Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, currently ranks seventh in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup after finishing 13th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last weekend. With eight races remaining in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, Earnhardt trails leader and teammate Jimmie Johnson by 26 points.
2012 STATISTICS: After 28 races in the 2012 season, Earnhardt has earned one win, one pole position, 10 top-five finishes and 18 top-10s. Earnhardt’s average finish of 10th leads all drivers in the 2012 season. His 18 top-10 finishes rank him second overall to teammate Johnson and his 10 top-five finishes tie him for fourth.
AT DOVER: In 25 Cup starts at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, Earnhardt has one win, five top-five finishes and eight top-10s. He has led 368 laps and completed 99 percent of all laps he’s attempted (9,907 of 10,004 total) at the Monster Mile.
MONSTER MILE WIN: Earnhardt’s Sprint Cup win at Dover happened Sept. 23, 2001. The victory, which came in the first Cup race following Sept. 11, was the second of his sophomore season. Earnhardt displayed the American flag during his victory lap to pay tribute to the victims. In that race he started third and led 193 laps.
LAPS IN THE TOP 15: Earnhardt ranked sixth among drivers for laps run in the top 15 at the June race at Dover earlier this year, according to NASCAR’s loop data statistics. The Kannapolis, N.C., native spent 98.5 percent of his laps (394 of 400 total) running in the top 15.
DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Earnhardt ranked seventh in the driver rating category during the June race at Dover earlier this year with a score of 107. 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.
DOVER CHASSIS: Crew chief Steve Letarte and the No. 88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-745 this weekend at Dover. Earnhardt first raced this chassis to a 12th-place finish at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in August.
HENDRICK AT DOVER: In 57 Cup events (179 starts) at Dover, Hendrick Motorsports has 14 wins, 45 top-five finishes and 77 top-10s. Johnson, who won most recently at the one-mile oval, has seven career wins at Dover and ranks tied for first all-time at the track with Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Richard Petty. Jeff Gordon has contributed another four wins to Hendrick Motorsports’ total.
LAP LEADERS AT DOVER: Gordon leads active drivers with 2,291 laps at Dover, and Johnson trails his teammate by 16 laps going into Sunday’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup event. During his last seven victories at Dover, Johnson has averaged 220 laps per win for a total of 1,541 laps led in those races.
HENDRICK IN THE CHASE: Hendrick Motorsports four drivers have averaged a combined 8.875 finish in the first two races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. New points leader Johnson owns the best average finish with two straight runner-up results in the first two contests, while Kasey Kahne has averaged fourth with third- and fifth-place finishes at Chicagoland Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway, respectively.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., DRIVER, NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/DIET MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET (ON DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY.): “Getting into Turn 3 can be difficult. There are some bumps that the rear tires sort of skate across. It can be a challenge to get the car to turn in the middle of the corner. Cars kind of slide the back tires getting in the corner, and then they kind of push through the center at both ends of the racetrack. That really doesn’t show up until race time.”