Atlanta: Dale Earnhardt Jr preview



What are your thoughts on Atlanta Motor Speedway?

"It's the fastest place we go, and it's almost impossible to describe the feeling of being launched into the turns at 200 mph. It takes guts to keep your right foot down. Atlanta is a track we've always been really good at. Every time I go there I feel like I have a chance to win. Last year it happened for us. That was a cool deal, because I really, really wanted to win at Atlanta. My dad always ran well there, and I always ran well there, but I never had a win to show for it. So many times I'd seen Daddy go in there and take one of them Ski Nautiques home (given to the winner of the race). I always wanted one, but now they don't give 'em away no more."

How glad are you to get the Fontana and Las Vegas tracks behind you, and now get to some tracks you are historically strong at?

"(Laughing) I kind of wish the Atlanta race was on Tuesday morning so we can get the Vegas race behind us. It don't matter where you're at if you get into wrecks like I did on Sunday. I'm still real disappointed in that, because I really wanted to show what Pete (Rondeau) could do with a race car. We didn't qualify well at Vegas, but we had gotten it a lot better on Saturday during practice, and it was pretty fast on Sunday. I just didn't keep it in there long enough for anybody to notice. I'm really looking forward to putting together a strong run, so if it happens at Atlanta and Talladega and Bristol, then hell yeah I'm happy we've got Fontana and Vegas behind us."

What do you know about your Atlanta car?

"Nothing more than it's one that it's one of the older ones -- been around about a year or so -- and the guys feel really good about it. That's their decision. We take the best car fit for the job."

SEASON OVERVIEW: Dale Jr. and the No. 8 Budweiser team enter the fourth race of the 2005 Nextel Cup season 27th in points, this after a weekend in which an early crash relegated them to a 42nd-place finish. Through three races, Dale Jr. has one top-three finish, that coming in the season-opening Daytona 500.

'HOT'LANTA: Dale Jr. enters this weekend's Golden Corral 500 as the defending race winner. Last year he started seventh and led 55 laps, including the final 16, en route to a three-second margin of victory over second-place finisher Jeremy Mayfield. Dale Jr. has finished seventh or better in six of the last seven races at Atlanta, with four top-fives. He has led laps in eight of 11 races at Atlanta for a total of 332 laps.

ATLANTA AND THE EARNHARDTS: Dale Earnhardt had a 9.543 average finish in 46 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the best average finish among all drivers with more than five starts there. Dale Jr. has the best average finish at Atlanta among active drivers with more than two starts, with a 12.909 average finish in just 11 races there.


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeremy Mayfield