DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Daytona 500 is just two days away, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. is set to start third – thanks in no small part to Amelia.
For this week’s Fun Fact Friday, let’s take a look at the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS with the well-known nickname.
1) Earnhardt only names a car when he has driven it long enough to see its personality.
2) Amelia got her nickname just two days after last year’s Talladega race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, when No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives told Earnhardt they would be taking the car back to Daytona in 2016.
3) Earnhardt named the car after Amelia Earhart, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and a woman he figures must have had the type of daring, courageous and determined personality he wanted to have while piloting his superspeedway car.
4) In 2015, Amelia earned three wins – a Duel at Daytona International Speedway, the May race at Talladega Superspeedway and the July race at Daytona – in addition to a third-place finish in the Daytona 500 and a second-place result in the second Talladega race.
5) Earnhardt’s average finish of 1.75 while driving Amelia in the four superspeedway points races last season led all competitors.
6) Typically, a new chassis would be built for the following season’s Daytona 500, but Earnhardt said Amelia is “a special, special race car.”
7) When Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick leaned in the window to congratulate Earnhardt on his Duel win Thursday -- Amelia's second in as many years -- the driver told him that no matter what happens in Sunday’s Daytona 500, he might want to keep track of Amelia “because it’s done a lot of good things.”
8) Earnhardt said his best-case scenario for Amelia is that she stays in Daytona all year after a win in the Great American Race.