CONCORD, N.C. – Wednesday, the latest episodes of “Road to Race Day” were released on the go90 streaming platform.
Viewable on the “Road to Race Day” page on go90 and the free app from the Apple and Android stores, the newest episode -- titled "It’s Just Racing" -- follows Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 88 team as they tackle Talladega Superspeedway and everything involved in preparing for the restrictor-plate track.
The series provides glimpses we might never otherwise get to see up close, and after watching "It’s Just Racing," 10 moments stood out.
10) This week, the No. 88 team pit crew is heavily featured, with everything from pit crew meetings on the importance of hitting all five lug nuts to an in-depth look at practice and how performance on campus can affect confidence at the racetrack.
9) The episode chronicles the journey of “Amelia,” Earnhardt’s beloved No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS that earned multiple trips to Victory Lane, and the process of getting her ready for a grand return at Talladega.
8) Multiple members of the No. 88 team are featured, including rear-tire carrier “Rowdy” Harrell, who takes us through his journey to walk-on football player for the champion University of Alabama Crimson Tide and his transition to a pit crew athlete at Hendrick Motorsports. We also get to ride along with hauler driver Andy “Squigz” Quillan, who discusses life on the road and a trip to Daytona in which Earnhardt tagged along.
7) We go inside the race shop to learn just how sensitive the changes to superspeedway cars can be, and aerodynamics engineering manager Diane Holl explains why secrecy is an important facet. We also learn the ins and outs of drafting and how Earnhardt plays the strategy to his advantage at tracks like Talladega.
6) Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon visit the race shop to present teammates with a special ring commemorating Gordon’s career, making for a fun moment in the episode.
5) On race day at Talladega, Earnhardt visits with multiple fans, answering openly when a young girl asks him his very favorite part of racing. Another fan hands him a unique photo of his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., that he had never seen. It’s from the 1980 Firecracker 400, and he thanks the fan profusely, telling him not to be a stranger and to come say hello at a future race.
4) The cameras go inside the No. 88 team hauler for the final pre-race meeting, and Harrell gives a rousing speech to the group, which giddily draws comparisons to a pre-game speech by Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
3) We get to join Earnhardt and his wife, Amy, on the grid just before the race and listen in as she helps him calm his nerves before climbing into the car.
2) The episode takes us inside an eventful Talladega race for Earnhardt, including an incident that sends the team racing to the garage to make repairs and get the car back on track. We get a glimpse inside the car as Earnhardt grabs the steering shaft to keep the car on track when his steering wheel pops off as he returns to the track, and we see the second multiple-car incident that ultimately ends Earnhardt’s race, along with the post-incident chat between the driver and crew chief Greg Ives in the garage about what happened.
1) The highlight of the episode very well may be Talladega qualifying. Earnhardt shoots to the top of the board in the final round with just two drivers to go, but one of them is teammate Chase Elliott. Elliott takes the pole position – nearly 30 years after his father, Bill Elliott, set the all-time fastest qualifying lap in NASCAR Cup Series history. Afterward, Jimmie Johnson walks up to Earnhardt to joke that the rookie winning the pole over them showed that he’s “not showing his elders respect.”
Check out the full episode now on go90. Next week, the series shifts its focus to Johnson and the No. 48 team as the NASCAR world descends on Charlotte Motor Speedway.