Dale Earnhardt Jr - NNS Daytona Preview
AT DAYTONA – In 15 Nationwide Series starts at Daytona International Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has recorded five wins, eight top-fives, nine top-10s and led a total of 481 laps. He has an average starting position of 12.8 and an average finish of 10.7. In his last outing at Daytona last July, Earnhardt Jr. qualified fifth and took the checkers in third.
IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES – In 106 career starts in the Nationwide Series, Earnhardt Jr. has recorded 22 wins, 49 top-five finishes, 68 top-10s and nine pole positions. He won the series championship in 1998 and 1999 and has competed in at least one Nationwide Series event in 13 of the past 14 years (none in 2000). He has maintained an average starting position of 11.4 and an average finish of 14.5.
SEVEN IN 2009 – Earnhardt Jr. will make his first of seven starts in the Nationwide Series this weekend at DIS. His other six starts will come at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway (FASTENAL), Talladega Superspeedway, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, DIS (July) (Fastenal), and Atlanta Motor Speedway.
MAKING HIS DAYTONA DEBUT – Crew Chief Brian Campe will be making his first start at Daytona as leader of the No. 5 Hellmann’s team. Campe served as crew chief for the No. 5 at the last two races of the season at Phoenix and Homestead-Miami in 2008.
CHASSIS NO. 451 – The No. 5 team will run JR Motorsports chassis No. 451 at Daytona. Earnhardt Jr. ran this car at Daytona last July where he qualified fifth and finished third. He also ran this car in Daytona last February, qualifying 21st and finishing third.
DALE EARNHARDT JR. (on running the Nationwide Series race at Daytona) – “This race has always been one I’ve enjoyed running. Even when I do just a handful of Nationwide races each year, this is one that’s always on the calendar. We’ve had good success at Daytona over the years, but I’ve yet to take one of my JR Motorsports cars to Victory Lane, so that’s something I’d like to do. We’ll have a good time this week. We’ve got new sponsors to show off, and we’re really happy to have Unilever on board with their Hellmann’s brand on this No. 5 car. It’s a sharp-looking car, and I’ve got big plans for it this week.”
DALE EARNHARDT JR. (on his expectations for the No. 5 team this season) – “This 5 team is solid, and we’ve got enough good people and good drivers to expect nothing less than a couple of wins this year, just like we did last year. Brian Campe is very knowledgeable, and I trust his judgment when it comes to running this team. I think he and Pops (Tony Eury Sr., crew chief of the No. 88 team) will work well together. It would be great to have this 5 car run full-time, but we’re fortunate to have acquired enough financial backing for 21 races. I have to thank Fastenal and Unilever both for joining our team and helping us get this 5 car on the track this year.”
BRIAN CAMPE (on his first race at Daytona as crew chief of the No. 5 team) – “The pressure is the biggest thing. We don’t have to worry about making the race because we’re locked in on points, so that takes a little bit of the pressure off. The biggest thing is just giving Dale what he needs. Daytona is so different than most of the places we race at. It’s a different animal. We need to make sure we get a good car that we’re competitive with. Everyone expects Dale Jr. to be competitive and if he’s not, it’s not the driver. He has done well at Daytona in the past, so that will fall on our shoulders.”
BRIAN CAMPE (on what would be a satisfactory finish at Daytona) – “A win would be satisfying. Dale Jr. has won there a lot and a win is the only thing that we want. You can’t top a win, you can only equal it. The only way for us accomplish our goal is to go out there and win the race.”