DALE EARNHARDT JR. / DRIVER, ...
DALE EARNHARDT JR. / DRIVER, #8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET:
Junior, you're going back to the Texas Motor Speedway, site of your first win. How special is it going back to Texas?
"Very special. I've always said that when I'm an old man, I'm going to bore my grandkids to death with racing stories, and I'll tell 'em once a week how I shocked everybody my rookie year by winning the Texas race. They'll probably be like, 'You told us that yesterday.' Texas will always be a special place to me. I love going there. We've had some really good races; even races we haven't won were pretty good. It's a really, really fast track, which I love."
You've gained another spot in the point standings (now 16th / -83 out of the top-10) with a 13th-place finish at Martinsville. It's the question you get asked every week: Do you feel like the Bud team is back where it needs to be?
"No, we've got a lot of work to do to get where we need to be. We tested at Kentucky last week, and felt like we learned some stuff.JThe Texas tire is different than what you'd use at Kentucky, but we still felt like it was a good test, and we need to probably do more of it. Tracks like Martinsville and Bristol ain't the places we're struggling at. We need to improve our cars to where we're getting more grip at the aero tracks. We've got to work hard to get there, and we will. I don't doubt that a bit."
How is your foot feeling after the Martinsville race? You said it was hurting you pretty bad during the race.
"Ahhh, it's cool. It was hurting real bad because I was having to mash the brake so hard just to slow the car down, and the ball of my foot was just killing me. I was definitely ready to kick off my shoes when that race was over."
SEASON OVERVIEW: Dale Jr. and the No. 8 Budweiser team enter the seventh race of the 2005 Nextel Cup season on the heels of a 13th-place finish at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. The finish enabled Dale Jr. to gain one spot in the Nextel Cup point standings, as he is now in 16th position with 649 points (-83 from the top 10). On the season, Dale Jr. has a pair of top-fives, those coming at Daytona and Bristol.
DALE JR. AT TEXAS: Texas Motor Speedway is the site of Dale Jr.'s first career NEXTEL Cup victory five years ago. The win came in only his 12th start. Texas Motor Speedway is also where Dale Jr. recorded his first NASCAR Busch Series win in 1998. Should he win this Sunday, Dale Jr. would become the first-ever repeat winner at Texas Motor Speedway.
-- Dale Jr. has led at least one lap in each of his five races at Texas. The No. 8 Budweiser team has four top-10 finishes at TMS and one Bud Pole Award (2001). The team finished second in 2003 and fourth in 2004.
-- Dale Jr. ranks second on the laps-led chart at Texas Motor Speedway. Junior has led 253 laps in five starts, second only to Dale Jarrett's 407 laps in eight starts.