Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- driver, No. 8 Budweiser team: On Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte: "It's home. That alone makes it one of my favorites. It's late in the season, so there ain't a whole lot that beats sleeping in your own bed. Charlotte...
Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- driver, No. 8 Budweiser team:
On Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte:
"It's home. That alone makes it one of my favorites. It's late in the season, so there ain't a whole lot that beats sleeping in your own bed. Charlotte is a great track... real fast. I talked to a few guys who tested there recently, and the big issue obviously was grip. At first there wasn't a whole lot after they ground-down the track, but I'm hearing it's better now. We'll see. I know Humpy (Wheeler) has those big trucks that drag tires around the track and lay down rubber. If anything, we'll hop on one of those and turn a few laps before we put the cars out there."
"We need a good weekend. We've had good cars, but we had no chance to show what we've got. We've just been caught in early wrecks and had the loose wheel at Dover, and -- I don't know -- either we're in somebody's way or they're in ours. I'm real pleased with the cars they've built, and they've gotten so much better over the course of the year. This is the car that was so good at Dover. We had 'em all covered there -- but it was hard to really show when you're six or seven laps behind. We got a lap back by passing the leader and took off. But, that's a credit to everyone at DEI. They've been putting in some long hours, so I'd really like to get 'em a good finish this weekend. We need it. I need it. It'd make our off day on Sunday a lot better."
On celebrating his 31st birthday today (Monday):
"I don't think we have any big plans. Probably just the usual hell-raisin' me and my buddies do any other week. That's usually better than what most people do on their birthdays anyway."
BUDWEISER QUICK NOTES: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #8 Budweiser race team enter the Charlotte race weekend 18th in the Nextel Cup point standings. In 2005, Dale Jr. has one win (Chicagoland Speedway), six top-fives and 11 top-10s in 30 starts.
HIGHS AT LOWE'S: A 33rd-place finish in the May race snapped a string of three consecutive top-10 finishes for Dale Jr. at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The Budweiser team has finished ninth or better in five of its last eight races there. Dale Jr. made his NEXTEL Cup debut six years ago at LMS. In May 1999, he started eighth and finished 16th on what was called "E-Day" to commemorate his Cup debut. He won his first career Bud Pole Award at LMS in May 2000, less than one week after becoming the first rookie driver to win the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.
NIGHT RIDER: A noted night owl, Dale Jr. has fared quite well in night races, finishing ninth or better in nine of his last 14 night events. Dale Jr. has scored four victories on night watch -- at Daytona (2001), Bristol (2004) and twice at Richmond (2000 and 2004). He has also won two all-star races at night: the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona (2003) and The Winston (2000).
DALE JR., UNCUT: The extended, one-hour version of Dale Jr's 60 Minutes appearance with Mike Wallace will re-air this evening at midnight ET on Country Music Television (CMT). It will also run Tuesday night at 10:00 pm.