|Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 10:30 a.m. local time in the Martinsville Speedway media center.
ANOTHER CLOCK: Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned his first victory at the historic 0.526-mile Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 26, 2014. He held off former teammate and nine-time Martinsville winner Jeff Gordon to score the win, taking home the iconic grandfather clock that the speedway gives as its trophy. In the last 12 races at the paperclip-shaped oval, Earnhardt has earned five top-five finishes and seven top-10 results, which bodes well for the 43-year-old veteran’s chances to capture his second grandfather clock this weekend.
MAKING PASSES: Earnhardt is one of the best drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville, and NASCAR’s loop data since 2005 backs up that claim. He ranks first among active drivers in green-flag passes (1,450) and second to teammate Jimmie Johnson – by just six passes – in quality passes (864 to Johnson’s 870). Earnhardt ranks fourth among all active competitors with an average driver rating of 97.8 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. The driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS ranks fourth in several categories, including average running position (12.050), fastest laps run (586), laps in the top 15 (8,769) and green-flag speed (91.210 mph).
GREY GHOST RETURNS: Fitting with the JR Nation Appreci88ion Tour theme, Nationwide gave fans the chance to pick Earnhardt’s paint scheme for this weekend’s race at Martinsville. When the votes were tallied, fans selected the “Grey Ghost” as the No. 88’s scheme – fitting for Halloween weekend considering the orange and black colors. In 2016, Earnhardt was scheduled to run the sleek, silver scheme on his No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet for the throwback race at Darlington Raceway, but Jeff Gordon ended up filling in as Earnhardt missed the final half of the season due to a concussion. It’s only fitting that Earnhardt will get to race one of his all-time favorite schemes before he retires from full-time Cup Series racing.
AMY PACING THE FIELD: Earnhardt will be making his final Cup start at Martinsville while his wife, Amy, will lead the field to the green. She will serve as the Honorary Pace Car Driver for Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, which will be her first time behind the wheel of the pace car.
DEW AD SPOTS: After releasing a poignant ad spot last week, Mountain Dew’s newest promo takes a humorous approach to Earnhardt’s pending retirement as the driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports. Follow @DaleJron Twitter to see the release of the spot this Thursday, which is also scheduled to run on television during Sunday’s race at Martinsville as well as during Game 5 of the MLB World Series.