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Earnhardt Jr. Debuting Chassis 711 in Fontana

By Laura Scott, Hendrick Motorsports | Race Preview Published 3/21/2012
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News & Notes

CHASSIS 7-ELEVEN: Crew chief Steve Letarte will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-711 for this weekend's 400-mile event at Auto Club Speedway. This is a new chassis that has not been raced. By coincidence, Chassis No. 88-711 will feature the convenience store 7-Eleven’s logo on the rear quarter panel as an associate partner with Diet Mountain Dew.

AT FONTANA: In 19 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Auto Club Speedway, Earnhardt has scored three top-five finishes, four top-10s and led 28 laps. He recorded a career-best runner-up finish at the Fontana, Calif., racetrack in September 2006.

POINTS REPORT: Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet, currently ranks sixth in the Sprint Cup Series championship standings. He trails leader Greg Biffle by 20 points.

INTERMEDIATE TRACK STATS: In 212 Cup starts on intermediate (one- to two-mile) tracks, Earnhardt has recorded six wins, six pole positions, 40 top-five finishes and 78 top-10s. He has a 16.5 average starting position and an average finishing position of 17.2 on these racetracks.

HENDRICK AT FONTANA: In 22 Cup events (86 starts) at Fontana, Hendrick Motorsports has nine wins, 29 top five-finishes, 40 top-10s and six pole positions. Jeff Gordon won the track’s inaugural race on June 22, 1997, and teammate Jimmie Johnson holds the record for the most wins (five) at the two-mile oval.

AT TWO-MILE TRACKS:  When it comes to competing at two-mile racetracks like Auto Club Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports headlines the top-five and laps led categories. Gordon has 29 top-five finishes and 1.624 laps led, which is more than any other driver all-time. His eight pole positions rank as most among active drivers. Gordon is tied for third with Johnson in the win category – the teammates both have five victories at two-mile tracks.

APPROACHING 200: With two runner-up finishes in the first four events this season, Hendrick Motorsports continues to pursue its 200th Cup victory. The organization recorded its 199 Cup win on Oct. 9, 2011, after Johnson went to Victory Lane at Kansas Speedway. Hendrick Motorsports ranks first in NASCAR’s modern era for wins and second all-time behind Petty Enterprises, which has 268 victories.

Quotes

DALE EARNHARDT JR., DRIVER, NO. 88 DIET MOUNTAIN DEW/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET: “I’m excited to get to California and see what we can do as a team. California is a track I need to run better at. It’s a flat track, and it doesn’t have a ton of grip. We’ve been running really strong as a team this year, and I expect more of the same.”

Standings
After Camping World RV Sales 301
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 -- Jeff Gordon 670 0
2 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. 658 -12
3 +1 Brad Keselowski 634 -36
4 +1 Matt Kenseth 621 -49
5 -2 Jimmie Johnson 598 -72
6 +1 Carl Edwards 574 -96
7 +1 Ryan Newman 573 -97
8 +1 Kyle Busch 567 -103
9 -3 Joey Logano 551 -119
10 +2 Clint Bowyer 548 -122
11 -1 Paul Menard 541 -129
12 +2 Denny Hamlin 530 -140
Full Standings