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Junior Set for Season Finale at Homestead

By Laura Scott, Hendrick Motorsports | Race Preview Published 11/13/2012
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EVENT: Ford EcoBoost 400
TRACK: Homestead-Miami Speedway
LENGTH: 1.5-mile oval
DATE: Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012
TV: ESPN (Coverage begins at 2 p.m. ET)
RADIO: MRN (Coverage of begins at 2 p.m. ET)

News & Notes

2013 NATIONAL GUARD COLORS: For this weekend’s race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will use the canvas of his No. 88 Chevrolet Impala to debut the 2013 National Guard paint scheme. Earnhardt helped design the blue-and-white look that will adorn the soon-to-be unveiled 2013 Chevrolet SS. The new Chevrolet model will be revealed on Nov. 29 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas.

ONE TO GO: With one race remaining in the Sprint Cup season, the driver of the No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet ranks 12th in the standings on the strength of one win, one pole position, 10 top-five finishes and 19 top-10s.

AT HOMESTEAD: In 12 Sprint Cup starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Earnhardt has led 93 laps and recorded three top-15 finishes and five top-20s. He scored his best finish -- 11th -- at Homestead in the 2011 season finale.

CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend, crew chief Steve Letarte and the No. 88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-716. Regan Smith most recently raced this chassis to a seventh-place finish at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway in October. Earnhardt previously raced this chassis to a fourth-place finish at Michigan International Speedway in August.

INTERMEDIATE TRACK STATS: In 225 Cup starts on intermediate (one- to two-mile) tracks, Earnhardt has recorded six wins, six pole positions, 43 top-five finishes and 87 top-10s. On 1.5-mile tracks, such as Homestead, he ranks seventh among active, full-time drivers in top 10s (41) and eighth in the laps led category (1,299 laps).

HENDRICK AT HOMESTEAD: Hendrick Motorsports has three runner-up results at Homestead-Miami Speedway and still is looking for its first victory at the 1.5-mile oval, which was added to the Cup schedule in 1999. Hendrick Motorsports has yet to win at just two tracks on the Cup schedule – Homestead and Kentucky Speedway. In 13 races (51 starts) at Homestead, Hendrick has two pole positions, 11 top-five finishes and 20 top-10s. Jeff Gordon leads drivers all-time there with six top-five finishes and 10 top-10s. Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson are among the drivers tied for first all-time with two poles at Homestead.

CHASE AT A GLANCE: Since going to a four-car team in 2002, Hendrick Motorsports has had two or more drivers finish the season ranked inside the top five in the championship standings five times. Gordon and Johnson accomplished this feat three years in a row (2002-2004), and Kyle Busch joined that championship mix in 2007, giving the organization three top-five finishers. In 2009, Hendrick Motorsports became the only team in NASCAR history to finish 1-2-3 in the points. This season, all four Hendrick drivers qualified for the postseason for the first time in team history.

Quotes

DALE EARNHARDT JR. (ON HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY.): “Homestead has turned into a really good racetrack. We are able to move all over the track and look for speed in different places. The cars seem to respond to that. The track is very unique even though it looks quite simple. It is really a challenge. Both corners are very different from each other and require the cars to handle differently in each corner. And then you have other things like the wind. But it is a fun place to race.”

Standings
After Ford EcoBoost 400
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 +3 Kevin Harvick 5043 0
2 +1 Ryan Newman 5042 -1
3 -2 Denny Hamlin 5037 -6
4 -2 Joey Logano 5028 -15
5 -- Brad Keselowski 2361 -2682
6 -- Jeff Gordon 2348 -2695
7 -- Matt Kenseth 2334 -2709
8 +2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2301 -2742
9 -- Carl Edwards 2288 -2755
10 -2 Kyle Busch 2285 -2758
11 +2 Jimmie Johnson 2274 -2769
12 +2 Kurt Busch 2263 -2780
Full Standings