Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dale Earnhardt Jr Team Preview: 2012 Quicken Loans 400 @ Michigan

Big Fathers Day weekend, Junior should run well (Getty) 
Preview: NSCS Michigan Preview: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Venue: Michigan International Speedway (Two-mile oval)
Event: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (Race 15 of 36)

News & Notes

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mountain Dew have teamed up with the summer blockbuster "The Dark Knight Rises" to race a specially-wrapped No. 88 Batman-themed Chevrolet at Michigan International Speedway. The winning paint scheme was one of four voted on by DEW Crew members in late May, and features the iconic Batman logo on the hood and the faces of the two leading characters, Batman and Bane, on each side.

TOP-10 FINISHES: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/The Dark Knight Rises/National Guard Chevrolet, earned his 11th top-10 finish of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season after he crossed the line eighth last Sunday at Pocono Raceway. Earnhardt's 11 top-10 finishes lead all drivers in the Cup Series. Earnhardt earned a career-best 21 top 10s in 2004.

POINTS AFTER POCONO: After finishing eighth last week at Pocono Raceway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. currently ranks second in the championship standings. He trails leader Matt Kenseth by 10 points.

MICHIGAN WIN: Earnhardt's June 15, 2008, victory at Michigan International Speedway was his first win in a points-paying event for Hendrick Motorsports and his most recent win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Earnhardt started the race third and led 14 laps on his way to the checkered flag.

AT MICHIGAN: In 25 Cup starts at Michigan, Earnhardt has recorded one win, two pole positions, four top-five finishes and eight top-10s. He has completed 99.1 percent of all laps he's attempted (4,851 laps of 4,894 total) and led 173 laps.

MICHIGAN POLES: Earnhardt's two career pole positions at Michigan are tied for first as career-bests for the 37-year-old driver. He also has captured two career poles at Texas Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.

LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR's loop data, Earnhardt has the Cup Series' eighth-best average running position (12.902) during the last 14 races at Michigan. In those same races, Earnhardt has an 11.6 average finish, ranking him fourth overall among active drivers

DRIVER RATING: Earnhardt ranks 10th in the driver rating category at Michigan with a score of 94.2. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, 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 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.

CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend, crew chief Steve Letarte and the No. 88 crew will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-716. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis to a seventh-place finish at Kansas Speedway in April.

HENDRICK AT MICHIGAN: In 56 races (178 starts) at Michigan, Hendrick Motorsports has five wins, 40 top-five finishes and 75 top-10s. Jeff Gordon ranks tied for first among active drivers with 18 top-five finishes, and he leads active full-time drivers with five pole positions and 950 laps led.


DALE EARNHARDT JR., DRIVER, NO. 88 DIET MOUNTAIN DEW/THE DARK KNIGHT RISES/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY.): "I'm looking forward to going to Michigan and testing there for the day. With the repave some things might be similar to Pocono. We learned a lot during the five days up there and hopefully we can go to Michigan with some of that stuff we learned and have a strong car."

LVH SUPERBOOK ODDS: Earnhardt Jr opened up at 12-to-1. Jimmie Johnson is the 5-to-1 favorite even though Johnson is 0-for-20 in career at Michigan. 

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