Fontana II: Dale Earnhardt Jr. preview

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, will celebrate his 36th birthday on Sunday. In his 12th year of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing, Earnhardt has tallied 18 wins, nine pole positions, 91...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, will celebrate his 36th birthday on Sunday. In his 12th year of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing, Earnhardt has tallied 18 wins, nine pole positions, 91 top-five finishes and 149 top-10s.

CALIFORNIA CHASSIS: Crew chief Lance McGrew and the No. 88 engineers will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-612 this weekend in California. Earnhardt first raced this chassis last month at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he finished 22nd.

DALE EARNHARDT JR., DRIVER, NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY.): "We have had some decent runs at California, but just haven't had the luck. The thing about California is that you can hunt around as the groove changes. You've got to have that adjustability in your setup. My teammates have been good there, and they are a good reference."

LANCE McGREW, CREW CHIEF, NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON THE CHALLENGES OF WEST COAST TRAVEL.):"Getting used to the time change is difficult for me. It's like you never get rested because you wind up staying up way too late on Eastern time. You wind up eating late, staying up way too late but still getting up at the same time because your body never changes. It's difficult to get adjusted in just a couple of days, and by the time you do get adjusted you are back home."

McGREW (ON THE NO. 88 TEAM AT CALIFORNIA.): "We were really good and had a flat there last fall. Earlier this year, we broke an axel. I think it's a track that Dale likes, and he has run really well there. I hope that we can put together something consistent. I feel our intermediate program in general hasn't been where it needs to be. I'm not really sure where we got off because we were really good in the beginning of the season. Somewhere along the way we've lost something, and we've tried package after package to get back some of that speed that we seem to have lost. We have struggled to find something that is both comfortable and fast. We have found something that is fast, but not comfortable. It just seems to be difficult with this tire, with this car, with this scenario that it's difficult to find both."

McGREW (ON THE CHALLENGES AT CALIFORNIA.): "In the past, it's been random practice times versus race time. It's difficult to figure out what the track is going to do. There are a lot of challenges at California. It's probably the most difficult place we go to on engines. The durability testing we do on our valve train is based on the California drive files. It has the most lingering rpm where there's just not a lot of change from high rpm to low rpm there because the track has sweeping corners, so you are in the gas a lot. There are a lot of engine failures there. It's a big track -- it's hard to hone in on the car to be good in one spot. As the groove moves around, it's just so wide, your setup is kind of generic because you've got to move around and you have to build in a lot of adjustability in like most places but it seems like there it's harder to hone in on it. As the surface gets older, it gets slicker and slicker."

-source: hendrick motorsport

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Teams Hendrick Motorsports