Ponoco: Dale Earnhardt Jr. preview

POINTS AFTER CHARLOTTE: After finishing 22nd last week at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Earnhardt currently ranks 17th in the championship standings. He trails 12th-place Ryan Newman by 54 points. CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend, crew chief...

POINTS AFTER CHARLOTTE: After finishing 22nd last week at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Earnhardt currently ranks 17th in the championship standings. He trails 12th-place Ryan Newman by 54 points.

CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend, crew chief Lance McGrew and the No. 88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-584. Earnhardt picked up the pole position at Atlanta Motor Speedway and went on to score a 15th-place finish with this chassis in March.

PENNSYLVANIA NATIVES: Four members of the No. 88 Chevrolet team consider the Keystone State home. Spotter T.J. Majors, 29, hails from Wampum, Pa., where he grew up racing dirt tracks in western Pennsylvania and in 2003 was named the Goody's Dash Series Rookie of the Year. Gas man Chris Fasulka, a native of Wilkes-Barre, is a 1990 graduate of James M. Coughlin High School and has been at Hendrick Motorsports since 2002. Rear-tire carrier Matt Myers, who played football at Wake Forest University, is from Ford City, while transporter driver Dave Radney is from Canton.

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DALE EARNHARDT JR., DRIVER, NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET (ON POCONO.): "Pocono is one of the more difficult tracks we go to because all three of the corners are so different. It can be tough to get your car to handle good through all three of the turns. The tunnel turn (Turn 2) is probably the most challenging corner of the year."

LANCE McGREW, CREW CHIEF, NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET (ON WHICH TURN YOU CONCENTRATE ON AT POCONO.): "In the past I have always concentrated on Turn 3 because I felt like that one led to the longest straightaway and led to the finish line. But here lately, over the years racing there a bunch of times, the Tunnel Turn (Turn 2) seems to be the make-or-break-it turn. You can make some really good passes off the Tunnel Turn if your car is good there. Dale has managed to get through Turn 3 without it being a problem. Because the three turns are so different, there's enough lines through Turn 1 that you can make something work but the tunnel turn, if you are really good through there, you can really carry so much speed through there. It makes such a difference in your lap times that you can pass a lot of people there."

McGREW (ON THE DEMANDS ON THE ENGINE AT POCONO.): "In the past when we were shifting and everything else, the RPMs got to be so great. Since they have passed the legislation in NASCAR where they mandate our rear gear, it's not as challenging on the engine guys. It's challenging to build a broader horsepower curve so the engine pulls good at a low RPM that it comes off the corner and still has power at the top side. That's probably more challenging to those guys, but you don't seem to have the valve train issues that we used to have because we aren't turning the engines quite as hard."

-source: hm

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