|Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Aug. 11, at 4:15 p.m. local time in the Michigan International Speedway media center.
SOLID STATS IN THE IRISH HILLS: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has scored two wins at Michigan International Speedway. His most recent victory came on June 17, 2012, when he started 17th and led 95 laps before crossing the stripe with a 5.393-second lead to earn the victory. The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has also earned two pole-position starts at the two-mile track, tying his career bests. He also has two poles at Texas Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway. Earnhardt ranks sixth in the driver rating category among active drivers at Michigan with an average of 95.5 since 2005. 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. He ranks in the top five in many other loop data categories, such as fastest laps run (fourth – 205 laps), green-flag speed (fifth – 180.173 mph), laps in the top 15 (third – 3,134 laps), laps led (fifth – 289), and quality passes (second – 973 passes).
CONGRATS, AXALTA: Congratulations to Hendrick Motorsports partner Axalta Coating Systems, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, on being named a GM Supplier of the Year by General Motors during its 25th annual Supplier of the Year awards ceremony held on March 31 in Orlando, Florida. GM recognized 118 of its best suppliers from 15 countries that have consistently exceeded GM’s expectations, created outstanding value or brought new innovations to the company. The announcement represented the most suppliers GM has recognized since debuting the Supplier of the Year event in 1992. This is the third consecutive year Axalta has received the award.
IVES AND OTHER MICHIGANDERS: No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives hails from Bark River, Michigan, and grew up working with his father and older brother at the local racetracks. He spent eight years behind the wheel before finding his true calling under the hood. After earning a mechanical engineering degree from Michigan Tech, Ives joined the No. 24 team as a shop mechanic before getting the opportunity to be the race engineer on the No. 48 team. After recording five championships with Johnson and the No. 48 group, Ives went to JR Motorsports to crew chief before returning to Hendrick Motorsports to lead the No. 88 team in 2015. You can read more about Ives’ background here. Two additional members of the No. 88 Axalta team call Michigan their home state. Andy “Squigz” Quillan, hauler driver for the No. 88 team, was born and raised in Orleans, Michigan, which is approximately two hours from the racetrack. Scott Brzozowski, the front tire changer for the No. 88 team, grew up in Sterling Heights, Michigan, which is outside of Detroit. He was a member of the No. 24 over-the-wall crew before he switched to the No. 88 team last fall.
RIR VICTORY TOUR: On Tuesday, the driver of the No. 88 Chevy visits Richmond for his Victory Tour, where in addition to spending time at the racetrack, Earnhardt is scheduled to visit training camp for his favorite NFL team – the Washington Redskins. Follow Richmond International Raceway’s social media channels for highlights from the tour.
ICYMI, HOMESTEAD CAR UNVEILED: In case you missed it, on Wednesday, Aug. 2, the 14-time most popular driver appeared live on QVC to reveal the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS that he will race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 19 as part of his JR Nation #Appreci88ion Tour. The red-and-black Axalta scheme is based on the paint scheme Earnhardt debuted in 1999 when he competed in his first career NASCAR Cup Series race. For photos from the unveil, click here.