Texas II: Earnhardt Jr preview

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

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

"I'm not sure how much more bizarre this season can get. We've done so many good things this year as a team and I've been given the most consistently fast cars of my career and the only thing lacking is a victory. Texas is definitely a place where we can resolve that problem. There are so many good memories for all of us at that place - not just the first win - but almost every race since then we've been a top-10 car. We qualify well and we run up front, and even though we destroyed our favorite chassis (#039) at Atlanta, we're taking our second-best car (#042) that was built just the same way. We've led in eighty percent of our races there, and we'll try to push that average higher on Sunday, but mainly we just want to lead that last lap and wash that awful taste out of our mouths. Some ice cold Bud will do it!"

Minutiae:

Dale Jr. and the No. 8 Budweiser team have been more consistently excellent at Texas than at any other track on the Nextel Cup circuit. Dale Jr. has one victory there (his first career Cup win in 2000) and has finished in the top-10 in seven of his 10 career starts. His average finish of 12.8 is topped only by his average finish record at Richmond... he has led in eight of his 10 starts and has an average starting position of 8.67- his best average starting position among all of the tracks on the circuit... He scored his third career Bud pole in April of 2001 at Texas... According to NASCAR's loop-data stats from the past several seasons at Texas, Dale Jr. ranks second-best among all drivers in categories such as "Average Running Position," "Laps in the Top-15," and "Quality Passes Among the top-15..." All of his statistical average would be even better had he not been taken out of the April race earlier this season by a crash while running in second place. Even though the team is shown with a 36th place finish and a DNF from that race, they led 96 laps before exiting... Yes, it was at also at Texas in April when Dale Jr. jumped into the No. 5 Hendrick car after it had been crashed and finished the race in a non-intentional foreshadowing of things to come...

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:

After scoring his very first career Busch Series victory at Texas in 1998, Dale Jr. returned in 2000 as a Cup rookie and replicated his feat, earning his very first career win in only his twelfth Cup start. Like many of his victories, this one followed some serious low points in the previous races, but his level of confidence and ease at the Ft. Worth track shown through as he led 108 laps and won by a massive margin of 5.9 seconds. His excitement after the win was matched only by his relief at winning at stock car racing's highest level as he believed it meant he would have a job for at least the next several seasons. Dale Jr. had been validated.

Memorable Quotes from Dale Jr. after the Texas win:

"I'm so tired, man - I drove my heart out. I need a breath! Well done by my guys - they did super. This is pretty special. This is crazy. Tony and Tony (Eury) Jr. built a good car, and I pretty much did what I wanted in the car. It did what I asked it to do. We didn't change anything all day. When we got a set of tires, I just adjusted my driving to them. I'd just point and shoot and that thing went!

"On the last lap, I was so excited and I could see the fans getting excited. When I turned through turn four I saw all of the flashbulbs flashing. I couldn't believe it - people screaming and cheering. I couldn't believe it!

About being greeted by his father/car owner Dale Earnhardt in victory lane:

"He just told me he loved me and he wanted to make sure I took the time to enjoy this and relax a little bit with what we accomplished today. You can get so swept up with what's going on around you that you really don't enjoy it yourself personally, so he just wanted me to take a minute and do this and celebrate how I wanted to celebrate. He was pretty happy - he's the car owner and so he's proud of the team and his 'product.' He's proud as a father - but this is his team, so no matter who's driving he's happy about that.

"With about 40 laps to go, right before we made our last pit stop, Tony Jr. said "this one is for all of the marbles." He didn't know exactly how much truth there was in saying that. If we would've come out behind the 18 (Bobby Labonte) car, even with that good of a car, I don't know if I would have been able to get by him. Once we beat everybody out of the pits, they dropped the green flag and that thing was crazy fast. It was as easy as pie to drive. We got a four- or five-second lead and I said 'man, this thing is awesome.'

"It was fun racing Bobby Labonte and to run like we did in front of him because I admire him a lot - about how he carries himself around the garage area and stuff. He's a really cool guy, real quiet, and he doesn't ruffle anybody's feathers. After the last three weeks, it was fun to get out front and show these guys I could use my head and make smart decisions. Even when I've got a real fast car and I'm not up front, I can be patient and I can pick my way up through there. It was fun to prove that to them and prove my status as far as drivers go."

Primary Chassis this week: #042 / replica to the chassis destroyed in the late-race crash at Atlanta / previously ran at tracks such as Indianapolis and Pocono.

-credit: dei

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Bobby Labonte