Martinsville: Dale Earnhardt Jr. preview

AMP ENERGY SUGAR FREE LIGHTNING: Earnhardt's No. 88 Chevrolet will showcase a silver and yellow paint scheme this weekend at Martinsville Speedway to feature AMP Energy's newest flavor -- AMP Energy Sugar Free Lightning. It tastes like lemonade...

AMP ENERGY SUGAR FREE LIGHTNING: Earnhardt's No. 88 Chevrolet will showcase a silver and yellow paint scheme this weekend at Martinsville Speedway to feature AMP Energy's newest flavor -- AMP Energy Sugar Free Lightning. It tastes like lemonade and has all the power of AMP Energy, just without the sugar.

AT MARTINSVILLE: In 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Martinsville Speedway, Earnhardt has scored eight top-five finishes and 10 top-10s. He has led 758 laps at the short track -- a personal track best for the 35-year-old driver -- and completed 98.5 percent of all the laps he's attempted there (9,856 laps of 10,011 total).

POINTS REPORT: Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy Sugar Free Lightning/National Guard Chevrolet, improved five spots to eighth in the Sprint Cup driver standings after finishing seventh last weekend at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend, crew chief Lance McGrew and the No. 88 crew will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-562. This is a brand new chassis that the team tested in February at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, N.C.

DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Earnhardt is ranked fifth in the driver rating category at Martinsville with a score of 98.8. 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.

TOP FIVES: Earnhardt's eight top-five finishes at Martinsville match his personal best at a track. He also has eight top-fives at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Richmond (Va.) International Raceway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.

OLD DOMINION STATE BOYS: Three members of the No. 88 team call the Commonwealth 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. Car chief David Bryant calls Farmville his hometown, and tire specialist Keith Eads was born in Arlington.

HENDRICK AT MARTINSVILLE: Hendrick Motorsports is the winningest active team at Martinsville with 18 victories and trails Petty Enterprises all-time by just one win. Hendrick also leads all teams in laps led with 6,524 at the short track. Hendrick has 18 wins, 55 top-five finishes and 89 top-10s in 52 events (158 starts) at Martinsville Speedway.

DALE EARNHARDT JR., DRIVER, NO. 88 AMP ENERGY SUGAR FREE LIGHTNING/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON BEING IN THE TOP 12 IN POINTS.): "It feels good. It's more of a relief than anything. We've got five races in the bank. We just need to keep working on one after another and do the best that we can. The real, real important thing is to get everything we can out of every week. Even if you are having a bad day, you need to get everything you can out of it, even if it does sound cliche."

LANCE McGREW, CREW CHIEF, NO. 88 AMP ENERGY SUGAR FREE LIGHTNING/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON USING THE SPOILER AT MARTINSVILLE.): "I don't think you are going to see too much of a difference at Martinsville. At Martinsville, there's not a whole lot of aerodynamic advantages. It's going to be the least affected at Martinsville of all the places we go. We'll see more of a difference at Phoenix and Texas."

McGREW (ON RACING SHORT TRACKS BRISTOL AND MARTINSVILLE BACK-TO-BACK.): "They are so different. Bristol is more like going to Atlanta. It's not so short track-y other than it's small. Bristol is so fast and the corner speeds are so high that there is no comparison between Martinsville and Bristol."

-source: hm

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