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Dale Jr – 13th – Why? September 12, 2007

Posted by claireblang in Drivers, Show Items.

I am busy getting ready to leave for New York City tomorrow (Thursday) to broadcast from the XM Studios in New York as the drivers in the chase visit NYC before heading to Loudon, NH.

Yesterday I received a pre-Loudon report from the Budweiser race team courtesy of Fingerprint inc. public relations. Contained within the report close to the bottom was some information I used on the air on my show yesterday. I got tons of calls from people wanting to get a copy of the data that I talked about. So I am including it here for everyone to view. I get pages and pages of pre race reports and it’s always worth the extra time to read all of them because of items contained within them – like this. The tidbit on this report centered around why Dale Earnhardt Junior did not make the chase:


13th?! Why?
It’s hard to describe how a team could run so well in nearly every race – and yet miss the Nextel Cup playoffs. However, NASCAR’s “loop data” statistics point a giant, flashing neon light at the success the Budweiser team has seen this year – and also a glaring spotlight on why they are so far behind in the point standings despite their consistent speed. First, the good news:

Dale Jr. rankings among all drivers after 26 races:
Overall Driver Rating: 7th
Avg. Running Position: 5th
Fastest Early in a Run: 2nd
Fastest Late in a Run: 4th
Fastest on Straightaways: 1st
Fastest in the Turns: 6th
Fastest Laps Run: 4th
Fastest on Restarts: 2nd
Fastest Green Flag Speed: 2nd
Laps in Top-15: 3rd
Laps Led: 7th
Mileage Led: 8th
Percent of Laps on Lead Lap: 5th
Quality Passes: 12th
Speed in Traffic: 5th

And now the bad new: the only category where the team is not among the overall leaders is called “Closers” – which measures the positions improved in final 10 percent of each race. Dale Jr. is not even listed among top-35 drivers for the season, which emphasizes how many times mechanical failures have taken them out of a potential win in the final laps and dropped them deep into the final standings.

I got a bunch of emails about the information above so I am including it in this blog.

Have a great day!

Claire B


1. tracy - September 12, 2007

As always…thanks for the info!!!

2. Mary - September 12, 2007

Great stats. Thanks.

3. Patty - September 12, 2007

Thanks for the information!

4. Greg - September 12, 2007

Ok..This proves that Dale Jr. is a VERY good and hard driving man. The question is..does the man drive his engines to an unreasonable point that makes them blow or is it a mechanical problem that originates with the engine department. Some of the reports that I have heard on the autopsies done after the blow-ups point towards the engine builders. One of them had a balancer come off the front of the engine which wiped out some oil lines. That was definitely mechanical. Loose or bad bolts could have been the cause. Valve spring failures which drop valves into the engines. This could be from over revving the engine causing the springs to fail. Bad or overly used ones can do the same thing. The last failure at Richmond was a belt that runs the oil pump had broken. This could hardly be the drivers fault. What caused this belt to break?? If a pulley fails or debris from the track hits it…this could be a reason for that to happen. How often are the belts changed?? Dale Senior had brand new seatbelts in his car..but one broke.
Jr. stated in an inetrview that ever since they converted over to the new fuel…they have had problems. Sounds to me like they are feeding him a line of BULL.

5. Traci - September 12, 2007

One word: “Sabotage”…period and end of story.

6. Dee Wilson - September 12, 2007

Claire B,
I really appreciate your putting these stats out for everyone to see. It has been very interesting to listen to some of the network sport reporters make comments questioning how good a driver Dale Jr is. Stats don’t lie and aren’t tainted by opinions. By the last race before the chase, I even heard Rusty admit that Junebug had drove his guts out this year but could not overcome the engine failures.

I only wish that all of the naysayers would leave the guy alone and let him drive.

7. Nancy Cothrum - September 12, 2007

Thanks Claire B.

The statistics don’t lie. Dale Jr is the fan’s favorite and will always do the best he can despite what is thrown his way. He has proven that this year. I just wish everyone will do what he asks and leave well enough alone about his stepmom. We don’t know all the specifics and it is not for us to judge.

I want to thank you again for keeping us in the know. I have learned not to trust what others are saying until I hear it from the main source or sources (you and/or the drivers/owners).

8. HELEN - September 12, 2007


9. Cindy - September 12, 2007

Claire B.

Thanks for all of the info. I do not want to believe that it is sabotage from Theresa but I do believe that she is behind all of his trouble. She is the owner and is ultimately responsible for her teams. She wouldn’t give Dale Jr. ownership in the company so let her deal with it. My question is why hasn’t she dealt with it after the 3rd engine failure. I can NOT believe in my heart and soul that any other responsible owner would not have stepped up to the plate after the 3rd engine blew. And as for it being Dale Jr being too hard on the engines come on people this is the only year that I know of that there has been 5 blown engines too 1 car in the same year. What the world? Was Carl Edwards too hard on his engine when it blew in Richmond no more than any other hard race driver is when they blow an engine. Dale Jr. is NOT responsible for his engines, the owner of DEI is and why she hasn’t stepped up to the plate after the 3rd engine failure is exactly why Dale Jr. is leaving DEI and I say he made a wonderful and well thought out decision!! Dale Jr. is one of the best drivers out there and the most respected on and off the track!!! Love your show Claire and I Love Dale Jr’s. XM show also he and the guys are hilarious on Thursday nights I never miss them!!!!

10. Jessica - September 12, 2007

I find your information to always be right on top and very detailed. I think this blog that you put together with all of the statistics is really awesome. We watched Dale Jr race his heart out this season and I think all of us felt the heart break every time his engine blew. I just think that it is awesome to have the stats posted for anyone who may doubt his abilties or how what an awesome driver he is. Dale Jr has raced with all of his might and soul and I just think it really sucks that he was let down as much as he was this season from the engines. Dale will always be my favorite and i will always be his greatest fan.

I can not wait to see his stats next season when he kicks butt and his engines don’t blow.

Thanks for the info


11. Irene - September 13, 2007

Thanks for posting that here Claire.

We visit Jades site a lot as Jr fans.

The statistics show he’s as great a driver as we always knew.

ONLY the engines have failed him at the end.

DEI seems to be spinning stories on the engines. It’s my opinion that they are behind on the engines blaming the unleaded fuel. They have had problem with both the SB2 and the RO7 and they haven’t even gotten to the new merge engines with RCR yet. Am I correct that the Dega test cars had the RO7 and NOT the merge engine which is supposed to have it’s debut at Dega? I guess they still are behind with that, last I read there was a lack of parts or something.


“You are always concerned when you lose an engine, but we don’t feel the problems that we have experienced are something that will have an effect on our program as we head into the Chase,” said Richie Gilmore, who oversees the engine program at Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Truex has experienced only two engine failures this season, none in the last seven races as he’s registered six finishes of 15th or better.

Earnhardt has had as many engine failures the past seven races as he had the past four years combined!!!!!


12. JoAnn - September 13, 2007




13. SmackHo - September 13, 2007

So when will Junior come out asking people to lay off DEI and the Sabotage Conspiracy? Will he wait as long as it took him to ask people to lay off Teresa? Funny how he asks everyone to stop yet he is the one who drops his little seeds in his interviews for the fans to sow and then to save face he asks them to stop. Who knew Dale Earnhardt Jr was such a good fiddle player!!

I will take any reports from any news media associated with this site with a grain of salt from here on out because they are basically “in bed” with Jr now. The Rupert Murdoch of Nascar?

14. Shirley - September 13, 2007

Claire Thanks for the posting. Great stats. All I know for sure is Jr and the team worked their butts off to make the chase and it’s sure not their fault they didn’t make it.
I’m really looking foreward to 2008 ( good or bad ). So happy Jr has decided to move to HMS. DEI dfnitely needs to look into their motor dept. They defnitely have the horsepower but not reliability.

15. MysteryAngel 3.3.3. - September 14, 2007

Things that make you go …Hmmm !!!

16. Brittany - September 14, 2007

Jr you are an awesome driver. I am so greatful that someone with a schedule as busy as yours will take time to aknoweldge your fans. Keep driving your heart out.

Love ya,
Britt 🙂

17. Kathy - September 15, 2007

Great info. You are one smart cookie. The “talking heads” on espn abc etc. could use you for sure. You always have good stories. They just talk to fill in time. You on the other hand are so knowledgeable. I think you really do your homework.
Yes I thing Teresa Earnhardt is to blame for this. No conspiracy theory here just facts. She is the owner of the company and the blame lays squarely on her shoulders.

18. Claire B Lang - September 17, 2007

On the “Why 13th” tidbits that I passed along. You make a good point. I have always been under the impression that stats are good only in coordination with other information relative to the team, the cars and the driver. I am not, never have been heavily weighted on stats – this information which I mentioned briefly – I included as only one element to consider. When I got a bunch of requests for a repeat of the information that I passed along – I figured this was the simplest way to post it so folks could see it. It’s not that I am saying it is not interesting – it is – but I think we both agree that stats like this are only relative to all other information gathered. Thanks for the note. Appreciate it.

19. cindy - September 24, 2007

just my opinon but isnt it funny how since hes not in the chase now that the engines are hanging in there just fine and mark martin stated he drove hard this last race and the engines held up hmmmm if he drives hard why can’t jr seems since jrs out of the chase the gremlins have been caged . i dont care what anyone says i believe that the proof is in the races and the race right after the chase drivers are locked in jr finishes races and this week hes third . stevie wonder could see whats going on thank god jr is going to a team he will be happy and have fun driving for a change

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