Chicagoland: Dale Earnhardt Jr preview

Quotes from Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Driver, ...

Quotes from Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Driver, #8 Budweiser Chevrolet:

"I'm beginning to think I should just not slow down when I see a crash in front of me. I hope that theme doesn't continue. We've been taken out of two chances to win a race this season by getting hit from behind while trying to avoid a wreck (at Texas in April and last Saturday evening in Daytona). I keep saying that we're due to have the breaks start going our way, and when they do, we're going to enjoy it.

"I'm really proud of the win (at Chicagoland) in 2005. It was great to win a race with Steve Hmiel (DEI technical director, and then interim crew chief) as my crew chief. He's a guy that means a lot to DEI now, but I grew up watching him as Mark Martin's crew chief, so it was special to be able to say I was able to win a race with him on my team. He decided to give me two tires on a late stop, and I was able to drive it to the finish. It was wild - I was sideways half the time, spinnin' out every corner - but that's what it took that afternoon to win and we were able to do it. That was a big day as well because it kind of signaled our return on the mile-and-a-half tracks. We had struggled there and at similar tracks for a few years, but we really worked hard on that program and it seems like we've been able to run up front on those tracks since then. We won in '05, but we actually had an even better set-up last year when we finished fifth and led some laps. I expect nothing less this weekend."

Minutiae:
Dale Jr. will attempt to score his third consecutive top-five finish at the Joliet, IL track this weekend, following a victory in 2005 and a fifth-place finish in 2006... His victory in 2005 was his only win with Steve Hmiel as crew chief. He has 15 victories with Tony Eury Sr. at the helm, and one win with Tony Eury Jr. as crew chief... According the NASCAR Loop Data (recorded at the past two events at Chicagoland), Dale Jr. has the third-best overall driver rating at the track, and leads all drivers in the "fastest on the back straightway" category with a 'relative speed percentage' of 1.0638. (They say that's a good number somehow.)... After 18 points races this year (the halfway point for the full season), Dale Jr. and the Budweiser team have an average starting position of 14.11 and an average finishing position of 16.22. They have recorded three top-five finishes and seven top-10s while leading seven races for 302 laps....

Primary Chassis this week: #039... the team's favorite chassis for intermediate tracks, and most recently raced at Michigan (fifth-place finish). This is the same chassis that finished fifth at Chicagoland in 2006. It has also been raced this season at Fontana, Las Vegas, Texas and Charlotte...

-credit: dei

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Tony Eury Jr. , Mark Martin