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The Daytona 500 is right around the corner; can’t get here soon enough, if you ask me. And, we have an Earnhardt participating for the 40th(!) straight year. I have thoughts on that, and other NASCAR news.

Jeffrey Earnhardt gets his ride with StarCom racing

You can’t under estimate the importance of the Eanhardt name in NASCAR. It’s like Rahal in IndyCar, or Howe in hockey. Iconic names that will go down in sports history. We don’t have to rehash all of the issues facing NASCAR, but what it doesn’t need is it’s most famous family with an active driver and no ride. Derrike Cope and StarCom deserve a ton of credit for first getting a charter — that’s a very expensive proposition for a new team — and then snagging Earnhardt. Not only have those moves elevated StarCom’s profile, but keeps an Earnhardt on the track.

Elliott Sadler is still pissed at Ryan Preece

In case you’ve forgotten: Ryan Preece wouldn’t give Sadler an easy pass at Homestead, in the season finale. William Bryon passed them both, and Sadler has been angry ever since, claiming Preece cost him a title. Sadler also says that since he was racing for a championship, the blocking was a sign of disrespect. And he warned Preece, “He better not get anywhere near me.” Sadler has the right to feel as he wants, and he can retaliate if he wants, but he’s wrong in this case. The rules are the rules. NASCAR lets everyone run in these races. While some drivers will defer to those racing for the title, others are going to race as hard as they can. Being angry for someone for racing hard seems a little misplaced.

Quick hits

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. will race in at least one Xfinity race, at Richmond, for his JR Motorsports team. Just one? We all hope not
  • Speaking of Dale Jr., in a matter of a few days, he noted that he’s either talked to, or hung out with, Justin Timberlake, Jim Brown, Jimmie Johnson and Lance Armstrong. That’s some A list.
  • Pepsi’s Super Bowl commercial has Jeff Gordon driving a — Monte Carlo, which hasn’t been used in NASCAR since 2008. Ouch!
  • Danica Patrick’s car looks great. I just hope she finishes and goes out the right way.
  • Kevin Harvick says NASCAR tracks should be allowed to lease its dates to other tracks. It’s a great idea that will never happen Too many logistical issues.
  • Townsend Bell came home from Dayton, found his house burglarized, and his 2014 Daytona Rolex, and 10 Indy 500 rings stolen, Why can’t those racing series get him a replica? Sure, it’s not the same, but at least he’ll have them.
  • BK Racing, which a bank says owes it a ton of money, could be forced to close its doors as soon as Monday. If there are such things as miracles, they need one to stay open
Jeffrey Earnhardt on the track, Elliott Sadler warns watch your back, and more NASCAR random thoughts Scott W. Grau/Getty Images
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