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Pre-Race Notes and Quotes: Charlotte

Hendrick Motorsports | Race Preview Published 5/23/2013
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EVENT: Coca-Cola 600
TRACK: Charlotte Motor Speedway
LENGTH: 1.5-mile quad-oval
TV: Fox (Coverage begins at 6 p.m. ET)
RADIO: PRN (Coverage begins at 6 p.m. ET)

News & Notes

CAMO CAR: In honor of National Guard Soldiers and Memorial Day, the No. 88 Chevrolet SS will carry a camouflage paint scheme this weekend at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. As the nation's oldest Armed Forces component, the National Guard and its Citizen Soldiers play a vital role in protecting the freedoms Americans hold dear. Join Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the National Guard this Memorial Day by celebrating America and the men and women who serve this great county. To learn more about the Guard, visit NationalGuard.com.

TEAMMATES: Five soldiers from the North Carolina National Guard will be on hand this weekend to help the No. 88 team push the specially designed camouflage No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS to the starting grid for Sunday’s 600-mile race. Last Saturday, five additional North Carolina National Guard soldiers helped push out the No. 88 car when Earnhardt was introduced at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.

CUP DEBUT: Earnhardt made his Cup career debut on May 30, 1999, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Then 24 years old, Earnhardt started the event eighth and finished 16th. Since then, he has tallied 19 wins, 11 pole positions, 108 top-five finishes and 189 top-10s in 480 career Cup starts.

FIRST POLE POSITION: Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS, earned his first career Cup Series pole position at his hometown track during his 2000 rookie year. He lined up first for the 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in just his 17th start in the Cup Series and finished the race fourth.

AT CHARLOTTE: In 26 Cup starts at Charlotte, Earnhardt has recorded one pole position, five top-five finishes and 11 top-10s. He has completed 95.1 percent of all laps he's attempted (8,865 laps of 9,318 total) at the 1.5-mile oval. The 38-year-old driver has led a total of 324 laps there.

POINTS AFTER DARLINGTON: After finishing ninth two weeks ago at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Earnhardt ranks fourth in the championship standings. He trails leader Jimmie Johnson by 64 points.

CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend at Charlotte, crew chief Steve Letarte and the No. 88 crew will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-726. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis in April at Texas Motor Speedway, where he was the second-fastest Chevrolet SS to qualify. He started the event sixth.

INTERMEDIATE TRACK STATS: In 231 Cup starts on intermediate (one- to two-mile) tracks, Earnhardt has recorded six wins, six pole positions, 44 top-five finishes and 91 top-10s. He has a 16.5 average starting position and an average finishing position of 16.6 on these racetracks.

HENDRICK AT CHARLOTTE: In 58 events (195 starts) at Charlotte, Hendrick Motorsports has 17 wins, which ranks as the best all-time among teams at the 1.5-mile oval. Kasey Kahne most recently won the 600-mile event there in May 2012 and has four career victories at Charlotte. His Hendrick Motorsports teammates Johnson (six victories) and Jeff Gordon (five) rank first and second, respectively, among active drivers in wins at the 1.5-mile track. Johnson, recent winner of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, needs one more victory there to break a three-way tie for first all time with NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip. Hendrick Motorsports has 51 top-five finishes and 80 top-10s and has led 3,985 laps at Charlotte since 1984.

TEAM STATS: Hendrick Motorsports’ 17 victories at Charlotte rank second for the organization behind Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, where it has recorded a team-best 20 wins. Its 15 pole positions at Charlotte rank third for the team, behind Martinsville (17 poles) and Richmond (Va.) International Raceway (16).

Quotes

DALE EARNHARDT JR. (ON MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND.): “This weekend is a great time to acknowledge the sacrifices that the military make for us and give them the recognition they deserve. We’re running a special camo paint scheme this weekend for the National Guard. Our sport does a great job of acknowledging and recognizing the military, and its involvement in our sport has always been pretty huge. It’s important to recognize them and acknowledge them and give them credit for their sacrifices.”

Standings
After Bojangles Southern 500
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 -- Jeff Gordon 297 0
2 -- Matt Kenseth 296 -1
3 -- Carl Edwards 278 -19
4 +2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 271 -26
5 +2 Jimmie Johnson 270 -27
6 -1 Kyle Busch 269 -28
7 +1 Brad Keselowski 246 -51
8 -4 Joey Logano 245 -52
9 +2 Ryan Newman 236 -61
10 +2 Austin Dillon # 235 -62
11 +5 Greg Biffle 227 -70
12 +2 Tony Stewart 224 -73
Full Standings