Quotes from: DALE EARNHARDT JR. / Driver, ...
Quotes from: DALE EARNHARDT JR. / Driver, #8 Budweiser Chevrolet:
On the return to California:
"We're going with the most optimism we've had in several years leading into a Fontana race. It was a sore subject for us for a long time. I felt we made big gains at that track in February, just missing a top-10. My guys are real excited and I'm following their lead. Hopefully once we get there, I'll feel like I've known my way around there all along. Our finishes at Michigan this year (third and sixth) give us a lot to work with. We're taking the same car we ran at Michigan, same motor, and probably the same set-up."
On his climb from 10th to ninth in the point standings with two races to go before the Chase:
"I'm in ninth by two points, but I'm 19 points out of sixth. It's a tight race. Getting out of Bristol with a third-place finish was really big for us, because I was nervous about that race... wasn't much fun to be around. I feel like we've got the upper-hand to make the Chase. It's still too close for comfort. I saw how quickly we dropped out of third place in the standings a month ago. One bad race, one wreck, one blown motor can send you spiraling. But surviving Bristol was a step in the right direction. I feel confident at Richmond (the last race before the Chase) that I can run in the top-10 there. I think all of us from sixth on back are going to really have to take advantage of every opportunity to gain points, whether it's leading a lap, using pit strategy to gain track position, that kind of stuff. Maximize every moment on track each week."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #8 Budweiser team enter the Fontana race weekend after a third-place finish at Bristol on Saturday. With two races to go before the Chase begins, Dale Jr. is ninth in the Nextel Cup standings and in Chase contention by 92 points over 11th-place Kasey Kahne. Only 19 points separate him from sixth-place Denny Hamlin. In 23 races, Dale Jr. has one win (Richmond), seven top-fives, and 11 top-10s.