Dale Earnhardt Jr

After Texas crash, Dale Jr. puts nose to grindstone – and Twitter on back burner

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. had been an enthusiastic adopter of Twitter following his second Daytona 500 victory to open the season, but after his early crash last Monday at Texas Motor Speedway, NASCAR’s most popular driver got down to business.

Earnhardt was back in the car the next day for a tire test at Michigan International Speedway that saw him and several other drivers hit trap speeds in excess of 215 miles per hour.

That took up a good deal of his time this week, but today at Darlington, he also said that he didn’t want to be seen as slacking off following the Texas incident.

On Lap 13 of the Duck Commander 500, Earnhardt ran his left side tires into the infield grass. The impact severely damaged his car, which then skidded into the wall to end his day.

“Twitter is a bit of a playground and I don’t want to horse around if we are not doing good,” said Earnhardt. “I don’t want to be on there goofing off and making light of the situation because it was a frustrating mistake.

“It was something I don’t take very lightly. Just being able to get back in the car and test at Michigan was a big help for me to get past it and to get focused on the next race.”

Unfortunately for him, Darlington is far from what you’d consider an ideal “rebound track” and he knows it. Even so, he’s eager to get Texas behind him.

“This is a tough event at Darlington,” said Earnhardt, who has never won at the track where his father, Dale Sr., triumphed nine times in his career. “We’ve got some decent runs here but we haven’t really come here and had a race that we thought we lost.

“This is going to be a tough place to come rebound, but we are going to give it our best. I’m just glad to be back at the track. Go ahead and get a race or two in the bank and put [Texas] behind us.”

Earnhardt was 11th fastest in “Happy Hour” before today’s qualifying, which starts at 6 p.m. ET.

Pippa Mann, breast cancer survivors paint IMS’ start/finish line pink

Photo: IndyCar
Photo: IndyCar
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We’ve written a fair bit on MotorSportsTalk about the efforts Pippa Mann has done in working with the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer awareness. Susan G. Komen has supported Mann’s last two runs at the Indianapolis 500, when she’s driven the No. 63 Honda for Dale Coyne Racing.

This being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the awareness hit a new level with Mann working alongside breast cancer survivors to paint the start/finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s iconic Yard of Bricks pink for the day.

IMS president Doug Boles also joined in the opportunity.

View a selection of photos and social posts below. More is linked here, via IndyCar.com.

Mercedes set to clinch F1 constructors’ championship in Russia

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 08:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP speaks with members of the media in the paddock during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 8, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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For the second year in a row, Mercedes is poised to wrap up the Formula 1 constructors’ championship in Sochi at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

Mercedes won its first F1 teams’ title in Russia last year, having returned to the sport as a works constructor in 2010. When it last enjoyed such status in the 1950s, there was no championship for the teams.

Just as it did in 2014, Mercedes has dominated proceedings in F1 this season, winning all but three races and sweeping to eight one-two finishes to leave drivers Lewis Hamilton (pictured) and Nico Rosberg battling for the drivers’ title for the second straight year.

Now, Mercedes seeks the knock-out blow in the constructors’ title race by officially wrapping it up in Sochi this weekend.

To do so, the team must simply outscore rivals Ferrari by three points this weekend. The lead currently stands at 169 points, with 215 still on offer. After Sochi, there will be 172 remaining.

“We return to Russia with positive memories from last season, when the team sealed the first constructors’ title for Mercedes-Benz with a one-two finish,” team boss Toto Wolff said.

“A repeat performance in Sochi would be fantastic and this is absolutely the target – but we are under no illusions that it will come easy. The job is not done yet.”

The tire allocation for this weekend’s race could pose problems to Mercedes just as it did in Singapore, potentially allowing Ferrari to spoil the party and delay the victory celebrations at Brackley.

However, if the form book is to be trusted, Sochi could be playing host to another Mercedes party on Sunday night with a second world title in the bag for the Silver Arrows.