Charlotte: Dale Earnhardt Jr preview

Dale Jr. Quotes for Charlotte "The 600 is different from our other races in a lot of ways. The way the race progresses from sunlight to darkness, it's always a challenge to keep the car handling the way you want it to. You don't have that ...

Dale Jr. Quotes for Charlotte

"The 600 is different from our other races in a lot of ways. The way the race progresses from sunlight to darkness, it's always a challenge to keep the car handling the way you want it to. You don't have that transition in any other race. The track changes a lot with the weather and temperature, so that puts pressure on the team to have a car that can be adjusted to fit the conditions. Plus, the extra 100 miles really does make a big difference. It seems like a lot happens once we go beyond 500 miles. We lost an engine last year, which is really, really rare. Your body and your mind also becomes accustomed to a 'normal' 500-mile race, so the extra distance challenges you to keep focused. Your arms, your neck and even your eyes feel the difference.

"The 600 was my first Winston Cup race (in 1999), so it's kind of special each year. I'll be a lot more relaxed qualifying for this one than I was for that first race. Man, I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't have made the field that year after all the build-up and hype surrounding it. Now, we know we have a provisional spot in the field even if we don't kick butt in qualifying. I don't ever want to have to use it (a provisional) or start back that far, but it's just good to know it's there.

"The Winston was fun, but we're ready to get back to the championship focus. When you're doing as well as we have been, you're itching to get back to the race track. We've been really consistent and have been near the front at almost every race so far this year, and that's what it's going to take to keep up with Matt (Kenseth, points leader). We're confident and we're having fun, and the whole team is committed to doing whatever it takes to win races and the championship. That's what's been most fun for me, knowing that every time I get in one of those red cars, it will be right, it will be fast."

Brandon Bernstein, the son of Kenny Bernstein and winner of three NHRA Top Fuel events so far in his rookie season, was injured in a crash Sunday at Englishtown, N.J. Brandon is expected to be out of action in the Budweiser Top Fuel car for several months.

"I want to be sure to send along a 'hello' and a 'get well' to Brandon Bernstein - who crashed this past weekend at the NHRA event. All of us who are sponsored by Budweiser - no matter what kind of racing or what kind of sport it is - hang together like a big family, and I want to let him know we're thinking of him. I'm sure he'll be back soon and winning a lot more races."

Notes:

-- Dale Jr. and the Budweiser team ran at or near the front of last year's 600 until being caught against the wall when a lapped car slid high. The team made five pit stops for repairs, and eventually clawed back into the top-10 before a blown engine ended their race on lap 372.

-- Dale Jr. and the Budweiser bunch have been the hottest team in Winston Cup in the last nine races. They have finished in the top-three in six out of the nine races, and have finished worse than sixth only one time. They have also led seven of those nine races.

-- Dale Jr. is 20 points behind Matt Kenseth for the lead in the Winston Cup point standings.

-- Since this event last season, the Budweiser team has been running at the finish of every Winston Cup points race, the longest current streak among Winston Cup teams.

-- Dale Jr. made his Winston Cup debut at this event in 1999, qualifying eighth and finishing 16th.

-- Dale Jr. holds the track record for Winston Cup cars at Lowe's Motor Speedway with a lap at 186.034 mph, recorded when he won his first career Bud Pole position at this event in 2000.

"Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it."
    Lou Holtz, football coach, University of South Carolina

-dei/budweiser-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Matt Kenseth , Kenny Bernstein , Brandon Bernstein