Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- driver, No. 8 Budweiser team: What are your thoughts returning to Michigan for the second time this summer? "We've struggled on these types of tracks, but the last time we were there, we learned a lot we'll be able to use...
Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- driver, No. 8 Budweiser team:
What are your thoughts returning to Michigan for the second time this summer?
"We've struggled on these types of tracks, but the last time we were there, we learned a lot we'll be able to use this weekend. That was a hard-fought finish (at Michigan in June). I've never driven so hard to finish 17th, but at the end of the day, we were happy with the gains we made. We had a car that was really fast in the corners, but they were killing us on the straights. I'm hoping we show progress with a top-10 or, better yet, a top-five. We need it."
"Right now our focus is getting our cars running better, and not so much worrying about the points. The points will come with good finishes. We've got to get our cars better when we unload rather than wasting a whole weekend trying to make it better. It's an uphill climb when you unload a slow car. You spend your whole weekend trying to get it halfway competitive. We usually do by the end of the race, but it's such a big hole to climb out of, especially with the impound races. You don't have a whole lot of practice time, and since it's been raining a lot lately, that practice time has been cut in half."
2005 SEASON OVERVIEW: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #8 Budweiser team enter the Michigan race weekend on the heels of a 10th-place finish at Watkins Glen. It marked their ninth top-10 finish of the season and fourth in the last six races. In 22 races this season, the Brew Crew has one victory and five top-fives. Dale Jr. is currently 15th in the Nextel Cup point standings, 163 points out of the top-10 with four races to go before the start of the 10-race Chase for the Championship.
JUNIOR AT MICHIGAN: Michigan is the only track where Dale Jr. has earned multiple Bud Pole Awards. Junior's best finish at Michigan is seventh, in June, 2003. He has led five races (in 12 starts) at MIS, the most coming in August 2003 when he held the point for 37 laps en route to a 10th-place finish.