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Pre-Race Notes and Quotes: Michigan

Hendrick Motorsports | Race Preview Published 6/11/2014
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EVENT: Quicken Loans 400
DATE: Sunday, June 15, 2014
TRACK: Michigan International Speedway
LENGTH: 2-mile D-shaped oval
TV: TNT (Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. ET)
RADIO: MRN (Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. ET)

News & Notes

POCONO RECAP: Last weekend at Pocono Raceway, Dale Earnhardt Jr., powered his No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS to his 21st career victory and second win of the 2014 season. This was Earnhardt’s first win at the 2.5-mile Pennsylvania track.

POINTS AFTER POCONO: Earnhardt currently ranks third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings after winning Sunday’s race at Pocono. He trails leader and teammate Jeff Gordon by 22 points.

SO FAR THIS YEAR: Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 National Guard/Superman Chevrolet SS, has recorded two wins, seven top-five finishes and nine top-10s in the first 14 Cup events this year. His seven top-five results rank him first overall among drivers during that timeframe.

HENDRICK STREAKS: Earnhardt’s performance on Sunday at Pocono marked Hendrick Motorsports’ fourth consecutive points-paying Sprint Cup win in 2014. Gordon kicked off the current streak with his Kansas Speedway victory on May 10, which was followed by Jimmie Johnson winning on May 25 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and June 1 at Dover International Speedway. It is the sixth separate time Hendrick Motorsports teams have combined to win at least four consecutive points races, including the 2007 Sprint Cup season when the organization posted three separate win streaks of four, five and six races apiece. The team also won four consecutive races in both 1996 and 1998.

SUPERMAN CAR: Superman, the world’s first and most recognized Super Hero, will be featured again on Earnhardt’s No. 88 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Michigan. He also ran this paint scheme at the 600-mile race at Charlotte in May. The Superman-themed paint scheme will pair the Army National Guard with the Superman Hall of Heroes, a new online gift-giving portal that empowers consumers to honor their personal heroes; those who have made a positive impact on their lives or the lives of others. Visit www.supermanhallofheroes.com for more information.

MICHIGAN WIN: Earnhardt’s victory at Michigan on June 17, 2012, was his second win in a points-paying event for Hendrick Motorsports. After starting from the 17th position, Earnhardt led 95 laps at the Irish Hills track, stretching out his lead to 5.393 seconds before taking the checkered flag.

AT MICHIGAN: In 29 Cup starts at Michigan, Earnhardt has recorded two wins, two pole positions, six top-five finishes and 10 top-10s. He has completed 97.5 percent of all laps he's attempted (5,554 laps of 5,695 total) and led 347 laps at the two-mile oval.

MICHIGAN POLES: Earnhardt's two career pole positions at Michigan are tied for first as career-bests for the 39-year-old driver. He also has captured two career poles at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.

DRIVER RATING: Earnhardt ranks fifth in the driver rating category in the last 18 races at Michigan with a score of 97.0. 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. 88-882. Earnhardt premiered this chassis in the 600-mile event at Charlotte last month.

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT MICHIGAN: In 194 starts at Michigan, Hendrick Motorsports has led 2,196 laps en route to six wins, 44 top-five finishes and 81 top-10s at the two-mile oval. Earnhardt most recently visited Michigan’s Victory Lane in June 2012, when he led 95 laps to give Hendrick Motorsports its sixth win at the D-shaped track.

30TH ANNIVERSARY: In 2014, Hendrick Motorsports is celebrating its 30th anniversary in NASCAR. The organization began in 1984 with five employees and 5,000 square feet of work space. It has grown to more than 500 employees with a 430,000-square-foot facility that sits on 140 acres. Driver Geoff Bodine won the Martinsville Speedway spring race on April 29, 1984, marking Hendrick Motorsports’ first victory.

MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard/Superman Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday at 10:15 a.m. local time in the media center at Michigan International Speedway.

Standings
After Brickyard 400
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 -- Jeff Gordon 717 0
2 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. 693 -24
3 -- Brad Keselowski 666 -51
4 -- Matt Kenseth 661 -56
5 -- Jimmie Johnson 628 -89
6 +2 Kyle Busch 609 -108
7 -- Ryan Newman 606 -111
8 -2 Carl Edwards 603 -114
9 -- Joey Logano 591 -126
10 -- Clint Bowyer 577 -140
11 +1 Denny Hamlin 572 -145
12 +1 Kevin Harvick 565 -152
Full Standings