Dale Earnhardt Jr. holds the second position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship standings. He trails leader Matt Kenseth by 16 points with seven races remaining until the 12-car field is set for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. This ties the best position Earnhardt has held after 19 races in a season. He also was ranked second at this point in 2004 and 2008.
SO FAR THIS YEAR: In 19 Cup events this season, Earnhardt has one win, eight top-five finishes and 14 top-10s. Earnhardt is the only driver to have completed all 5,488 laps this season, which is a NASCAR record of lead-lap finishes to start a season. The driver of the No. 88 Chevy has 20 straight lead-lap finishes dating back to an 11th-place result last November in the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He needs one more to tie teammate Jeff Gordon, who posted 21 consecutive lead-lap finishes in 1998-99.
AT THE BRICKYARD: In 12 Sprint Cup starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Earnhardt has recorded two top-10 finishes and led 61 laps. In five of those races, Earnhardt lined up sixth or better for the historic event. He scored his best finish — sixth-place — at the 2.5-mile oval in 2006.
LEADING LAPS: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Earnhardt ranks seventh among all drivers in the laps led category during the past seven Indianapolis races. The 37-year-old driver has led 48 of the 1,120 laps run during that timeframe.
SPEEDWAY SUCCESS: Earnhardt has scored nine of his 19 career Sprint Cup wins on tracks that are two miles or longer. He has earned five at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, two at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and two at Michigan International Speedway. He also has tallied four pole positions, 35 top-five finishes, 55 top-10s and 1,652 laps led at tracks that are two miles or longer.
GOOD COMPANY: Earnhardt’s nine wins at ovals that are two miles or greater tie him fourth overall among active, full-time drivers. Gordon ranks first with 30 wins, Tony Stewart is second with 18 wins while teammate Jimmie Johnson is third with 13 victories.
INDIANAPOLIS CHASSIS: Crew chief Steve Letarte and the No. 88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-734, which is a brand new chassis.
HENDRICK AT INDY: Gordon and Johnson have combined to win seven of the 18 Cup events that have been held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In addition to those seven victories, Hendrick Motorsports has 18 top-five finishes and 28 top-10s in 18 races (65 starts) at the 2.5-mile speedway. Gordon is the track’s all-time leader in wins (four), top-five finishes (10), top-10s (14) and laps led (476 total) at Indy.
CHEVY STREAK: Chevrolet has won 13 of the 18 Sprint Cup events held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including the last nine straight. In addition, a Chevy has started from the Brickyard 400 pole position eight times.
PAINT THE 88: Diet Mountain Dew has kicked off the Paint the 88 program for a third year. Earnhardt fans can visit www.Paintthe88.com to create and submit their favorite custom look. Earnhardt will select one special paint scheme for the No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew ‘Paint the 88’/National Guard Chevrolet that he will drive at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The website is accepting submissions until Friday, Aug. 3.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on Indianapolis: “Everyone wants to win at Indianapolis. Everyone wants to go through the process they have at post-race, the celebration and the unique thing that they do. I’ve read about the history and read about how it has survived two world wars and how it was basically the proving grounds for the automobile back in the turn of the century. I would love to be able to say I’ve won a race there. It’s at the top of the list. It battles with tracks like Daytona (Fla.).”