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.

BMW confirms IMSA, WEC GTE line-ups for 2018

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BMW has confirmed its driver line-ups for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship campaigns.

In an announcement made at its end-of-year Sports Trophy event on Friday night, BMW firmed up its roster across its factory WEC team and its customer RLL Racing IMSA squad.

Two of the 2018 BMW M8 GTEs will enter the WEC next year, joining a hotly-contested GTE-Pro class that already features Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin and Ford.

BMW factory drivers Antonio Felix da Costa, Nick Catsburg, Augusto Farfus and Martin Tomczyk will share the two cars across the 13-month ‘super season’.

The quartet will be joined by Tom Blomqvist, Alexander Sims and Philipp Eng for the 24 Hours of Le Mans

In IMSA, the RLL Racing team will once again field Sims and John Edwards, who will be joined by the incoming Connor De Phillippi and Jesse Krohn.

BMW also confirmed on Friday night that Tom Blomqvist would see out the Formula E season with its Andretti-affiliated team, having been benched for Kamui Kobayashi in Hong Kong.