Daytona II: Dale Earnhardt Jr. preview

8 SOLDIERS 8 MISSIONS: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 National Guard "8 Soldiers 8 Missions"/AMP Energy Chevrolet will feature a special camouflage paint scheme this weekend at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in honor of the eight National...

8 SOLDIERS 8 MISSIONS: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 National Guard "8 Soldiers 8 Missions"/AMP Energy Chevrolet will feature a special camouflage paint scheme this weekend at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in honor of the eight National Guard Soldiers and eight missions in which they served. These eight Soldiers (listed below) served in domestic and overseas missions for their country. The No. 88 Chevrolet was designed to commemorate the heroic efforts and service of these Soldiers and the other men and women who serve in the National Guard.

ON THE MOVE: After three consecutive finishes of 11th or better at three very different racetracks, Earnhardt trails 12th-place Carl Edwards in the championship standings by just three points. The No. 88 team started its upward climb by scoring a seventh-place result at the two-mile Michigan International Speedway on June 13. It has since finished 11th at the Infineon Raceway road course and eighth at the one-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In that three-race span, Earnhardt has earned 418 points and moved from 16th to 13th in the Sprint Cup standings.

DALE AT DAYTONA: In 21 points-paying NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Daytona International Speedway, Earnhardt has recorded two wins, seven top-five finishes, 12 top-10s and has led 386 laps. He has an average starting position of 11th, which ranks as the second best for Earnhardt who owns his best average starting spot -- 9.1 -- at Texas Motor Speedway. Earnhardt has an average finish of 14.9 at Daytona.

IN THE 400: Earnhardt has scored one win, three top-five finishes and six top-10s during 10 appearances in the annual July event at Daytona. Earnhardt, who will drive a No. 88 National Guard "8 Soldiers 8 Missions"/AMP Energy Chevrolet, led 116 laps during his emotional July 7, 2001, victory. He has led a total of 242 laps during the summer classic.

A DAYTONA DOZEN: Earnhardt has 12 NASCAR wins at Daytona International Speedway. Notably, he won the 2004 Daytona 500, the 2001 Pepsi 400, two Budweiser Shootouts (2003 and 2008) and five Nationwide Series events. Earnhardt also won his Gatorade Duel qualifying races in 2003, 2004 and 2008.

DAYTONA CHASSIS: Crew chief Lance McGrew and the No. 88 engineers will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-575. Earnhardt last raced this chassis to a 13th-place finish after qualifying seventh and leading eight laps at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in April.

DAYTONA DOUBLE: In addition to his duties behind the wheel of the No. 88 National Guard "8 Soldiers 8 Missions"/National Guard Chevrolet, Earnhardt will pilot JR Motorsports' No. 3 Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series race on Friday. The car will be serviced by his Sprint Cup Series crew. In 18 Nationwide starts at Daytona, Earnhardt has five wins, eight top-five finishes and 10 top-10s. This marks Earnhardt's second Nationwide Series start this season.

DALE EARNHARDT JR., DRIVER, NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD "8 SOLDIERS 8 MISSIONS"/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET (ON DAYTONA.): "I always look forward to going to Daytona. When I was a little kid, the greatest part of the summer was going to that race and hanging out at the beach with your buddies. It's always been one of my favorite tracks. Everyone seems a little more relaxed and laid back at Daytona in July. It's a fun race."

EARNHARDT (ON THE SPECIAL PAINT SCHEME FOR DAYTONA): "We have the National Guard '8 Soldiers 8 Missions' paint scheme this weekend. With this paint scheme, we're honoring the selfless service of eight Soldiers and all the men and women in the National Guard. It's a unique opportunity for us to call a little attention to their heroic actions. We always have a lot of Guardsmen and Guardswomen to support us during the race, so I hope they like the car. I'm excited about it. I think it's a good looking car, so hopefully we'll have a good run."

LANCE McGREW, CREW CHIEF, NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD "8 SOLDIERS 8 MISSIONS"/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET (ON DAYTONA IN JULY.): "Daytona is a tough track, and it is so slick in July. With this being an impound race you have to focus on your race setup first. Daytona is never easy to get around, and it's even more difficult in July because the track is really hard to get a hold of."

McGREW (ON THE CAMOUFLAGE PAINT SCHEME.): "The camouflage paint scheme looks really cool. It's fitting to honor the eight National Guard soldiers on the weekend of Independence Day. I have a tremendous amount of respect and gratitude for what the armed services do for us, and I take a lot of pride in the fact that we represent them. A win would be a really cool way to thank all those who serve our country."

-source: hendrick motorsports

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Carl Edwards
Teams Hendrick Motorsports , JR Motorsports