Aric Almirola No. 88 GT Vodka Chevrolet “I love racing at Bristol. I liked it a lot back when it was the old surface, and I like it with the variable banking, too. There is just something about that place that really gets me fired up to go racing. What’s not to like? You’ve got cars racing two-wide, and sometimes three-wide all day long. For a race car driver, there is nothing better than going to a little short track and having the option to run all the way up against the fence or right down on the yellow line.
“Bristol is unique in that it’s one of the few concrete tracks we race on. It makes racing a little different than your typical asphalt tracks. The concrete doesn’t change as much where the temperatures are concerned. You’re always trying to watch and see how much rubber the racetrack is taking, so you know how to adjust on your car. The pit road is tricky, too. You’ve got to make sure you know where you’re heading on pit road and where your stall is. It’s an exciting race for the fans, and there is a lot going on out on the track.”
Danica Patrick No. 7 Go Daddy Chevrolet “I’m really looking forward to running at Bristol. This is my first trip to the track, and I can’t wait for the challenge. Obviously it’s a well known circuit that always has exciting events. I’ve heard that it’s similar to Dover, a track at which I ran last season. Hopefully, that will provide a good baseline for what I can expect out there. It will be my fourth race of the season and it would be great to finish my early-season Nationwide Series run on a high note before I move over to begin the IndyCar season in late March.
“As far as Bristol goes, I haven’t seen it yet. I know that Dario (Franchitti) really liked it when he came and tried NASCAR. Nevertheless, it’s going to be an experience just like Dover, and you can’t get good at short track racing until you start doing it.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. No. 5 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet “I’m looking forward to working with Shine (Chris Heroy) again. He’s the lead engineer on the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team, and we are fortunate that they’re letting him work on this Nationwide deal since we have a third car on the track. Shine is very smart. I think he’s got what it takes to be a good crew chief, and this gives him a little bit of a pressure-free opportunity to do it. I’m not sure if he’d agree that it’s pressure free, but we’re not running for points. We’re out here to have a good time and get as much as we can for Taxslayer.
“I’m just as much interested in how our other JR Motorsports teams run this weekend. Obviously Danica has been doing well, but this is a track she’s never been to. We’ve got four practices on Friday, which is a good thing for her. She’ll use up every one of them and soak in as much knowledge as she can before Saturday’s race. Our 88 bunch needs to run better. We’ve come out of the box a little stale, and everyone has been working hard to get faster. This could be the track to turn it around. I know Aric likes Bristol a lot. Pops (Tony Eury Sr.) likes Bristol, and both have been successful there. That team needs a good solid run this weekend to get things back on track.”
JR MOTORSPORTS NOTEBOOK –
REWRITING THE RECORD BOOKS – After a fourth-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Patrick and the No. 7 Go Daddy team snapped the 62-year-old record for highest finishing female in a NASCAR national series race. The previous record was held by Sara Christian, who finished fifth at Heidelberg Raceway (Pa.) on Oct. 2, 1949. Patrick also became the first female to score a top-five finish in a Nationwide Series race. Additionally, she was the first woman to lead a lap at Daytona in a NASCAR national series race (includes NSCS, NNS and NCWTS), according to NASCAR statistical services.
EARNHARDT AT BRISTOL – In nine NNS starts, Earnhardt Jr. holds one win (fall 2004), five top-five and seven top-10 finishes at BMS. He notched two poles (spring 1998, fall 2004), has led 211 laps, and earned an average finish of 6.9. Earnhardt Jr. hasn’t finished worst than seventh in his last six NNS starts at BMS.
ALMIROLA AT BRISTOL – Almirola holds three NNS three starts at BMS, with a best finish of 10th…Five starts in NSCS competition, earning one top-10 and two top-15s…three starts in NCWTS, with one top-five and two top-10 finishes…scored a second-place finish in his most recent start (2010) at Bristol in the NCWTS.
DANICA’S SEASON – Patrick earned one top-five, one top-10 and three top-20 finishes in 2011. Prior to the start of this season, her best NNS finish was 19th at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2010.
WEEKEND SWEEPS – Earnhardt Jr. raced to three weekend sweeps during his Nationwide and Sprint Cup career to date. He swept the spring Talladega races in 2003, the season opening Daytona events in 2004, and most recently, the Bristol night races in 2004.
SHORT TRACK SUCCESS- Four of JRM’s nine career victories have come with the No. 88 Chevrolet at track’s one-mile in length or smaller, including Bristol Motor Speedway (Aug. 22, 2008), Dover International Speedway (May 31, 2009), Iowa Speedway (Aug. 1, 2009) and Memphis Motorsports Park (Oct. 24, 2009). JRM has led 422 laps on short tracks, a statistic dating back to 2006.
BULLRING STATS FOR JRM – JRM holds one win, four top-five and six top-10 finishes at Bristol with drivers Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski and Scott Wimmer. The team has led 88 laps at the facility.
TEAM JRM POINT’S POSITION – Patrick and the Go Daddy team are currently ranked fourth (-13) in the driver point standings and eighth in owner points. Driver Aric Almirola is ranked seventh (-26) in driver points and the No. 88 GT Vodka Chevrolet is 13th in owner points.
DRIVER APPEARANCES – JR Motorsports drivers Aric Almirola and Josh Wise will appear at the JR Nation merchandise hauler in the fan concourse area to sign autographs on Saturday, March 19 from 11 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
-source: jr motorsports