Five cool Dale Jr . stats in addition to 600 starts
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary As Dale Earnhardt Jr . prepares to make start No. 600 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), we thought it'd be fun to find five other interesting stats about Junior, courtesy of RacingReference.com : 170,689 Matt Kenseth (176,372) is the only active driver with more laps than Earnhardt Jr ., who ranks 21st on the all-time list with 170,689 laps. Dale Earnhardt Sr. is 15th with 202,288 laps, and Richard Petty is tops with 307,836. Earnhardt Jr . has averaged about 9,000 laps per season, so it's conceivable he could catch his dad in about three to four years. .1752 Junior is third in winning percentage in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at .1752 (17 percent). He's behind only Kyle Busch (.2636) and Mark Martin (.2076). Earnhardt Jr . has 24 wins in 137 career XFINITY Series races, with 13 of those victories coming in 1998 and '99 when he won back-to-back series championships. 94 Earnhardt Jr . has 94 podium finishes (first, second or third place) in the Monster Energy Series, which puts him 25th all-time in this category. He's four behind Matt Kenseth and five back of Kyle Busch. Richard Petty is tops with 461 on a list that reads like the head table lineup at a NASCAR Hall of Fame banquet. 412 Junior has 412 lead-lap finishes in the Monster Energy Series, which puts him in eighth place all-time. That's a testament to his longevity and consistency, and puts him just eight behind his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson. Former teammate Jeff Gordon sits atop this list with 588. 148 Earnhardt Jr . has 148 top-five finishes in the Monster Energy Series, tying him with Kyle Busch for 24th place all-time heading into Auto Club. Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson are the only active drivers ahead of Junior on this list. Richard Petty is on top of the mountain with 555 top-five finishes. Junior has 26 career Cup wins, but he's been in contention for wins many times. Do your own stats query on RacingReference.com . &<span _rtetemp="spchk" style="background-color: #ffffaa;" _rtespchksugg="Lt"alt"ult"flt"let"lit"lat"lot"ltd"t">am</span>p;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Dale Jr . reflects on milestones, marks ahead of 600th start
Dale Earnhardt Jr . reflects on his career milestones ahead of making his 600th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway.
Dale Jr .: 'I feel really good'
Dale Earnhardt Jr . discusses his early season performance in 2017 and plans to discuss his next contract with Hendrick Motorsports down the road
Dale Earnhardt Jr . through the years
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary See Dale Jr .'s rise to NASCAR stardom
Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary See all of Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victories.
From 1 to 600: Dale Jr .'s milestone memories
See where Dale Earnhardt Jr . made milestone starts Nos. 1, 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500 as he gets set to hit 600 in his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career.
Strategy play pays off for Stenhouse Jr .
RELATED: Buy tickets for Auto Club MORE FROM PHOENIX: Race results " Standings " Detailed breakdown Though Ricky Stenhouse Jr . didn't win Sunday’s Camping World 500 at Phoenix Raceway by staying out on old tires -- as Ryan Newman did -- the driver of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford did hold onto fourth place during a two-lap overtime. That Stenhouse was able to score his eighth career top five is emblematic of improved performance at Roush Fenway Racing, but Stenhouse says there's still work to do. "I have definitely seen a difference in the quality (of the RFR cars)," Stenhouse said. "We still have a long way to go, but we've made a big improvement from last year, especially the end of last year. In Atlanta, we had a really good car and got the right front fender tore off on the last restart. I thought we would finish fifth to 10th there. I thought we had a 15th place car in Vegas and had an issue with the axle at the end. "Today, I thought we had a 10th-place car on the long run and took a gamble, and were able to get a better finish there at the end. I think our cars and the attitude at the shop is really good. (Teammate) Trevor (Bayne) has some solid finishes here in the first few races, and that's something encouraging and something to build off of. I feel like we have had speed, just haven't gotten the finishes for the speed we have. It's better to have speed and have to figure out how to get the finishes."
Earnhardt Jr . & Zuckerberg become fast friends at CMS
Watch as Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg work together at Charlotte Motor Speedway during a Facebook Live broadcast.
GarageCam from the XFINITY Series garage at Auto Club
GarageCam hosts talk with Darrell Wallace Jr ., Justin Allgaier, more in the garage at Auto Club Speedway
Junior reflects on first race, more ahead of milestone 600th start
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary MORE: See where Junior's lining up for 600th start FONTANA, Calif. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr . will make his 600th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start Sunday at Auto Club Speedway. And for all the glory, trophies and adoration, his two-time Daytona 500 winning career hasn't necessarily been as NASCAR's most popular driver imagined it to be. Earnhardt's initial motives were simpler and his goals modest. But he's enjoying the long ride and the achievement and respect he's accumulated in 18 full-time seasons on NASCAR's main stage. "I just wanted to drive," Earnhardt said of the milestone. "I wanted to race cars for a living. I wanted to do it well enough to be able to afford to make a living doing it. "I didn't have vision or assume that I was going to make all of the money and success that we have made, but all I really wanted to do was to do it long enough so I didn’t have to get a real job. I mean that as sincere as I can. I'm real thrilled that I've had the opportunity to stay around and drive for some really great teams. Some really awesome owners. Worked with a lot of amazing crew chiefs and crew members." Earnhardt, who missed the second half of the 2016 season recovering from concussion symptoms, returned to competition this year more grateful for the opportunity and with perhaps a different perspective. MORE: Dale Jr .: 'I feel really good' He acknowledged Friday in California that he has had preliminary talks with team owner Rick Hendrick about extending his contract with the championship organization. Earnhardt has maintained that he wanted to see how he felt behind the wheel again before committing to a contract process. "We have had some discussions about planning to get together," Earnhardt said. "It's not something I put on the shelf for sure. We are getting closer and closer. "I have done some things that I really think have (given) me a lot of confidence in the car and in my ability to continue to race and so … yeah, I'm not in any hurry to sit down and have those discussions, but we have been chit-chatting a little bit about what we need to go ahead and start heading in that direction." As for the weekend's important milestone, only Matt Kenseth has more (618) starts among active drivers. And despite the large number, Earnhardt concedes there are typically a few he hears about most -- and he gets it. "They talk about wins," Earnhardt said of his fans. " 'I was at Daytona when you won in '04, I was at Daytona when you won in '14, I was at the All-Star race when you won or I've watched every race you've ran.' You know you hear … really, they remember the moments on the track more than anything. And I do the same thing. "I think back about the wins and maybe not even the wins, some races are really fun and satisfactory, but you are the only one that will remember them because you ran third or fifth or something like that and they are kind of obscure in most people's minds. "I think about winning the All-Star race as a rookie, just how fortunate we were to do that. Winning the Daytona 500 twice. I didn't know that I would even win it once and everything that has happened. The list goes on and on." Despite the success -- the Daytona 500 wins, the dramatic Daytona summer race win in 2001 following his father's death in that year's Daytona 500, the All-Star race win, the streak of four consecutive Talladega trophies -- Earnhardt humbly and vividly remembers the first of his 599 starts. "My first Cup race? I was really nervous," Earnhardt said. "I remember sitting on the starting grid or sitting in qualifying for the race and telling (then crew chief) Tony (Eury) Jr . that I would switch with him for a million dollars so he could do this instead of me because I was scared to death. "Just they had made such a big deal about that whole thing." And to think, that was only the beginning of the making of a superstar, the most popular driver -- a talent that earned his place in the record books. And in hearts. &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
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