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Pre-Race Notes and Quotes: Darlington

Hendrick Motorsports | Race Preview Published 5/8/2013
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EVENT: Bojangles Southern 500
TRACK: Darlington Raceway
LENGTH: 1.366-mile oval
DATE: Saturday, May 11, 2013
TV: Fox (Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET)
RADIO: MRN (Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET)

News & Notes

POINTS REPORT: Dale Earnhardt Jr. currently ranks third in the driver standings. He trails leader and teammate Jimmie Johnson by 59 points. After 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in the 2013 season, Earnhardt has recorded three top-five finishes and six top-10s.

AT DARLINGTON: In 18 Sprint Cup Series starts at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Earnhardt has recorded three top-five finishes and seven top-10s. He has completed 98.3 percent of all laps he's attempted at the 1.366-mile track (6,100 laps of 6,204 total) and has led 171 of those laps. Earnhardt recorded his best finish in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in 2008 after scoring a fourth-place result. This matched his previous career-best finish of fourth in March 2002.

DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Earnhardt ranks 10th in the driver rating category at Darlington with a score of 90.4 during the past eight races. 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, crew chief Steve Letarte will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-745. Earnhardt last raced this chassis to a sixth-place finish at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in March.

HENDRICK AT DARLINGTON: In 50 events (154 starts) at Darlington Raceway, Hendrick Motorsports has earned 14 wins, 40 top-five finishes and 65 top-10s. Johnson most recently won at the historic track on May 12, 2012, to claim Hendrick Motorsports’ 200th Sprint Cup victory. Jeff Gordon, who will be making his 700th career Cup start this weekend, leads all active drivers with seven wins, 18 top-five finishes, a 6.7th-place average start and 1,720 laps led at the 1.366-mile oval. Kasey Kahne leads all active drivers there with four pole positions.

Quotes

DALE EARNHARDT JR. (ON DARLINGTON RACEWAY.): "I like running at Darlington, especially since they repaved the track. It's always been a fun track to race on. It's a frustrating track at the same time. The challenge is really what's interesting and fun about it. You don't really race your competitors as much as you are really in a battle with the track itself all night long. You just have to work every lap. You can't take any time off. You're right against the fence all around the racetrack so you always have to concentrate 100 percent on what you're doing, where the car is, what you're doing with your car and the speed of your car to keep it out of the fence. You have to run as hard as you can to be competitive. It's just a very challenging place. It's one of the more physical racetracks that we go to."

Standings
After Ford EcoBoost 400
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 +1 Denny Hamlin 4112 0
2 -1 Joey Logano 4111 -1
3 -- Ryan Newman 4103 -9
4 +4 Kevin Harvick 4102 -10
5 -1 Jeff Gordon 4102 -10
6 -1 Matt Kenseth 4100 -12
7 -- Brad Keselowski 4095 -17
8 -2 Carl Edwards 4088 -24
8 +2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2301 -2742
9 -- Kyle Busch 2280 -1832
10 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2271 -1841
11 +1 AJ Allmendinger 2256 -1856
Full Standings