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Pre-Race Notes and Quotes: Atlanta

Hendrick Motorsports | Race Preview Published 8/28/2013
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EVENT: AdvoCare 500
TRACK: Atlanta Motor Speedway
LENGTH: 1.54-mile quad-oval
TV: ESPN (Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET)
RADIO: PRN (Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET)

News & Notes

RACE 2 ACHIEVE: This weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 Chevrolet SS will be red and white to feature Race 2 Achieve, a high school curriculum developed by certified math and science educators in conjunction with Hendrick Motorsports engineers and the National Guard. Together, they have created an educational program that mirrors the process of preparing a race car and brings all of the key math concepts to the forefront in a manner that is relevant and engaging for educators and students alike. Visit Race2Achieve.org or facebook.com/88race2achieve to learn more.

POINTS REPORT: Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 National Guard “Race 2 Achieve” Chevrolet SS, ranks seventh in the driver standings. He has a 33-point lead over the 11th-place driver with two races remaining until the 12-car field is set for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

SEASON-TO-DATE: Earnhardt has recorded one pole position, five top-five finishes and 13 top-10s in the first 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup events this year. His 13 top-10 results rank him tied for third overall among drivers during that timeframe. Most recently, Earnhardt recorded a 10th-place finish at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

AT ATLANTA: In 25 Cup starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Earnhardt has one win, two pole positions, eight top-five finishes and 11 top-10s. He has an average start of 16.2 at Atlanta, and his average finish of 12.5 ranks as his second-best at a track. He has completed 99.5 percent of all the laps he's attempted (8,034 of 8,075 total) there and has led 632 laps, his fourth-best at a track.

PERSONAL BEST: Earnhardt's two pole positions at Atlanta tie his personal best at a track. He holds the same number at Michigan International Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.

LAPS IN THE TOP 15: Earnhardt ranks ninth among drivers for laps run in the top 15 during the last 14 races at Atlanta. He has spent 63.3 percent of all laps (2,897 total) in the top 15 per NASCAR's loop statistics. Earnhardt's teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon hold the top two positions. Earnhardt also has recorded an average finishing position of 12.7, which is fifth-best among all drivers during that 14-race period.

DRIVER RATING: Earnhardt ranks eighth in the driver rating category at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a score of 93.3, according to NASCAR loop data. 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 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-726. Earnhardt, most recently, drove this chassis to earn the pole position and a 12th-place result at Kentucky Speedway in June.

TIRE TREAD: Goodyear is planning to use a new right-side tire for this weekend’s Cup event at Atlanta. The left-side tires will be the same ones the Cup series used in the 2012 Atlanta event, but the right ones will utilize zone tread technology. Two-thirds of the tire will be based on the previous tires used in Atlanta and will provide grip, while the remaining third will utilize tread similar to what was used at Michigan earlier this month. The mixture is designed to counteract heat produced from the high speeds. In early August, Kasey Kahne tested the new tire with his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team at the 1.54-mile track in preparation for this weekend’s race.

HENDRICK AT ATLANTA: Hendrick Motorsports has 11 wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which ranks the organization second all-time to the Wood Brothers (12 victories). Gordon, who won the 2011 event at the 1.54-mile oval, is eyeing his sixth career win at the track. A victory would help Gordon’s chances in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. His Hendrick Motorsports teammates Earnhardt, Johnson and Kahne also have reached Victory Lane at Atlanta within the last nine years (16 events).

Quotes

DALE EARNHARDT JR. (ON ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY.): “I always enjoy racing at Atlanta because I feel like I can run really good there. It always seems like I’ve had pretty good cars and had good speed pretty much every time. I’m looking forward to getting in the car and hopefully it’s comfortable and got good speed.”

Standings
After GEICO 500
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 -- Joey Logano 3121 0
2 +1 Kevin Harvick 3117 -4
3 +1 Ryan Newman 3117 -4
4 +3 Denny Hamlin 3100 -21
5 +4 Matt Kenseth 3099 -22
6 -1 Carl Edwards 3099 -22
7 -1 Jeff Gordon 3093 -28
8 -- Kasey Kahne 3090 -31
9 -7 Kyle Busch 3086 -35
10 -- Brad Keselowski 3085 -36
11 -- Jimmie Johnson 3053 -68
12 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3045 -76
Full Standings