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Pre-Race Notes and Quotes: Charlotte

Hendrick Motorsports | Race Preview Published 10/9/2013
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EVENT: Bank of America 500
TRACK: Charlotte Motor Speedway
LENGTH: 1.5-mile quad-oval
TV: ABC (Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET)
RADIO: PRN (Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET)

News & Notes

POINTS WITH SIX TO GO: Dale Earnhardt Jr. advanced to eighth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings after finishing eighth at Kansas Speedway last weekend. With six races remaining in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, Earnhardt trails leader Matt Kenseth by 54 points.

500TH CUP START: Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet SS, will make his 500th start in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points-paying event when he lines up Saturday at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

CAREER STATISTICS: In 499 Cup starts, Earnhardt has 19 wins, 111 top-five finishes, 199 top-10s, 13 pole positions and has led 7,377 laps. Earnhardt is tied for tied for 12th among active, full-time drivers with 19 Cup victories.

FIRST START: Earnhardt made his first Cup start on May 30, 1999. Earnhardt qualified eighth for the Charlotte Motor Speedway event, circling the 1.5-mile oval faster than his father Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jeff Gordon – both Cup champions. Dale Earnhardt Jr. crossed the finish line 16th.

FIRST POLE POSITION: Earnhardt earned his first career Cup pole position at his hometown track during his rookie year in 2000. In just his 17th Cup start, Earnhardt lined up first for the 600-mile race at Charlotte and finished fourth.

FIRST WIN: Earnhardt scored his first Cup series win at Texas Motor Speedway in April 2000 after starting fourth and leading 106 laps. The victory came in Earnhardt’s 12th career start in the Cup series.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Earnhardt will celebrate his 39th birthday on Thurs., Oct. 10. Fans can wish him a Happy Birthday on NASCAR’s Facebook page beginning Wednesday and be part of a surprise birthday present for the 10-time most popular driver.

AT CHARLOTTE: In 27 Cup starts at Charlotte, Earnhardt has recorded one pole position, five top-five finishes and 11 top-10s. He has completed 93.9 percent of all laps he's attempted (9,121 laps of 9,718 total) at the 1.5-mile oval. The 38-year-old driver has led a total of 324 laps there.

CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend at Charlotte, crew chief Steve Letarte and the No. 88 crew will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-810. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis in September at Chicagoland Speedway. He first competed in this chassis at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July and finished sixth.

INTERMEDIATE TRACK STATS: In 240 Cup starts on intermediate (one- to two-mile) tracks, Earnhardt has recorded six wins, eight pole positions, 45 top-five finishes and 96 top-10s. He has a 16.2 average starting position and an average finishing position of 16.5 on these racetracks.

HENDRICK AT CHARLOTTE: In 59 events (199 starts) at Charlotte, Hendrick Motorsports has 17 wins, which ranks first 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 Jimmie Johnson (six victories) and Gordon (five) rank first and second, respectively, among active drivers in wins at the 1.5-mile track. Hendrick Motorsports has 52 top-five finishes and 81 top-10s and has led 4,146 laps at Charlotte since 1984.

ALL-TIME TIE: Johnson, winner of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, needs one more Cup victory at Charlotte to break a three-way tie for first all time with NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip. Johnson recently captured the all-time wins record at Dover (Del.) International Speedway and leads at three other tracks on the Cup circuit: Phoenix International Raceway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the two-mile oval in Fontana, Calif.

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 trail only Martinsville (17 poles) and Richmond (Va.) International Raceway (17) for first overall.

ALL-TIME AT 1.5-MILERS: Johnson and Gordon rank best among drivers all-time in several categories at 1.5-mile racetracks. Johnson leads drivers with 14 career victories at 1.5-mile racetracks, while Gordon ranks fourth with 11. Gordon can catch second-place drivers Tony Stewart and Kenseth if he wins this weekend at Charlotte. Gordon also ranks first in career top-five results with 53, while Johnson has the second-most with 43. The Hendrick Motorsports teammates rank one-two in top-10 results as well – Gordon is first with 72, and Johnson has 70.

Quotes

DALE EARNHARDT JR. (ON HIS 500TH NASCAR SPRINT CUP START THIS WEEKEND AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY.): “It doesn’t seem like I’ve been around that long to be honest with you. It just doesn’t. We race a lot of races, though. We run a lot more races during the season than they did in year’s past. It’s been a pleasure being a part of the Series and seeing the changes and the growth. I hope to be around and witness a lot more. It’s just been a dream to be able to succeed and make a living in this sport so I’ve got a lot to be thankful for.”

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