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Junior's Day in Cup Garage a Short One

By Mike Davis, JR Motorsports | Article Published 2/24/2012
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FRIDAY, FEB. 24 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard team turned only seven laps in two NASCAR Sprint Cup practices on Friday, opting to play it safe and not risk damaging its Chevrolet Impala two days before the Daytona 500.

Earnhardt Jr. registered the 10th-quickest time in the first session.  His top speed came on the second of four laps at 191.677 mph (46.95 seconds).  The Diet Dew/National Guard team sat out most of the second session but squeezed in a run at the end.  Earnhardt Jr. completed three laps with a top speed of 192.127 mph (46.84 seconds), good for 19th on the practice chart.

The Sprint Cup Series will have one final practice on Saturday (10:30 a.m. – Noon on SPEED) before Sunday’s 54th annual Daytona 500.  Earnhardt Jr. will start fifth after scoring a second-place finish in Thursday’s Gatorade Duel 150 qualifying race.  This will mark his ninth top-five start in the Great American Race in 13 career attempts.

Earnhardt Jr. will conclude his Friday obligations in the NASCAR Nationwide Series garage with Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the DRIVE4COPD 300 (2 p.m. ET on ESPN2).  He will go out 37th in the No. 5 Taxslayer.com Chevrolet for JR Motorsports.

Standings
After Brickyard 400
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 -- Jeff Gordon 717 0
2 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. 693 -24
3 -- Brad Keselowski 666 -51
4 -- Matt Kenseth 661 -56
5 -- Jimmie Johnson 628 -89
6 +2 Kyle Busch 609 -108
7 -- Ryan Newman 606 -111
8 -2 Carl Edwards 603 -114
9 -- Joey Logano 591 -126
10 -- Clint Bowyer 577 -140
11 +1 Denny Hamlin 572 -145
12 +1 Kevin Harvick 565 -152
Full Standings