Hendrick Motorsports Previews The Apache

DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY (ONE-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: DOVER, DELAWARE
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 29 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 2 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, OCT. 1 (NBCSN/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

Driver Kasey Kahne   Hometown Enumclaw, Washington
Age 37                        Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 16th in standings
  • 28 starts
  • 1 race win
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 31 laps led

Career

  • 496 starts
  • 18 wins
  • 27 pole positions
  • 92 top-five finishes
  • 173 top-10 finishes
  • 4,638 laps led

Track Career 

  • 27 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 8 top-10 finishes
  • 90 laps led
FARMERS AT DOVER: This weekend at Dover International Speedway, Kasey Kahne will drive the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS. The Enumclaw, Washington, native most recently piloted the Farmers Insurance livery at Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he went on to capture his 18th career NASCAR Cup Series win. Kahne will also be behind the wheel of the Farmers Insurance Chevy for the upcoming races at Talladega Superspeedway and Phoenix International Raceway.

KAHNE AT DOVER: Kahne has started in the second position three times at Dover and looks to earn his first pole award at the concrete track this weekend to add to his 27 career Cup poles. In Kahne’s last five races at the “Monster Mile,” he’s accumulated two top-five finishes and one top-10, as well as two additional finishes inside the top 20. He has an average starting position of 14.0 and a finishing position of 18.6. In this year’s May race, Kahne had a strong run going until he was caught up in a late-race incident in the closing laps and ultimately finished 17th.

DOVER LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne ranks third in green-flag passes at Dover with 1,022. He’s sixth in fastest laps run with 371 laps. The 37-year-old is eighth in quality passes with 508 and ninth in laps spent in the top 15 with 5,802. Quality passes are the number of times a driver passes another car that is running in the top 15 while under green-flag conditions.

RECAPPING NEW HAMPSHIRE: Kahne and the No. 5 team entered last weekend’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a newly appointed crew chief, Darian Grubb. After a strong opening practice session on Friday, Kahne qualified the No. 5 machine in the ninth position. During the opening of Sunday’s race, Kahne battled a loose-handling race car. As the race continued, the handling improved and Kahne was on the verge of reaching the top 10 with under 50 laps remaining before he was forced to the garage to repair a mechanical issue. Unfortunately, he was relegated to a 35th-place finish in the second race of Round 1 in the playoffs.

GOLD AND TEAL WHEEL: Earlier this month at Richmond Raceway, Kahne used a special teal and gold steering wheel for the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation’s second annual “Drive for Teal and Gold” campaign. The goal is to bring awareness and raise funds for ovarian (teal) and childhood cancers (gold). Kahne’s steering wheel is up for auction via the NASCAR Foundation through the Fanatics website. Bidding for Kahne’s No. 5 steering wheel closes on Oct. 1.

No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott

Driver Chase Elliott   Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 21                      Resides Dawsonville, Georgia

2017 Season

  • 9th in standings
  • 28 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 3 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 7 top-five finishes
  • 15 top-10 finishes
  • 226 laps led

Career

  • 69 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 17 top-five finishes
  • 32 top-10 finishes
  • 584 laps led

Track Career 

  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET: This weekend at Dover International Speedway, the familiar blue-and-yellow NAPA AUTO PARTS paint scheme will return to the No. 24 Chevrolet SS. The Atlanta-based company serves as majority sponsor for Chase Elliott during the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season. Most recently, Elliott piloted the NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy to a second-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway.

MONSTER MILE STATS: The Dawsonville, Georgia, native is set to make his fourth start at Dover this weekend. In Elliott’s first three appearances at the one-mile oval, he has collected three top-five finishes. He averages a starting position of 12.7 and finishing position of 3.7. Elliott also has four starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at the Dover, Delaware, track. In those four starts, the 21-year-old driver garnered two top-five finishes, four top-10s and 19 laps led, averaging a starting position of 6.0 and finishing position of 5.2.

DOVER DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Elliott has the fourth-highest driver rating at Dover with a score of 100.2. 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.

LOUDON REWIND: Elliott and the No. 24 team started 14th in a backup car due to a single-car incident in first practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The second-year driver ended the opening 75-lap stage in 17th after reporting that his car was too tight. After a pit stop for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments to improve the handling conditions on the Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet, Elliott restarted 14th to begin Stage 2. The 21-year-old driver gained one position during the stage for a 13th-place finish at Lap 150. Elliott restarted ninth for the final stage after a quick pit stop by the No. 24 team. He was scored 11th on Lap 221 when the caution flag waved. He continued to maintain the 11th position when the yellow flag was displayed once again at Lap 274. The No. 24 driver restarted 10th with 23 laps to go and fought to hold his position, but ultimately finished just outside the top 10 in 11th.

PLAYOFF STANDINGS: With the 11th-place result in Loudon, Elliott ranks ninth in the NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings heading into the Round of 16 cutoff race Sunday at Dover International Speedway. The second-year driver holds a 26-point advantage over the 13th-place driver, which would be the first competitor eliminated.

DRIVE FOR TEAL & GOLD: Since Richmond, Elliott has been running a special steering wheel for the second annual Martin Truex Jr. Foundation’s “Drive for Teal & Gold” steering wheel campaign to bring awareness for ovarian and childhood cancers. The bidding is open until Sunday, Oct. 1, for Elliott’s signed, race-driven wheel via the NASCAR Foundation though Fanatics.

No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

Driver Jimmie Johnson   Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 42                             Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 7th in standings
  • 28 starts
  • 3 race wins
  • 1 stage win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 9 top-10 finishes
  • 188 laps led

Career

  • 571 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 221 top-five finishes
  • 339 top-10 finishes
  • 18,634 laps led

Track Career 

  • 31 starts
  • 11 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 16 top-five finishes
  • 22 top-10 finishes
  • 3,100 laps led
PLAYOFF PICTURE: Two races into the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team are seventh in the standings heading into Dover, the closing race of the Round of 16. Johnson finished 14th last weekend at New Hampshire after a miscue on a pit stop resulted in the team not finishing in the top 10.

ELITE COMPANY: With his 11 wins at Dover, Johnson is just the fifth driver to win 10 or more races at a single track, joining Dale Earnhardt Sr., David Pearson, Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip.

DOVER STATS IMPRESSIVE: In addition to his 11 wins at Dover, Johnson has led a total of 3,100 laps at the one-mile concrete speedway. He has spent over 85 percent of all laps run in the top 15 and has an average finish of 7.9. Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s team swept both races at Dover in the 2002 and 2009 seasons.

LAST TIME AT DOVER: Dover was the site of Johnson’s latest win in June. He started 14th and led only seven laps – but they were the final laps, as Johnson battled Kyle Larson down to the wire. It was Johnson’s 83rd win in the NASCAR Cup Series and his record-breaking 11th victory at Dover.

DOVER DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Johnson has the best driver rating at Dover with a score of 118.3. 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. The driver rating number is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator.

PINK HAT FOR OCTOBER: Johnson will help bring awareness and recognition of those who are fighting breast cancer by wearing a gray hat with pink accents for the month of October. The hat can be purchased here.

No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.   Hometown Kannapolis, North Carolina
Age 42                                Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 22nd in standings
  • 28 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 37 laps led

Career

  • 623 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 14 pole positions
  • 149 top-five finishes
  • 256 top-10 finishes
  • 8,224 laps led

Track Career 

  • 34 starts
  • 1 win
  • 1 pole position
  • 7 top-five finishes
  • 12 top-10 finishes
  • 451 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Sept. 29, at 2:55 p.m. local time in the Dover International Speedway media center.

TAMING THE ‘MONSTER’: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has one win at the “Monster Mile,” which came in the 2001 fall race after leading the final 39 laps en route to victory. He’s earned five top-five finishes and nine top-10s 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. He finished 11th in this year’s spring race at Dover, just missing the top 10.

MONSTER MILE STATS: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Earnhardt ranks fourth among active drivers since 2005 for green-flag passes at Dover International Speedway, completing 1,018 green-flag passes. The driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS ranks eighth in fastest laps run during that span at the one-mile oval with 257.

STANDINGS UPDATE: After Earnhardt did not qualify for the 16-driver NASCAR playoffs following the Sept. 9 race at Richmond, he mentioned that the goal for the No. 88 team would be to finish in the top 20 in points. It’s a challenging goal — especially after Earnhardt was caught up in a multi-car incident last weekend in Loudon, relegating him to a 34th-place finish — but one that is certainly mathematically possible with eight races remaining. Currently, the driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevy is ranked 22nd in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings. Earnhardt is 30 points behind the driver ranked 21st, Trevor Bayne, and 142 points out of 20th, the spot currently held by Daniel Suarez.

CLOSE TO HOME: The rear-tire changer for the No. 88 Nationwide Chevy team, Devin DelRicco, hails from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, which is approximately two hours west of Dover. The high school baseball player used one of the pit crew schools in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area to work his way into NASCAR. The 27-year-old tire changer has been with the No. 88 team for three years.

TIRE TEST: Earnhardt and the No. 88 team participated in a Goodyear tire test at Dover International Speedway on July 25. The one-day test had drivers testing a new tire package for this weekend’s race at the one-mile concrete oval.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT DOVER: At Dover International Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has 19 wins, nine pole positions, 62 top-five finishes and 100 top-10s. Johnson most recently visited Victory Lane for the organization at the track earlier this year in June.

FINDING VICTORY LANE: Hendrick Motorsports’ 19 wins at Dover are tied with Charlotte Motor Speedway for the organization’s second-most at a track. The Dover victories have come via five different drivers — Johnson (11), Gordon (5), Geoff Bodine, Ricky Rudd and Ken Schrader.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 249 race victories, 212 pole positions, 1,023 top-five finishes and 1,726 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,856 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“Dover is probably one of my favorite tracks and always has been. It’s definitely one of the more difficult tracks. The hardest thing about Dover is on a long run your tires build up with so much air that your car starts bouncing a lot more and your head starts moving around a lot more. Every time the car bounces it tries to take grip out of the front or rear tires, whichever one is close to sliding. Trying to control that as a driver and with the balance of your car to me is key to really running well there.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Dover

“I’ve been trying to talk to him every time I’ve ever been. I still haven’t figured it out, but yes, I would say he is the best there, no doubt. I would love to know what makes him so good at that track. I feel like I have learned some things and have gotten better there over the past few races. We had a solid race there last time. I had a solid race in the fall of last year, too. I think we are gaining on it. We are not to his level by any means, but I think we are gaining on it.”

Chase Elliott on learning from teammate Jimmie Johnson at Dover

“Yeah, there is a different feel. A lot of times the concrete tracks have patches and you can tell where the cracks and the lines in the concrete are. As you get some laps on tires and the air pressure builds up it really wants to bounce across those grooves and patches in the track. You can notice it, for sure. One thing about the concrete tracks is they don’t really age, they stay about the same. I know Dover does some cool things, too, like watering the track when it’s hot and things to try to keep that from happening. But, they seem very consistent to me.”

Elliott on the difference between concrete and asphalt tracks

“Dover, hands down, is one of my favorite tracks. It suits my driving style as well as the team in how they build and set up the cars. We have had so much success over the years at Dover, I wish we raced there every weekend. I can’t wait to get in that race car.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Dover

“I’m looking forward to Dover. Well, I’m especially looking forward to some of the tracks that we have coming up after that – Martinsville, Talladega, Texas, Phoenix, etc. I don’t know how we’re going to do at Dover, it hasn’t been a great track for us the past several years. I appreciate everybody’s support though and it does help. We’re going to keep grinding and keep working hard and try to get a good run for everybody this weekend.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on racing at Dover

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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