Texas II: Dale Earnhardt Jr preview

Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- driver, No. 8 Budweiser team: On his first career Cup victory at Texas in 2000: "It was an awesome day. We hadn't been to too many races at that point, and to go to Texas and win was pretty special. I won my first Busch...

Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- driver, No. 8 Budweiser team:

On his first career Cup victory at Texas in 2000:

"It was an awesome day. We hadn't been to too many races at that point, and to go to Texas and win was pretty special. I won my first Busch race there in 1998 too, so to come back and win my first Cup race at the same place two years later meant a lot. I know I'll never forget it and it's something I think about every time I go back. It seems we always run at the front there, too.

"We're taking the same car we just ran at Atlanta. They'll take it back to the shop, turn her around, and load 'er up for Texas. When you have a car that's as fast as this one, we can't wait to get it on the track and go after it again.

On a strong performance Sunday at Atlanta:

"It was fun leading all those laps but equally disappointing not to win. I had a great car, we had fast pit stops all day, and it was nice to come out with a strong top-five. I think it's a sign of things to come. Tony (Eury) Jr. builds great race cars, and I enjoy driving 'em. I'm really happy with the way things are coming together. The guys in the engine shop are giving me great motors. They've been burning the midnight oil to give me great horsepower, and I hope it keeps coming. The guys at the body shop do such a fabulous job."

BUDWEISER QUICK NOTES: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #8 Budweiser team enter the Texas race weekend after a fourth-place finish at Atlanta, their seventh top-five of the season and first in six races. Junior now has one victory (Chicagoland Speedway) and 12 top-10s in 33 starts. He is 19th in the Nextel Cup point standings with three races to go.

FOLLOW THE LEADER: Dale Jr.'s 142 laps as the leader in Sunday's race at Atlanta was the eighth-most laps led in his career, and it was more than five times his previous laps-led total of 2005. This season he has now led in six races for 167 laps.

TEXAS TIDBITS: Dale Jr. has finished in the top-10 in five of his six races at Texas Motor Speedway, including a victory in 2000 in only his 12th career Nextel Cup start. He has led laps in every race but one for a total of 253 laps. The Brew Crew is currently riding a string of three consecutive top-10s at TMS, most recently a ninth-place finish in the April race this year.

STARTING STRONG: In six races at Texas, Dale Jr. has never started worse than 11th. In four of those races he started among the top-10, and in one -- the 2001 race -- he led the field to the green flag after earning his second career Bud Pole Award.

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Series NASCAR-CUP