Darlington: Dale Earnhardt Jr preview

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

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

"I'm not looking forward to driving the Car of Tomorrow at Darlington. People say the cars are ugly - well, I don't care what they look like but they don't drive as good as they should. In this day and age with all of the knowledge and technology we have, it's ridiculous that these cars are so bad. That's my opinion, which may not mean much, but I hope NASCAR listens to the drivers and teams when we say these cars don't drive worth a damn. I mean, look at all the camber we have to run in the front end to make them turn - it's just ridiculous and there's no reason why they should be that way. It's still a new car so maybe they'll listen and make some changes to make it better.

"This is about as bad of a week as I could imagine: two days testing at Charlotte, then going to Darlington for a weekend and then two more days testing at Dover. Nobody tests at Dover - everyone tries to avoid that as much as they can. But, after that maybe we'll have some clean sailing and give everyone a day off or something. Darlington is just tough, period. It's a tough track because of the shape and the ancient pavement, but it's really tough on the entire team mentally and physically. It's a track that is so punishing to all of us and we're always relieved when we put the car back on the trailer in one piece."

Minutiae: Dale Jr. has an odd history at Darlington. He has finished 11th or better in six of the last eight Darlington races. Yet, his open distaste for the historic SC oval once led to the track giving him a trophy made from a large sea-shell called "the Shelly Award" - after he had complained in a Playboy Magazine interview that the surface was so abrasive because it was made with shards of sea shells... He has five top-10 finishes in 12 career starts, and nearly stole a win in Sept. 2000. Intermittent rain caused that race to have more twists and turns than a cheap carnival ride - and the Bud team gambled on pit strategy to lead by as much as four seconds while rain spat and sputtered. However, the race was not stopped until later, giving the win to Bobby Labonte while the Bud team finished 11th after making a late pit stop... In Sept. 2001, Dale Jr. was running third with two laps remaining when he became tangled in a multi-car crash. He finished 17th... His best finish at Darlington is fourth place, recorded in March, 2002, while the Bud team led 91 laps in the March race the following year... They finished fifth in last year's Darlington race.

Primary Chassis this week: #049 - Chevy Impala SS - Car of Tomorrow (previously raced at Martinsville - finished a season-best fifth place)

-credit: dei

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