Dale Earnhardt Jr. ranks third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship standings after finishing 23rd last week at Sonoma, Calif. He trails leader Matt Kenseth by 14 points after the 16th race of the season.
LEAD LAP: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Earnhardt ranks second among drivers this season with percentage of laps run on the lead lap. The Kannapolis, N.C., native has spent 95.38 (4,540 of 4,760 laps) percent of laps on the lead lap this season. Earnhardt is also the only driver to have completed all 4,760 laps this season.
EARNHARDT AT KENTUCKY: On Saturday, Earnhardt will make his second career NASCAR start at Kentucky Speedway. During last year’s inaugural Cup race at the 1.5-mile tri-oval, Earnhardt sustained a blown left-front tire late in the race that resulted in a 30th-place finish.
KENTUCKY CHASSIS: Crew chief Steve Letarte will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-668 for this weekend’s Cup event at Kentucky. Earnhardt last raced this chassis to a sixth-place finish in the 600-mile event at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Earnhardt also won the Sprint Showdown in this car during the Sprint All-Star race weekend in May.
INTERMEDIATE TRACK STATS: In 120 Sprint Cup starts on 1.5-mile tracks, Earnhardt has recorded four pole positions, three wins, 14 top-five finishes and 38 top-10s.
HENDRICK AT KENTUCKY: Hendrick Motorsports nabbed two top-10 finishes in the inaugural Cup event at Kentucky last year when Jimmie Johnson finished third and Jeff Gordon scored 10th. The 1.5-mile track joins Homestead-Miami Speedway as the only two venues on the Cup circuit where Hendrick Motorsports has yet to reach Victory Lane. When it comes to 1.5-mile racetracks, the organization has totaled 31 wins, 131 top-five finishes, 213 top-10s and 30 pole positions at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Homestead, Kansas Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on Kentucky: “Kentucky is kind of wide, but it’s difficult to pass. The second groove has some good grip, so it will be real hard to get underneath guys and get around them. It’s got a lot of bumps, too. I don’t mind the bumps that bad; they definitely add a new dimension in the corners.”