SPARTA, Ky.— After winning the 2014 Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has become a prominent voice on social media.
Earnhardt Jr. uses Periscope after every race to interact with fans no matter how great or terrible his race was just hours prior. He uses Twitter on a regular basis to interact with fans and to answer their questions.
“Social media, I really have to hold back sometimes. I could do a Periscope everyday. I enjoy social media. I don’t want to be the guy on there too much. I am eager to do it. I love the sarcasm. You get to know everyone so much better because we really don’t have time to spend with each other. Social media is so funny,” said Earnhardt Jr.
How does Earnhardt Jr approach social media?
“I use Twitter as a message board just to goof around and laugh, have fun, and see what everyone else is asking about. I use Instagram as more of a story telling with pictures and videos. It’s a blast. I have enjoyed it a lot,” said Earnhardt Jr.
If you don’t already, you can follow Earnhardt Jr on Twitter and Instagram @DaleJr.
SPARTA, Ky.— For Ben Rhodes, his “Old Kentucky Home” at Kentucky Speedway was not what he had hoped for.
Rhodes started the Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 in the fourth position after qualifying was rained out. Rhodes was able to run in the front for all of stage 2. After leaders made pit stops during the caution period for a spin by Matt Mills, Rhodes cycled to the race lead.
Rhodes was able to hold off chariest from behind to score his first stage victory of the season. During the first stage break, Rhodes hit pit road for four tires and fuel. Rhodes started the second stage in the 13th position.
Shortly after the second stage began, Rhodes was involved in an accident involving Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton, Christopher Bell, and TJ Bell.
Rhodes explained what caused the accident:
“I saw an opening on the bottom. This place is pretty much a superspeedway at a mile and a half. A lot of drafting, a lot of really hard, crazy racing tonight. I saw them go four-wide in front of me and they were making it work at that time and everybody else was doing the same thing on the restarts ahead, so I decided to go three-wide and side draft them down into the corner, said the Kentucky native. “We had good position on them, but I saw everybody start to come down on me, so I tried checking up as much as I could. We just ran out of room. Miscalculation on my part. I should’ve known that everybody was going to get together like that. Just unfortunate that it was us in that position.
With the playoffs quickly approaching, Rhodes and his ThorSport Racing team will reevaluate.
“It’s unfortunate cause that was one of our better trucks that we’ve had good success with this year. I know how bad that can bite us for the rest of the season, so we’re going to have to reevaluate, fix my mistakes and get us a faster truck built for the next races to get us into the playoffs,” Rhodes stated.
Rhodes will be assessed with a 27th position. Rhodes was accredited for leading five laps. After the race, Rhodes sits fifth in the points just 134 points back from leader, Johnny Sauter.
SPARTA, Ky.— As silly season has ramped up in NASCAR, Matt Kenseth’s name has been brought up as a driver who could leave his current organization, Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR).
"As of today, I do not have a job for next year," Kenseth stated Friday morning in his media availability. "I don't think I'll have the option to race at JGR next year.”
The statement from Kenseth confirmed rumors around the garage that Kenseth would be leaving JGR and racing for a different organization come 2018.
Who replaces Kenseth in the No. 20 Toyota Camry? That person could potentially be Erik Jones. When Jones was signed on at Furniture Row Racing for 2017, Joe Gibbs was adamant that the deal with Jones and Barney Visser was for one year only.
Just yesterday, Jones was unable to comment on what his plans for 2018 are:
“I’m just driving. For the most part, for me, whether – I don’t know where I’m going to be yet. They haven’t let me know. For me, I’ve been really happy at Furniture Row (Racing) and it’s been a steady group of guys over there that I think work really well together,” said Jones. “I don’t yet. Hopefully I know soon. You know it’s kind of getting down to that point. I guess it’s July now, so I’m sure we’ll have an answer here soon.”
Where will Kenseth land? How many years does Kenseth have left? The speculation is that Kenseth would be replacing Dale Earnhardt, Jr in the No. 88 at Hendrick Motorsports as a placeholder for William Byron in 2019. If Jones is leaving Furniture Row for JGR, Kenseth could potentially move to the No. 77 Toyota Camry.
When asked if it was a possibility, Kenseth stated, “I probably already said too much about what I’m not doing next year, so I don’t really have anything to talk about what I am doing at this point. At this point, I don’t have anything going on next year and am trying to get focused on running better and winning races.”
Despite the rumors and looking for a ride, Kenseth is focused on his performance in 2017.
“It’s been a slow start,” Kenseth said. “It has not been a good year at all. I just want to try to get back to victory lane and qualify for the playoffs and have a shot at the championship.
The landscape of JGR has changed over the past two years. With the vanishing of Carl Edwards, Daniel Suarez was brought up from the Xfinity Series, although most people suspected it would be Jones before Suarez at JGR.
With the comments from Kenseth, the domino about silly season is about to fall.
SPARTA, Ky.— For the third in 2017, Christopher Bell was victorious in the rain-delayed Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 from Kentucky Speedway.
“This is pretty special man. This is an extremely tough race for me. We had our ups and downs there and through practice yesterday, just kind of – practice didn’t really go smooth. We had such a good Toyota Tundra that I knew, I knew if the right circumstances came up we could do it and Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) did a great job on top of the pit box just getting me track position after I made a mistake there and spun out. Just really glad to be here," said Bell in victory lane. "Really thankful for all the guys at TRD, everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports – they build such fast Tundras. It’s a pleasure to drive them. Our Joe Gibbs engines are flawless and that showed today.”
Despite a late race charge, Brandon Jones was just 0.187 seconds away from victory, but finished second at Kentucky.
“It was all fun and games for sure. It was a great truck for sure. I think it showed a lot about a team that can go from running a couple races in a year to one of the best teams in the series right now. I was tickled to death and pumped. Just wish we could have ended up in victory lane,” Jones stated.
Sitting quietly through much of the race, Justin Hayley finished in the third position.
“We snugged it up a bit tonight. Our Chevy was very fast tonight,” said Justin Hayley.
The race saw 10 lead changes among eight different drivers. Bell led the most laps at 54. The caution flew eight times for 42 laps.
Next up for the Truck Series is a trip to Eldora Speedway. The race will be broadcasted on Fox Business Network and Motor Racing Network beginning at 9:30 p.m. EDT.
SPARTA, Ky.— With persistent rains in the area, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying has been cancelled from Kentucky Speedway.
NASCAR tried their best efforts to dry and the the track ready for Truck qualifying, but rained quickly returned to the track. The field will be set per the rule book.
Johnny Saucer will lead the field to green. Christopher Bell will start second. Chase Briscoe will start third, but will go to the rear due to a backup. Matt Crafton will start fourth. Ben Rhodes will round out the top-five. Joe Nemechek is the lone driver to head home due to not having enough attempts.
NASCAR hopes to get Xfinity practice in later this evening.