Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2014 driver profile
January 27, 2014, NASCAR.com
NASCAR’s perennial most popular driver continued to show improvement in 2013 working with his crew chief Steve Letarte as he gained seven positions, overall, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings over the previous year. Although he started the season strong by finishing second in the Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was shut out of Victory Lane during 2013. That could have been the story of the year – close but not quite at the pinnacle. He recorded 10 top-five (five of which were seconds) and 22 top-10 finishes proving that the No. 88 Chevrolet SS team gained the consistency to make a strong run during the 2013 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. He was fast, too, winning poles at Kentucky Speedway and Dover International Speedway. Engine failure in the opening round of the Chase at Chicagoland put Junior on the ropes but he bounced back with five top-five and eight top-10 results in the final nine races to finish fifth in the points standings. It’s a very good sign for 2014.
Team owner Rick Hendrick’s faith in Earnhardt – and Letarte for that matter – is quite strong. Hendrick said he’s confident that with top 10s and top fives, Earnhardt will regain the form he had during his best years – either 2003 when he finished third overall or 2004 when he won six races – driving for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., the team founded by his late father Dale Earnhardt. His 19 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories rank Earnhardt tied for 39th among series winners. He won back-to-back NASCAR Nationwide Series championships (1998-99) and has 23 victories in NASCAR’s No. 2 series. He’s also part owner of JR Motorsports, which fielded two NASCAR Nationwide cars in 2013.
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
Car: No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew/Time Warner Cable Chevrolet SS
Birthdate: October 10, 1974
Hometown: Kannapolis, N.C.
Team Owner: Rick Hendrick
Crew Chief: Steve Letarte