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Pre-Race Notes and Quotes: Indianapolis

JR Motorsports | Race Preview Published 7/23/2014
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RACE: Crown Royal 400
DATE: Sunday, July 26, 2014
TRACK: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
LENGTH: 2.5-mile oval
TV: ESPN (Coverage begins at 12 p.m. ET)
RADIO: IMS Radio (Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. ET)

News & Notes

POINTS AFTER NEW HAMPSHIRE: After recording his 13th top-10 finish of the season at New Hampshire, Dale Earnhardt Jr. retained his second-place ranking in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship standings. He trails leader and teammate Jeff Gordon by 12 points with seven races remaining until the 16-car field is set for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

CHASE CLINCH: Thanks to his two wins and a secured spot in the top 30 of the standings, Earnhardt became one of two drivers to clinch spots in the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, presuming he attempts to qualify for the next seven races.

AT THE BRICKYARD: In 14 Sprint Cup starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Earnhardt has recorded one top-five, four top-10 finishes and led 61 laps. In five of those races, the driver of the No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS lined up sixth or better for the historic event. He scored his best finish -- fourth-place -- at the 2.5-mile oval in 2012.

LEADING LAPS: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Earnhardt ranks ninth among all drivers in the laps led category during the past nine Indianapolis races. The 39-year-old driver has led 48 of the 1,440 laps run during that timeframe.

SPEEDWAY SUCCESS: Earnhardt has scored 11 of his 21 career Sprint Cup wins on tracks that are two miles or longer. He has earned five at Talladega Superspeedway, three at Daytona International Speedway, two at Michigan International Speedway and one at Pocono Raceway. In 154 starts on these tracks, he also has tallied four pole positions, 41 top-five finishes, 64 top-10s and led for 1,852 laps.

GOOD COMPANY: Earnhardt's 11 wins at ovals that are two miles or greater rank him fourth overall among active, full-time drivers. Gordon ranks first with 31 wins, while Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson are tied for second with 18 wins.

INDIANAPOLIS CHASSIS: Crew chief Steve Letarte and the No. 88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-882 this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis to a seventh-place finish at Michigan in June.

HENDRICK AT INDY: Most recently, Johnson went to Victory Lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July 2012, recording his fourth career win at the famed 2.5-mile speedway and the eighth for Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson and teammate Gordon rank tied for first among NASCAR competition with four career victories there. The Hendrick Motorsports duo has combined to win eight of the 20 Cup events that have been held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In addition to those eight victories, Hendrick Motorsports has 23 top-five finishes and 35 top-10s in 20 races (73 starts) there.

ALL-TIME: Johnson and Gordon, with four Brickyard wins apiece, rank tied for second among all motor sports leagues with four-time Indy 500 victors A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears and Al Unser Sr. The five drivers trail Formula 1’s Michael Schumacher, a five-time winner at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, on the all-time major motor sports list at the historic track.

CHEVY STREAK: Chevrolet has won 15 of the 20 Sprint Cup events held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including the last 11 straight. In addition, a Chevy has started from the Brickyard 400 pole position nine times.

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 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

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DALE EARNHARDT JR. (ON INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY.): “The shape of the track is unique compared to anything else we race on. Indianapolis is a real technical track. The car must go through each corner pretty much the same and what you might be fighting in one corner you would probably assume you would fight in all of them but all the corners are really different. That makes it a bit of a challenge, a good challenge, trying to get a car that goes fast and doesn’t have trouble at one end of the track to make things difficult.”

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