CONCORD, N.C. – “We’re going to have ‘Amelia.’ She is fixed and (No. 88 team crew chief) Greg (Ives) says she is going to be the primary,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS. “He’s fired up his Twitter account recently … and he let all the fans know on Monday that Amelia is coming back.”
This weekend, Amelia and the other three Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets are ready to compete at Talladega Superspeedway.
Before you tune in to see the green flag drop, check out some key notes to keep an eye on during this weekend’s race in Alabama.
BROADCAST INFORMATION: Sunday’s race will air live on FOX at 1 p.m. ET. Can’t make it to the television? Listen to the race live on MRN and SiriusXM to catch the radio coverage. Here is the full broadcast schedule:
Friday, April 22:
2:30 p.m. ET: Sprint Cup Series Practice, FOX Sports 1
4:30 p.m. ET: Sprint Cup Series Final Practice, FOX Sports 1
Saturday, April 23:
12:30 p.m. ET: Sprint Cup Series Qualifying, FOX
Sunday, April 24:
1 p.m. ET: Sprint Cup Series Cup Race, FOX / MRN/ SiriusXM
THIS WEEK’S PAINT SCHEMES: This weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, Kasey Kahne returns to the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS and Chase Elliott will compete in the No. 24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet SS. Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will pilot the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS and No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, respectively, at the 2.66-mile Alabama track.
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT TALLADEGA: At Talladega Superspeedway, Hendrick Motorsports has 12 wins, 10 pole positions, 53 top-five finishes and 77 top-10s. Hendrick Motorsports’ most recent Talladega win came last season, when Earnhardt made his way to Victory Lane after qualifying fourth.
KAHNE AT TALLADEGA: Kasey Kahne earned one of his 17 pole awards at Talladega Superspeedway in October 2012. He also has started from the outside pole position in his last two starts at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. Two of the 36-year-old driver’s top-five finishes have ended with him taking the checkered flag in the runner-up position.
CLOSING KAHNE: According to NASCAR’s loop data, in the last 22 starts at Talladega Superspeedway, Kahne ranks first in the closers category. Closers are determined by the number of positions that a driver improves over the last 10 percent of the race. The Enumclaw, Washington, native has gained an average of 3.1 spots and moved up 69 total positions during that span.
ELLIOTT AT TALLADEGA: Elliott leads the 2016 Rookie of the Year contender standings heading into Talladega by 22 points over second-place Ryan Blaney and 35 points over third-place Brian Scott. Elliott has accumulated a total of 116 rookie points this year through the first nine races. Among active drivers, his five top-10 finishes rank second behind teammate Jimmie Johnson's six for the most top-10s through the first nine races of a rookie season.
JOHNSON AT TALLADEGA: In the last three outings at Talladega Superspeedway, Johnson has led a total of 168 out of a possible 578 laps. Over his 28 starts at the track, Johnson has an average start of 9.8 and an average finish of 16.9. Talladega is known for its close finishes and in this race one year ago Johnson finished second by 0.159 seconds behind race-winner and teammate Earnhardt at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.
EARNHARDT AT TALLADEGA: Winning may not be all Earnhardt does at Talladega Superspeedway, but the driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS does have six wins on the 2.66-mile tri-oval, more than he has at any other track on the Sprint Cup circuit. Last season, he won there in the spring race and entered Talladega’s fall race in a win-to-continue Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup scenario, where he finished second, just missing his opportunity to make it into the penultimate round of the Chase. With an average of 93.8, Earnhardt has the best driver rating among active drivers at the track. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, top-15 finishes, average running position while on the lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, most laps led and lead-lap finishes. The maximum a driver can earn in each race is 150 points.
AMELIA RETURNS: Crew chief Greg Ives and the No. 88 Nationwide team are bringing “Amelia,” named after pilot Amelia Earhart, back for Talladega. Amelia is the chassis that Earnhardt drove to three wins in 2015 – one in the first Daytona Duel in February, another at Daytona in July, and one at Talladega in May – and another earlier this season, in the first Daytona Duel. After receiving some damage in the 2016 Daytona 500, the team repaired the chassis in preparation for this Sunday’s race.