PREVIEW: DALE EARNHARDT JR.
(NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET)
VENUE: ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY (1.54-MILE QUAD-OVAL)
CIRCUIT: NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES (RACE 25 OF 36)
DATE: SEPT. 5, 2010 (325 LAPS, 500.5 MILES)
AT ATLANTA: In 22 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has scored one win, two pole positions, eight top-five finishes and 10 top-10s. He has an average start of 14.4 and an average finish of 12th. He has completed 99.4 percent of all the laps he's attempted (7,057 of 7,098 total) and led 632 laps.
MOST RECENTLY AT ATLANTA: At the March Atlanta race earlier this year, Earnhardt captured his first pole position of the season by setting a speed record for fastest qualifying lap in the new Sprint Cup Series car. Earnhardt toured the 1.54-mile oval in 28.761 seconds at 192.761 mph. After battling tire issues during the middle of the race, Earnhardt went on to finish 15th.
PERSONAL BESTS: Earnhardt's eight top-five finishes at Atlanta match a personal best in that category for the 35-year-old driver. He also has scored eight top-five finishes at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Also, Earnhardt's two pole positions at Atlanta tie his personal best at a track. He holds the same number at Michigan International Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.
DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Earnhardt is ranked fourth in the driver rating category at Atlanta with a score of 98.7. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, top-15 finishes, average running position while on the lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, most laps led and lead-lap finishes. The maximum a driver can earn in each race is 150 points. The driver rating number is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator.
LAPS IN THE TOP 15: Earnhardt ranks third among drivers for laps run in the top 15 during the last 11 races at Atlanta. He has spent 73.8 percent of all laps (2,657 total) in the top 15 per NASCAR's loop statistics. Earnhardt's teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon hold the top-two positions. Earnhardt also has recorded an average finishing position of 11.8, which is fifth-best among all drivers, during that 11-race period.
POINTS REPORT: With two races remaining until the field is set for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Earnhardt currently ranks 18th in the championship standings. He trails 12th-place Clint Bowyer by 170 points.
ATLANTA CHASSIS: Crew chief Lance McGrew and the No. 88 engineers will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-612. This is a brand new chassis that has not been raced.
HENDRICK AT ATLANTA: In 53 races (167 events), Hendrick Motorsports has tallied 10 wins, 47 top-five finishes and 73 top-10s and five pole positions at Atlanta. Earnhardt earned the most recent pole position in March.
CELL PHONES FOR SOLDIERS: Helping American troops keep in touch with their loved ones is now as easy as bringing a gently used mobile phone to a NASCAR event. Cell Phones for Soldiers raises money through the collection of gently used mobile phones and will have drop-off boxes this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In addition to helping troops call home, the first 100 fans donating gently used phones will receive a hat, courtesy of the GM Military Discount program. During the last six years, Cell Phones for Soldiers has provided more than one million pre-paid calling cards and 60 million minutes of calling time to soldiers overseas. Visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com for information on how to donate at one of 3,000 collection points nationwide or to download a pre-paid, pre-addressed mailing label.
GUARD GARAGE: Visit www.DaleJrGuardGarage.com and join the Guard Garage Fan Club to stay up-to-date with National Guard drivers and score free ringtones, wallpapers and more.
FREE JR NATION CREW FAN CLUB: Join the JR Nation Crew Fan Club for a chance to win an autographed firesuit. The exclusive club, which is free to join, offers fans an online hub with chat rooms, forums and blogs from JR Motorsports personalities. For more information, visit www.JRNation.com.
AMP UP THE 88: Chris Doherty, engineer for the No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, will participate in a live video chat with fans on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. ET on AMP Energy's website, www.AMPUPthe88.com. The site features weekly chats with a special guest or a member of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard team, daily sweepstakes with autographed No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard team memorabilia, videos, photos and more.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., DRIVER, NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET (ON ATLANTA.): "Atlanta is really fast. It's a place where power really shows up and you've got to have good aero balance. I like Atlanta because you can hunt around for different lines -- it's a driver's track. We laid down a fast lap there last time, and I had great engine. Lance (McGrew, crew chief) and the guys, we have a good starting point for practice on Saturday."
EARNHARDT (ON NIGHT RACING AT ATLANTA.): "Atlanta can get pretty hairy pretty fast. It will be fast for the first several laps on tires and then they'll fall off enough to where you can try different things and try different lines. We'll see some incredible lap times on new tires late in the race. It can be hard to get a feel for the track because we practice during the day and race at night. We've been good at Atlanta so hopefully we'll make up some ground."
LANCE McGREW, CREW CHIEF, NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET (ON WHAT THE TEAM LEARNED FROM LAST YEAR'S NIGHT RACE AT ATLANTA.): "I think that just knowing what the track is going to do when it cools off. It's valuable having that one year of notes to go back and look at because the track temp during practice is going to be drastically different than what it is going to be during the race. The fact that you have those notes and go back and look at the changes we made for different conditions -- that's pretty valuable information. There are a lot of times that we don't have that and you have to guess if the track is going to get tighter or looser when it cools off."
McGREW (ON WINNING THE POLE POSITION AT ATLANTA.): "I think that the balance of the car was really good. We'll start in race trim for first practice and when we switch to qualifying trim we'll go straight to that setup and we'll tune on it from there to see how much the track conditions actually have changed. We feel like we have a lot better package -- the car makes more down force. We have a more fundamental idea of what's going on with the packages we are running and hopefully we can duplicate that effort."
McGREW (ON ATLANTA GOING TO ONE RACE IN 2011.): "I hate that Atlanta is losing a race. I like that place. I've always liked it, and we've always run good there. It's a driver's racetrack -- if one line isn't working then you can find another and somehow manufacture a lap time so the car doesn't have to be quite as spot on for you to be fast there. Obviously if it is, then you are even faster. It's a place that is fun to race at. From a driver's stand point -- if your car is running good on the bottom and the guys are running on top then you can pass them. So there's a lot of passing situations there. Any time one of the old standards loses a race I hate it."
McGREW (ON GOALS FOR THE SEASON.): "Our goals haven't changed. All season long we have tried to win races and run as well as we are capable of running. Whether you are 10 points or a thousand points behind, you don't approach the weekend any differently."
Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports.
Media Relations | No. 88 AMP Energy / National Guard Racing
Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Official Site - www.dalejr.com