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Dallenbach on a roll heading to Michigan Wally Dallenbach has driven the No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo to top-10 finishes in three of the last four races and jumped from 18th to 15th in the NASCAR Winston Cup standings after last ...

Dallenbach on a roll heading to Michigan

Wally Dallenbach has driven the No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo to top-10 finishes in three of the last four races and jumped from 18th to 15th in the NASCAR Winston Cup standings after last week's seventh-place finish at Watkins Glen.

He's only 53 points out of 13th and could make that up Sunday in the Pepsi 400 at Michigan Speedway, a track where's he's scored top-10 finishes in two of his last three starts.

"We've got a good race car for Michigan," Dallenbach said. "We've got good horsepower, and it's my kind of track -- fast. We missed it a little bit the last time there. We were a lot better than where we finished (14th), but we started off loose and it cost us a lap.

"As good as Dale Jarrett was running, we went down a lap on the first pit stop. Then we were good the rest of the day, but there was no way of making that lap up as fast as he was going.

"Michigan is a nice, fast, wide race track. That's the way I like 'em. I think we'll be just as good there as we have been, maybe even a little better. I'm looking forward to it. We've been running good there. When you know you've got a good race car and you know you run good there, you look forward to it."

Dallenbach started 26th and quickly moved to the head of the pack last week at Watkins Glen. He has finished seventh, fifth, 14th and seventh in his last four starts and moved from 21st to 15th in the standings.

"I've said all along this is a top 15 team," Dallenbach said. "We've been running well all season. We just don't have the finishes to show for it.

"I think I'm pretty realistic. We've got an opportunity to win at Michigan. Probably when we go to Bristol the next week, I won't feel that way. I never had a car as good at Bristol as I do at Michigan.

"My mental attitude reflects on what kind of car I have to drive. If we unload and the car is not good, I know we're in for a long weekend. We'll try to make it better, but normally, you can't take a 30th-place car off the truck and turn it into a pole car.

"It's real important to take something to the track you're confident in. I feel that way at Michigan. I know we can't win every weekend. I'm realistic about it, but I know we can win at some tracks. Michigan is one of them. It's nice to think you can win if you have the equipment. Sometimes you just miss it and you've got to make the best of it.

"Then you start shooting for a little lower goal. Like realistically, you might think you've got a shot at the top 10. To come in and say we've got a shot at winning every race, that means you've got to beat Jeff Gordon and Dale Jarrett and Jeff Burton and Mark Martin. You've got to have your act together to do that.

"That's not quite the level we're at. I feel like we can win a race or two, but we have not yet proven we're top five every week. Our goal was to be competitive, consistent top 15. Then, when you've got a chance to win a race, you've got to strike."

Dallenbach will make his 182nd career NASCAR Winston Cup start on Sunday at Michigan. The 36-year-old New Jersey native made his Winston Cup debut at Atlanta in 1991 and finished a career-best 22nd in the 1993 standings.

The former SCCA Trans-Am champion has two second-place finishes to his credit in NASCAR's elite division and would like nothing better than to improve that stat by one position on Sunday at Michigan.

"I'll get in the car and drive as hard as I can," Dallenbach said. "I've never had more than a two-year contract in Winston Cup. I've basically been auditioning every single weekend for my whole career in Winston Cup. When I say I approach every race like it's my last race, that's true.

"I don't know where I'm going to be next year. You just drive hard and let everything else fall into place. It used to work on me, but it doesn't now. I believe in myself, and a lot of other people believe I can do the job. That's all that matters to me.

"This is the best group of people I've ever worked with talent-wise, and that's been a lot of fun. My abilities haven't been questioned here, and that's been a lot of fun. I really like it. I enjoy driving for this team. They're first-class people, and it makes this business a lot easier.

"We've had a lot of missed opportunities this year, and that's unfortunate because I feel like we should be in the top 12 in the points right now. Maybe we'll get there before all's said and done."

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Wally Dallenbach , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Mark Martin