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Pre-Race Notes and Quotes: Michigan

Hendrick Motorsports | Race Preview Published 8/12/2014
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RACE: Pure Michigan 400
DATE: Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014
TRACK: Michigan International Speedway
LENGTH: 2-mile D-shaped oval
TV: ESPN (Coverage begins at noon ET)
RADIO: MRN Radio (Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. ET)

News & Notes

POINTS LEADER AFTER WATKINS GLEN: Earnhardt currently ranks first in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings after finishing 11th in Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen International. He leads teammate Jeff Gordon by four points.

SO FAR THIS YEAR: Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS, has recorded three wins, 10 top-five finishes and 15 top-10s in 22 NASCAR Sprint Cup events this year. His 10 top-five results rank him first overall among drivers and he is tied for first with Gordon with the most top-10s during that timeframe.

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 30 starts at Michigan, Earnhardt has recorded two wins, two pole positions, six top-five finishes and 11 top-10s. He has completed 97.6 percent of all laps he's attempted (5,754 laps of 5,895 total) and led 348 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 19 races at Michigan with an average of 97.5. 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. 88-877. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis to a fifth-place finish at Kentucky Speedway in June.

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT MICHIGAN: In 198 starts at Michigan, Hendrick Motorsports drivers have led 2,273 laps en route to seven wins, 46 top-five finishes and 85 top-10s at the two-mile oval. Jimmie Johnson most recently visited Victory Lane at Michigan in June, when all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers finished in the top 10.

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 approximately 600 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.

Quote

DALE EARNHARDT JR. (ON MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY): “I feel pretty good going to Michigan. We ran well earlier this year and it is just an excellent race track. It really lends itself to a good motor - good power plant. I think you have to give the Hendrick Motorsports engine department a lot of credit. We’ve had some really good motors this year.”

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