Las Vegas: Dale Earnhardt Jr preview

(Monday, March 1, 2004) -- The freshness of an off-weekend is plenty reason for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 8 Budweiser Race Team to smile, but not the only reason. Besides being the only driver to record top-five finishes in the first two ...

(Monday, March 1, 2004) -- The freshness of an off-weekend is plenty reason for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 8 Budweiser Race Team to smile, but not the only reason.

Besides being the only driver to record top-five finishes in the first two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races and maintaining a slim lead in the championship point standings, Junior has broken into a fraternity that he's sure to never leave. It's the fraternity of gas grill owners.

"I never knew how good steaks taste when you cook 'em on a gas grill," Dale Jr. said. "My George Foreman grill got rained on at Daytona, so I cooked my steak on Michael (Waltrip's) gas grill, and it was the best steak I ever had. I don't mean to knock George Foreman because I've always liked him as a boxer, but last week at Rockingham I went out and bought me a grill like Michael's."

With his new gas grill in tow, Dale Jr. heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he finished second to Matt Kenseth last year. Dale Jr. has led laps in each of his four races at Las Vegas. Only Mark Martin, who has raced in all six events at the 1.5-mile track, has led more.

Dale Jr. on Las Vegas:

"Man, the off week was cool, but I've already gotten the itch to get back to the track and go racin' again. We did a few media deals last Monday, and I pretty much had the rest of the week to chill out with my friends. It was cool finishing as well as we did at Rockingham, because it sets the mood you're gonna be in for the next couple of days. It feels good to get that race out of the way and go to a place where we've had some success at."

LAS VEGAS TIDBITS: If Dale Jr. wins the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 this Sunday, he'll receive an additional $30,000 as part of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup leader bonus.

"DON'T LISTEN TO ME!": The Bud Crew claimed first place in the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship last week at North Carolina Motor Speedway, but its biggest achievement may have come in the form of a communication breakthrough with its driver.

"No matter what, and I mean no matter what, don't let me talk you into pitting (under green)," Dale Jr. said to car chief Tony Eury Jr. during the first caution of the Subway 400. "That's bitten us every time here. I'm gonna gripe, cry and complain about wanting to pit, but don't listen to me."

QUOTEABLE: Cincinnati Reds centerfielder Ken Griffey Jr., when asked about the magnitude of the New York Yankees' signing of baseball star Alex Rodriguez:

"I don't care what you say, the A-Rod signing wasn't as big as Dale Earnhardt Jr. winning at Daytona."
-- www.cincinnatireds.com

Anheuser-Busch's 12 U.S.-based breweries and network of more than 700 wholesalers reduce delivery time and ensure that fresh beer is in retail accounts shortly after packaging. As it reads on every beer package, Anheuser-Busch beers including Budweiser are at their peak of freshness and taste within 110 days from their "Born On" date.

-dei/budweiser-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Matt Kenseth , Tony Eury Jr. , Mark Martin