Earnhardt digresses from fantasy football to pick NCAA bracket

FONTANA, CA - MARCH 22: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2013 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
FONTANA, CA - MARCH 22: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2013 in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
FONTANA, CA – MARCH 22: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2013 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

FONTANA, Calif. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. hates to lose — even if it involves filling out an NCAA tournament bracket.

Earnhardt, a serious fantasy football player and an avid Washington Redskins fan, ventured far afield this week and for the first time filled out an NCAA tournament bracket as part of a competition with race fans.

“I got asked to do it,” Earnhardt explained during a question-and-answer session with reporters Friday afternoon. “I never filled out a bracket before, so it was my first time. I kind of like to watch the tournament, it’s interesting to see who the Cinderella teams are and how far (North) Carolina can go. I tend to pull for Carolina in college basketball.

“I think Jimmie (Johnson) and I got asked to do it together, so (road manager) Mike Hoag came over to the house the other day and we sat down, thought it through and made my picks. I think I was 11-and-5 (after the first day of play).”

Earnhardt said he enjoyed the challenge.

“Well, I’ve only ever done fantasy football, and I didn’t really know if brackets were even that fun to do,” he said. “It’s my first foray into that. I think it’s pretty fun to do with your friends, but I’m such a football nut and focus so much on fantasy football that’s really all I ever thought about doing as far as fantasy sports go.

“But this is pretty fun. I’m having a good time with it. I hate losing. I hate making the wrong pick. But what are you going to do? There’s a lot of games.”

SHORT STROKES

Greg Biffle led Saturday morning’s Sprint Cup practice session with a lap at 186.253 mph. AJ Allmendinger was second fastest at 186.191 mph…

Three Toyota Camry drivers paced final practice, which should prove closest to Sunday’s race conditions. On a warmer, slicker track, Mark Martin led Happy Hour with a best lap at 183.351 mph, followed by Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Clint Bowyer (182.945 mph) and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Matt Kenseth (182.839 mph).

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.