|600 RECAP: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS team earned a top-10 finish – his second of the season – in the 600-mile, rain-interrupted race at Charlotte Motor Speedway last weekend, leading the Hendrick Motorsports contingent to the stripe. After starting 19th, Earnhardt made some early gains and stayed inside the top 15 for most of the night, running as high as fourth. Making a green-flag pit stop for fuel with 32 laps to go, he fell outside of the top 10 as the race took on a variety of fuel-mileage strategies. However, the Kannapolis, North Carolina, native battled back and brought the No. 88 Chevy home in 10th, his first top-10 result since April 9 at Texas Motor Speedway and his second of the 2017 season.
TAMING THE MONSTER: Earnhardt has one win at the “Monster Mile,” which came in the 2001 fall race, where he led the final 39 laps en route to victory. He’s earned five top-five and nine top-10 finishes at the concrete oval since his trip to Victory Lane in 2001 and had a notably good weekend in the fall of 2013, starting from the pole and finishing second.
MONSTER MILE STATS: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Earnhardt ranks seventh among active drivers since 2005 in the “closers” category, improving 15 positions over the last 10 percent of the race at Dover International Speedway. The driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS also ranks sixth for green-flag passes during that span at the one-mile oval, completing 956 green-flag passes.
DRIVEN TO GIVE GLOVES: The Dale Jr. Foundation’s successful Driven to Give Gloves program continues this month, starting this weekend at Dover. Earnhardt will wear gloves accented in red this month to represent National Safety Month, focusing on children. He will continue to wear the red gloves for the remainder of the month – at Pocono, Michigan and Sonoma. The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native’s race-worn gloves will be auctioned off to raise funds for the Hospital’s clinical and research programs. Nationwide Children’s is America’s largest pediatric hospital and research center with all care provided regardless of a family’s ability to pay.
NATIONWIDE PATIENT CHAMPION: Earnhardt is paired up with a Patient Champion from Nationwide Children’s Hospital during each month of the Driven to Give Gloves program. At Dover, Patient Champion Ailee Gilliland will be honored with her name above the passenger door of Earnhardt’s No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS. Ailee has spent thousands of hours going to outpatient appointments and occupational therapy at NCH after suffering severe facial burns. She has undergone three plastic surgeries and now is a typical 5-year-old who loves princesses, gymnastics and school. She is a happy, fun-loving girl who can make anyone smile with her silly outgoing personality. Read her full story here.
WEEKEND WITH THE 88S: Two weeks ago, Earnhardt and Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen announced the continuation of the popular “Weekend with the 88s” charity raffle presented by Nationwide, which benefits The Heartest Yard and Levine Children’s Hospital. The “Weekend” will take place Oct. 12-15, 2017, and include two tickets to the Panthers vs. Eagles game on Thursday night and the Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday. The package also includes meet-and-greets with Olsen and Earnhardt, a behind-the-scenes tour of Bank of America Stadium, a tour of JR Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick’s exclusive Heritage Center, pre-game sideline passes for the Panthers game, garage passes for race weekend at Talladega, travel accommodations and more. Tickets are $18.88 individually or a pack of eight can be purchased for $88.88, and are available on www.WeekendWithThe88s.com. The raffle started May 19 and runs until Sept. 17, with the drawing on Sept. 20.