2007 Chevrolet #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr - JR Motorsports - NASCAR
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There are many different kinds of auto racing. But as car enthusiasts, we’re all united by a very basic principle: build something that looks wicked, sounds mean, and provides the performance thrill of a lifetime. You can poke fun at NASCAR all you want about ‘just turning left’, but you can’t deny that their cars are some of the rawest performance machines ever created. Where else can you wrap a 725 horsepower motor in lightweight metal and try to scrape the decals off the sides of your closest friend’s cars at 150 MPH? Usually, NASCAR stock cars are raced to death and scraped for parts or cut up for souvenir sales. But every once in a while a lucky survivor like this 2007 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Monte Carlo manages to roll out the doors still wearing its full asphalt warrior regalia.
Raced one time on June 30th of 2007 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, JR Motorsports car number 10 was one of Dale’s first stock cars to wear his now famous number 88. Despite being a track ready race car instead of a purpose built show car, it was retired after that one race to become a part of Jr.’s national Hot Rod tour. Recently, this awesome Monte Carlo was acquired by a private owner, serviced, and ran for three laps at Carolina Motorsports Park with the American Vintage Racing Association (AVRA). Today, it presents one diehard NASCAR fan with an extremely rare opportunity to own a complete Nationwide Series race car which comes with a membership in the AVRA, real track time and full track support.
From its aggressive and aerodynamic front end, to its contoured and angled rear valence, this sinister Chevrolet racer looks like a production Monte Carlo on steroids. The nose of the car has been extended, lowered, given a much more pronounced front bumper and holds two mesh grilles which cool the aluminum radiator and two mesh grilles which pipe air to the front brakes. At the bottom of the bumper, a riveted black rocker cover provides a little more protection for hard braking dives into corners; and at the top of the bumper, Monte Carlo headlight decals provide a bit of commonality to the production car. Behind those headlight decals, a Kansas-flat hood, which is secured by four pins and swivels on finned hinges, virtually lies on top of the small block motor, and a small cowl feeds fresh air to the cars air filter. Moving back further, you’ll find an original plexiglass windshield which still features its original tear away covers below the cars original New Hampshire Busch Series tech tag and more recent Carolina Motorsports Park tech tag. At the top of the car, a ‘shark finned’ roof holds fully functional roof flaps above two vented plexiglass side windows and a plexiglass rear window which is equipped with a third ‘shark fin’ and still houses adjustment points for the cars suspension. At the sides of the car, you’ll find more riveted rocker covers in front of side exit headers; and out back, a traditional NASCAR fuel filler rides in front of a reinforced decklid spoiler and a rounded rear valence which adorns Monte Carlo tail light decals. The cars entire slippery body is wrapped in a JR Motorsports graphics theme which includes metallic orange accents, red striping, black lettering, traditional Chevrolet and Dale Jr. signature brands and a picture of Dale Jr.’s dog, Killer, on the trunk lid.
Under this Monte Carlos track-ready sheetmetal and graphics package, you’ll find a Dale Earnhardt Inc. built 358 cubic inch SB2 V8 that produces roughly 725 race winning horsepower. With only two or three hours on its build, this small block is an all-business monster which is completely short track or road course ready and sounds spectacular from idle all the way up to full throttle. At the top of the motor, a Polyken 557 wrapped carbon fiber air cleaner sends air into a Holley 4-barrel carburetor which is supplied with a steady stream of race fuel. Below that Holley, a GM high rise aluminum intake manifold holds an MSD billet distributor between machined aluminum JRRE Racing Engines valve covers. Below those valve covers, Federal Mogul Automotive Performance plug wires snake around custom fabricated NASCAR headers which exit under the sides of the car. At the front of the engine, a high performance water pump, CV power steering pump and Race Proven alternator are spun by fresh NASCAR belts; and a C&R Racing Radiator, which is complete with an electric fan and engravings from all four of the tracks it was used at (the last being New Hampshire), sends coolant through a full assortment of braided and spiral hoses. The buff Chevy powerhouse fires up without a lot of drama, idles well, and makes one hell of a sound breathing through its NASCAR spec side pipes. And, although the engine bay is intentionally sparse for the sake of weight savings, there is still a fair amount of cool detailing like DEI branded brackets and a full set of mandrel bent aluminum fittings.
Naturally, a top notch short track and road course motor needs an excellent foundation to deliver its full race winning potential, and the Ronnie Hopkins chassis riding under this Monte Carlos sheetmetal is first-rate in every way. For those of you who are not too familiar with NASCAR, Ronnie Hopkins Engineering has been a long-time staple for some of the sport’s most successful teams and was even benchmarked by various OEMs as a reference for their in-house engineering efforts. This particular chassis, which was the tenth ordered by JR Motorsports and the first to be raced by the team (hence its 0010 and 001 designations) was ordered from Ronnie Hopkins and modified by JR Motorsports in typical NASCAR fashion. In the middle of the well-built chassis, a Jerico 4-speed road course transmission sends power to a nine inch Hendrick Motorsports rear end which features 4.00 racing gears. At the corners of the chassis, a front tubular double A-arm suspension combines with a truck arm rear suspension to make good use of Bilstein shocks and a 16:1 steering gear. Fade-free braking is provided by a four wheel disc system which utilizes large JR Motorsports branded calipers to squeeze slotted rotors. And G-force inducing grip is provided by 15 inch NASCAR spec steel wheels which wear 27.5x12 Goodyear Eagle Radials. Like its engine bay, the bottom of this car is a no frills, function over form piece which features a machine white floor pan above nothing but the best high performance hardware.
You’ve undoubtedly looked at the pictures of this Chevy’s sparse and well used interior which should put to rest any final creeping thoughts that this isn’t a true race car. A complete NASCAR spec roll cage wraps around a tight fitting race bucket which was fabricated by a local company named The Joie of Seating and equipped with a four point racing harness from Simpson Race Products. To the right of the seat, you’ll notice extinguishers for the cars functional fire suppression system and a tough and durable chrome Long shifter. In front of the driver, a NASCAR spec detachable steering wheel sits below a simple instrument panel which holds “JR” branded ignition switches and a full assortment of silver faced Auto Meter gauges. On the right side of the dash, two MSD Power Core HVC coils send fire through Scott wires into two MSD HVC Professional Race Ignition boxes; and above the dash, a wide rearview mirror provides a full view of the track behind in the event that an intimidating car should appear. Open the would-be trunk and you’ll find an Aero Tec Laboratories fuel cell which is complete with braided hoses and aluminum fittings.
This race ready 2007 Monte Carlo is beginning to generate a lot of interest in our showroom. It presents the perfect opportunity for a diehard collector to own a lightly used, NASCAR spec car which features a professional build by one of the biggest names in the sport. If you’re a race fan or a Chevrolet enthusiast who is looking for the ultimate thrill ride, here’s your ticket!