NATIONWIDE CHILDREN'S: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the #88 Nationwide Children's Hospital Chevrolet SS this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. The special paint scheme features the Nationwide Children's Hospital (NCH) logo as well as more than 315 names on the hood of people who donated to the hospital through a special fundraising platform. The white, orange and blue car will be adorned with butterflies, as they are recognized as the hospital's ambassadors of hope and optimism. As America's largest pediatric hospital and research center, NCH is dedicated to making sure that all patients are given the care they need, regardless of the family's ability to pay. Families travel from around the nation - and some even come from other countries - to gain access to the Columbus, Ohio-based hospital's life-saving treatments. In many cases, NCH is the only hospital able to provide that care and is their last hope for treatment. More information is available at www.NationwideChildrens.org.
PATIENT CHAMPIONS: The NCH Patient Champion Program honors and celebrates the hospital's young, courageous patients. On race day, Earnhardt and Nationwide will host the 2017 Patient Champions and their families at the track to show appreciation for the bravery these kids show as they battle their illnesses. As previously announced, The Dale Jr. Foundation has partnered with Nationwide and NCH on the Driven to Give Gloves program and has dedicated four pairs of Earnhardt's gloves to four different patient champions at NCH. The money raised from those four pairs of gloves will go to NCH to support their mission of helping kids everywhere. More information about the Patient Champions can be found here.
AT KENTUCKY: In six starts at Kentucky Speedway, Earnhardt has two top-five finishes - his best finish is fourth - and an average finish of 14.2. The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native qualified on the pole at the mile-and-a-half tri-oval for the June 2013 race. Last year, he finished 13th in his #88 Nationwide Children's Hospital Chevy after having to slow to conserve fuel at the end of the 400-mile race. According to NASCAR's loop data statistics among active drivers since 2005, Earnhardt ranks third in the green-flag passes category with 412, seventh for average speed late in a run (154.352 mph), and 10th in laps led with 10 laps.
VISITING NCH: Earnhardt and his wife, Amy, visited Nationwide Children's Hospital earlier this year - in April - and got the chance to check back in on the patients and get a look at the new innovations the hospital has implemented to ensure that its patients continue to receive the best care. Earnhardt is scheduled to make a return visit this week, along with several members of the #88 team.
--- Hendrick Motorsports ---