Quotes from Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Driver, ...
Quotes from Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Driver, #8 Budweiser Chevrolet:
"We always look forward to Atlanta. It's bad-fast, fun to drive, and we seem to find ourselves near the front most of the time. We've been in the top-five in almost half of our races there. I think it's a combination of a lot of things: Tony Jr. (Eury, crew chief) and the guys always give me great cars, I love driving there, and we've won there. We even have a Bud Pole, which for us isn't very common. All of those things add up. It's like having momentum on your side when you pull into the garage. You hold your head a little higher and you mash the gas a little harder.
"We've had three top-fives in a row at Atlanta and it'd be great to get a fourth so we can keep moving up in the points. We're pretty pleased to be back in the top-30, and we can move a lot higher at Atlanta. Lemme tell ya, no one looks forward to Bristol (the fifth race, also the debut of the Car of Tomorrow) and have to worry about being in the top-35 in points. We used up two mulligans early (two DNFs in the first two races), but nobody wearing a red Bud uniform was too worried because we had run pretty well before we had trouble. It's one thing if you blow up or crash while you're racing for 30th place, but it's another when you have a good car and run in the top-five before you have issues. No one panicked after those first two races. The media made a much bigger deal out of it than it really was. I understand it, but what are you gonna do? You can't go back for a do-over, so we buckled down and performed well at Las Vegas. With the team we have, we expect to be in the Chase every year. And a few rough weekends doesn't change that."
Minutiae: Dale Jr. led for the first time in his Nextel Cup career at Atlanta Motor Speedway in November 1999. It was his fifth career start, and he led one lap before finishing 14th.