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.

Racecar driver must pay $1.3 billion award in payday loan suit

A U.S. appeals court on Monday upheld a nearly $1.3 billion award against a pro racecar driver who was sent to prison following a conviction for cheating consumers through his payday loan businesses.

Information Scott Tucker's companies provided consumers did not accurately disclose the loans' terms, a unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

The judges also said a lower court did not abuse its authority when it ordered Tucker and other defendants to pay back nearly $1.3 billion.

The case was brought by the Federal Trade Commission, which accused Tucker of deceiving consumers across the U.S. and illegally charging them undisclosed and inflated fees.

An attorney for Tucker, Paul C. Ray, said he was reviewing the decision, but he noted that one of the judges said a larger 9th Circuit panel should rehear the case.

Tucker, from Leawood, Kansas, is a former American Le Mans Series champion who, according to prosecutors, used proceeds from the lending business to finance a professional auto racing team. He was sentenced in January in a related criminal case to more than 16 years in prison on fraud and other charges.

Prosecutors have said he made billions of dollars over more than a decade by exploiting financially struggling Americans, charging them illegal interest rates that sometimes exceeded 1,000 percent.

Over a 15-year period, more than 1 percent of the U.S. population became victims of Tucker's lending enterprise, U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel said during Tucker's January sentencing hearing.

The businesses he operated used the names Ameriloan, Cash Advance, OneClickCash, Preferred Cash Loans, United Cash Loans, US FastCash, 500 FastCash, Advantage Cash Services and Star Cash Processing, according to prosecutors.

The 9th Circuit did not rule on Tucker's criminal conviction.

The panel said loan terms that Tucker's businesses provided were deceptive because they did not clearly disclose that loans would automatically renew unless consumers took action. Renewals led to additional finance charges that could amount to as much as $585 in additional payments on a $300 loan, the appeals court panel said.

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.

Champion race car driver left hanging as model ducks victory kiss

On top of the world one moment to being left brutally red-faced the next, that’s how things went for 20-year-old Noah Gragson on Sunday.

The young star driver managed to secure a huge victory in the 51st annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla.

His win came after a brilliant overtake following a restart with only seven laps remaining in the race and he held on through the checkered flag.

After securing the biggest win of his young career and with a move up to the NASCAR Xfinity Series next season, Gragson was riding an emotional high.

He was spectacularly brought back down to earth however when celebrating his monster win in the pitlane.

Gragson channeled the words of ice hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky who stated: "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take." Unfortunately, Gragson missed … hilariously.

The driver attempted to add another win to his day by planting a kiss on the Snowball Derby model on live television.

It didn’t go anything like he’d hoped.

The hilarious moment brought about a flood of reaction on social media with Gragson getting roasted from all corners.

But despite the initial embarrassment, the young driver ended his day with the last laugh as he not only ended up with the model’s number … he also got his kiss.

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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Former Playmate of the Year Doreen Seidel speeding toward Formula 1 dream

When Formula 1 announced the new W Series exclusively for female drivers, opinions were understandably split.

Some felt it was simply continuing the gender gap in the sport, but for one Playboy model it was the break she craved.

Doreen Seidel is one of 55 drivers on the provisional list for the inaugural season but it is quite different to what she was doing a decade ago.

Seidel, now 33, made her Playboy debut in 2008 and settled into the role with ease. She quickly rose through the ranks at the magazine to become a prominent Playmate, traveling across the world with her fellow models.

She was named “Playmate of the Year” for Germany in 2009 and was taken to the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles to meet Hugh Hefner and experience the famous lifestyle.

Seidel then went on tour in Mexico, Spain, Russia, Poland, Greece, Argentina, Romania and Hungary.

In 2009, she also was the “lucky charm” Playboy Bunny in front of a Playboy-branded car but then wanted to get behind the wheel rather than sit on top of the hood.

From there, her passion for racing cars grew and she now has her sights set on a world championship.

The Munich-based racer participated in her first season of races in 2011 — with the Playboy logo proudly on display — and achieved her first podium finish that year.

As the years progressed, she rose through the ranks and switched between endurance racing and sprints while also taking up instructing in 2014 to help others get a grip of the sport.

The German raced for Mercedes-Benz in 2018 but is desperate to show what she can do in the W Series next year.

Away from the track, Seidel has a diploma in business administration, loves snowboarding and is a self-confessed poor surfer but still enjoys at least attempting to catch a wave or two.

The new W series is due to get underway in May with free entry for the selected racers — chosen via a simple qualification early next year — and a $1.46 million prize fund with $485,000 going to the winner.

With six 30-minute races at former European F1 circuits and the women driving 1.8l Formula Three cars, it promises to be an exciting spectacle albeit surrounded by controversy.

Spanish racer Carmen Jorda created a backlash when she backed a female-only series, suggesting women were at a physical disadvantage and therefore could not compete with men at the very top level.

F1 racer Kevin Magnussen also supported the series, as did former British racer David Coulthard, who is on the advisory board.

“When I was karting as a boy, I raced a few girls who were talented and quick. But there weren’t many of them; a lot more boys than girls go karting and that’s a fact,” Magnussen said. “So I welcome W Series and hope it’ll help female racers progress their careers.”

But former IndyCar driver Pippa Mann felt let down by the W Series, which is introduced just a year after grid girls were axed from pit-lanes and starting grids at Grand Prix.

“What a sad day for motorsport,” Mann tweeted. “Those with funding to help female racers are choosing to segregate them as opposed to supporting them.

“I am deeply disappointed to see such a historic step backwards take place in my life time.”

Despite the mixed reaction, Seidel is definitely excited at the possibility of competing and taking her racing to the next level.

She took to social media and said: “So excited to be part of the W Series and meet all the other qualifiers end of January for the final selection. Let’s do this.”

And after creating quite the storm as a Playmate and model, the German will be looking to do the same from the cockpit next year.

This article originally appeared in The Sun.

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.

Formula 3 driver Sophia Floersch suffers spinal injury in scary crash at Macau Grand Prix

A Formula 3 driver suffered a spinal injury Sunday when she was involved in a scary crash at the Macau Grand Prix.

Sophia Floersch, 17, is set to undergo surgery Monday for the injury she sustained in the crash. Her car went airborne during the road course event after she clipped Sho Tsuboi’s car on lap four.

“Just wanted to let everybody know that I am fine but will be going into surgery tomorrow (Monday) morning … Update soon,” the German racer tweeted.

Floersch suffered a spinal fracture, according to a medical report released by her team Van Amersfoot Racing.

Sophia Floersch of Germany and the Van Amersfoort Racing team is seen after crashing into a platform for media during the last day of the 65th Macao Grand Prix at Guia Circuit on November 18, 2018 in Macao, China. (Photo by Mai Shangmin/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images)

“The whole world saw what happened and we can only thank God that @SophiaFloersch escaped with relatively light injuries,” Van Amersfoot Racing tweeted. “Our thoughts go also to the other people involved and we wish them a speedy recovery.”

Video on social media showed her vehicle hurtling through the air after she appeared to clip Tsuboi’s car. Floersch then went airborne and flew into the catch fence, hit a structure and landed on the ground. Emergency personnel were on the scene immediately.

Racing officials issued a red flag, which delayed the race for more than an hour.

Sophia Floersch of Germany, top, goes over Japanese driver Sho Tsuboi’s car while flying off the track at high speed on a tight right-hand bend on lap four. (Tony Wong/Apple Daily via AP)

Floersch “is conscious and has subsequently been taken to hospital for further evaluation,” FIA, the sport’s governing body, said in a statement.

Tsuboi reportedly suffered lumbar pain in the accident. Two media members and a race marshal were also hospitalized with unspecified injuries, the FIA said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ryan Gaydos is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @RyanGaydos.

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."