Quotes from Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Driver, ...
Quotes from Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Driver, #8 Budweiser Chevrolet:
"The track is similar, but not exactly like, the track at Chicago. I felt like we had a car that could win at Chicago (in July) until the power steering went out, so maybe we've got that figured out and we can take it to the finish here. I was really happy to get a third-place at Dover. After deserving to give this team and DEI (Dale Earnhardt Inc.) a great finish so many times this year only to see something happen to take it away from us, it feels good to me to be able to get it done - even if we really should have been seventh or eighth.
"It's even more urgent we get after it this week since Tony (Eury, crew chief) Jr. is leaving after Talladega. We need to close out his career at DEI with a big "W." The law of averages seems to be on our side now: if we continue to run in the top-five week after week after week, we're bound to win one before the season ends. We're certainly taking our favorite chassis (#39) and we're loaded for bear to get a win."
This Bud's for You:
In the final weeks of the season, we will commemorate the long and successful pairing of Dale Jr., Budweiser and Dale Earnhardt Inc. by including a small slice of the most memorable moments and the greatest Dale Jr. quotes since 1999.
One of the most over-looked victories of Dale Jr's Cup career took place at the sister track to Kansas Speedway. In July 2005, Dale Jr. drove to a win at Chicagoland Speedway with interim crew chief Steve Hmiel. It had been a nightmare following off-season wholesale changes at DEI - including swapping entire crews between their two Cup drivers. The season brightened with 19 laps remaining in the Chicago event when Hmiel gambled by taking only two tires and sending the Bud car back on track in second place. What followed were some of the finest laps of Junior's career, as first he made a hold-your-breath-and-pray pass into the lead and then held off a hard-charging Matt Kenseth, who had four fresh tires. For large sections of the final 10 laps, the No. 8 Bud car was sliding sideways as Dale Jr. extended his streak of earning at least one win each season since 2000.
(after the 2005 Chicago victory): "I'm just so happy for this team. They've been taking so much abuse all season, and they are as good - if not better - than any of these teams in the garage. We've gone through so much this year, but it's been a learning experience, and a growing experience, and it makes this even sweeter, to be completely honest. I really don't know what to say - it's just awesome. I'm also happy for my fans because of all they've been through with us, I'd love to be able to go into work with all of them on Monday and see them to give everybody else (crap)..."
About the team urging him on in the final laps: "It's like a jockey on a horse during the last stretch. He's getting all he can out of that horse. In the last stretch of the race, if the team knows there's a guy in front of us that's faster, I want them to say, 'Come on, drive it harder. Do something, Let's go'. We don't have many opportunities to find ourselves in the hunt and be excited about it. I wanted to enjoy the hell out of it and get the whip out and see if we could gain another spot. I needed somebody to get me up on the wheel. Not all drivers will admit to that. But it helps. We think we're in there doing all we can, but you never are. There's always more. There's always another gear, another level, another step. There's always harder and harder - until your head explodes or something. I just wanted to be pushed."
"Every time we win there's always some circumstance. We've never really gone somewhere and picked up a win and quietly walked out. Today's circumstance for me is obviously winning with this team that has been beat up so bad all year long by the critics. I never expected that. I told them there was going to be pressure when they put the red uniform on, but I didn't think it would be as cruel as it has for them. I've got the easiest job in the whole company That's the satisfaction of this win. To see what they feel today means more than taking the trophy out and setting it on the mantle."
Helmets Helmets Helmets:
Observant fans will notice Dale Jr. sporting a new lightweight, high-tech carbon fiber helmet inside the Budweiser machine, but he's also adding to a helmet collection of a different sort. After receiving several college football helmets from the fine Budweiser folks in Virginia the past few years, Dale Jr. began collecting helmets from as many college teams as he can acquire. This weekend, he'll receive an official helmet from the University of Kansas football program. The Jayhawks are undefeated so far this season. (Shhh... don't tell Junior. It's a surprise!)
Primary Chassis this week:
#039, the Bud team's favorite chassis and has been raced at many of the 1.5-mile and 2-mile tracks the past two seasons.