HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, will celebrate his 38th birthday on Wednesday, Oct. 10. In 14 years of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing, Earnhardt has tallied 19 wins, 11 pole positions, 105 top-five finishes and 180 top-10s in 465 starts.
POINTS WITH SIX TO GO: Earnhardt currently ranks 11th in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup after finishing 20th at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway last weekend. With six races remaining in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, Earnhardt trails leader Brad Keselowski by 51 points.
CUP DEBUT: Earnhardt made his Cup debut on May 30, 1999, at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Then 24 years old, Earnhardt started the event eighth and finished 16th.
FIRST POLE POSITION: Earnhardt earned his first career Cup Series pole position at his hometown track during his rookie year in 2000. He lined up first for the 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in just his 17th start in the Cup Series and finished the race fourth.
AT CHARLOTTE: In 26 Cup starts at Charlotte, Earnhardt has recorded one pole position, five top-five finishes and 11 top-10s. He has completed 95.1 percent of all the laps he’s attempted (8,865 laps of 9,318 total) at the 1.5-mile oval. Earnhardt has led a total of 324 laps there.
CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend at Charlotte, crew chief Steve Letarte and the No. 88 crew will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-726. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis to an eighth-place finish at the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway in September.
INTERMEDIATE TRACK STATS: In 223 Cup starts on intermediate (one- to two-mile) tracks, Earnhardt has recorded six wins, six pole positions, 43 top-five finishes and 86 top-10s. He has a 16.5 average starting position and an average finishing position of 16.7 on these racetracks.
HENDRICK AT CHARLOTTE: In 57 events (191 starts) at Charlotte, Hendrick Motorsports has 17 wins, which ranks as the best all-time among teams at the 1.5-mile oval. Kasey Kahne most recently won the 600-mile event there in May and has four career victories at Charlotte. His Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon rank first and second, respectively, among active drivers in wins at the 1.5-mile track, and Johnson needs one more victory there to break a three-way tie for first all time with NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip. Hendrick Motorsports has 50 top-five finishes and 78 top-10s and has led 3,930 laps at Charlotte since 1984.
RUNNER-UP STREAK: Gordon again kept Hendrick Motorsports’ streak of second-place finishes intact by taking runner-up honors on Oct. 7 at Talladega. Currently, the organization has seven straight runner-up results, dating back to Aug. 25 when Johnson finished second at Bristol (Tenn.). In 30 races this season, the four Hendrick teammates have combined to record 13 runner-up finishes.
TEAM STATS: Hendrick Motorsports’ 17 victories at Charlotte rank second for the organization behind Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, where it has recorded a team-best 18 wins. Its 15 pole positions at Charlotte also rank second for the team, tied with Martinsville and just behind Richmond (Va.) International Raceway where the team has earned 16 pole awards.