Talladega II: Dale Earnhardt Jr preview

GET ON THE 88: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet will have a different look this weekend, thanks to the "Get on the 88" promotion from AMP Energy. More than 105,000 fans signed up to put their names on the No. 88...

GET ON THE 88: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet will have a different look this weekend, thanks to the "Get on the 88" promotion from AMP Energy. More than 105,000 fans signed up to put their names on the No. 88 Chevy or pit wall banner for this weekend's AMP Energy 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The No. 88 Chevy will feature more than 70,000 names on its black-and-green paint scheme for this weekend's race, while the additional names will appear on the pit wall banner.

GOOD COMPANY: Earnhardt's five wins at Talladega are the most for him at any one track and rank him third all-time among drivers at the Alabama oval. Earnhardt's father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., leads with 10 wins at the track, while Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon has recorded six.

MOST RECENTLY AT TALLADEGA: Earnhardt Jr. scored his season-best finish of second in the spring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Talladega. He led seven times for 20 laps on his way to his first top-five finish of the season.

EARNHARDT JR. AT TALLADEGA: In 19 Sprint Cup Series starts at Talladega Superspeedway, Earnhardt Jr. has scored five wins, eight top-five finishes and 11 top-10s. He scored a record-setting four consecutive wins at the 2.66-mile oval from October 2001 to April 2003. Earnhardt Jr. has led 655 laps around the track.

LEADING LAPS: Earnhardt Jr. has led all but two of the 19 Sprint Cup races he has entered at Talladega for a total of 655 laps. He has led more career laps at only two other tracks: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (758) and Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (743).

CHASSIS CHOICE: Interim crew chief Lance McGrew and the No. 88 engineers have chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-475 for this weekend's 500-mile event at Talladega. Earnhardt Jr. last drove this chassis to a 39th-place finish Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in July after being in involved in a mid-race accident. Before that, Earnhardt Jr. raced this chassis to a season-high second-place finish at Talladega in April.

STRONG ON SUPERSPEEDWAYS: In 39 Cup Series starts on superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega), Earnhardt Jr. has recorded seven wins, 14 top-five finishes and 22 top-10s. He has a 14.3 average starting position and an average finishing position of 14.9.

DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Earnhardt Jr. is fifth in the driver rating category at Talladega with a 90.1 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.

TIRE TEST: Following Sunday's race, Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 88 team will participate in a Goodyear tire test at Daytona on Monday and Tuesday.

HENDRICK AT TALLADEGA: Earnhardt Jr.'s second-place finish in the April event at Talladega was the highest that day for Hendrick Motorsports, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this season. Hendrick Motorsports has won 10 races and led 1,891 laps at Talladega, both track records. Additionally, Hendrick drivers have scored 41 top-five finishes and 59 top-10s there.

TOP ENGINE BUILDERS: On Oct. 21, Matt Pennell and Scott Vester built their Chevrolet R07 engine in record time (22 minutes and 57 seconds) to win the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown at Hendrick Motorsports. Pennell, a Hendrick Automotive Group (HAG) technician, partnered with Vester, a Hendrick Motorsports engineer, to win the event. Twelve teams, each of which partnered a HAG technician with a Hendrick Motorsports engineer, participated in the two-day competition, which is held in honor of the late engine builder Randy Dorton and sponsored by MAHLE-Clevite.

AMP ENERGY 500 STAGE: On Saturday night, Earnhardt Jr. and AMP Energy will host the Zac Brown Band in the Talladega infield. The concert is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. local time, and Earnhardt Jr. will hold a 10-minute question-and-answer session with fans before the band plays. Fans can use their Sunday tickets for the AMP Energy 500 as admission to the concert.

DALE EARNHARDT JR., DRIVER, NO. 88 AMP ENERGY "GET ON THE 88"/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY.): "Talladega is a unique racetrack. It's a great race to watch, and it's a fun race to be in. It does a good job at maintaining excitement in the sport. You will never hear people complaining about the action or the level of racing. We always put on a great show, and there's always a lot of drama. It can be dangerous, but we've got a safe race car, and they get safer every year. The track has got a great history, too. We always run good here, and the fans are always great to us, so I enjoy coming here."

LANCE McGREW, INTERIM CREW CHIEF, NO. 88 AMP ENERGY "GET ON THE 88"/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON STRATEGY AT TALLADEGA.): "You can go there with a strategy if you want to, but it's not going to make a difference in how you finish, I don't think. Because you can get wrecked in the back, you can get wrecked in the front, you can get wrecked in the middle. You can get wrecked at the beginning of the race, you can get wrecked at the end of the race -- it just doesn't matter. I'm pretty sure we are going to go there with a strategy of trying to lead every lap and win. I don't think Junior is the kind of guy that likes to ride around in the back and wing it in the end. It's a track that he really enjoys going to, a track that the fans love to see him at and a track that we would love to win at."

McGREW (ON FINDING A DRAFTING PARTNER.): "It depends on everybody else's strategy. If our teammates decide to ride in the back all day, then obviously we can't draft with them. So, I think that's something you develop along the way -- if you draft well with another guy, or if you draft well with his car that particular day."

McGREW (ON JUNIOR NATION IN TALLADEGA.):"I know they love it. Junior Nation loves going to Talladega, and they love watching Dale Jr. It's amazing how passionate they are."

-credit: hm

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