Phoenix II: Dale Earnhardt Jr preview

AT PHOENIX: In 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Phoenix International Raceway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has scored two wins, four top-five finishes and seven top-10s. He won back-to-back races in 2003 and 2004, when the venue hosted one event...

AT PHOENIX: In 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Phoenix International Raceway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has scored two wins, four top-five finishes and seven top-10s. He won back-to-back races in 2003 and 2004, when the venue hosted one event during the season. Earnhardt has led 460 laps around the one-mile track.

HENDRICK POWERED: In three starts at Phoenix with Hendrick Motorsports, Earnhardt has notched two top-10 finishes and led 150 laps. In this race last November, he drove the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet to a sixth-place finish -- his best result at PIR with Hendrick Motorsports.

CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend, crew chief Lance McGrew and the No. 88 engineers will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-541. Earnhardt last raced this chassis at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September. He spent most of the race inside the top 10 and was running fourth when he was involved in an accident with 17 laps remaining. He finished 35th.

INTERMEDIATE TRACK STATS: In 173 Cup starts on intermediate (one- to two-mile) tracks, Earnhardt has recorded six wins, five pole positions, 37 top-five finishes and 67 top-10s. On one-mile tracks, such as Phoenix, he ranks eighth among active, full-time drivers in the laps led category (826 laps) and seventh in top-10 finishes (14 total).

HENDRICK AT PHOENIX: Hendrick Motorsports, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, has seven wins, 23 top-five finishes and 44 top-10s in 26 races (91 starts) at Phoenix International Raceway.

ON A ROLL: Hendrick Motorsports drivers have won five straight races at Phoenix, with Mark Martin most recently visiting Victory Lane in April. Jimmie Johnson earned the three previous victories, while Jeff Gordon won the April 21, 2007, contest after starting from the pole position. During the last nine races at the track, Hendrick Motorsports drivers have claimed six victories and six pole positions.

DALE EARNHARDT JR., DRIVER, NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON PHOENIX.): "The car is really important at Phoenix. It takes something special to make a car work really good there. I think it's real important to have a good handling car because each corner is so different. It's tricky trying to be real good through Turns 1 and 2. There will be one or two guys that really get their cars to get through the center of the corners, and those are the guys that will be racing for the win. That seemed to be what we did when we won there. We beat everybody right down in the middle."

LANCE McGREW, CREW CHIEF, NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON PHOENIX.): "Phoenix is kind of a different racetrack because both ends are so different. It's cut real tight in (Turns) 1 and 2. You can get the car turning real good in (Turns) 1 and 2, but then you might be loose off in (Turns) 3 and 4. Your brakes are real important, and it's all about getting the car to roll. The best handling car generally is going to win that race. Because getting through traffic is difficult, it's hard to pass there. There's only a couple of passing opportunities, so it's very important to have your car handling as good as it possibly can be."

McGREW (ON KEYS TO WINNING AT PHOENIX.): "No mistakes. A bad pit stop will do you in, a loose lug nut will do you in, a bad decision on the racetrack will do you in. I think we have to stay focused as a race team and not have any mistakes because it's so hard to recover."

-credit: hm

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports