Sport Michigan Memories: Earnhardt Jr. has had his moments at MIS

08:20  13 august  2017
08:20  13 august  2017 Source:   Associated Press

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on being NASCAR driver: 'I didn't want to work for a living'

  Dale Earnhardt Jr. on being NASCAR driver: 'I didn't want to work for a living' Earnhardt Jr., who is retiring from full-time NASCAR competition after this season, can't believe some of the things he's done in NASCAR.In his media session Friday at Michigan International Speedway, Earnhardt said he got into NASCAR as a driver because he "didn't want to work for a living," and after he won a few Busch (now Xfinity) Series races in the late 1990s he was surprised and thrilled he'd be able to have a career in the sport.

But his memories at Michigan extend further back than that. The exciting IROC finish in '99 included some contact between Earnhardt Jr .'s car and his father's - a fun story line if there ever was one. But Earnhardt Jr . has been plenty competitive in Michigan over the years.

But Earnhardt Jr . has been plenty competitive in Michigan over the years. In fact, only two active drivers — Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth — have more Cup wins at MIS . Latest NASCAR News. Michigan Memories : Earnhardt Jr . has had his moments at MIS .

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Bristol comes up with an ideal retirement gift for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

  Bristol comes up with an ideal retirement gift for Dale Earnhardt Jr. A scholarship in Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s name fits with the 88 driver's desire to give back. "I feel like this obligation to turn it around and do something for someone else," he says.General manager Jerry Caldwell announced BMS will present a college scholarship in Earnhardt's name annually to an area high school graduates who is interested in working in automotive technology.

But his memories at Michigan extend further back than that. The exciting IROC finish in '99 included some contact between Earnhardt Jr .'s car and his father's -- a fun story line if there ever was one. But Earnhardt Jr . has been plenty competitive in Michigan over the years.

BROOKLYN, Mich. -. (AP) -- Dale Earnhardt Jr . was racing for the win in a 1999 IROC event at Michigan . Problem was, his opponent was in no mood to let him pass. Most popular sports stories. New Molloy track coach Henkel dies at age 35. Mets defend not trading Jay Bruce to Yankees.

BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. was racing for the win in a 1999 IROC event at Michigan.

Problem was, his opponent was in no mood to let him pass.

"Dad drove to the bottom so I just went around a little bit higher and it stuck, and I got along his outside," the younger Earnhardt recalled. "I was going by and he hit me."

Dale Earnhardt won that race over Earnhardt Jr. by 0.007 seconds on one of many memorable days at Michigan International Speedway for Earnhardt Jr., whose farewell tour is passing through the track this weekend. Earnhardt Jr. would go on to win Cup races at MIS in 2008 and 2012, and he'll try to add another victory Sunday in his final race at the venue before he retires at the end of this season.

Those wins in '08 and '12 were Earnhardt Jr.'s only Cup victories from 2007-13. The latter snapped a 143-race losing streak. But his memories at Michigan extend further back than that.

NASCAR fan sports Earnhardt-themed sunburn

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Has Had His Moments At MISEarnhardt Jr . has won Cup races at MIS in 2008 and 2012, and he'll But his memories at Michigan extend further back than that. The exciting IROC finish in ’99 included some contact between Earnhardt Jr .’s car and his father’s — a fun story line if there ever was one.

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Dale Earnhardt Jr . was racing for the win in a 1999 IROC event at Michigan . Problem was, his opponent was in no mood to let him pass. "Dad drove to the bottom so I just went around a little bit higher and it stuck, and I got along his outside," the younger Earnhardt recalled.

The exciting IROC finish in '99 included some contact between Earnhardt Jr.'s car and his father's — a fun story line if there ever was one. Later that year, Junior pulled away from Jeff Gordon — who was at that point the two-time defending Cup champion — for a win in a Busch Series race at Michigan.

"It seemed like only me and him were racing each other for the win. I was very proud of that because I thought he was the best in the sport at the time," Earnhardt Jr. said. "It was like beating Jimmie Johnson if he came down to the Xfinity Series. So, that was a big deal for us."

By 2012, Earnhardt Jr. was no longer an up-and-comer in his mid-20s. His victory at the 2-mile Michigan track that year ended his long drought. He'd go on to win four more Cup races in 2014 and three in 2015.

Earnhardt Jr. is winless over the past two seasons, and he has only four top-10 finishes this year. Over the past week, he has been involved in a bit of a back-and-forth with Kevin Harvick, who suggested Junior's inability to achieve more success has hindered the sport's growth.

Jones wins 1st Cup pole in critical Bristol race

  Jones wins 1st Cup pole in critical Bristol race Erik Jones has won the first Cup Series pole of his career with a quick run at Bristol Motor Speedway. Jones turned a lap at 128.082 mph around the high-banked bullring to take the top starting spot for Saturday night's race. Jones, a rookie who drives for Furniture Row Racing, bumped Kyle Larson from the pole.Larson qualified second at 128.057 to continue his hot streak. He won Sunday at Michigan — where he beat Furniture Row teammates Jones and Martin Truex Jr. on the final restart for his third victory of the year.Kasey Kahne qualified third and was followed by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott.

But his memories at Michigan extend further back than that. The exciting IROC finish in '99 included some contact between Earnhardt Jr .'s car and his father's — a fun story line if there ever was one. But Earnhardt Jr . has been plenty competitive in Michigan over the years.

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Dale Earnhardt Jr . was racing for the win in a 1999 IROC event at Michigan . Problem was, his opponent was in no mood to let him pass. “Dad drove to the bottom so I just went around a little bit higher and it stuck, and I got along his outside,” the younger Earnhardt recalled.

But Earnhardt Jr. has been plenty competitive in Michigan over the years. In fact, only two active drivers — Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth — have more Cup wins at MIS.

"We've got some really good memories here. It's been a fun track," Earnhardt Jr. said. "There has been some conversation about the 1.5-mile tracks with the words 'cookie cutter' and all that. That's been a conversation for a couple of decades now. But this place here is, to me, the standard for the 1.5-mile or 2-mile race track. This place is so much fun to race on for a driver. It's a great race track."

More things to watch in Sunday's race:

GOING FOR THREE

Kyle Larson is trying for a third straight Cup win at Michigan after victories this June and last August. He'll be in the spotlight Sunday after team owner Chip Ganassi gave him permission to go to Iowa on Saturday to race in the Knoxville Nationals.

HENDRICK PROBLEMS

Hendrick Motorsports teammates Johnson and Kasey Kahne both are on to backup cars after going into the wall during practice Saturday. Johnson also had to go to the backup car in June at Michigan after a practice mishap.

Kevin Harvick blames Dale Earnhardt Jr. for 'stunting' NASCAR's growth

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BROOKLYN, Mich. — Dale Earnhardt Jr . was racing for the win in a 1999 IROC event at Michigan . Problem was, his opponent was in no mood to let him pass. "Dad drove to the bottom so I just went around a little bit higher and it stuck, and I got along his outside," the younger Earnhardt recalled.

But his memories at Michigan extend further back than that. The exciting IROC finish in '99 included some contact between Earnhardt Jr .'s car and his father's — a fun storyline if there ever was one. Only two active drivers — Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth — have more Cup wins at MIS .

"You have to run so hard here that if the car slips it's around and gone," Johnson said. "I ran a half a second faster today in practice than I did in qualifying yesterday. So, with the grill open and tires on low pressure and all that, especially these morning sessions with overcast clouds you just run so hard that when something happens, it's gone."

QUALIFYING SWEEP

Ford vs. Chevrolet is always a matchup to watch in Michigan. Larson won for Chevy in June, but Ford swept the top three spots in qualifying Friday, with Team Penske's Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano going 1-2. Harvick was third.

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More AP auto racing: www.racing.ap.org .

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Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister

Dale Earnhardt Jr. drives Redskins players around Richmond Raceway .
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