|Dale Earnhardt Jr is 30/1 to win at Kansas Saturday.|
“Kansas is a great racetrack for me. That place has widened out pretty good and you can run against the fence there, which is a line that I like to run. It’s a very fast racetrack and very smooth – a lot of fun, so we should have a good time.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Mountain Dew DEW-S-A Chevrolet SS, will visit the Kansas Speedway media center at 12 p.m. local time on Friday, May 12.
‘DEGA RECAP: With a strong effort in qualifying, Dale Earnhardt Jr. started last Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway from the outside pole, and after battling inside the top five for large portions of the first two stages, he got shuffled to mid-pack before final stage began. In the final segment, he began pushing back toward the front. When a multiple-car incident occurred with 20 laps to go, Earnhardt avoided contact and moved all the way up to third. With 15 laps to go in the scheduled distance, he found himself in third but had to head to pit road for a loose wheel, falling a lap down. A caution flag with 10 laps remaining gave him a free pass back to the lead lap. By the time the checkered flag waved after an overtime restart, Earnhardt crossed the finish line in 22nd.
KANSAS STATS: While Earnhardt has yet to win a race at Kansas Speedway, he’s earned solid stats at the mile-and-a-half track. The driver of the No. 88 Mountain Dew DEW-S-A Chevrolet SS has one pole (2002) at the speedway. He’s earned top-five finishes in two of the last five races at Kansas, and in the other three he encountered issues unrelated to the speed of the car. According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Earnhardt ranks second among active drivers in the “closers” category, which represents the number of positions that a driver improves over the last 10 percent of the race. He has improved 26 positions, gaining an average of 1.6 spots. He also ranks fifth on average speed late in a run at 168.609 mph and has the sixth-best driver rating at 90.0.
SPEED ON INTERMEDIATES: The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has showed solid speed in every race on intermediate tracks this season. Earnhardt recorded a top-five finish at Texas Motor Speedway and has had a fast Chevrolet SS at the other intermediate ovals, but misfortune has plagued the No. 88 team, so the speed unfortunately doesn’t show in the finishes. In 2016, during the first stretch of intermediate tracks, Earnhardt earned two second-place finishes (Atlanta and Texas) and was eighth in Las Vegas and 11th in Fontana, California (a two-mile oval), giving him an average finish of 5.75 through those four races. His stats for the same four races in 2015 were also impressive, as he had an average finish of 4.0.
DEW-S-A: As a nod to DEW Nation, who loves mixing DEW flavors to create one-of-a-kind drink concoctions, Mountain Dew teamed up with decade-long partner Earnhardt to introduce Mtn Dew DEW-S-A – a new soda created from a combination of three fan favorites: Mtn Dew Code Red, Mtn Dew White Out and Mtn Dew Voltage. The result of the bold new Mountain Dew DEW-S-A is a united blast of flavor, guaranteed to give DEW Nation a red, white and blue way to enjoy summer. The star-spangled DEW-S-A launch features a late-night TV infomercial starring “pitchman” Earnhardt – and a fully functioning call-in number – 1-877-DEWSA-88 – for fans to hear from NASCAR’s 14-time most popular driver and to purchase the product, while supplies last. Fans can check out the infomercial when it’s released on Wednesday and continue to follow @MountainDew on Twitter for more content. Earnhardt will run the red, white and blue DEW-S-A scheme this weekend at Kansas.
LETTER TO MOM: Earnhardt wrote a letter to his mother, Brenda Jackson, as part of a Mother’s Day feature for ESPN. The touching letter and interview with Jackson and Earnhardt will air multiple times Wednesday on ESPN, starting with the first showing during the 9 a.m. ET hour of "SportsCenter."
CLOSEST TO HOME: Jacob Conley, fueler for the No. 88 Mountain Dew DEW-S-A Chevrolet SS, considers Kansas Speedway to be his home track on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit. Conley grew up about three hours away in Omaha, Nebraska, and said he was always a NASCAR fan, but had never attended a race until he started working for Hendrick Motorsports. He played football at Doane University before joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2013 as a member of the developmental pit crew. In 2015, he was backup pit crew member for the Nos. 5 and 24 teams. Conley then became a starter for the No. 88 Mountain Dew team in 2016, as one of the six primary over-the-wall crew members.