All-Star: Dale Earnhardt preview

Budweiser Race Preview: Nextel All-Star Challenge Quotes from Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Driver, ...

Budweiser Race Preview: Nextel All-Star Challenge

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

"It's something I look forward to every year. It's old-school. A short, frantic race where nobody is holding back, nobody is just out there riding around. You need to haul butt and do it for the full race. Our test at Charlotte (last week) was really a good one, very productive. For a two-day test, we learned a lot we can apply to the race this week and for the 600 (The Coca-Cola 600, Memorial Day weekend.)

"We have a car we've been working on that I think will be really good. We've made a lot of changes to it because it only has to last 120 laps. You're not worried about it going 400 or 500 miles, so you can do things kind of like we used to do in the short track days. That's what makes this so much fun: it's like being back on the short tracks and letting it all hang out for the sprint rather than the marathon. Me and the whole team have always loved that kind of atmosphere and really relish that kind of attitude toward a race. The crew guys get recognized at the introductions and we get to go out near the fans right before the race. It's the way it should be. Under the lights. A lot of excitement. And a million bucks to win?! Of course that's the topping on the cake. Anybody that tells you they don't have their eye on that million is lying to your face."

Minutiae: Dale Jr. was the first rookie to ever win NASCAR's all-star event, overcoming a series of odd setbacks and a major meeting with the turn-four wall to lead the final two laps and win what was then known as The Winston. It was perhaps Junior's proudest moment as a driver, and he shared the spotlight in the winner's circle with his father Dale, who ran from his transporter to join Dale Jr. for the trophy presentation. (Only a tragic bridge collapse at the track following the race dampened the spirits of a jubilant victory.)... He finished in the top-10 in six of his seven all-star starts, yet strangely has led only six laps in those races... He scored bonus points with fans and competitors in 2002, when backed-off on the final lap to avoid crashing Ryan Newman for the win. It exemplified Junior's unique personality and further distinguished himself as having his own character that was different from his late father's racing style. Junior's post-race comment from that night: "Yeah I could have wrecked him and came around the last lap for the win. I mean, $750,000 (to win) is helluva lotta money. But, is it really worth it to win in a way that would be bittersweet? Is it worth it to piss off all the people that would be mad at me winning that way?"

Primary Chassis this week: #041

Give The Crew Their Due: The Nextel Pit Crew Challenge takes place Wednesday night, May 16 at the new Bobcats Arena in uptown Charlotte. This is a chance for the hardest working men in sports to showcase their talents. DEI's Bass Pro Shops #1 team won last year's competition.

-credit: dei

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Ryan Newman