Helping Others Not in Earnhardt Jr.'s Race Plan; DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. Is NASCAR's Most Popular Driver. but He Admits He's Not Looking for Friends Sunday, Including Hendrick Motorsports Teammates Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott and Kasey Kahne. [Derived Headline]

By Paulk, Ralph N | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 20, 2016 | Go to article overview

Helping Others Not in Earnhardt Jr.'s Race Plan; DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. Is NASCAR's Most Popular Driver. but He Admits He's Not Looking for Friends Sunday, Including Hendrick Motorsports Teammates Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott and Kasey Kahne. [Derived Headline]


Paulk, Ralph N, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is NASCAR's most popular driver. But he admits he's not looking for friends Sunday, including Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott and Kasey Kahne.

Even though tandem racing effectively was eliminated because of rules changes, cars still will pair up for drafting and to conserve fuel. Earnhardt has warned everyone he's not willing to play that game.

"At every other racetrack we go to, you're single[226 128 145 ]minded, you're selfish and you're a jerk," said Earnhardt, a two- time Daytona 500 winner. "You're a jerk on restarts. You're a jerk every time you're battling for position. You're not doing anybody any favors out there. You're not trying to help anybody.

"When we started this tandem stuff, it was like a tag-team match. It felt so unnatural to run second by having to draft a guy that was going to win the race. That was the oddest thing to wrap my brain around. Man, we're going to run a race today, and I might have to settle for second intentionally."

Earnhardt, driving the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, separated himself from rest of the field in the final practice session Saturday. He turned the quickest lap at a speed of 197.131 mph, and defending champion Joey Logano's No. 22 Team Penske was second with 196.369. Ryan Blaney pushed the No. 21 Ford of Wood Brothers to third (196.288 mph), and Brad Keselowski's No. 2 Ford reached 196.262 mph.

Rules changes

For years, NASCAR officials have implemented myriad rules to ensure fair and exciting finishes, particularly in the Sprint Cup Series. However, the sometimes-ambiguous rules often have created controversy.

NASCAR again has tweaked the rules in an effort to lessen the confusion at the end of races that extend beyond the scheduled laps, including the 200-lap, season-opening Daytona 500 on Sunday at Daytona International Speedway.

A race may end with overtime for all three NASCAR series: Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck. Races will have a new procedure for green-white-checkered flag finishes featuring an overtime line, which varies by track. …

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Helping Others Not in Earnhardt Jr.'s Race Plan; DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. Is NASCAR's Most Popular Driver. but He Admits He's Not Looking for Friends Sunday, Including Hendrick Motorsports Teammates Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott and Kasey Kahne. [Derived Headline]
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