Daytona: JR Motorsports preview

Dale Earnhardt Jr. No. 88 Hellmann's Chevrolet What are you anticipating having Danica Patrick as your JRM teammate this weekend? "A lot of attention - for her, not me. This might be the first time we don't have to weave through cameras and...

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
No. 88 Hellmann's Chevrolet

What are you anticipating having Danica Patrick as your JRM teammate this weekend?
"A lot of attention - for her, not me. This might be the first time we don't have to weave through cameras and media reporters when walking to our car, because they'll be in Danica's garage. She handles it well, and we'll try to make sure it's not a distraction this weekend. We are there to do a job. I'm driving the Hellmann's Chevy and she's in the Go Daddy Chevy, and we'd like both to have strong runs this weekend. It's a big race for our sponsors, and it's a big race for our sport. A lot of people will be paying attention to this race this Saturday."

You finished 7th at Daytona in the Hellmann's Chevrolet last year, what does the JRM team need to do to get its first Daytona victory this weekend?
"It's a combination of things, but we've got to handle well to put ourselves in the right place at the right time. That's the key. If we're not handling, the rest of the chips don't fall into place. But I can tell you this - there's nobody I'd rather have set up my car at Daytona than (crew chief) Tony Eury Sr. He's the best there is."

It's been five years since you raced with "Pops" Eury as your crew chief in the NNS. Is this going to be like a throw-back race to the old days for you?
"Hell yeah... I'm all about throwback, especially when it comes to racing with Pops because we won so many races. It will be fun driving his car and hearing his voice on the radio. He's one of the best crew chiefs in the garage, and like I said, there's nobody better at Daytona than Pops and Tony Jr. They know what it takes to get around that place. This is going to be fun."

Danica Patrick
No. 7 Chevrolet

What's was the largest contributing factor in your decision to run the Nationwide Series race at Daytona?
"The ARCA race was a great learning experience. Obviously it's not the same as a Nationwide race, but I feel I have a much better understanding of what to expect out there on the racetrack and in the draft with the car. That had a lot to do with my decision. The amount of uncertainty surrounding the race had dwindled. After reviewing the options with my team, we decided it was the right decision to race this weekend. I feel confident in our choice."

Dale Jr. is going to be your JRM teammate this weekend, what are your thoughts on racing against your boss?
"I have to think of him as a fellow driver and teammate, not my boss. I'm really looking forward to racing with him this Saturday. Hopefully we'll be in a position to work together at some point, because I know he's a master at this track. I could learn a lot from him. It's going to be a great experience at a different racing level, and I hope it will be as much fun as last week's race."

After surviving 80 laps in the ARCA race, what did you learn from that event which will carry over to Saturday's race?
"What didn't I learn? You can talk about the race all you want and prepare as much as you can, but until you are really in the car during a race, you'll never know. That is the true test. Our team went through a lot that race. On Saturday I hope I'm able to walk away from the race knowing that I didn't leave anything on the track."

Do you have any goals for the NNS race, and what has to happen to make Saturday a good day for Danica Patrick?
"I want to do this the right way. The biggest thing is to get the car comfortable for me in practice. Our team spent a lot of time in practice for last week's race and I think it paid off in the long run. Again, I just want to run a solid race. I want tolog laps and be part of the action. I understand the draft a bit better than before, so I want the chance to work with some of the other drivers."


JRM DREAM TEAM - Two of the biggest names in racing will be paired up as JR Motorsports teammates when Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick take to the high banks of Daytona this weekend in the NASCAR Nationwide Series opener. Earnhardt Jr. will drive the No. 88 Hellmann's Chevrolet while Danica Patrick pilots the No. 7 Chevrolet in her NASCAR debut.

STARTING WITH A BANG - Patrick made her stock-car debut with much success last week in the Lucas Oil Slick 200 ARCA race. After a 12th-place start, the Roscoe, Ill. native maintained her poise during a spinout with 30 laps do go, and rallied to a sixth-place finish.

FIVE-YEAR REUNION - Tony Eury Sr. will be serving as Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief for the first time in five years this weekend. The last time "Pops" was atop the pit box for Earnhardt Jr. in the Nationwide Series, it was under the Dale Earnhardt, Inc. banner for both Daytona events in 2005. The pair's best finish was third that year. Additionally, "Pops" served as Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief when he clinched back-to-back Nationwide Series Championships in 1998 and 1999.

AT DAYTONA - In 17 starts at Daytona, Earnhardt Jr. has five wins, eight top-five and 10 top-10 finishes. He has led 481 laps and earned an average finish of 12.2.

A GUARANTEED SPOT -Patrick will be guaranteed a spot in the first three events of the NNS 2010 season based off JRM's acquisition of points from CJM Racing's No. 11 team, which finished 15th in the 2009 Nationwide Series owners point standings.

DANICA'S 2010 NNS SCHEDULE - Patrick will compete in 13 Nationwide Series races in 2010, including the first three events of the year at Daytona, California and Las Vegas. The remainder of her schedule includes races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (June 26), Chicagoland Speedway (July 9), Michigan International Speedway (Aug. 14), Dover International Speedway (Sept. 25), Auto Club Speedway (Oct. 9), Charlotte Motor Speedway (Oct. 15), Gateway International Raceway (Oct. 23), Texas Motor Speedway (Nov. 6), Phoenix International Raceway (Nov. 13), and Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 20).

-source: jr motorsports

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About this article
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Danica Patrick
Teams JRM Racing , JR Motorsports