Budweiser Race Preview: Fontana Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- driver, No. 8 Budweiser team: What are your thoughts of California Speedway? "It's a cool place, but our performances haven't been anything to write home about, so it's not one of my ...
Budweiser Race Preview: Fontana
Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- driver, No. 8 Budweiser team:
What are your thoughts of California Speedway?
"It's a cool place, but our performances haven't been anything to write home about, so it's not one of my favorites. I've had some pretty freaky and pretty hard crashes there in the past, but the car always seemed to be fast. We had a brutal time there last in February... I still have nightmares about blowing out three left-fronts (tires) in one race. That was frustrating."
You cite the two-mile speedways as where the team needs to improve the most. How has the team improved recently?
"We're definitely not where we want to be, but I think our Michigan race (Aug. 21) was a pretty good indicator that we've made steps in the right direction. We raced our way into the top-10 but had to pit with five or six (laps) to go. I was happy with the way the car drove, and we're taking the same car to Fontana this weekend. These mile-and-a-half and two-mile tracks have just been the ones that have given us the most trouble. A lot of that has to do with our struggles with the new tire. It just took us a lot longer to figure it out than most."
2005 SEASON OVERVIEW: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #8 Budweiser team enters the California race weekend on the heels of a ninth-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, their 10th top-10 of the season. The effort moved Junior up one spot in the points standings to 15th. He is now 117 points out of 10th with two races to go before the Chase for the Championship. On the year, the Bud team has one victory, five top-fives and 10 top-10s through 26 races.
TRAFFIC JAMMED: California Speedway hasn't been particularly kind to Dale Jr., as he has one top-five and two top-10s in seven starts. He has led only one lap at the two-mile oval (2001). His finish of third at California Speedway is his career-best on two-mile tracks.
LIGHT 'EM UP: Dale Jr. has scored top-10 finishes in three of the five races run under lights this year (Darlington 5/7, Daytona 7/2 and Bristol 8/27). Since the 2002 Pepsi 400 at Daytona, Dale Jr. has remarkably earned 15 top-10 finishes in 20 night races. Additionally, four of Junior's 16 career victories have come under lights.