Danica needs to put brakes on hot temper
Things always go bump in the night — or daytime — in NASCAR. No biggie. Until it involves Danica Patrick and one of her BFFs on the track, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The internet didn't blow up when the two collided in Kentucky last weekend. But there was definitely smoke and fire.
To review: Earnhardt Jr. sent her spinning when he tapped her car from behind. He radioed that he had brake issues. Patrick responded with some potty-mouth words:
"Bleepin!' Did he bleepin hit me?" she asked over the radio.
And then to make things worse, she nudged his Chevy as the cars were circulating during the ensuing caution. The commentators assumed that Danica didn't know the circumstances of what happened, but she did. Her crew relayed the fact Earnhardt Jr. had brake problems, and she still chose to retaliate.
"I mean, what am I supposed to say other than the truth?" Earnhardt Jr. said. "We didn't have any brakes going into the corner. I know better than to run into her because it gets so much attention. There was nothing I could do. As hard as I hit her, what the hell did she think I was doing? Trying to wreck her? We ain't got no problem.
"It's not like we were having a problem out on the racetrack with her. It's not like I just drew her name out of a hat and decided she was the one I was going to run into tonight."
Patrick declined to talk to reporters after the race, adding to the hissy-fit theme of the night.
It's good to know Patrick will not back down. She is, after all, a one-woman show on the Cup circuit.
But this cheap-shot retaliatory move was over the top. Patrick needs to put the brakes on it.
Jury's out on new rules
The reviews are in for the new NASCAR rules package. Grade: Incomplete.
"It's hard to gauge at this place," Jeff Gordon said after racing in Kentucky. "It is such a challenging racetrack already. Basically the cars just drove really bad right from the beginning and just always drove bad. It didn't change a whole lot when you are around other cars. I don't know. I think we have to give it a try somewhere."
"I don't know," echoed Earnhardt Jr. "I think whatever they want to do as far as the rules, I don't care. I don't think it's any different or any better or any worse than the other package. The racing looked the same to me. I'm sure some guys liked it. I'm sure some guys didn't. I fall right in the middle there. Whatever they want to do, we will figure out how to make this work if that is what they want to run."
Wallace caps NASCAR career
One part of Kenny Wallace's long, wide-ranging NASCAR career will come to an end next month.
The Aug. 1 Xfinity Series race at Iowa Speedway, in which Wallace will drive Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 20 Toyota, will be the last of his NASCAR driving career.
"To me, this isn't a sad moment; I'm at a truly happy place in my life right now," said Wallace, who also serves as a NASCAR TV analyst for Fox Sports 1. "After all, not too many guys get to have the privilege of being a NASCAR driver, especially for as long as I have.
"I really wanted to end my long career on a positive note and I'm very excited about our chances in Iowa. The No. 20 team is one of the best in the sport and I'm looking forward to having a chance to end my NASCAR career with a great finish."
The start will be his 547th, a series record. Wallace, 51, has made 344 starts in the Sprint Cup Series and 13 in the Truck series. He has nine career wins, all in the Xfinity Series.
"I've had a long and successful career and I've been able to support my family doing what I love," Wallace said. "To me, it doesn't get any better than that. I'm really proud of everything that I've been able to accomplish in NASCAR.
"I'm going to stay involved in the sport through TV and I'm going to stay behind the wheel in my dirt cars, too."
Mears extends contract
Germain Racing officials announced driver Casey Mears has agreed to a one-year extension to drive its No. 13 Chevrolet in the Cup series through the 2016 season.
"He's been an integral part of the team's growth and success over the past five years and I am confident he can continue to help us move forward and reach our goals," team owner Bob Germain Jr. said. "We've come a long way as a team, and assembled a group of extremely talented people who enjoy working together."
Mears, who joined Germain in 2010, said he is proud of the growth of the team's Cup series effort during his tenure.
"It's been a long process to get the program to where we are now," he said. "We are finally starting to see some of the benefits from all the hard work from the last four or five years."
Matt Wallace debuts
Matt Wallace, the 19-year-old son of NASCAR veteran Mike Wallace, makes his debut in the Xfinity Series this weekend at New Hampshire.
Matt, who recently finished second in a Super Late Model race at I-44 Speedway, will drive the No. 26 entry for JGL Racing. He will also drive for the team in the Aug. 1 race at Iowa.
He finished 10th in his debut in the Automobile Racing Club of America series at Toledo Speedway in mid-May.
... Kyle Busch will make his 300th start in the Xfinity Series in Saturday's race at New Hampshire. He is the career series leader with 71 wins, including four wins at New Hampshire, the most recent coming in the 2013 season.