Thursday, June 3, 2010

DALE EARNHARDT JR May Have Horsepower To Roll Strong At Pocono

AT POCONO: In 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Pocono Raceway, Earnhardt has recorded one pole position, five top-five finishes and six top-10s. He has completed 96.6 percent of all laps he's attempted (3,753 laps of 3,885 total). The 35-year-old driver has led a total of 98 laps there.

PEPSI REFRESH PROJECT: The Pepsi Refresh Project is a groundbreaking effort to foster innovation in social good that will award more than $20 million this year to fund great ideas that improve America's communities.

POCONO POLE POSITION: Earnhardt has one Sprint Cup pole position at Pocono, which he earned in August 2007 when he also led eight laps and finished second. The runner-up effort matched his best performance at the Long Pond, Pa., track. Earnhardt also finished second there on July 29, 2001, after leading 31 laps.

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.

HENDRICK AT POCONO: In 52 Cup events (165 starts) at Pocono Raceway, Hendrick Motorsports has scored 11 wins, 11 pole positions, 48 top-five finishes and 84 top-10s. Gordon has visited Victory Lane the most for Hendrick, with four trips. The organization's most recent Pocono win came with Gordon in June 2007.

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.

JUST DOWN THE ROAD: PepsiCo's Purchase, N.Y., headquarters is located 125 miles east of Pocono Raceway. The company, which sponsors Earnhardt's car with its AMP Energy brand, has been headquartered in Purchase since 1970.

CELL PHONES FOR SOLDIERS: Helping American troops keep in touch with their loved ones is now as easy as bringing a gently used mobile phone to a NASCAR event. Cell Phones for Soldiers raises money through the collection of gently used mobile phones and will have drop-off boxes at 16 race events in 2010. In addition to helping troops call home, the first 100 fans donating gently used phones at each track will receive a hat, courtesy of the GM Military Discount program. During the last six years, Cell Phones for Soldiers has provided more than one million pre-paid calling cards and 60 million minutes of calling time to soldiers overseas. Visit for information on how to donate at one of 3,000 collection points nationwide or to download a pre-paid, pre-addressed mailing label.

GUARD GARAGE: Visit and join the Guard Garage Fan Club to stay up-to-date with Guard drivers and score free ringtones, wallpapers and more.

FREE JR NATION FAN CLUB: Now race fans can get a free subscription to the JR Nation Crew Fan Club -- the official fan club of Earnhardt and JR Motorsports. The club's website features chat rooms, forums and blogs. For more information visit

AMP UP THE 88: Mike Davis, JR Motorsports' director of communications, will participate in a live video chat with fans on Wednesday from 6-6:30 p.m. ET on AMP Energy's website, The site features weekly chats with a special guest or a member of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard team, daily sweepstakes with autographed No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard team memorabilia, videos, photos and more.

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."

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