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Texas: Dale Earnhardt Jr. preview

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Texas: Dale Earnhardt Jr. preview
Apr 14, 2010, 2:32 AM

LUCKY LONE STAR STATE: Earnhardt was just seven races into his rookie season when he recorded his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win on April 2, 2000. Earnhardt, then 25, started the race at Texas Motor Speedway fourth and led 106 laps on his way to ...

LUCKY LONE STAR STATE: Earnhardt was just seven races into his rookie season when he recorded his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win on April 2, 2000. Earnhardt, then 25, started the race at Texas Motor Speedway fourth and led 106 laps on his way to Victory Lane. He also recorded his first career win in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the 1.5-mile oval on April 4, 1998.

AT TEXAS: In 15 Sprint Cup Series starts at Texas Motor Speedway, Earnhardt has scored one win, two pole positions, three top-five finishes and seven top-10s. He has an average starting position of 9.1 and has led at least one lap in 11 of those starts for a total of 400 laps.

POINTS REPORT: With his 12th-place finish at Phoenix last week, Earnhardt maintains the 10th position in the Cup championship standings. He trails leader and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson by 207 points, but is only 19 points away from sixth-place Clint Bowyer.

PERSONAL BESTS: Earnhardt's 9.1 average start at Texas is a personal best for him in the Sprint Cup Series. He also ties his personal best in pole positions with two at the 1.5-mile oval. Earnhardt earned the top starting spot at the Lone Star State track in April 2001 and in April 2008, his first start there with Hendrick Motorsports. He also owns two pole positions at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Michigan International Speedway.

LAPS IN THE TOP 15: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Earnhardt leads all drivers in laps run in the top 15 at Texas. During the last 10 races there, the Kannapolis, N.C., native has spent 83.3 percent of the events (2,790 laps of 3,350 total) running in the top 15.

DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Earnhardt has a driver rating at Texas of 94.4, which ranks him eighth among drivers in the last 10 races at the 1.5-mile oval. The driver rating is a formula that combines the following categories: wins, finishes, 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 points 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 Lance McGrew and the No. 88 crew will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-599. This is a brand new chassis that has not been tested or raced.

DALE EARNHARDT JR., DRIVER, NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON TEXAS.): "I like Texas a lot. They've done an amazing job coming from the ground up. The facilities are really nice; the fans really enjoy it and have latched onto it. They stand by their racetrack, and that's great to see. The community seems to really appreciate the track, and they feel as if it's their own. It's a great racetrack, and it could have an amazing history."

LANCE McGREW, CREW CHIEF, NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON TEXAS.): "It's such a fast racetrack. It's rough. There are a lot of bumps that you have to navigate through. With these cars right on bumpstops, it's difficult to keep the car from being upset as it runs through the bumps. I think that's the most challenging thing at Texas -- to get good ride quality. But still the place is so fast that you can't sacrifice aero to get it."

McGREW (ON HOW TESTING AT CHARLOTTE (N.C.) MOTOR SPEEDWAY WILL HELP AT TEXAS.): "There are a handful of things that we stumbled upon that might help. Even though the tracks are remarkably similar as far as the tape measure, they're not the same. For us, I've found a better correlation between Texas and Atlanta than Texas and Charlotte. I think a lot of that has to do with the exit of (Turn) 4 being so different. Our intermediate package is reasonably similar no matter where you go. More than anything it will be compensating from the change from the wing to the spoiler. It's a work in progress."

-source: hm

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Clint Bowyer , Jimmie Johnson , Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Teams Hendrick Motorsports