POINTS REPORT: Seven races into the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has earned three top-five finishes and five top-10s and ranks sixth in the driver standings. He trails leader and teammate Jimmie Johnson by 35 points.
KANSAS RETURN: Earnhardt did not compete last October at Kansas Speedway after being diagnosed with a concussion following the fall race at Talladega. Earnhardt most recently tested at the Kansas City, Kan., track in August 2012.
AT KANSAS: In 13 Cup starts at Kansas, Earnhardt has recorded one pole position, one top five-finish and six top-10s. He has completed 97.7 percent of all the laps he’s attempted (3,342 laps of 3,419 total) at the 1.5-mile racetrack. The 38-year-old driver has led a total of 81 laps there.
CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend at Kansas, crew chief Steve Letarte and the No. 88 crew will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-716. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis to a 10th-place finish in the 2012 season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
INTERMEDIATE TRACK STATS: In 229 Cup starts on intermediate (one- to two-mile) tracks, Earnhardt has recorded six wins, six pole positions, 44 top-five finishes and 90 top-10s. He has a 16.5 average starting position and an average finishing position of 16.6 on these racetracks.
HENDRICK AT KANSAS: With four victories at Kansas, Hendrick Motorsports ranks tied for first among teams all-time at the 1.5-mile speedway. Johnson and Jeff Gordon each have two victories at Kansas to rank tied for first all-time with two other competitors. Gordon ranks first with eight top-five finishes, while Johnson ranks first with 11 top-10s and 547 laps led at Kansas.
ALL-TIME AT 1.5-MILERS: Johnson and Gordon rank best among drivers all-time in several categories at 1.5-mile racetracks. Johnson leads drivers with 14 career victories at 1.5-mile racetracks, while Gordon ranks third with 11. Gordon can catch second-place Tony Stewart if he wins this weekend at Kansas. Gordon also ranks first in career top-five results with 52, while Johnson has the second-most with 41 top-five finishes. The Hendrick Motorsports teammates rank one-two in top-10 results as well – Gordon is first with 69, and Johnson has 66.
1.5-MILE POLE: With one more pole position, Johnson can catch Ryan Newman to rank tied for second on the all-time list and first among active drivers. Johnson currently is ranked third all-time and second among active drivers with 12 poles at 1.5-mile tracks.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., DRIVER, NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS (ON RETURNING TO KANSAS SPEEDWAY.): “I’m really anxious to get out there and see how quickly I can get ahold of the racetrack. The guys that I’m going to be racing against have a race on me there. I feel a little bit behind the eight ball with that deal, but I’m looking forward to getting there and seeing what kind of speed we have. I think we tested really well before we had the crash (in August 2012). I thought we had good speed.”