Dale Earnhardt Jr - Texas Preview
PREVIEW – Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 5 Fastenal Chevrolet)
EVENT – O’Reilly 300 (200 laps/300 miles)
TRACK – Texas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile quad-oval)
DATE – Saturday, April 4, 2009
TEXAS TWO STEP- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is one of only two active drivers to earn his first victory in NASCAR’s top-two series at the same track according to NASCAR Statistical Services (Carl Edwards accomplished the feat at Atlanta Motor Speedway). Earnhardt Jr. earned his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory at Texas Motor Speedway in 1998, and followed up with his first Sprint Cup Series win at the same track in 2000.
FAST WITH FASTENAL – This weekend will mark the first of a 14-race sponsorship package with Fastenal, America’s leading fastener distributer. He will share driving duties of the Fastenal Chevy throughout the year with Ryan Newman (four races) and Scott Wimmer (six races).
AT TEXAS – In only three Nationwide Series starts at Texas Motor Speedway, Earnhardt Jr. has one win, one top-five and three top-10s. He has an average start of 12.7 and an average finish of 6.0. Earnhardt Jr.’s most recent start at Texas came last spring when he finished seventh.
QUALITY NOT QUANTITY – NASCAR’s Loop Statistics claim that Earnhardt Jr. is ranked first in quality passes - a pass made under the green flag on a car inside the top-15 - at TMS. The Mooresville, N.C., native, has performed a total of 31 quality passes in his past three races at the 1.5-mile facility.
NEXT UP – Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s next race in the Nationwide Series will come at Talladega Superspeedway in April in the GoDaddy.com Chevrolet.
CHASSIS – The No. 5 Fastenal team will run chassis 299. Mark Martin last raced it at Texas in the fall where he finished third.
EARNHARDT JR. (on the debut of new sponsor Fastenal) – “It’s a pleasure to welcome Fastenal to our program, and we’re looking forward to a strong partnership with them. Before the season started we were planning on only being able to run seven races in this No. 5 car, due to sponsorship and whatnot. But Fastenal came in, and we were able to add 14 races to the plate and bring in quality drivers like Ryan Newman and Scott Wimmer to drive the Fastenal car this year. It’s pretty exciting when you think about it, and I’m looking forward to kicking off the partnership this weekend. Texas has always been a strong track for us. I can’t think of a better place to debut the new colors on the No. 5 Chevy.”
EARNHARDT JR. (on his Nationwide Series season so far) – “We had a slow start for both teams, but I think it’s coming around. We were able to score a top-five at Las Vegas. It was good to just bring that car home with a top-five finish. The team really needed it. We need Brad (Keselowski) and the No. 88 team to have a good weekend. It’s been a slow start for them as well, and if they can just get a couple of consecutive solid finishes, it will help their confidence and hopefully build some momentum.”