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Strong Earnhardt finish nets two awards for Hendrick Motorsports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Feb. 16, 2010) – Thanks to strong engine performance all day and adjustments made by crew chief Lance McGrew, Dale Earnhardt Jr. dashed through the pack in the final laps of the Daytona 500 and produced a thrilling finish to the 52nd running of The Great American Race.

Earnhardt’s stellar runner-up season-opening performance secured for Hendrick Motorsports the MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Race Award and McGrew the Moog Problem Solver of the Race Award.

Both awards are part of NASCAR’s Prize Money and Decal Program, also referred to as the contingency program, which provide teams prize money and weekly awards based on performance in several categories.

Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, opened Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup event from the outside pole position and led four laps during the 500-mile event. He was running outside the top 20 on the first green-white-checkered restart, but managed to rally from 10th to second in the final two laps.

“I’m happy for my team, they worked so hard,” Earnhardt said during the post-race press conference.  “Awesome engine. Several engines were great this week. I’m just proud of the whole AMP Energy National Guard team.”

Coming off its run in Daytona, the No. 88 team currently leads the overall standings in the year-end Mahle Clevite Engine Builder Award with 17 points based on qualifying, laps led and finishing position. Hendrick Motorsports has racked-up a total of 14 MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year titles since 1984.

McGrew made exceptional calls atop the pit box, including a call in the closing laps to put on four fresh Goodyear tires, enabling Earnhardt’s final charge to the finish. For his efforts, McGrew was awarded the Moog Problem Solver of the Race Award and currently sits atop the standings for the year-end award. The Moog Problem Solver is awarded to the crew chief that improves the most from the first half to the second half of the race utilizing the 40 best lap times.

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