Dale Earnhardt Jr. once got Jeff Gordon out of a ticket

Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn’t just fast driver, he’s also a sweet-talker. Former teammate Jeff Gordon was on Earnhardt’s podcast this week and shared a story about how NASCAR’s 15-time most popular driver award winner got him out of a parking ticket once, according to NBC Sports. It happened in 2007 just after Gordon learned that … Continue reading “Dale Earnhardt Jr. once got Jeff Gordon out of a ticket”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn’t just fast driver, he’s also a sweet-talker.

Former teammate Jeff Gordon was on Earnhardt’s podcast this week and shared a story about how NASCAR’s 15-time most popular driver award winner got him out of a parking ticket once, according to NBC Sports.

It happened in 2007 just after Gordon learned that Earnhardt was going to be joining him at Hendrick Motorsports the following season.

Gordon was driving in his car when he heard the news and decided to give Earnhardt a call to welcome him to the team, even though he didn’t have a hands-free phone as the law required.

“All of a sudden I’ve got blue lights in my rear window,” Gordon said.

“I wasn’t sure if I should stay on the phone with Dale or not. But I said, ‘No, no. Stay on here, I may need you.’”

When the officer approached the car, he not only told Gordon he wasn’t supposed to be using his phone, but also that he was speeding.

Gordon apologized and then asked him “You don’t happen to be a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan, are you?”

He was, so Gordon handed him the phone and Earnhardt convinced the officer to let him go.

Earnhardt told Gordon on the podcast that he was just trying to make a great impression with his new teammate.

“He made the greatest impression on me!” said Gordon.

Jamie McMurray joining Fox Sports NASCAR coverage in 2019

NASCAR veteran Jamie McMurray is making the move to the broadcast booth next season and joining the Fox Sports NASCAR team.

The seven-race winner will be working as an analyst on Nascar Race Hub and Nascar Race Day, along with other assignments, it was announced on Wednesday.

McMurray has appeared as a guest analyst on Fox Sports in the past and says the experience led him to try out a TV gig rather than staying on the racing side of things as he winds down his racing career.

“It’s a whole new world, but that’s what I am most excited about – the new challenge and discomfort that comes with doing something completely out of my element,” McMurray said in a press release on the new job.

McMurray may not be all done with driving, though. He reportedly has an offer to race in next year’s Daytona 500 for the team that gave him his first and latest race in the NASCAR Cup series, Chip Ganassi Racing.

Fox Sports is owned by the parent company of FoxNews.com

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Brett Moffitt loses his ride for next season

Winning isn’t everything in NASCAR racing, even winning it all.

2018 Camping World Truck Series champion Brett Moffitt is looking for a new ride for next season after his team, Hattori Racing Enterprises, let him go as it looks for a driver who can bring more funding to the operation.

Team owner Shige Hattori said the team faced "numerous challenges in getting to the racetrack each week" during 2018 and nearly didn’t make it to the end of the season.

Although it's much cheaper to run a team in the truck series compared to Cup or even Xfinity, Kyle Busch revealed last year that budgets can run over $3 million per season.

The 26-year-old Moffitt told Fox Sports host Daryl Motte that he’s proud of his achievement.

“No matter what, looking back, at least I can say I was the 2018 Camping World Truck Series champion with six wins on the year. I’ll forever have that, and the people who supported me will have that.”

Along with his truck series title, Moffitt was the 2015 NASCAR Cup Series rookie of the year, splitting time between Michael Waltrip Racing and Front Row Motorsports, but hasn’t yet been able to leverage that success into a ride for a top team.

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Despite the latest setback, however, achieving his championship goal has the Iowa native optimistic about his racing future.

“It’s one level of success, and one checkmark on the career box, but hopefully there’s a lot more to come."

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

Kurt Busch and Monster Energy moving to Chip Ganassi Racing in 2019

Kurt Busch and sponsor Monster Energy will move to Chip Ganassi Racing next season for Busch's 20th season in NASCAR.

The partnership announced Tuesday is a one-year contract for Busch to drive the No. 1 Chevrolet with primary sponsorship from Monster. It is believed the one season as teammate to Kyle Larson will be Busch's final year of fulltime NASCAR competition.

Busch won NASCAR's Cup title in 2004 and counts the Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600 among his 30 career victories. He spent the last five seasons with Stewart-Haas Racing.

Busch will replace Jamie McMurray, who has driven for Ganassi in 13 of his 17 seasons at the Cup level. McMurray is expected to race in the Daytona 500 for Ganassi, and he's been offered a management role with the team.

Chase Elliott named NASCAR’s most popular driver

Chase Elliott has been voted NASCAR's most popular driver, ending a 15-year run for superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Earnhardt presented Elliott the award during NASCAR's annual season-ending awards ceremony Thursday at the Wynn Las Vegas.

Earnhardt won the award for 15 consecutive years until his retirement last season. His streak fell one short of the record of 16 set by Chase Elliott's father, Bill Elliott.

"Definitely a big passing," Elliott said told Earnhardt on stage. "So cool, though, that it stayed between Elliott and Earnhardt for so long. I am glad, though, that you quit a year before you broke Dad's record, so that's pretty cool. I'm pretty happy about that. We got it back in the right name. I'm a little biased. Sorry."

The award is based on a fan vote and sponsored by the National Motorsports Press Association. Bill Elliott won the award every year between 1984 and 2002, until he removed his name from consideration.

Now, the award has returned to the Elliott family.

Chase Elliott won three times in the Cup Series in 2018, including twice in the playoffs.

"I was in some good situations with some fast cars and I was able to get a few wins. It was a good year," Elliott said. "We couldn't finish it off as strong as those couple months there in the summer, late summer, but looking forward to '19 and excited to get back going."

His first trip to victory lane was years in the making.

Elliott won the Xfinity Series championship in 2014, when he was 18 and finally eligible to run a full NASCAR season. Plans were formed in 2015 for his move to the big leagues with Hendrick Motorsports as he replaced retiring four-time champion Jeff Gordon. Elliott was in the seat not long after his 20th birthday.

Chase entered the series with a built-in fan base that desperately wanted him to match his father's success. Because he drove for powerhouse Hendrick, in Gordon's old ride, many figured wins would come immediately.

Elliott did claim the pole for his Daytona 500 debut, but he finished 37th. His rookie season netted five finishes of second or third, a 10th-place finish in the standings and no wins.

Year 2 was similar. The pole again at Daytona and nothing to show for that effort. Even worse? Five runner-up finishes and almost certain victory snatched away at Martinsville Speedway. Elliott was leading late in the race at the Virginia track with only a few laps remaining before what would have been both his first victory and an automatic spot in the championship finale.

Elliott was instead wrecked by Denny Hamlin. He didn't win, didn't advance to the final four and two weeks later at Phoenix retaliated to ensure Hamlin wouldn't race for the title, either.

He finally broke through on the road course at Watkins Glen to notch his first win. That August victory locked him into the playoffs, and he bookended the second round of the championship chase with victories at Dover and Kansas.

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Joey Logano wins NASCAR championship for Ford

Joey Logano busted up The Big Three and captured an improbable first NASCAR title by soundly beating a trio of champions.

Logano won the season finale Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway to grab his first Cup championship in a season in which he barely contended until the playoffs began. The year was dominated by Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and reigning series champion Martin Truex Jr., with Logano calling the final-four field "The Big Three and Me." But Logano kicked it into another gear to steal the title.

He passed Truex with 12 laps remaining and pulled away to win for Roger Penske, the car owner who celebrated this year his election into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, a 17th victory in the Indianapolis 500 and now a second title in NASCAR's top series.

It marked the first championship for Ford since 2004.

Truex finished second in his final race with Furniture Row Racing. The team is closing because it lost its primary sponsor midway through Truex's championship reign.

"It's a tough night, a tough way to lose," Truex said. "I had nothing for him at the end. That's just the way it goes. I don't know what else to say. It hurts a little, and I'm going to miss all of the guys."

Harvick was third and Busch fourth as the title contenders followed each other across the finish line.

"We weren't even close," said Busch, who used strategy to keep up with the other title contenders.

But it was Logano who took the checkered flag, climbed to the roof of his car and was embraced by his Penske crew.

Logano had to move Truex out of his way in the final turn at Martinsville Speedway last month to earn his berth in the championship race. The 28-year-old Connecticut racer was criticized for his aggressiveness, and Truex promised he'd prevent Logano from winning the Cup, but Logano insisted he made the necessary move to win a championship.

And in the final 15-lap shootout to the finish, Logano used a power move on the outside line to shoot past Truex and drive away. If Truex had any intention of stopping Logano he had to catch him first, he couldn't and finished 1.725 seconds behind.

Logano had been adamant he was the favorite to win the race, in part because he wasn't even supposed to make the final four and had just one regular season victory. Busch and Harvick ended the season with eight wins each, while Truex had four.

Logano's third win came at Homestead, where the champion has won the race to win the title since this format was introduced in 2014. Logano was the favorite to win the 2015 title but missed the finale, was the championship runner-up in 2016 and a penalty kept his No. 22 out of last season's playoffs.

Shorter races? Doubleheaders? Everything is on the table for NASCAR updates

NASCAR is open to wholesale changes for 2020 that could include everything from doubleheaders, midweek races, a tightened schedule, shorter races, and even a potential shared event schedule with IndyCar.

Steve Phelps, named president of the sanctioning body last month, insisted NASCAR can weather its current decline and work out of its downturn. But it's going to take changes that are being discussed among the sport's stakeholders.

The first significant change comes next season with a rules package that NASCAR is adamant will dramatically improve the on-track product. The next big fix would be to the 2020 schedule.

"We've heard from our fan base that they would like to see more short-track racing, they want to see more road courses, they want to see less cookie-cutter tracks," Phelps said Sunday. "We are looking with our broadcast partners and with our tracks and with our teams and drivers to get input on what each of them thinks would be an ideal schedule, and then we're obviously doing fan research.

"Do I believe that everything is on the table? I do."

Phelps held his first news conference as NASCAR president just hours before the championship-deciding season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Brian France had typically represented NASCAR at the annual event, but France took leave as chairman and CEO following his August arrest on drunk driving charges.

Jim France stepped in as interim chairman and CEO following his nephew's arrest, but the word "interim" was dropped from his title shortly after the change. NASCAR also replaced Brent Dewar as president with Phelps, and the leadership group for the family owned business is clearly in transition.

"I can't speak to if Brian is coming back or not," Phelps said. "I do know that Jim France is our chairman and CEO. I do know that Jim France is incredibly involved in this sport, at the racetrack, off the racetrack. I can assure you that Jim France is talking to a lot of people. He's talking to Roger Penske and he's talking to Jack Roush and he's talking to racetrack owners. He's talking to drivers. He's talking to sponsors.

"That's what Jim does, and he is driving this sport. As we look to 2019, we are going to execute against Jim's vision."

At least four times Phelps stressed that Jim France is now running NASCAR even though the second son of the founder is primarily behind the scenes. Bill France Jr., the eldest son of NASCAR founder Bill France, was chairman for 31 years and ruled the sport as a benevolent but firm dictator.

Brian France replaced his father in 2003 and had been soundly criticized throughout the industry as absent and aloof. Jim France's primary focus had been on other France properties — International Speedway Corp. and IMSA's sports car series, for example — until he replaced his nephew in August. Phelps said Jim France has been at every race since taking on his new role.

But Phelps was not able to answer if the France family is looking to sell some or all of NASCAR, or discuss NASCAR's recent bid to purchase all of sister company ISC's public stock.

"If you look at the message that has been sent … it's that we're going to double down on this sport because we believe in it. We believe this sport is going to grow. We believe this sport, its best days are ahead," Phelps said.

Collaboration with NASCAR's many stakeholders is at its most promising level because all industry participants need the health of the sport to improve. Many big sponsors have left NASCAR, last year's championship team is closing because its sponsor left, and Truck Series champion Brett Moffitt doesn't have a job lined up for next season. Television ratings hit lows in 26 events this season, and the mood has generally been less than upbeat for most of the season.

Phelps, though, remains optimistic.

"We have faced some headwinds. We're hitting those head on," Phelps said. "We always have work to be done. I've been accused of being Pollyannaish before, but I believe the state of sponsorship in this sport continues to accelerate in a positive manner.

"Do we have a lot of work in collaboration with our race teams and our racetracks? We do. And that's what we're doing. We are going to be laser focused on driving consumption."

Shorter races? Doubleheaders? Everything is on the table for NASCAR updates

NASCAR is open to wholesale changes for 2020 that could include everything from doubleheaders, midweek races, a tightened schedule, shorter races, and even a potential shared event schedule with IndyCar.

Steve Phelps, named president of the sanctioning body last month, insisted NASCAR can weather its current decline and work out of its downturn. But it's going to take changes that are being discussed among the sport's stakeholders.

The first significant change comes next season with a rules package that NASCAR is adamant will dramatically improve the on-track product. The next big fix would be to the 2020 schedule.

"We've heard from our fan base that they would like to see more short-track racing, they want to see more road courses, they want to see less cookie-cutter tracks," Phelps said Sunday. "We are looking with our broadcast partners and with our tracks and with our teams and drivers to get input on what each of them thinks would be an ideal schedule, and then we're obviously doing fan research.

"Do I believe that everything is on the table? I do."

Phelps held his first news conference as NASCAR president just hours before the championship-deciding season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Brian France had typically represented NASCAR at the annual event, but France took leave as chairman and CEO following his August arrest on drunk driving charges.

Jim France stepped in as interim chairman and CEO following his nephew's arrest, but the word "interim" was dropped from his title shortly after the change. NASCAR also replaced Brent Dewar as president with Phelps, and the leadership group for the family owned business is clearly in transition.

"I can't speak to if Brian is coming back or not," Phelps said. "I do know that Jim France is our chairman and CEO. I do know that Jim France is incredibly involved in this sport, at the racetrack, off the racetrack. I can assure you that Jim France is talking to a lot of people. He's talking to Roger Penske and he's talking to Jack Roush and he's talking to racetrack owners. He's talking to drivers. He's talking to sponsors.

"That's what Jim does, and he is driving this sport. As we look to 2019, we are going to execute against Jim's vision."

At least four times Phelps stressed that Jim France is now running NASCAR even though the second son of the founder is primarily behind the scenes. Bill France Jr., the eldest son of NASCAR founder Bill France, was chairman for 31 years and ruled the sport as a benevolent but firm dictator.

Brian France replaced his father in 2003 and had been soundly criticized throughout the industry as absent and aloof. Jim France's primary focus had been on other France properties — International Speedway Corp. and IMSA's sports car series, for example — until he replaced his nephew in August. Phelps said Jim France has been at every race since taking on his new role.

But Phelps was not able to answer if the France family is looking to sell some or all of NASCAR, or discuss NASCAR's recent bid to purchase all of sister company ISC's public stock.

"If you look at the message that has been sent … it's that we're going to double down on this sport because we believe in it. We believe this sport is going to grow. We believe this sport, its best days are ahead," Phelps said.

Collaboration with NASCAR's many stakeholders is at its most promising level because all industry participants need the health of the sport to improve. Many big sponsors have left NASCAR, last year's championship team is closing because its sponsor left, and Truck Series champion Brett Moffitt doesn't have a job lined up for next season. Television ratings hit lows in 26 events this season, and the mood has generally been less than upbeat for most of the season.

Phelps, though, remains optimistic.

"We have faced some headwinds. We're hitting those head on," Phelps said. "We always have work to be done. I've been accused of being Pollyannaish before, but I believe the state of sponsorship in this sport continues to accelerate in a positive manner.

"Do we have a lot of work in collaboration with our race teams and our racetracks? We do. And that's what we're doing. We are going to be laser focused on driving consumption."

Joey Logano wins NASCAR championship for Ford

Joey Logano busted up The Big Three and captured an improbable first NASCAR title by soundly beating a trio of champions.

Logano won the season finale Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway to grab his first Cup championship in a season in which he barely contended until the playoffs began. The year was dominated by Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and reigning series champion Martin Truex Jr., with Logano calling the final-four field "The Big Three and Me." But Logano kicked it into another gear to steal the title.

He passed Truex with 12 laps remaining and pulled away to win for Roger Penske, the car owner who celebrated this year his election into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, a 17th victory in the Indianapolis 500 and now a second title in NASCAR's top series.

It marked the first championship for Ford since 2004.

Truex finished second in his final race with Furniture Row Racing. The team is closing because it lost its primary sponsor midway through Truex's championship reign.

"It's a tough night, a tough way to lose," Truex said. "I had nothing for him at the end. That's just the way it goes. I don't know what else to say. It hurts a little, and I'm going to miss all of the guys."

Harvick was third and Busch fourth as the title contenders followed each other across the finish line.

"We weren't even close," said Busch, who used strategy to keep up with the other title contenders.

But it was Logano who took the checkered flag, climbed to the roof of his car and was embraced by his Penske crew.

Logano had to move Truex out of his way in the final turn at Martinsville Speedway last month to earn his berth in the championship race. The 28-year-old Connecticut racer was criticized for his aggressiveness, and Truex promised he'd prevent Logano from winning the Cup, but Logano insisted he made the necessary move to win a championship.

And in the final 15-lap shootout to the finish, Logano used a power move on the outside line to shoot past Truex and drive away. If Truex had any intention of stopping Logano he had to catch him first, he couldn't and finished 1.725 seconds behind.

Logano had been adamant he was the favorite to win the race, in part because he wasn't even supposed to make the final four and had just one regular season victory. Busch and Harvick ended the season with eight wins each, while Truex had four.

Logano's third win came at Homestead, where the champion has won the race to win the title since this format was introduced in 2014. Logano was the favorite to win the 2015 title but missed the finale, was the championship runner-up in 2016 and a penalty kept his No. 22 out of last season's playoffs.

Shorter races? Doubleheaders? Everything is on the table for NASCAR updates

NASCAR is open to wholesale changes for 2020 that could include everything from doubleheaders, midweek races, a tightened schedule, shorter races, and even a potential shared event schedule with IndyCar.

Steve Phelps, named president of the sanctioning body last month, insisted NASCAR can weather its current decline and work out of its downturn. But it's going to take changes that are being discussed among the sport's stakeholders.

The first significant change comes next season with a rules package that NASCAR is adamant will dramatically improve the on-track product. The next big fix would be to the 2020 schedule.

"We've heard from our fan base that they would like to see more short-track racing, they want to see more road courses, they want to see less cookie-cutter tracks," Phelps said Sunday. "We are looking with our broadcast partners and with our tracks and with our teams and drivers to get input on what each of them thinks would be an ideal schedule, and then we're obviously doing fan research.

"Do I believe that everything is on the table? I do."

Phelps held his first news conference as NASCAR president just hours before the championship-deciding season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Brian France had typically represented NASCAR at the annual event, but France took leave as chairman and CEO following his August arrest on drunk driving charges.

Jim France stepped in as interim chairman and CEO following his nephew's arrest, but the word "interim" was dropped from his title shortly after the change. NASCAR also replaced Brent Dewar as president with Phelps, and the leadership group for the family owned business is clearly in transition.

"I can't speak to if Brian is coming back or not," Phelps said. "I do know that Jim France is our chairman and CEO. I do know that Jim France is incredibly involved in this sport, at the racetrack, off the racetrack. I can assure you that Jim France is talking to a lot of people. He's talking to Roger Penske and he's talking to Jack Roush and he's talking to racetrack owners. He's talking to drivers. He's talking to sponsors.

"That's what Jim does, and he is driving this sport. As we look to 2019, we are going to execute against Jim's vision."

At least four times Phelps stressed that Jim France is now running NASCAR even though the second son of the founder is primarily behind the scenes. Bill France Jr., the eldest son of NASCAR founder Bill France, was chairman for 31 years and ruled the sport as a benevolent but firm dictator.

Brian France replaced his father in 2003 and had been soundly criticized throughout the industry as absent and aloof. Jim France's primary focus had been on other France properties — International Speedway Corp. and IMSA's sports car series, for example — until he replaced his nephew in August. Phelps said Jim France has been at every race since taking on his new role.

But Phelps was not able to answer if the France family is looking to sell some or all of NASCAR, or discuss NASCAR's recent bid to purchase all of sister company ISC's public stock.

"If you look at the message that has been sent … it's that we're going to double down on this sport because we believe in it. We believe this sport is going to grow. We believe this sport, its best days are ahead," Phelps said.

Collaboration with NASCAR's many stakeholders is at its most promising level because all industry participants need the health of the sport to improve. Many big sponsors have left NASCAR, last year's championship team is closing because its sponsor left, and Truck Series champion Brett Moffitt doesn't have a job lined up for next season. Television ratings hit lows in 26 events this season, and the mood has generally been less than upbeat for most of the season.

Phelps, though, remains optimistic.

"We have faced some headwinds. We're hitting those head on," Phelps said. "We always have work to be done. I've been accused of being Pollyannaish before, but I believe the state of sponsorship in this sport continues to accelerate in a positive manner.

"Do we have a lot of work in collaboration with our race teams and our racetracks? We do. And that's what we're doing. We are going to be laser focused on driving consumption."