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Nationwide Race Preview: Las Vegas

JR Motorsports | Race Preview Published 3/5/2014
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DRIVER: Dale Earnhardt Jr. / No. 88 Taxslayer.com Chevrolet
RACE: Boyd Gaming 300 (200 laps / 300 miles)
TRACK: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
DATE: Saturday, March 8, 2014

Broadcast Info

TV: ESPN2 (4 p.m. ET)
RADIO: PRN & Sirius XM Ch 90 (3:45 pm ET)
FIRST PRACTICE: March 7, 3:40-4:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
FINAL PRACTICE: March 7, 5-6:20 p.m. ET (FS1)
QUALIFYING: March 8, 12:40 p.m. ET (FS2)
GREEN FLAG: March 8, 4:15 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Quotes

“These guys are off to a good start with the 88 team. I was really impressed with how strong Kevin (Harvick) ran with them last weekend at Phoenix. I expect to keep that going at Vegas. Ernie (Cope) brings great cars to the track and I expect our TaxSlayer Chevy to be strong when we unload.”

Notes

PAYING DIVIDENDS: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick both have benefited from their double-duty weekends, as the additional track time in the No. 88 JRM Nationwide Series entry has helped contribute to Sprint Cup victories. Earnhardt Jr. won the Daytona 500 on Feb. 23, one day after finishing 11th in the TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet. Harvick won the Phoenix Cup race on March 2, one day after finishing second in the No. 88 Great Clips Chevrolet for JRM.

INTERMEDIATE SUCCESS: Dating back to 2008, Earnhardt Jr. earned five top-five finishes in his past 10 NNS starts on 1.5-mile tracks. Last season, he posted top-five finishes in NNS competition at Texas Motor Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway.

COPE’S CARS: In the past five seasons, Ernie Cope’s teams have posted an 11.6 average finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Working with four different drivers, Cope’s cars have an average starting position of 4.8. The veteran crew chief visited victory lane with Harvick in 2010.

EARNHARDT’S 2014 NNS PLANS: Las Vegas marks the second of three scheduled NNS events for Earnhardt Jr. this season. The two-time series champion led 28 laps en route to an 11th-place finish at Daytona International Speedway two weeks ago. His 2014 NNS schedule includes Texas Motor Speedway on April 4.

NO. 5/88 TEAM: With Earnhardt Jr.'s 11th-place finish and Harvick's runner-up at Phoenix, the No. 88 team ranks fifth in NNS Owners points through two races. Following Las Vegas, the entry will be renumbered to No. 5 with Harvick at Bristol. The team is working to fill out inventory for the remainder of the season with additional drivers.

Standings
After Ford EcoBoost 400
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 +3 Kevin Harvick 5043 0
2 +1 Ryan Newman 5042 -1
3 -2 Denny Hamlin 5037 -6
4 -2 Joey Logano 5028 -15
5 -- Brad Keselowski 2361 -2682
6 -- Jeff Gordon 2348 -2695
7 -- Matt Kenseth 2334 -2709
8 +2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2301 -2742
9 -- Carl Edwards 2288 -2755
10 -2 Kyle Busch 2285 -2758
11 +2 Jimmie Johnson 2274 -2769
12 +2 Kurt Busch 2263 -2780
Full Standings