Talladega II: Dale Earnhardt Jr preview

Quotes from Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Driver, ...

Quotes from Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Driver, #8 Budweiser Chevrolet:

"This would be the best time for us to get another victory. I so badly want to win one for my fans and sponsors and especially for my entire team, but this will be Tony (Eury, crew chief) Jr's last race as our crew chief before he heads off to join Hendrick Motorsports. It would be so great to get out of the car and give him a big hug after a win. That's what this is all about: making the people around you happy. I mean, that's the best is to see they smiles and how satisfying it is for them. The trophies and the money don't mean anything. OK - scratch that - those are pretty cool too, so I take that back. But, those aren't the most important things! Tony Jr. could have left us much sooner, but he wanted to stick around long enough to make sure his guys had the cars prepared for the rest of the season and they would be in good shape with Tony Gibson taking over as crew chief for the rest of the year. We'll be fine, but it would mean a lot to get one last one with Tony Jr. in his Budweiser shirt on top of that pit box. Him leaving is good for his future and mine, but we want to go all-out for this race and all of the rest racing with as much integrity and as hard as we ever have.

About the first Car o' Tomorrow race with restrictor plates: "If you thought it was wild with the old cars, wait until Sunday. The bumpers on these things match-up and they're built like a tank, so the bump drafting is going to be big time! These things punch such a hole in the air, so we'll be bottled-up 43 deep all day. The closing speeds are so fast, no one will be able to get away from anyone else. I like to think I'm pretty good at those sorts of things, so maybe that gives us a big advantage when the flag falls.

"We spent a lot of laps at the test drafting with Jacques (Villeneuve). He was a little skittish at first, but he got better every lap. I didn't even know who was in the No. 27 car until I pulled in after 20 laps or so and asked. I get excited about being out there on the track with guys like him and Juan (Montoya) that have won the Indy 500 and Formula One championships. That's awesome for me to be out there racing hard with them. Jacques doesn't have much experience in these cars, but he's a world champ - he'll do OK. Hell, he can't be any worse than some of the other guys we've got out there!"

Minutiae:

There is very little minute about Dale Jr's Cup career at Talladega... the sheer size and depth of his success and the onslaught of statistics is staggering. Where to start?... his five wins are more wins than he has at any other Cup circuit and the most victories among all active drivers... He ranks second all-time behind his father Dale Earnhardt, who won 10 times... Dale Jr. was able to do what no other has done at Talladega by winning four consecutive races between Oct. 2001 and April 2003.... He has led in 13 of his 16 starts for more than 1433 miles - the equivalent of almost three entire races in the lead... Dale Jr. seemed destined for win number six in this race last year until he was taken out from behind while leading going into turn three on the final lap of the race... Between Oct. 2001 and Oct. 2004, Dale Jr. recorded five wins and two second-place finishes in seven consecutive races... He was inducted into the Talladega Walk-of-Fame in 2003... in the 'infamous' category, Dale Jr. was penalized 25 points while leading the Chase for the Nextel Cup after he uttered a four-letter word in his excitement after winning in Oct. 2004 (also known as the "post Janet Jackson's boob" era). The penalty knocked him from the lead in the Chase standings, and he finished the season in third-place.

This Bud's for You: In the final weeks of the season, we will commemorate the long and successful pairing of Dale Jr., Budweiser and Dale Earnhardt Inc. by including a small slice of the most memorable moments and the greatest Dale Jr. quotes since 1999.

Memorable Drive: There have been many to choose from at Talladega, but the most improbable and impressive would have to be the win in April 2003. On race morning, the Bud team found water in the oil of the engine, which meant a frantic engine change. The Bud car was the last one onto the grid, only moments before the command to start engines, and then Dale Jr. was forced to start 43rd. On lap four, one of Talladega's typical multi-car crashes took place, sweeping the No. 8 car into the carnage. The damage was mostly cosmetic, but the Bud pit crew was forced to make a total of 17 pit stops during the race to make changes and to repair the damage a little bit at a time without losing a lap. By lap 107, with car that looked like it had been beaten with a sledgehammer, Dale Jr. had somehow made his way into the lead for the first time. He took the lead for the final time with two laps to go, but was forced to go below the yellow "out of bounds" line. However. NASCAR ruled that he had already gained the lead before slipping below the line, so the pass was deemed legal and the victory - a record-setting fourth straight -- was Dale Jr's. A monumental run, and a testament to a hard-working and unheralded Bud crew.

Memorable Quotes from Talladega: (from various races):

From the 2003 win listed above: "This is a big deal. A great victory for my career. In the past, we've been the car to beat at this place, but today we weren't the best car. We just didn't have the car after the big crash, so we had to fight and gouge and kick for every spot today. It was hard, hard racing and a lot of wild things happening, so I'd say this one (the fourth in a row) is the sweetest of all. We had to earn this one... All week, I never really thought we could do it (win four consecutive races at Talladega). I planned for the worst, and hoped for the best. It was hellacious racing, and we never gave up. Everybody on the team showed a lot of heart. This one wasn't ours to lose like the ones in the past. You work your heart out... and you might get more than you expect."

From his Oct. 2004 win:

"(Five wins) don't mean s$#&! Daddy won ten here!" (at a cost of 25 points and a hefty fine...)

From a red-flag period during the race in April 2005:

Crew chief Pete Rondeau: "Are you sleeping in there?"

Dale Jr: "No, I'm just sitting here flipping everybody off..."

Later in the red flag period, being interviewed by Fox-TV's Darrell Waltrip:

DW: "It's pretty crazy out there. A lot of guys are complaining about the aggressive driving..."

Dale Jr: "Yeah, they need a tissue for their issue..." (after the interview)

Dale Jr: (with bravado) "That was a cool piece of commentary. Maybe I've got a future."

Steve Hmiel (spotter): "Yeah... like you need it!"

-credit: dei

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Teams Hendrick Motorsports