Hendrick Motorsports Dover Preview
DOVER, Del. (Sept. 24, 2010) – Jimmie Johnson earned his second pole position of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season on Friday at Dover International Speedway. The last time Johnson started from the pole was Sept. 27, 2009, and the four-time Cup champion ended the day in Victory Lane after leading a race-high 271 laps.
Johnson’s win last September at Dover was the most recent there for Hendrick Motorsports, which owns 12 wins, 40 top-five finishes, 70 top-10s and has led 4,574 laps at the concrete oval. The organization’s wins and laps led are ranked first all-time.
Sunday’s race will start at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN.
No. 5 Delphi/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet: Qualified third.Last time:
Earlier this year in May, Mark Martin started third but developed handling issues during the event that forced the No. 5 Chevrolet to drop back and cross the finish line 15th. In this race last year, Martin started 14th at the one-mile concrete oval and broke into the top 10 by Lap 80. Martin stayed in the top 10 for the remainder of the 400-lap event, crossing the finished line second behind teammate Jimmie Johnson.Track stats:
Martin is a four-time winner at Dover, which is tied with Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway for the second-most wins at any track for the NASCAR veteran. Martin, who scored each of his victories after starting inside the top eight, earned his wins from 1997-1999 and his fourth in June 2004. Martin’s 22 top-five finishes and 30 top-10s are the most ever recorded by a driver at Dover. He also has finished on the lead-lap 25 times at Dover, which is best among drivers all-time. Martin’s 22 top-five finishes are also a career-best for the 51 year-old driver and his 30 top-10s are ranked second for him behind Pocono Raceway, where he owns 33 top-five finishes. He has led 1,720 laps at the speedway, which also is a personal best for the Batesville, Ark., native at any racetrack. Martin is ranked sixth in the driver rating category with a score of 100. Martin’s average finish of 8.6 during the last 11 races at Dover is fourth among drivers during that time period, and he is fifth-fastest among drivers late in the run.This time:
Martin and the No. 5 team will race Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-600 this weekend, which Martin notably wheeled to a fourth-place finish in May at Charlotte. Martin will roll off the grid 42nd in Sunday’s event after NASCAR ruled there was an issue with the No. 5 Chevrolet’s right-rear shock.Martin:
“I have always been a big fan of Dover. From the first time I raced there, it naturally fit with my driving style. I’ve had a lot of success on that track. A lot of good race cars. A lot of Victory Lane memories. The racing is always so competitive and so exciting. The fans will see a great show on Sunday for sure. I know all the drivers love racing at Dover so it will be a good race…Not even a concrete racing surface can ruin Dover. Seriously, it’s very different from the asphalt we are used to racing on. Concrete doesn’t react to heat or the sun like asphalt does. They’re incredibly different. I will say that when you lose your grip on a concrete track, the car will just snap incredibly loose. This is a track that takes all of your energy, all of your manpower. You have to manhandle that race car for 400 laps. It’s a good time, but you have to be ready for it.”
No. 24 DuPont/Law Enforcement Museum Chevrolet: Qualified 16th.Last time:
Jeff Gordon started 15th and brought the No. 24 Chevrolet home in the 11th position after developing handling issues late in the race earlier this year in May at Dover. In this event last year, Gordon started seventh and remained inside the top 10 for the entire 400-mile event before crossing the finish line sixth.Track stats:
Gordon has tallied four wins (September 1995, June 1996, September 1996 and June 2001), 14 top-five finishes and 21 top-10s at the one-mile concrete oval. Gordon has led 2,231 laps there, which is ranked third-best for the NASCAR veteran at any racetrack. He has led 2,888 laps at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and 2,440 laps at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. He is ranked ninth in the driver rating category with a score of 90 during the last 11 races at Dover, and he has spent 3,071 laps inside the top 15, which is ranked eighth among drivers during that period.This time:
After a sixth-place finish last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Gordon is ranked fourth in the championship standings—75 points behind first-place Denny Hamlin—as the series gets ready for the second race of the Chase. Gordon will start 16th in Sunday’s event in a specially painted No. 24 DuPont/Law Enforcement Museum Chevrolet.Gordon:
“I can’t think of a better way to make race fans aware of the building of this museum, which will salute the bravery of law enforcement officers from all over the country. It’s a great way to educate the public on how important it is to keep our police officers safe in such a dangerous line of duty. I hope race fans get excited about this paint scheme and the meaning behind it and go to the www.PoliceMusuem.org web site to see how they can get involved.”
No. 48 Lowe’s/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet: Qualified first.Last time:
Jimmie Johnson dominated the May 16 race, leading eight times for a race-high 225 laps. But Johnson’s Victory Lane hopes were dashed after he was docked leaving pit road too fast with under 40 laps in the event. He served a drive-through penalty and finished 16th. In September 2009, Johnson started from the pole position and led a race-high 271 laps before taking the No. 48 Chevrolet to Victory Lane for his fourth win of the 2009 Cup season and his 15th of the postseason since the introduction of the Chase format in 2004.Track stats:
Johnson’s five wins at Dover are tied with Auto Club Speedway for second-best at any track for the El Cajon, Calif., native and first among all active drivers. He has scored six wins at Charlotte and Martinsville. Johnson’s five wins tie him for second with David Pearson in victories at Dover—they are ranked behind Richard Petty and Bobbly Allison, who have seven wins apiece. According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Johnson is one of the best drivers in the last 11 races at Dover. He is ranked first in the driver rating category (113.8), first in fastest drivers early and late in the run, first in fastest laps run, first in laps led (1,036 laps) third in average finish (7.5), third in average running position (9.08) and fourth in laps spent inside the top 15 (3,571 laps) during that time period.This time:
Johnson will lead the field to the green flag on Sunday after recording a second lap in 23.116 seconds at 155736 mph. Since the Chase began in 2004, Johnson has been one of the strongest drivers in the fall race at Dover among his current postseason competition. Johnson has earned 924 points, which is the most points earned among those drivers during the last six fall races at Dover, and he owns an average finish of 7.3, which is tied for first with Carl Edwards. He also has led 487 laps, which is ranked as second-best, and has an average start of ninth, which also is second-best. Currently ranked fifth in the championship standings, Johnson and the No. 48 team need a good finish at Dover to improve their bid for a fifth-straight championship.Johnson:
“We by all means did not want to finish 25th (last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway). I don’t think it’s taken us out of the drive for our fifth championship. We still have that opportunity. We can’t have another bad race. We have to be spot on from here on out, I believe. Other guys are going to have some trouble at some point—at least I’m hoping for that. But that’s the thing—you just never know what the finishing average is going to be for the champion. And opening with a 25th isn’t the right thing. But we’re a great race team. We showed up and performed well, had a mistake on pit road and then the issue of being caught up in some wrecks and spun around and all of that. We have to pick our chins up, lift our heads up and go to work at Dover. We have to give 100 percent once again and be ready to work—that’s the bottom line.”
No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet: Qualified 33rd.Last time:
Dale Earnhardt Jr. started 27th and finished 30th after handling issues affected the No. 88 Chevrolet in May at Dover. Last year in this event, Earnhardt started 24th and crossed the finish line 20th.Track stats:
In 21 Cup starts at Dover, Earnhardt has scored one win, four top-five finishes and seven top-10s. He has completed 98.9 percent of all the laps he’s attempted (8,312 laps of 8,404 total) and has paced the field for 366 of those laps. Earnhardt started third and led 193 laps on his way to Victory Lane for the first time at Dover on Sept. 23, 2001. That marked the first Cup race following the events of Sept. 11, 2001, which Earnhardt honored by displaying the American flag during his victory lap as a tribute to the victims.This time:
Coming off of a fourth-place finish last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Earnhardt and the No. 88 team are looking to build on that momentum. Earnhardt qualified Chassis No. 88-556 in 33rd for Sunday’s event, his 100th start in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.Earnhardt:
“The team is coming off a good run, and we want to build on that. It’s been awhile since we’ve had a good run at Dover, but it’s a tough track. Dover is a rough track and that concrete is bumpy.”