Hendrick Motorsports |
EVENT: Samsung Mobile 500
VENUE: Texas Motor Speedway
TUNE IN: Television (7 p.m. ET on Fox) and Radio (6:30 p.m. on PRN). Check local listings.
News & Notes
POINTS REPORT: Six races into the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. ranks second in the driver standings on the strength of three top-five finishes and four top-10s. Earnhardt moved into the second position after finishing third on April 1 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. He trails leader Greg Biffle by six points. This marks the first time in Earnhardt’s career that he has been ranked sixth or higher after each of the first six races of the season. In 2004, Earnhardt was ranked inside the top seven throughout the season.
POLE POSITION: Earnhardt’s two pole positions at Texas are tied for first as career-bests for the 37-year-old driver. Earnhardt earned the top starting spot at the Lone Star State track in April 2001 and in April 2008, his first pole with Hendrick Motorsports. He also has two pole positions at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Michigan International Speedway.
FIRST WINS: Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet, earned his first career Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series wins at Texas Motor Speedway. He was just seven races into his rookie season when he recorded his first Cup win on April 2, 2000, at the Fort Worth racetrack. Then age 25, Earnhardt started the race fourth and led 106 laps on his way to Victory Lane. He recorded his first career win in the Nationwide Series on April 4, 1998.
EARNHARDT AT TEXAS: In 19 Sprint Cup starts at Texas Motor Speedway, Earnhardt has scored one win, two pole positions, three top-five finishes and 10 top-10s. He has an average starting position of 11.2, which is his second-best at all tracks, and he has led at least one lap in 13 of those starts for a total of 448 laps.
LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Earnhardt ranks fourth among drivers in laps run in the top 15 at Texas. During the last 14 races there, the Kannapolis, N.C., native has spent 76.9 percent of the events (3,604 laps of 4,686 total) running in the top 15. Earnhardt also ranks fourth in the average running position category with an 11.407 average spot.
DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Earnhardt’s driver rating at Texas is 92.7, which ranks him eighth among drivers in the last 14 races at the 1.5-mile oval. The driver rating is a formula that combines the following categories: wins, finishes, top-15 finishes, average running position while on the lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, most laps led and lead-lap finishes. The maximum points a driver can earn in each race is 150 points. The driver rating number is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator.
CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend at Texas, crew chief Steve Letarte will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-668. Earnhardt last raced this chassis to a 10th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March.
TEXAS DOUBLE: In addition to his duties behind the wheel of the No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet, Earnhardt will pilot the No. 5 Degree Men Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Friday. In four Nationwide starts at Texas, Earnhardt has one win, one top-five finish and three top-10s. This marks Earnhardt's third Nationwide start of the season. Most recently, he drove the No. 5 Chevrolet to a fifth-place finish in the Nationwide event at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway last month.
HENDRICK AT TEXAS: In 22 races (89 starts) at Texas, Hendrick Motorsports has three wins, 20 top-five finishes and 36 top-10s. Teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson rank tied for second with seven top-five finishes at the 1.5-mile track, while Johnson also ranks tied for second with 12 top-10s there.
APPROACHING 200: Hendrick Motorsports was within striking distances of its 200th Sprint Cup win on April 1 at Martinsville Speedway. Johnson and Gordon combined to lead 440 of the 500 laps at the short track and lined up one-two for field’s first attempt at a green-white-checkered flag. On the restart, an incident occurred that collected both cars. Earnhardt held on for the third-place finish. Hendrick Motorsports has 199 Sprint Cup wins, which ranks the organization first in the modern era and second all-time behind Petty Enterprises, which has 268 victories.