Dale Earnhardt Jr. will make his fourth and final NASCAR Nationwide Series start of the season this Saturday in the Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola. His participation could be just what the doctor ordered – for his teammate Regan Smith, who pilots the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet for Earnhardt and is third in the standings, 26 points behind leader Sam Hornish Jr.
With both drivers in the race, one can only suspect that both Earnhardt and Smith along with their teams will be more than willing to share notes on car set-ups and racing conditions in an effort to help the latter move up the standings.
Earnhardt’s first three NNS races of the season came in the season opener at Daytona where he finished fourth, Las Vegas in March (14th) and April’s Texas race (fourth). Smith finished 14th, seventh and seventh in the same three races. In addition, he’s captured victories at Talladega and Michigan.
Earnhardt, who won back-to-back NNS titles in 1998-1999, has made one previous start at the 1.5-mile oval. He finished 15th in 2006. In 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at the track, he has one victory (2005), three top fives and five top 10s.
In four NNS starts at Chicagoland, Smith’s best finish is 13th this past July. He placed 26th, 40th and 28th in his three other starts.