Quotes from Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Driver, ...
Quotes from Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Driver, #8 Budweiser Chevrolet:
"There will be so many mixed feelings for me this week. It's hard to imagine it was 1999 when we made our first Cup start (at Charlotte, May) with this team and with Budweiser. I'm excited about the off-season and jumping right into my new deal, but it's very, very important for me to end my time with Dale Earnhardt Inc. with integrity and with my head held high. When your career is over and you look back, I think that's critical: a measure of your character is more important than the number of wins you have. That kind of thing will last longer than any driving career.
"It's been relatively easy to concentrate and focus so far this season when it was time to pull on the helmet, but it may be much tougher to do that at Homestead. I have so many close friends and people I've gone into battle with for nearly a decade, and that type of bond will stay with me forever. The same goes for Budweiser. The people at Anheuser-Busch took a big chance on me when I'd never turned a lap in a Cup race. I'll never forget that, and we've had an amazing run since then. I never thought we'd be here in 2007 with things like four consecutive "Most Popular Driver" awards and having a Daytona 500 trophy with my name on it. Man, those are things I only dreamed about when I was living in a trailer and changing oil at my dad's dealership. It's been a helluva great time.
"It's been a rough year for the team and I'm sure it's been tough on my fans with everything that has happened. We've had such a great team that's run so strong but has little or nothing to show for it. Whether we go out with a whimper or a bang, we're going to do it together as a team, running as hard as we can every lap. That's how we've always been, and that feeling of a collective effort is the most important thing. I want to thank everyone who has worked with me at Dale Earnhardt Inc. and sponsors like Budweiser that have supported me for so long. And the fans too - they've been great and have helped make me feel like they will be with me through thick or thin."
Homestead represents one of only two tracks on the Cup circuit where Dale Jr. has not recorded a Cup top-10 finish. He has two 11th-place finishes at Sonoma, while 13th place in his first Homestead start remains his personal best at the Florida oval... This will be the final event of an interesting variety of eras: Dale Jr's final race in the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet, his final race at Dale Earnhardt Inc., the final race of the current 'car of today' chassis and the last race of the 'Nextel' era as the series becomes known as the "Sprint Cup" in 2008... Dale Jr. and the Budweiser team won the first race of the "Nextel Cup" era, winning the 2004 Daytona 500... an-only-slightly soothing component of the last-place finish at Phoenix: Dale Jr. went past the $5 million mark in prize money for the fifth consecutive season and the sixth time in his career...
This Bud's for You:
Homestead marks the end of the nine-year tenure of the Dale Jr. / Budweiser / Dale Earnhardt Inc. triumverate. There have been too many memorable moments to list them all - so here is a listing of Dale Jr's Cup victories in Budweiser colors. The No. 8 DEI team won on nearly every type of track on the tour, including short tracks (Richmond, Bristol), one-mile ovals (Dover, Phoenix), intermediate ovals (Texas, Atlanta, Chicago) and superspeedways (Daytona, Talladega). Only three other drivers have won more Cup races than Dale Jr. since the 2000 season began.
17 - Richmond International Raceway, May 6, 2006
16 - Chicagoland Speedway, July 10, 2005
15 - Phoenix International Raceway, Nov. 7, 2004
14 - Talladega Superspeedway, Oct. 3, 2004
13 - Bristol Motor Speedway, Aug. 28, 2004
12 - Richmond International Raceway, May 15, 2004
11 - Atlanta Motor Speedway, March 14, 2004
10 - Daytona International Speedway, Feb. 15, 2004
9 - Phoenix International Raceway, Nov. 2, 2003
8 - Talladega Superspeedway, April 6, 2003
* - The Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, Feb. 8, 2003
7 - Talladega Superspeedway, Oct. 6, 2002
6 - Talladega Superspeedway, April 21, 2002
5 - Talladega Superspeedway, Oct. 21, 2001
4 - Dover Downs Raceway, Sept. 23, 2001
3 - Daytona International Speedway, July 7, 2001
* - The Winston All-Star Race, Lowe's Motor Speedway, May 20, 2000
2 - Richmond International Raceway, May 6, 2000
1 - Texas Motor Speedway, April 2, 2000
(* non-points victories)
Primary Chassis this week: #042 / Chevrolet Monte Carlo (final event for NASCAR's "Car o' Yesterday")