Quotes from Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Driver, ...
Quotes from Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Driver, #8 Budweiser Chevrolet:
"Michigan has always been some sort of Twilight Zone for us. We have two Bud Poles and have been very, very fast at any given time, but always seemed to end up on the short end of the results when the race was done. But, that changed last year. We hit upon something with a set-up with our favorite chassis (#039) to get our two best career finishes there last season. A third-place and a sixth-place (in 2006 - the two best finishes at Michigan in Dale Jr's Cup career) showed we had found some of the small pieces we had been missing and it was then that we seemed to fully appreciate how good of a chassis the boys had built. We're taking that chassis back there this week, and with the way these engines have been kicking butt the last few weeks, it makes me excited about going racing on Sunday. We're so close to climbing back into the top-12 in points (after the 100 points penalty at Darlington), and we have our sights set on climbing back into the Chase this week."
Dale Jr's Cup career at the 2-mile oval in the Irish Hills has been a story of frequently being snake-bit when the race neared a conclusion... This is the only track on the Nextel Cup circuit where Dale Jr. has two Bud Pole Awards, and he has led in eight of his 15 starts... He recorded his two best Cup finishes in the two races at Michigan last season (3rd place in June and 6th place in August)... His track record qualifying lap in August 2000 was the first lap quicker than 190 miles per hour in a stock car at the 2-mile oval... However, sheer speed has never converted into a victory - whether being bit by a rain shortened-race to being the victim to freak accidents such as Rusty Wallace slamming into the Bud car after careening back onto the track from the pit road entrance for no apparent reason... Dale Jr. has a Busch Series win at Michigan - a coming-out event of sorts in 1999 when he dueled head-to-head and defeated Jeff Gordon (in a rare Busch series entry)... He also had a famous side-by-side finish with his father in the 1999 IROC race at Michigan. The close second-place finish still makes Junior bristle, as he believes he had the race won until his father received a final last-ditch push from Rusty Wallace. ("They're from the same era, and they're fishing buddies or something, so I guess I was on my own," said Dale Jr.)... His Bud Pole Award in August 2000 came on a special day when he raced with his father and half-brother Kerry in a Cup race for the first time ever. It marked the first time a father and two sons had competed at the highest level in NASCAR in more than 40 years.