Dale Earnhardt Jr.

NASCAR's Gen-6 a work in progress; Carl Edwards relevant again

Through the Gears: Four things we learned in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 from Phoenix.
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<p> Through the Gears: Four things we learned in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.</p>

In the midst of a near two-year winless skid on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit, Carl Edwards, perhaps more than any driver, needed a confidence boost. And after winning the Subway Fresh Fit 500 — in only his second start with crew chief Jimmy Fennig — that’s exactly what the Missouri native received at Phoenix International Raceway.

Carl Edwards holds off Jimmie Johnson, wins in Phoenix

Edwards survives green-white-checker finish in Subway Fresh Fit 500
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<p> Carl Edwards breaks winless skid, wins in Phoenix.</p>

A new season brings new hope. And no one in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is in more need of hope than Carl Edwards.

On the outside looking in at last season’s Chase for the Championship, Edwards has been mired in a winless skid that dates back to March 6, 2011. And his 2013 season got off to a dubious start in Daytona during Speedweeks, where he was involved in four wrecks (and a fifth in a test session in January), ultimately finishing 33rd in the Daytona 500.

Fantasy NASCAR Picks for Phoenix International Raceway

Predicting the best fantasy drivers in Phoenix so you don't have to.
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<p> Dustin Long ranks each driver on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit for this weekend's Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.</p>

The 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season rolls on to Phoenix International Raceway for the Subway Fresh Fit 500. To help guide you through the 2013 Fantasy NASCAR season, Athlon Sports will be offering up our best predictions for each race. And because Yahoo's Fantasy Auto Racing  game is arguably the most popular, we'll break down our picks according to its NASCAR driver classes—A-List, B-List, C-List.

Danica impresses at Daytona, NASCAR's Gen-6 does not

Through the Gears: Five things we learned in the Daytona 500
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<p> Through the Gears: Five things we learned in the Daytona 500</p>

The Great American Race, for the first 180 laps, looked more like the Great American Parade. Cars ran single-file for much of the Daytona 500, content to ride in packs for fear that pulling out for a pass would leave them slower than the street cars the new Gen-6 models are supposed to resemble.

Jimmie Johnson wins the Daytona 500

Johnson edges Earnhardt for second 500 crown
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<p> Johnson edges Earnhardt for second 500 crown.</p>

NASCAR’s new Gen-6 car gave way to a new style of drafting in the Great American Race, while newcomer Danica Patrick once again made history. The ultimate result, though, was all too familiar. Jimmie Johnson scored career Cup win No. 61 by holding off a charging Dale Earnhardt Jr. on a frantic final lap to win the 55th Daytona 500.

Harvick a favorite, Danica on point for Daytona 500

NASCAR: Five Things to Watch at Daytona
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<p> Five things to watch for in the Daytona 500.</p>

Sunday's Daytona 500, the 55th in the long, storied history of The Great American Race, officially has the field set. There are endless stories emanating from NASCAR's biggest event, but here are the five that will most impact Sunday's race.

The Best & Worst of NASCAR in 2012

A look back at last season with our own NASCAR awards
<p> A look back at last season with our own NASCAR awards.</p>

They’re the best of the best and worst of the worst in NASCAR. The pretty and the ugly, the cool and the lame. They made us cheer, laugh and, as Robert Plant once said, taught us “to weep and moan.”

They are the recipients of the Athlon Awards — back by popular demand — recognizing excellence (and lack thereof) from the 2012 NASCAR season. Some are fairly obvious, others off the wall. But none pull any punches. So, without further ado, the Athlon Awards.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: 2013 NASCAR Driver Profile

Release Date: 
Mon, 2013-02-18 01:00
Driver Profile Year: 
Rick Hendrick
Team Name: 
Hendrick Motorsports
National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew
Driver Rank: 
Car Number: 
Crew Chief: 
Steve Letarte
<p> <strong>2012 Recap</strong><br /> For Dale Earnhardt Jr., 2012 will be defined more by the races he sat out than by the ones where he succeeded, although his successes allowed him to put together the best season of racing he’s had in a half-dozen years. Concussions sidelined the 10-time Most Popular Driver in October, derailing his Chase efforts and crippling what had been a comeback season.</p> <p> The season was characterized by urgency for Earnhardt, whose contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports was freshly inked. From Day 1, the driver responded. Earnhardt finished second in the Daytona 500, trailing only good buddy Matt Kenseth, and that jump-started a stretch of 15 straight weeks where he finished outside of the top 15 only once (17th, Darlington). That included 12 top-10 finishes, 218 laps led and most important, a win — Earnhardt’s first since 2008 — at Michigan in June.</p> <p> While crew chief Steve Letarte’s steady setups led to consistency, the win inspired confidence. During the first 20 races, Earnhardt would go 20-for-20 on lead lap finishes, something neither defending champ Tony Stewart nor 2012 titlist Brad Keselowski could do. After a fourth-place run at Indianapolis, Earnhardt was the Cup Series points leader, a position he hadn’t held since 2004.</p> <p> But just when Junior was labeled a bona fide title contender, it all came crashing down. A wreck during a tire test at Kansas in late August resulted in a concussion that Earnhardt hid. He later admitted to feeling just “80, 90 percent by the time the Chase started.” And it showed. In the first three postseason races, Earnhardt had a best finish of eighth. Then came Talladega, where the driver thought he was 100 percent until a vicious, last-lap impact led to headaches and the realization that he certainly wasn’t.</p> <p> After he was forced to sit out Charlotte and Kansas after being diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome, the season turned on a dime. Earnhardt came back, and although he scored two top-10 finishes in the final four races, the damage was done. Dead last in the Chase for the second time in five years, Earnhardt was left to wonder what might have been.<br />  </p>

2013 Spin
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has something to prove in 2013 after a pair of concussions clouded his long-term prospects. Earnhardt, after years of struggling with Hendrick Motorsports, was the most consistent driver in Sprint Cup in the early part of the 2012 season, taking the points lead midsummer. However, a poor start to the Chase made his decision to sit out two races due to concussions an easy one. When the other drivers pushed down on the title accelerator, a low-key Earnhardt turned all but invisible — again.

NASCAR Drivers: 
NASCAR Tracks: 
Driver Name: 
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Previews, predictions and stats for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 88 team

Backseat Drivers Fan Council

Reflecting on the NASCAR season that was
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<p> Dustin Long and the Backseat Drivers Fan Council discuss the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.</p>

The racing is over. All that remains is for NASCAR to get together in Las Vegas next week, dole out some money and party. Before the banquet arrives, members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council take a look back at the sport’s TV coverage this season and the racing, while looking ahead to 2013. Here is what they had to say:

Grade the TV coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup races this season by FOX, TNT, Speed and ESPN/ABC