Preview: NSCS Daytona Preview: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Venue: Daytona International Speedway (2.5-mile speedway)
Event: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (Race 18 of 36)
News & Notes
AN AMERICAN SALUTE: In honor of National Guard Soldiers and Independence Day, the No. 88 Chevrolet will carry a patriotic paint scheme this weekend at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway as part of the NASCAR Unitesģ- An American Salute program. For a six-week period (May 27 through July 7), the NASCAR industry will lend its support and raise awareness for the needs of military members in very important ways. As the nation's oldest Armed Forces component, the National Guard and its Citizen Soldiers play a vital role in protecting the freedoms Americans hold dear. To learn more about the Guard, visit NationalGuard.com, and to learn how you can help support NASCAR Unites, visit NASCAR.com/Unites.
POINTS AFTER KENTUCKY: After finishing fourth last weekend at Kentucky Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. currently ranks second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship standings. He trails leader Matt Kenseth by 11 points.
AT DAYTONA: In 25 Sprint Cup starts at Daytona, Earnhardt has recorded two wins, nine top-five finishes, 14 top-10s and has led 396 laps. Earnhardt notched his first pole position at the 2.5-mile superspeedway during last yearís Daytona 500 qualifying. He averages a starting position of 10.3 and an average finish of 14.5 in points-paying events at Daytona. In 12 Cup seasons, Earnhardt has finished all but three Cup events at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
IN THE 400: Earnhardt has scored one win, four top-five finishes and seven top-10s during 12 appearances in the annual July event at Daytona. Earnhardt, who will drive the No. 88 National Guard-An American Salute/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet this weekend, led 116 laps during his July 7, 2001, win. He has led a combined 243 laps during the summer event.
DAYTONA DOMINANCE: Earnhardt has 13 NASCAR wins at Daytona -- two in the Sprint Cup Series, six in the Nationwide Series, three during qualifying events and two during exhibition events. He has won the 2004 Daytona 500, the 2001 Pepsi 400, plus two Budweiser Shootouts (2003 and 2008) and three Gatorade Duel 150 qualifying races (2003, 2004 and 2008). Earnhardt won the four straight Nationwide events he entered between 2002 and 2004 at Daytona.
STRONG ON SUPERSPEEDWAYS: In 50 combined Cup starts on Daytona and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Earnhardt has recorded seven wins, 18 top-five finishes and 27 top-10s. He has a 13th-place average starting position and a 14.7 average finishing position on these tracks.
CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew chief Steve Letarte has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-699 for Saturdayís race. Earnhardt last raced this chassis to a ninth-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway in May and to a second-place finish in February at the Daytona 500.
HENDRICK AT DAYTONA: In 57 points-paying events (182 starts) at Daytona, Hendrick Motorsports has achieved 10 wins, 44 top-five finishes, 79 top-10s and has led 1,380 laps. Four of those wins were earned during the annual July event, with the most recent victory happening in 2004 when Jeff Gordon won from the pole position.
STRONG AT KENTUCKY: The Hendrick Motorsports teammates go into Daytona coming off a strong weekend at Kentucky Speedway where all four drivers finished in the top six. Kasey Kahne raced to a second-place finish at the 1.5-mile track followed by Earnhardt in fourth, Gordon in fifth and Jimmie Johnson in sixth. The last time all four teams finished in the top eight was in April 2011 at Talladega Superspeedway.
GOODYEAR GIVES BACK: The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, exclusive tire supplier of NASCARís three major national series, is honoring the U.S. Armed Forces with the launch of the "Goodyear Gives Back" program, a charitable fund-raising effort to benefit Support Our Troops. This organization helps to boost the morale of active duty troops and their families through care packages sent to the front lines and programs for those at home. Goodyear is donating up to $250,000 during the program (July 1 Ė Aug. 31), and running special "Support Our Troops" tires in the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races during the July 4th holiday race weekend. Fans can join in by visiting www.Goodyear.com/GivesBack.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., DRIVER, NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD-AN AMERICAN SALUTE/DIET MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET (ON RACE STRATEGY AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY.): "I want to go up and win the race. I just donít spend a lot of time thinking about riding in the back. I think you could do it, if that is something you wanted to do. However I donít plan on doing it. I never really plan on doing it. It may sound like we make that decision prior to the race, but you make it during the race when something happens or you see something happen that you donít like. Youíre like, 'Man, these guys are probably going to wreck; I donít want to be right up behind it. I canít get around them because the track is four- or three-wide.' So you move back a couple of hundred yards. I think it is poor judgment to think about it during the week, because you are not thinking about what you need to do to win the race. You are thinking about going backwards. That is not something I want to concentrate on."
Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports.
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