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Pre-Race Notes and Quotes: Michigan

Hendrick Motorsports | Race Preview Published 8/14/2013
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EVENT: Pure Michigan 400
TRACK: Michigan International Speedway
LENGTH: 2-mile D-shaped oval
TV: ESPN (Coverage begins at 12 p.m. ET)
RADIO: MRN (Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. ET)

News & Notes

POINTS AFTER WATKINS GLEN: Dale Earnhardt Jr. currently ranks sixth in the championship standings. He has a 47 point lead over the 11th-place driver with four races remaining until the 12-car field is set for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

SO FAR THIS YEAR: Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 National Guard Youth Foundation Chevrolet SS, has recorded one pole position, five top-five finishes and 12 top-10s in the first 22 NASCAR Sprint Cup events this year. His 12 top-10 results rank him tied for third overall among drivers during that timeframe.

MICHIGAN WIN: The June 17, 2012, victory was Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s second win in a points-paying event for Hendrick Motorsports and his most recent one in the Sprint Cup series. He started the race 17th that day at Michigan International Speedway and led 95 laps on his way to a 5.393 second lead over second-place.

AT MICHIGAN: In 28 Cup starts at Michigan, Earnhardt has recorded two wins, two pole positions, six top-five finishes and 10 top-10s. He has completed 98 percent of all laps he's attempted (5,383 laps of 5,495 total) and led 327 laps.

MICHIGAN POLES: Earnhardt's two career pole positions at Michigan are tied for first as career-bests for the 38-year-old driver. He also has captured two career poles at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.

LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data, Earnhardt has fifth-best average running position (12.696) during the last 17 Cup races at Michigan. In that same timeframe, Earnhardt has a 12.1 average finish, which ranks him fifth.

DRIVER RATING: Earnhardt ranks fifth in the driver rating category at Michigan with a score of 97.5. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, 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 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 and the No. 88 crew will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-716. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis to lead 34 laps at Michigan last June. Notably, this is the same chassis Earnhardt drove to Victory Lane in Michigan in June 2012.

HENDRICK AT MICHIGAN: In 59 races (190 starts) at Michigan, Hendrick Motorsports has six wins, 44 top-five finishes and 80 top-10s. Jeff Gordon ranks tied for first among active, full-time drivers with 18 top-five finishes and 25 top-10s. He also leads active drivers with five pole positions.

Quotes

DALE EARNHARDT JR. (ON HIS APPROACH TO MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY.): “I’m looking forward to getting back to Michigan. It’s a track where we always seem to have good speed. We led a bunch of laps the last time we were there and had a car that was flying at the end. I’m looking forward to going back there and trying to get a win.”

Standings
After Pure Michigan 400
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 +1 Jeff Gordon 816 0
2 -1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 813 -3
3 +1 Brad Keselowski 733 -83
4 +1 Joey Logano 714 -102
5 -2 Matt Kenseth 709 -107
6 +2 Kevin Harvick 687 -129
7 -- Jimmie Johnson 686 -130
8 -2 Carl Edwards 679 -137
9 -- Ryan Newman 679 -137
10 +1 Clint Bowyer 672 -144
11 +1 Greg Biffle 660 -156
12 +1 Kasey Kahne 651 -165
Full Standings