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Martinsville Preview: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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PREVIEW: DALE EARNHARDT JR.
(NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET)
VENUE: MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY (.526-MILE OVAL)
CIRCUIT: NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES (RACE 32 OF 36)
DATE: OCT. 24, 2010 (500 LAPS, 263 MILES)

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AT MARTINSVILLE: In 21 Cup starts at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has recorded eight top-five finishes and 10 top-10s. He has led 758 laps at the short track -- a personal track best for the 36-year-old driver -- and completed 98.5 percent of all the laps he's attempted there (10,364 laps of 10,519 total).

PERSONAL BESTS: Earnhardt's 758 laps led at Martinsville are his personal best at a track. He has tallied 146 of those laps driving the No. 88 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. His eight top-five finishes at Martinsville also match his personal best at a track. He has eight top-fives at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Richmond (Va.) International Raceway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.

SHORT TRACK STATS: In 66 Cup starts on NASCAR's short Cup tracks -- Martinsville, Richmond International Raceway and Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway -- Earnhardt has recorded four wins, 23 top-five finishes and 32 top-10s. He has a 16.7 average starting position and an average finishing position of 13.3 on these racetracks.

DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Earnhardt is ranked fifth in the driver rating category at Martinsville with a score of 98.1. 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.

MARTINSVILLE CHASSIS: Crew chief Lance McGrew and the No. 88 engineers will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-562. This will be the second race for this chassis, which Earnhardt raced to a 15th-place finish at Martinsville in March.

GRAND MARSHAL: For Sunday's 500-lap event at Martinsville, the race sponsor will recognize the dedicated road warriors and pit crew members as the grand marshals for the race. One crew member from each team was chosen to give the command for drivers to start their engines, and car chief David Bryant will represent the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard. The Farmville, Va., native grew up go-kart racing and worked on the No. 48 team before becoming car chief for the No. 88 team.

HENDRICK AT MARTINSVILLE: In 53 Cup events (162 entries) at Martinsville, Hendrick Motorsports owns 18 wins, which is a team-best and the most among active organizations. Hendrick also owns 56 top-five finishes and 91 top-10s. Its 14 pole positions rank second-best for Hendrick, which owns 15 pole positions at Richmond International Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

ONE-TWO: Of its 30 one-two career finishes, Hendrick Motorsports has scored the most -- four -- at Martinsville's short track. Jimmie Johnson most recently led teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. across the finish line in October 2008. In April 2007, Johnson finished first and Jeff Gordon took second. In October 2003, Gordon led Johnson across the finish line. In September 1996, Gordon finished first ahead of teammate Terry Labonte.

CHEVY SALUTES AMERICAN HEROES: Chevrolet, the official ride of Country Music, is honoring our men and women in uniform through its Chevrolet Salutes America's Heroes. Launched Sept. 13, this promotion encourages people to nominate friends or family members who, while in uniform, have demonstrated the military spirit of overcoming obstacles, inspiring others and positively impacting their country and community. Now through Nov. 1, go to www.youreverydayhero.com , to cast your vote for one of the finalist. The winner will receive a trip to the 44th Annual CMA Awards on Nov. 10 and a new 2011 Chevrolet Cruze.

GUARD GARAGE: Visit www.DaleJrGuardGarage.com and click on the "Most Extreme Fan" button to share your video about what the National Guard means to you. One lucky fan will be chosen among the entries to win a guitar autographed by Earnhardt. 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: Earnhardt and JR Motorsports encourage fans to join the JR Nation Crew Fan Club for free. The official fan club provides members with exclusive ticket and merchandise offers, in addition to JRM blogs, forums, and chat rooms to interact with other members of JR Nation. For more information, visit www.jrnation.com
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AMP UP THE 88: John Kendrach, assistant track support of the engine shop, 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.

RIBBON CUTTING: Earnhardt will participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony at Victory Junction on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. to celebrate the grand opening of Dale Jr.'s Corral and Amphitheatre. Donated by Earnhardt, the center will be used for fun, interactive games for the campers and a venue for local concerts and camp fundraisers. The facility has a western theme and is fashioned after the mock western town on Earnhardt's property in Mooresville, N.C., that consists of a mock jail, general store, bank and outhouse. For more information about Victory Junction's public open house, visit www.victoryjunction.org


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DALE EARNHARDT JR., DRIVER, NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON MARTINSVILLE.): "I love going to Martinsville. There is just a lot of good history there. It is an old racetrack, and it is a short track. Martinsville is so unique being a paperclip and flat. You have to really get your car working pretty good through the corners and be able to be competitive in the race; it is really, really imperative that your car handles well, because there is not much adjustment to the line in the corner that you can make to try to make up for something that your car isn't doing correctly. So you really have to work hard with your team and show up pretty good out of the box."

LANCE McGREW, CREW CHIEF, NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON QUALIFYING AT MARTINSVILLE.): "Qualifying is important at Martinsville -- not so much for pit selection because there is really only one good pit stall there. It's more the track position because you can go a lap down there pretty easily because of traffic. It's nice to get some track position from the beginning. It's easier to maintain it than drive up through all that traffic because it's so hard to pass there."

McGREW (ON IMPROVING QUALIFYING AT MARTINSVILLE.): "We are going to work on the race trim for a few minutes in first practice and switch over to qualifying trim. You just can't mess up the lap -- it's real easy to clip the curb or to drive it in a little hard and lock up a tire. If you do something to hurt yourself a tenth of a second, that could be 15 positions in qualifying; it's just that tight."

McGREW (ON HAVING A COMPETITIVE CAR AT THE END OF THE RACE.): "If your driver is really comfortable and he's not overdriving it then you can be there at the end. You can literally drive the tires off the car. If you are too hard on the brakes then you can melt beads and have a tire blow out. Even as good as our cars have gotten and as efficient as our brake cooling is, you can still overwork the brakes and either wear them out or overheat them. Either way, you are in trouble and it's going to make for a bad day."

DAVID BRYANT, CAR CHIEF NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON BEING A GRAND MARSHAL FOR THE RACE.): "This is really exciting because Martinsville is my home track. We usually have a good run with the No. 88 there so it's really cool to go back home, be at a track I like and hopefully have a good run. Racing is all I've ever done, and this is a family here in NASCAR so sharing the honor of being a grand marshal is awesome. I appreciate that they are recognizing the hard work and sacrifices everyone in this garage puts in."

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Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports.
Media Relations | No. 88 AMP Energy / National Guard Racing

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Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Official Site - www.dalejr.com


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