|Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 8/1 to win Coke Zero 400.|
“I have great memories at all of these tracks, Daytona included. I am going to be coming back to these tracks whether I’m driving or not, and I want to continue to be part of the sport. It’s hard for me to put into words what it being my last Cup race at Daytona might feel like because I don’t know what that is going to feel like, and you never say never. Our whole idea on finishing up the season is to try to show our appreciation and express that to our fans and everyone in the industry on making this an incredibly enjoyable ride."
Earnhardt on his legacy
“I think the wins are great. I enjoyed celebrating those, but long after your career, guys come along and win races and some of your accomplishments on the track sort of get forgotten. But, who you are as a person never gets forgotten. People never forget who you were. I hope people just thought I was good and honest and represented the sport well. I hope people that work with me enjoyed working with me, whether it was in the Late Model ranks or whatever; and I hope the guys I raced against enjoyed racing with me. That’s really all that will matter. Hopefully I left a good impression. I’ve had a lot of fun.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, will visit the Daytona International Speedway media center at 1 p.m. local time on Friday, June 30.
DAYTONA LEGACY: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had his share of success at Daytona International Speedway, adding to the Earnhardt family legacy at the historic track. The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has four wins – the most of any active driver – including two Daytona 500 victories (2004 and 2014). He also has earned seven non-points victories at the speedway. He is tied for the most top-five finishes (13) among active drivers and leads active drivers in top-10 finishes (19), laps led (601) and best average starting position (10.2) at the track. Earnhardt is in a five-way tie for seventh on the Daytona all-time wins list. His most recent victory at Daytona came in the summer race two years ago on July 5, 2015.
LOOP DATA: Along with his all-time statistics, Earnhardt ranks high in NASCAR’s loop data stats among active drivers since 2005 at the 2.5-mile, D-shaped oval. He leads in laps run in the top 15 (2,917) and speed on restarts (177.290 mph); he ranks second in average running position (13.634) and driver rating (94.2); third in green-flag passes (5,214) and quality passes (3,522); and fourth in fastest laps run (100).
#APPRECI88ION TOUR: On Tuesday, Earnhardt announced a five-month campaign called JR Nation Appreci88ion, which will start this weekend at Daytona and carry through the end of the 2017 season, his last as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver. The Appreci88ion campaign will celebrate Earnhardt’s historic career while offering gestures of gratitude to everyone who made the ride possible. Throughout, fans can join the celebration by using the #Appreci88ion hashtag on social media. Earnhardt himself will be using it to share weekly videos recounting memories and milestones from each of the upcoming tracks the remainder of the season. JR Nation Appreci88ion merchandise will be available at the Dale Earnhardt Jr. souvenir trailers at the track and at ShopJRNation.com. More information on the Appreci88ion campaign can be found at DaleJr.com.
PINK GLOVES: During the month of July, Earnhardt will be wearing gloves accented in pink to represent Therapeutic Recreation Week as part of The Dale Jr. Foundation’s ongoing Driven to Give Gloves program. Earnhardt’s race-worn gloves will be auctioned off to raise funds for Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s clinical and research programs. Nationwide Children’s is America’s largest pediatric hospital and research center with all care provided regardless of a family’s ability to pay.
PATIENT CHAMPION AND FRIEND: Maddie Delaney will have her name above the passenger door of Earnhardt’s No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS this weekend at Daytona through Nationwide’s Patient Champion program, which is paired with The Dale Jr. Foundation's Driven to Give Gloves. Maddie, 10, has cerebral palsy. When Maddie was just 2, she underwent a six-hour spinal surgery to release the built-up tension in her legs. She spent almost an entire month on the PT floor at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. But, through it all, Maddie never gave up and maintained a positive, upbeat attitude. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious and she inevitably brightens the day of everyone she meets – including the Earnhardts. On one of his first trips to Nationwide Children’s, Earnhardt met Maddie – she subsequently beat him in a Wii game – and in every visit since, both Earnhardt and his wife Amy make sure to stop by and play a video game or hang out with Maddie. Maddie is currently pursuing her black belt in Tae Kwon Do and enjoys swimming, singing and acting.
NATIONWIDE PET PROMOTION: Pet owners can visit www.pawsandracing.com to learn more about Nationwide’s pet insurance and submit a photo of their pet(s) to enter to win a VIP race experience including travel to the Sept. 24 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a meet-and-greet with Gus and Earnhardt and their pet’s image will be featured on the TV panel of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS during the Sept. 24 race weekend. Additional first prize winners will receive a Nationwide Pet Accessory Kit plus a No. 88 Nationwide die-cast car signed by Earnhardt.