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Dale Earnhardt Jr. would have fired himself if he were Rick Hendrick

Dale Earnhardt Rick Hendrick

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is finally starting to deliver for Rick Hendrick the way they envisioned when he first left DEI to drive for Hendrick Motorsports prior to the 2008 racing season.

Dale Jr. won at Pocono on Sunday to give him his third Sprint Cup victory of the season and the sweep at Pocono. Junior has won three races placed in the top 10 15 times this season to put him second in points. That is much different from the previous six seasons, where he only won two Sprint Cup races.

Early in his tenure with Hendrick Motorsports, not only was Little E failing to capture the checkered flag, he was having trouble cracking the top 10. He finished 25th in 2009 and 21st in 2010, and he says he would have fired himself had he been the team owner.

“When me and Rick got together we had this idea that this was going to go really good. … It just didn’t work,” Earnhardt Jr. said of his early time with Hendrick Motorsports during ESPN’s Sunday Conversation with Marty Smith. “I wasn’t as good as I could have been. I wasn’t the driver that I am today. I didn’t put in the effort that I put in today.”

Not only does Earnhardt Jr. admit he’s working harder now, he says he would have fired himself as a driver had he been Hendrick.

“I was an owner in a Nationwide car and I had been through that with certain drivers where you gotta go, ‘Hey man, this isn’t working. This is just not going to work. I’m going in a different direction and you’re going in a different direction, and it’s up to you what that direction is, but we’re not going on it together.’ I’ve been through that, and so I’m thinking if I’m Rick, I don’t know that I would have stayed through and seen this through like he did. If I was Rick, I would have made the change, I would have said, ‘Didn’t work out, you’ll be fine, you’re Dale Earnhardt Jr., I’m Rick Hendrick, we’re both going to be OK, but we gotta do something different.

“I would have probably done it that way. But I’m glad he didn’t.”

Sticking with Earnhardt Jr. has paid off. Junior won more races (6) in 2004 alone than he has in his entire career with Hendrick, but he’s picked things up this season and coming through the way they always hoped he would.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s mother thinks he’s great at driving sh-t cars

Dale-Earnhardt-Jr-Facial-Hair-BetJeff Gordon crossed the finish line first on Sunday for his fifth Brickyard 400 win. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished ninth.

Obviously, Earnhardt would have liked to finished higher, but it wasn’t meant to be.

During times like this it’s always good to receive encouragement from mom, who almost always knows the right thing to say.

After the race, Earnhardt had a conversation with his mother and he was kind enough to tweet a portion of it for us to see.

Dale Earnhardt text mom

Nothing like mom calling it like she sees it.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s 14 top-10 finishes this season have him tied with Jeff Gordon for most on the Sprint Cup circuit. Earnhardt’s nine top-5 finishes also put him at the top of the list, tied with Brad Keselowski. Dale Jr. is currently second in points with 693 after 20 starts so it’s safe to say he’s having a pretty good year thus far, in good or bad cars, depending on who you believe.

Reporter Dustin Long breaks ankle while interviewing Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Dustin-LongAnyone who tells you sports reporting is not a dangerous job has never met Dustin Long. On Friday, the Motor Racing Network reporter broke his ankle while interviewing Dale Earnhardt Jr.

And this was no minor injury. Long’s Twitter page indicates that he kept doing his job after suffering the break, but we have no idea how he was even getting around. He later saw the doctor for an X-ray and shared a photo of his ankle, which was swollen to about the size of a grapefruit.

Long was still able to take down all of Dale Jr.’s comments and write his story. He also grabbed his crutches and got back to work on Sunday at the Pocono 400.

Give this man a raise.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. shows off new Superman paint job for No. 88 car

dale-earnhardt-jr-superman-car

Last week, Hendrick Motorsports joined forces with Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment, agreeing to a three-year deal. The result will see NASCAR drivers Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, and Jimmie Johnson paired with a few of DC’s more popular super heroes for what should be a fun and entertaining venture.

Among the plans, are special car paint schemes. On Wednesday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. showed off the No. 88 car he’ll be driving in this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 and the Quicken Loans 400 on June 15, which features none other than Superman.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the automobile was featured on the front page of the Daily Planet.

If all goes according to plan, Dale’s “more powerful than a locomotive” Chevy will have him take the checkered flag at Charlotte Motor Speedway event for the first time in his career. If not, well he’ll be in a pretty cool looking car for 400 laps.

Photo: Twitter/DaleJr

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car catches fire (Video)

The Duck Commander 500 was held on Monday at Texas Motor Speedway thanks to some nasty weekend weather in the Lone Star State. Dale Earnhardt Jr. had his day cut short on just the 13th lap of the race when he lost a tire, hit the wall and his car caught fire.

A dramatic angle of the fire was shown on Fox that showed the sides of Earnhardt Jr.’s car engulfed in flames. Fortunately, he was able to escape without injury. His car was extinguished and towed off the track. Here’s what was left of it:

Dale-Earnhardt-Jr-fire

Dale Jr. was in 17th at the time of the accident. It goes without saying that he did not finish the race.

Video via For the Win
Photo: Twitter/Sunoco Racing

Dale Earnhardt Jr. joined Twitter after winning Daytona 500

Dale-Earnhardt-Jr-Daytona-500

You know how some people conveniently join Facebook the week of their birthday so they can experience all the Facebook birthday wall post love? Dale Earnhardt Jr. pulled a similar move after winning the Daytona 500 on Sunday night when he joined Twitter.

After a decade of respectable finishes and close calls at Daytona, Earnhardt Jr. was able to take home the second checkered flag of his career at the season’s opening race. He then hopped on Twitter to feel the love and had already eclipsed the 350,000-follower mark by Monday morning.

“Tonight seemed like as good a night as any to join Twitter,” Dale Jr. wrote. “How is everyone doin?”

Not as well as you, Dale…not as well as you.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. calls Roy Helu’s touchdown run (Video)

Want to a know unique way to spice up a preseason football game broadcast? Have a NASCAR driver step in and provide some guest commentary. During Wednesday night’s game between the Redskins and Buccaneers, Dale Earnhardt Jr. joined ESPN980′s Larry Michael, Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff. At one point, Jr. grabbed the reins and took over the play-by-play while the Redskins were inside the red zone. It turns out he was good luck.

As soon as Dale Jr. stepped in, Roy Helu took a handoff and turned the corner for a 15-yard score. Earnhardt played it as cool as you would have expected him to, but he seemed fully confident in labeling the play a touchdown even though Helu hit the pylon and it appeared borderline. That type of certainty could only come from a man who drives 200 mph for a living.

H/T Eye on Football