Bristol II: Dale Earnhardt Jr. preview

AT BRISTOL: In 21 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has scored one win, seven top-five finishes and 12 top-10s. The 35-year-old driver has an average finishing position of 11.4 and has completed...

AT BRISTOL: In 21 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has scored one win, seven top-five finishes and 12 top-10s. The 35-year-old driver has an average finishing position of 11.4 and has completed 98.6 percent of all laps he's attempted (10,365 of 10,513 total). He has led 743 laps at the .533-mile oval.

PERSONAL BEST: Earnhardt's 11.4 average finish at Bristol is a personal best for the driver in the Sprint Cup Series. In the last 17 races there, Earnhardt has finished 11th or better 14 times.

BEST FINISHER: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Earnhardt has the best average finish in the last 11 Cup Series races at Bristol. Earnhardt, who recorded eight top-10s during the last 11 events, has an average finish of 8.4 and is the only driver with an average finish in the top-10 during that span.

DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Earnhardt ranks 11th in the driver rating category at Bristol Motor Speedway with a score of 89.1. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, 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 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.

POINTS REPORT: Earnhardt currently ranks 17th in the championship standings and sits 129 points outside the top 12 with three races remaining until the field is set for the Chase to the Sprint Cup. The next three tracks -- Bristol, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Richmond (Va.) International Raceway -- are ones the Series already has visited, and that might give Earnhardt an edge. Of the six drivers currently ranked 12th through 17th in the driver standings, Earnhardt has the second-best 2010 combined average finish at those three tracks.

CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend, crew chief Lance McGrew and the No. 88 engineers will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-578, which last was raced at Dover (Del.) International Speedway in May where Earnhardt finished 30th.

BRISTOL DOUBLE: In addition to his duties behind the wheel of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, Earnhardt will pilot JR Motorsports' No. 88 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Friday. In eight Nationwide starts at Bristol, Earnhardt has one win, two pole positions, four top-five finishes and six top-10s. This marks Earnhardt's third Nationwide Series start this season. Most recently, he drove the No. 3 Chevrolet to Victory Lane in the Nationwide event at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on July 2.

HENDRICK AT BRISTOL: Hendrick Motorsports has nine wins, 41 top-five finishes, 75 top-10s and 10 pole positions in 53 events (163 starts) at Bristol. Jimmie Johnson earned his first win at the short track in March after leading 84 laps.

DALE EARNHARDT JR., DRIVER, NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON THURSDAY'S LIVE AMP CHAT.): "I participated in the AMPUPthe88.com chat at the beginning of the year and had a lot of fun with it, and I think the fans enjoyed it, too. With the online stuff, it's obviously not a face-to-face meeting but its comfortable, and I can be candid. The fans can watch from their living room and be relaxed. I'm looking forward to Thursday and talking to the fans at Bristol and online."

EARNHARDT (ON BRISTOL.): "Bristol is one of the best places to see a race. Everybody's sitting right on top of the racetrack. There's nothing else that really compares to Saturday night racing at Bristol. I like racing there and have enjoyed some success at the track."

LANCE McGREW, CREW CHIEF, NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON EARNHARDT RACING THE CUP AND NATIONWIDE SERIES EVENTS AT BRISTOL.): "I think extra time on the track is good. We always seem to run good there, but we really struggle at qualifying. We are going to put some extra emphasis on that this time so hopefully that will pay off, and we won't have to come from so far back to get up front."

McGREW (ON IF THE NEW SPOILER WILL AFFECT RACING AT BRISTOL.): "The cars don't really drive that much different with the spoiler, and it doesn't affect the aero balance. Not that the aero has a lot to do with Bristol. I don't think you will really see a difference short of the deck lids coming off when they hit the wall, and cars tend to hit the wall a lot more at Bristol."

McGREW (ON THE EXCITEMENT OF NIGHT RACING AT BRISTOL.): "The Bristol venue in itself is just good racing there. There's not a bad seat in the house, especially at night time. You see sparks flying, cars banging into each other and it's loud. It's just fun. If you talk to a guy that grew up racing, he's excited about night racing because it reminds you so much more of what you grew up doing as opposed to the Sunday afternoon race."

-source: hm

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