All-Star: Dale Earnhardt Inc preview

Dale Earnhardt Inc. Continues to Show Improvement as Sprint Cup Series Rolls into All-Star Break MOORESVILLE, N.C. (May 14, 2008) -- Dale Earnhardt Inc. rolls into the Sprint All-Star Race this weekend looking to take a break from the strain of...

Dale Earnhardt Inc. Continues to Show Improvement as Sprint Cup Series Rolls into All-Star Break

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (May 14, 2008) -- Dale Earnhardt Inc. rolls into the Sprint All-Star Race this weekend looking to take a break from the strain of weekly point racing. DEI has two cars locked into Saturday night's Sprint All-Star race -- Mark Martin's No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet and Martin Truex Jr.'s No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet.

Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s other two Cup entries -- the No. 15 Menard's Chevy of Paul Menard and the No. 01 DEI Chevrolet of rookie Regan Smith -- will look to race their way into the field when the green flag drops on Saturday's Sprint Showdown qualifying race.

With 11 races in the books in 2008, the four-horse team of Dale Earnhardt Inc. continues to show improvement. The duo of Mark Martin and Aric Almirola have the No. 8 car just 20 points outside of the Chase for the Cup cutoff. Martin Truex Jr. has put together several solid efforts in the past few races and sits only 36 points out of the Chase. Paul Menard has posted one of the biggest turnarounds in all of NASCAR for the 2008 season, while Regan Smith leads the Raybestos' Rookie of the Year standings.

The No. 8 team has posted top-eight finishes in four of the last six races, with legitimate shots to win at both Phoenix and Richmond. In just eight races, Martin has more top-10 finishes than 19 drivers who have competed in all 11 events, and Almirola posted a solid top-10 run at Bristol in his first start in 2008. Through the first 11 races of 2008, the No. 8 DEI team has scored just 14 less points than a year ago, and has the same number of top-10 finishes and only one less top five.

Truex and his No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Team has three top-10 finishes in 2008. Truex's team saw strong runs come to an end due to accidents at Talladega and Darlington, but still has scored over 100 more points to date in 2008 than in 2007. Truex also has one more top-five finish than at this point last season.

Menard has shown perhaps the most improvement at DEI and all of NASCAR. Teamed with crew chief Doug Randolph at the beginning of the season, Menard and his No. 15 team have scored almost four hundred more points in 2008 than at this time a year ago. After 11 races, Menard is only 86 points outside of the top 20 in points. A year ago, the team was 38th in points and 165 points out of 35th. Menard has posted seven top-25 finishes after 11 races, compared to only four a year ago.

After 11 events, Regan Smith leads the rookie-of-the-year standings. The team has shown steady improvement, having posted finishes of 26th or better in four of the last seven events, including a career high of 14th for Smith at Martinsville.

The multi-car operation, which has adopted and embraced the philosophy of "Four Cars, One Team" will look to continue its marked improvement as the season continues this weekend at the All-Star Event and into next weekend for the series' longest event of the season, the Coca-Cola 600 at the Beast of the Southeast, Lowe's Motor Speedway.

-credit: dei

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Martin Truex Jr. , Paul Menard , Regan Smith , Aric Almirola , Mark Martin