DALE EARNHARDT JR. / DRIVER, ...
DALE EARNHARDT JR. / DRIVER, #8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET:
On being seventh in the point standings after a third-place finish at Atlanta:
"The top-five gives us momentum. We were happy with the way we ran at California and Vegas, but it didn't really give us momentum like a top-five does. Obviously, I'm really happy with the way we performed at Atlanta, especially given the setbacks during the race. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't expect it. Atlanta has always been a good track for us, just like Bristol has always been pretty good for us. We're excited about the schedule coming up, and I think we'll be getting a lot more top-fives and -- hopefully - wins."
On his optimism this year, compared to the six-win season in 2004:
"I think the cars are driving better this year than they were in '04. That was a great season, but we definitely had our problem tracks, and when it was bad, it was really bad. We've been to two of those problem tracks already this year, and we were a top-15 car each time. This has been a good start to the season. Our cars are better, the people are better, the attitudes are better, everything is just better. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season."
How difficult is it to be consistently fast at Bristol?
"Well, there are some teams out here that don't seem to have a problem with it. The thing about Bristol is you can be really good but still caught up in a wreck. That's probably the main concern. Even if you're the leader, it's hard to miss wrecks sometimes because of all the lapped traffic. That's just Bristol. You can't take a break at any time. The moment you think you're doing good, it'll jump up and deal you a nasty blow."
On your craziest Bristol moment:
"I don't know, they all seem crazy to me. Obviously my favorite moment was when we won there. My first time there in the Cup Series was kind of crazy. I was in a wreck on the very first lap, and then wrecked again later in the race. I couldn't buy a break that day. It was really frustrating. But some of the craziest moments don't involve me, but I get just as much enjoyment as the fans do watching them unfold. Bristol is just a crazy place."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #8 Budweiser team enter race No. 5 of 36 seventh in the NASCAR Nextel Cup point standings after finishing third at Atlanta on Monday. In four races this season, the Bud team has one top-five, two top-10s, and have been in the top-10 in points following three of the four races. Dale Jr. has led two races this year for a total of 33 laps.
BRISTOL FACTS: Dale Jr. has scored top-10 finishes in each of his last three Bristol races, starting with his victory in the 2004 Sharpie 500. In his last eight races there, he has six top-10 finishes, led 707 laps, and an average finish of 7.1.
FAST OUT OF THE BLOCKS: With four races completed this season, Dale Jr.'s average finish is 12.25. Only once (2004) has Junior and the Bud team gotten off to a better start. The 2004 campaign featured two wins in the first four races (Daytona and Atlanta), giving Junior an average finish of 10.5.