Jane Miller: Will qualifying finally take place?

Jane Miller

If the weather forecast for the Fort Worth, Texas, area holds true, the Sprint Cup Series might actually get to qualify Friday.

Qualifying has been rained out the past three races.

Good weather will be good news for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was on the pole for the race at Texas Motor Speedway in the spring.

"I hope we can qualify well again," said Earnhardt Jr., whose Chase so far has mostly been frustrating. "I feel like we will. We had a pretty loose car during the race, and that concerns me a little bit. But I think we have a good idea of why that happened and how to prevent that."

Earnhardt Jr. said his team has learned a lot since the spring race, when he finished 12th.

"I'm just hoping that when the race starts, we can get going and be good all day," he said.

Now at 10th in the Chase standings, 419 points behind Jimmie Johnson, Earnhardt Jr.'s goals for the final races of the season are really just as simple being good all day.

"I want to get good finishes," he said. "I want to get finishes that we deserve. I feel like we should run in the top five every week, and I want that to happen. I want to try to prove to myself that I belong here by getting consistent finishes and the rest of the deal, so I can have a little momentum going into the next year and have an opportunity to make the Chase again."

Fans who watched the race from Atlanta last weekend may have heard a little exchange between Earnhardt Jr. and his crew chief/cousin Tony Eury Jr. in which Earnhardt told Eury to calm down. Usually, the shoe is on the other foot.

Now this week at Texas, the pair is picking up a Beretta shotgun earned for winning the earlier pole.

"That's going to be some nice stuff," said Eury Jr. "Beretta had to go engrave it and everything. I'm waiting to see how the tussle's going to go between me and Dale Jr. to see who actually gets it. He promised it to me, so I'm going to see if he stands up on his end of the bargain."

Just a start

The NHRA returns to action this weekend after two weekends off.

Two races remain in the season but one champion can, and most likely will, be crowned this weekend.

Top Fuel points leader Tony Schumacher just needs to qualify for the race at Las Vegas to earn his fifth title in a row and sixth of his career.

His last DNQ was in 2003.

Tim Wilkerson of Springfield is still holding on to his lead in Funny Car, 51 points in front of Jack Beckman.

Defending Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin is 74 points up on Greg Anderson.

And in Pro Stock Motorcycle, Matt Smith is 42 points ahead of Eddie Krawiec.

Hauler fire

A race truck scheduled to be driven by Kyle Busch this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway was badly damaged in a hauler fire Tuesday.

According to the Shreveport (La.) Times, rescue personnel were sent to the incident on Interstate 20 in Bossier Parish late Tuesday night. The fire appeared to have started in a wheel well of the rig, owned by Billy Ballew Motorsports.

Both trucks inside the hauler were severely damaged and the equipment could be a total loss, the paper said.

Solid season

The Central States Racing team of Matt Flowers of Pekin and Paul Gilchrist of Columbus, Ohio, finished third in overall points in the Championship Cup Series Team Challenge in the GTU division this season.

The series is for endurance races which last 2-2½ hours.

The pair won the event at Blackhawk Farms Raceway near South Beloit in August.

Schrader a winner

Ken Schrader bested Tony Stewart (second) and Dave Blaney (third) at the "Bill Elliott 50 Red Dirt Dash" Super Late Model race for charity Tuesday at Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, Ga.

Jane Miller is the Peoria Journal Star motorsports columnist. She can be reached at