Martinsville II: Dale Earnhardt Jr preview

HENDRICK PERFORMANCE: In his last three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has crossed the line eighth or better in his No. 88 Chevrolet to achieve an average finish of 5.33. AT MARTINSVILLE: ...

HENDRICK PERFORMANCE: In his last three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has crossed the line eighth or better in his No. 88 Chevrolet to achieve an average finish of 5.33.

AT MARTINSVILLE: Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, has scored eight top-five finishes and 10 top-10s in 19 Cup starts at the short track. He has an average starting position of 12.6 and an average finish of 13.3. Earnhardt has completed 98.4 percent of all the laps he's attempted there (9,357 of 9,510).

LAP LEADER: Earnhardt's 758 laps led at Martinsville are a personal track best for the 35-year-old driver. He has tallied 146 of those laps driving the No. 88 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports.

CHASSIS CHOICE: Interim crew chief Lance McGrew and the No. 88 engineers have chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-562 for this weekend's 500-lap event at Martinsville Speedway. This car is brand new and is the third one that McGrew has built from the ground up for Earnhardt.

DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Earnhardt is fifth in the driver rating category in the fall event at Martinsville with a 102.4 score. 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.

VIRGINIA NATIVES: Four members of the No. 88 team call the state of Virginia home. Virginia Tech graduate Brian Whitesell, who has been team manager of the Nos. 5 and 88 Chevrolets since 2005, hails from Stuarts Draft. Mechanic Jim Jenkins and team engineer Tom Stewart both grew up in coastal Hampton. Car chief David Bryant calls Farmville his hometown.

TIRE TEST: Earnhardt and the No. 88 team will participate in a Goodyear tire test at the 1.5-mile Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., this week.

HENDRICK AT MARTINSVILLE: In 51 races (154 starts) at Martinsville Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has 18 wins, 53 top-five finishes and 86 top-10s, all of which are the most for the organization at any racetrack. Most recently, Jimmie Johnson visited Victory Lane at the short track in March, commemorating the 25th anniversary of Hendrick Motorsports' first win, which happened at Martinsville on April 29, 1984.

DALE EARNHARDT JR., DRIVER, NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY.): "We've had some pretty good runs at Martinsville, and I like racing on the short tracks. Jimmie (Johnson) and Jeff (Gordon) have always run really well there and can give good advice and feedback. Lance (McGrew, crew chief) has built some good race cars for me, and he is bringing a brand new car. I think we've got a good shot."

LANCE McGREW, INTERIM CREW CHIEF, NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY.): "I think the biggest thing for Martinsville is you have to have a good-handling race car in the corner. If your car doesn't roll just right, you're going to fight forward bite issues all day, and you're not going to get in the corner right. If you can keep the car turning on the corner just right then you are going to have a good day. And obviously, staying out of trouble is key."

-credit: hm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jimmie Johnson , Tom Stewart
Teams Hendrick Motorsports