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NSCS Chicagoland Race Preview: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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Preview: NSCS Chicagoland Preview: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Venue: Chicagoland Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Event: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (Race 27 of 36)
Tune In: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET on ESPN/MRN News & Notes

POINTS REPORT: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, will be seeded seventh to start the 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. This is the fifth season and second straight in which Earnhardt has qualified for the Chase. The driver of the No. 88 Chevy has 2,003 points and trails leader Denny Hamlin by just nine markers going into the 10-race playoff, which begins this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.

AT CHICAGO: In 11 Cup starts at Chicago, Earnhardt has one win, three top-five finishes and four top-10s. He has an average start there of 18.2 and a 14.8 average finish. He has completed 97.9 percent of all the laps he's attempted (2,878 of 2,940 total) and has led 121 laps at the track.

WINDY CITY WIN: Earnhardt reached Victory Lane at Chicagoland Speedway on July 10, 2005. The then 30-year-old Earnhardt lined up 25th for the event and cracked the top 10 within the first 100 laps. He led the final 11 laps en route to securing the win.

LAPS IN THE TOP 15: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Earnhardt ranks ninth among drivers for laps run in the top 15 at Chicago. During the last six races at the 1.5-mile oval, the Kannapolis, N.C., native has spent 63.8 percent of his laps (1,195 of 1,872 total) running in the top 15.

DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Earnhardt is ranked 11th in the driver rating category at Chicago with a score of 89.2. 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.

CHICAGO CHASSIS: Crew chief Steve Letarte and the No. 88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-726 this weekend at Chicago. Earnhardt raced this car twice this season at Pocono Raceway, notably recording an eighth-place finish in June.

HENDRICK AT CHICAGO: In 11 races (46 Cup starts) at Chicagoland, Hendrick Motorsports has two wins, 16 top-five finishes and 22 top-10s. Jeff Gordon earned Hendrick Motorsports' first Cup win at the racetrack in 2006.

FOUR-FOR-FOUR: Kasey Kahne, Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Earnhardt all qualified for the 2012 Chase, marking the first time that Hendrick Motorsports has had all of its drivers earn spots in the postseason playoff. To date, the organization's best overall result happened in 2009 when three of the four drivers qualified and finished one-two-three -- Johnson won the Cup, Mark Martin finished second and Gordon took third.

TEAM EFFORT: Hendrick Motorsports is the only organization to have all of its drivers qualified for this year's Chase. Kahne, Gordon, Johnson and Earnhardt account for one-third of the 12 spots. Johnson is seeded second with 2,009 points; Earnhardt is seeded seventh with 2,003; Kahne and Gordon, wild card recipients, will begin the Chase in 11th and 12th, respectively, with 2,000 points.

Quotes DALE EARNHARDT JR., DRIVER, NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON HIS CHANCES IN THE 2012 CHASE FOR THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP.): "I feel we've got a good shot at it. We've been consistent all year long, and I think our chances are as good as they have ever been for me. I had a pretty good shot at it back in '04, but I think this year is a better opportunity. We've got the team, and we're poised to make a run at it. You've got to put the guys that have won the championship at the top of the list as the favorites but we are in the conversation, and we're going to work hard to still be in that conversation at Homestead (Fla.)."

*****

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

*****

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


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