JR MOTORSPORTS TEAM PREVIEW
No. 88 Hellmann’s Chevrolet / No. 7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet
EVENT – O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 (200 laps / 300 miles)
TRACK – Texas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile quad-oval)
DATE – Friday, April 8, 2011
TV / RADIO – ESPN2 (coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. EST) / PRN (broadcast begins at 8 p.m. EST)
Aric Almirola No. 88 Hellmann’s Chevrolet “We’re anxious to get back to the racetrack. We’ve been focusing on getting top-10s over the past couple weeks, and we’ve been successful with that. We’re only five races into the year and right now we’re fourth in points, which isn’t a bad place to be. There’s no denying we’ve got a lot of room for improvement, but we’ve had top-10 cars the past couple weeks, and that’s where we’ve finished. I think a top-five at Texas would be huge for us. Once we can start consistently getting top-fives, the wins will come. We just need to be patient and not beat ourselves. It’s a long season.
“Any time you race at a track at night that we’d typically race in the daytime, it changes our approach a little bit. It alters the typical characteristics we’re used to. Usually Texas gets really slick and greasy during the day, but at night it’s going to pick up a ton of speed and grip as it gets colder. It can be a handful, but I think it contributes to exciting racing.”
Josh Wise No. 7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet “Racing at night is cool just because that’s what most of us are used to as we came up through the ranks. A lot of us started out racing on Friday and Saturday nights at local short tracks, so from that aspect it adds a different feel to the race than when we’re running on Saturday afternoons. For me, I grew up racing sprint cars, and I’ve spent many a Friday night at the racetrack, and I always look forward to seeing a night race on the schedule.
“Our TaxSlayer.com team is definitely ready for Texas. We were frustrated with our finish at California, but I think that’s motivation to come out even better this weekend. The No. 7 team had some strong qualifying runs at mile-and-a-half tracks last year. It’s good to know we can qualify up front, we just need to do a better job of maintaining a spot up front through the race.”
On his first turkey hunting experience last weekend with the folks from TaxSlayer.com “Oh man, it was really cool. I’ve never had the opportunity to go hunting before. In fact, I’d never used a firearm until last week. So when our friends from TaxSlayer invited me and Tony Jr. down to Georgia for a weekend hunting trip, I jumped at the opportunity. I wasn’t able to get a turkey, but it was a great experience all around. I can see how people can get so involved and passionate about hunting. I know one thing, if I decided to take it up as a hobby, Tony Jr. is one of the best guys I can learn from. He really knows his stuff when it comes to hunting. If he wasn’t in racing I’m pretty sure he could be a hunting guide or something.”
JR MOTORSPORTS NOTEBOOK – UNDER THE LIGHTS – Texas marks the Nationwide Series’ first night race of 2011. JR Motorsports enjoyed much success under the lights last season. The No. 88 team earned one win (Atlanta), one top-five, and three top-10 finishes in the five scheduled night races at 1.5-mile facilities.
STRONG QUALIFIERS -The No. 7 TaxSlayer.com team earned four of its five season-best starting spots at 1.5-mile tracks in 2010. Three of those five efforts were for night races.
MOVIN’ ON UP – Almirola is tied for first place in the quality passes category at Texas Motor Speedway, according to NASCAR Statistical Services. A quality pass is a pass on a car running in the top 15 while under a green flag. Almirola has averaged 34 quality passes per race.
HELLMANN’S DEBUT – The Hellmann’s brand makes its debut on the No. 88 Chevrolet at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend with driver Aric Almirola. It marks the first of four races for Hellmann’s with the 88 team, although it did appear on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 5 Chevrolet at Daytona in February. Hellmann’s joins Degree, Ragu and Suave Men as Unilever brands to have primary paint schemes with JRM this season. The No. 88 Chevrolet will also carry the Hellmann’s paint scheme at Richmond International Raceway (April 29), Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 28) and Atlanta Motor Speedway (Sept. 3).
ALMIROLA AT TEXAS – Almirola finished 16th in his only previous Nationwide Series start at Texas with JR Motorsports. He owns eight starts there in Camping World Truck Series competition with one top-10 finish, and two starts at the Sprint Cup Series level.
WISE AT TEXAS – Wise’s best finish at Texas Motor Speedway was in his track debut in 2008. He finished 11th and owns two starts at the facility.
JRM AT TEXAS – Crew chief Tony Eury Sr. has led the No. 88 team to a pair of top-five finishes, along with five top-10s in 10 starts at Texas. This dates back to the fall of 2007 and encompasses three different drivers.
TEAM JRM POINTS POSITION –Almirola is ranked fourth (-26) in driver points, and the No. 88 Hellmann’s Chevrolet is 10th in owner points. Josh Wise is 17th (-82) in the driver point standings. The No. 7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet is 16th in owner points.
DRIVER APPEARANCES –Aric Almirola and Josh Wise will both appear at the JR Nation merchandise hauler in the fan concourse area to sign autographs on Friday, April 8 from 1:30 p.m. – 2 p.m CST. Additionally, Almirola will appear at the Hellmann’s display in the Brookshire’s Trackside grocery store, located on the outside of turn three from 2 p.m. – 2:30 p.m CST.
NEW JRM RACING WEBSITE–JRMracing.com is the digital home of the JR Motorsports NASCAR Nationwide Series race teams. Visit it for more information about the company, its history, and drivers, including Aric Almirola, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danica Patrick and Josh Wise. Watch exclusive video content, including pre- and post-race reports with drivers and crew.