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.

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)