Quotes from Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Driver, ...
Quotes from Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Driver, #8 Budweiser Chevrolet:
"It's mixed emotions this week. The loss of Bill France Jr. is sad for anyone who works in the sport because of what he achieved in his life and how his leadership means a lot of us can make a good living doing what we love to do - and millions of people across the country can enjoy NASCAR every Sunday. On the other hand, everyone at DEI (Dale Earnhardt Inc.) has to be pumped up and proud of how well Martin (Truex Jr.) and the entire company performed at Dover. To get a win like that lifts everybody's spirits and it's something that motivates and inspires the company from top to bottom. Anytime a DEI team wins, they fly a checkered flag on the flagpole in front of the shop. It's been awhile since that's been up, so it's a welcome sight, and it makes everyone want to see it raised a few more times this year.
"Forget the 22nd-place finish (at Dover). That Bud car was among the top-five cars from the start of practice on Friday until the race ended. If the rain hadn't washed all the rubber off the concrete, I think we would have been right there battling Martin for the win and not wearing our tires down to the cords. We can't worry about the bad luck that's in the past, but we can focus on the positives and build on how well we've run this season. We're halfway to the Chase, and despite everything that's happened - all the bad breaks and the flat tires and being penalized 100 points - we're only a few points out of 12th place. Our engines have been strong and really pulling hard lately, and my cars have been handling great. We'll need every ounce of that horsepower at Pocono, where the straightaways seem to go for a day and a half."
Dale Jr's history at Pocono has been a strange one. From his first race in 2000 when his father slammed into him on lap four ("I guess I was in his way..." Junior moped on the radio after being hit by the black No. 3 car) to his scintillating back-and-forth battle with Bobby Labonte in July 2001 that still rates among his finest drives not ending in Victory Lane. It seems there is some sort of drama each time at the oddball, triangular Pennsylvania track... Junior was involved in a horrific-looking lap-one crash with teammate Steve Park in July 2002, when the two DEI cars slid helplessly through wet grass before hitting a guardrail, sending Park's car tumbling end over end. Junior ran from his damaged car to help extricate Park, who was uninjured. The Bud team made repairs and Junior returned to the track many laps later with large "DMP" letters spray-painted on the left-front corner of the car. It was Junior's crude nod to his buddies, who are known by their self-proclaimed moniker, the "Dirty Mo Posse." (He had painted the letters while bored during the extended red flag period to repair the damaged guardrail.)... In July 2004, the crew lifted Dale Jr. out of the car early in the race, while he was suffering from burns he received two weeks prior in a sports car crash. Junior was replaced by John Andretti, who became only the third driver to compete in the No. 8 Bud car (Martin Truex Jr. had been Junior's replacement the week prior at Loudon. It was Truex Jr's first laps in Cup competition.)... The most recent race at Pocono ended early for the Bud bunch as the No. 8 car was pushed into the wall, then returned to the fray only to have the engine expire, finishing 43rd...