NATIONAL GUARD YOUTH CHALLENGE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will attend the National Guard’s Youth ChalleNGe dinner Tuesday in Washington, D.C. The event pays tribute to the National Guard for its efforts to curb the nation’s dropout rate through an evidence-based program that gives individuals who have dropped out of school a second chance at earning a high school diploma or GED.
POINTS AFTER DAYTONA: After finishing second in the 2013 Daytona 500, Earnhardt currently ranks second in the championship standings. The driver of the No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS trails leader and teammate Jimmie Johnson by five points.
AT PHOENIX: In 21 NASCAR Sprint Cup starts at Phoenix International Raceway, Earnhardt has earned two wins, four top-five finishes and eight top-10s. He also has led 460 laps at the one-mile track. He scored his two wins there back-to-back, going to Victory Lane in November 2003 and November 2004 when Phoenix hosted one Cup event a season.
PHOENIX STATS: Among all-time drivers, Earnhardt’s two wins rank him tied for third at Phoenix. Among active drivers, Earnhardt ranks seventh in the laps led category with 460 laps, and he is tied for 12th with four top-five finishes. He ranks tied for 11th with eight top-10s at the one-mile desert oval.
CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend, crew chief Steve Letarte and the No. 88 crew will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-721 at Phoenix International Raceway. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis to a 21st-place finish at Phoenix in November.
INTERMEDIATE TRACK STATS: In 226 Cup starts on intermediate (one- to two-mile) tracks, Earnhardt has recorded six wins, six pole positions, 43 top-five finishes and 88 top-10s. On one-mile tracks, such as Phoenix, he ranks eighth among active, full-time drivers in the laps led category (828 laps) and tied for fourth with three wins.
HENDRICK AT PHOENIX: In 33 races (119 starts) at Phoenix, Hendrick Motorsports has nine wins, 33 top-five finishes and 58 top-10s. Hendrick Motorsports, which won six straight events there from April 2007 to November 2009, is the only Cup team to have multiple drivers win from the pole position at the one-mile desert oval: Jeff Gordon in April 2007; Johnson in November 2008 and Mark Martin in April 2009. Johnson, who most recently won there in November 2009, leads several statistical categories including most wins (four), top-five finishes (tied with 12) and laps led (931). Johnson is the only driver to have won three straight races at Phoenix (November 2007, April 2008 and November 2008).
DOUBLE-DIGIT: Hendrick Motorsports has 10 or more victories at nine tracks on the Cup circuit. A win at Phoenix would give the organization 10 there and would match its current total of 10 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., DRIVER, NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS (ON 2013 SEASON OUTLOOK AFTER FINISHING SECOND AT DAYTONA.): “I think it’s important to get a good start points wise. It’s important to put a good foundation together. If you get behind early, it seems like you’re still chasing that Chase (for the NASCAR Sprint Cup) spot at Richmond (Va.). It’s good to get a good start, get a couple points on some guys. We’re a good team. Hopefully we can keep the pressure on them and stay up in the top five in the points and win some races. I want to win some more races this year. That’s our focus.”