi and his team-mates in the #24 BMW M8 GTE require a sophisticated choreography so that they don’t waste any valuable time during the race. Driver changes between Zanardi and his team-mates John Edwards, Jesse Krohn and Chaz Mostert have been choreographed and practiced down to the last detail. “It is a dance in which the important thing is getting all the steps in exactly the right order and in the limited time that you have available,” explained Zanardi.
“So we can’t give away a single second.” To guarantee this, Zanardi, the other drivers and the entire BMW Team RLL are continually collaborating on the perfect procedure for the pit stops. The team has used the previous test drives intensively for this purpose, and the practice will continue at the race weekend. Success is already becoming apparent. “Naturally, we had to align some procedures with my special requirements, and the other drivers have to do a bit of extra work for me, but it is going very well and is a great deal of fun,” said Zanardi, emphasising: “We are already better than I would ever have thought possible.”
Here is a video illustrating the driver change procedure:
Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has signed Daniel Suárez to its Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series lineup in 2019. The Mexican driver, who turned 27 today, will pilot the team’s No. 41 Ford Mustang with sponsorship from Haas Automation and ARRIS International PLC, joining teammates Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer.
The 2019 season will mark Suárez’s third year in the elite NASCAR Cup Series, but his first with SHR. Suárez made 72 NASCAR Cup Series starts with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2017-2018 after winning the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship.
“This is the best birthday present I could ask for,” said Suárez, who was born Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico and now calls Huntersville, North Carolina home. “We’ve all seen how competitive Stewart-Haas Racing is – all of their drivers won last year and all of them advanced deep into the playoffs. This is the opportunity every driver wants, and now I have it. I want to deliver for this team, our partners in Haas Automation, ARRIS and Ford and, ultimately, for me. We have everything we need to be successful.”
Richard Childress, Austin Dillon and Daniel Hemric look ahead to 2019, RCR’s 50th anniversary season
TO KICK OFF RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION IN 2019, TEAM OWNER, RICHARD CHILDRESS, AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW CAMARO ZL1, AND DANIEL HEMRIC, NO. 8 CATERPILLAR CAMARO ZL1, met with members of the media at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Full Transcript:
WINSTON KELLY: “We are here today to publicly kick off Richard Childress Racing’s 50th anniversary celebration that will begin in 2019. You may have seen last week that these cars were unveiled to the shop in Welcome, North Carolina and posted on numerous social media and other channels, but this is kind of the public coming out if you will of the 50th anniversary and also have another exciting announcement to make in just a moment.
WINSTON KELLY: “We are honored on behalf of the NASCAR Hall of Fame to announce today that Richard Childress Racing and Richard himself have invited the NASCAR Hall of Fame to partner with this 50th year celebration and our NASCAR Hall of Fame exhibits team along with the RCR team are going to co-create a special exhibit, ‘RCR 50th Only In America’ that is currently in development that will be unveiled here in May of 2019. We are delighted to be apart of that, delighted to help showcase this incredible history here at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and partnership with Richard Childress Racing.
WHEN YOU LOOK AT THIS VIDEO AND YOU THINK OF 50 YEARS WHAT ARE YOUR EMOTIONS, YOUR THOUGHTS AS WE GO INTO 2019?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: “Well, you’ve got to look at the future always, but the future comes with history and when I look up there and think of all those times and the wins and the people and the employees and drivers and sponsors that have been responsible for RCR to be
around for 50 years, I’m just a very small part of it. I’ve been along for the ride with a lot of folks and 50 years, who would have ever dreamed? I never thought I would be alive 50 years much less celebrating 50.”