Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dale Earnhardt Jr Preview: 2012 Sonoma Toyota/Save Mart 350

Preview: NSCS Sonoma Preview: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Junior is 50-to-1 to win this week at the LVH Super Book (Getty)
Venue: Sonoma, Calif., racetrack (1.99-mile road course)
Event: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (Race 16 of 36)

News & Notes

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES: Dale Earnhardt Jr. captured his first NASCAR Sprint Cup win of the 2012 season last weekend at Michigan International Speedway. Earnhardt dominated the event by leading a race-high 95 laps and taking the checkered flag with a more than five-second margin of victory. The win is Earnhardt's 19th career victory and his second in the Cup series with Hendrick Motorsports.

POINTS AFTER MICHIGAN: After winning last weekend's race at Michigan, Earnhardt ranks second in the Sprint Cup championship standings and trails leader Matt Kenseth by four points. Earnhardt has ranked second in the standings after the 15th race of the season two other times in his career -- 2003 and 2004.

SEASON-TO-DATE STATS: After 15 races this season, Earnhardt has scored one win, six top-five finishes, 12 top-10s and led 218 laps. Earnhardt leads all drivers with 12 top-10 finishes during the season and is the only driver to complete all 4,648 laps during the first 15 races of the 2012 season.

EARNHARDT AT SONOMA: Earnhardt has scored five top-15 finishes in 12 Sprint Cup starts at Sonoma, Calif. He has completed 93.4 percent of all the laps he's attempted (1,241 laps of 1,329 total) at the 1.99-mile California road course.

CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend, crew chief Steve Letarte and the No. 88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-601. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis to a 15th-place finish at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in August last year.

HENDRICK AT SONOMA: In 23 Cup events (78 starts) at Sonoma, Hendrick Motorsports leads the competition at the road course in victories (six), top-five finishes (26), top-10s (37), pole positions (nine) and laps led (572). Jeff Gordon owns five of Hendrick Motorsports' wins at Sonoma, while Jimmie Johnson earned the organization's most recent victory there in 2010.

- Hendrick Motorsports

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