Daytona II: Dale Earnhardt Jr preview

Dale Jr. Quotes for Daytona "The team will never forget last year's win. Unbelievable. We had so much on our minds - and to go out and win like we did was a great help to the whole team - and the entire DEI organization too. (DEI teammate ...

Dale Jr. Quotes for Daytona

"The team will never forget last year's win. Unbelievable. We had so much on our minds - and to go out and win like we did was a great help to the whole team - and the entire DEI organization too. (DEI teammate Michael Waltrip finished second.) We're having a poor season right now, but it's nothing like the nightmare we all went through last year. To win again would really launch us into the second half of the season - just like last year's race did. And, we'll have a baseball-theme paint job again, so maybe we can do some more celebrating in the grass again after the race.

"We've had this magic car that has been great at the restrictor-plate races the last two years, and I was worried that I had ruined it when we cut a tire and crashed in the (Daytona) 500 this year. But, Tony (Eury) Jr. and all the guys revived it and we went out and won Talladega with it, so I expect to be fast again this weekend. The crew treats that car like it was their child. Any chance they can improve it or tweak it or clean and polish it - they do it. I dare anyone who claims last year's win was not 100% legitimate to say that to these guy's faces. They put their hearts and a helluva lotta hard work into that car."

How did you win this race last year?

"Our car was faster than everybody else. That sounds simple, but really, I could steer it almost anywhere I wanted to go. It's weird, but sometimes that is a challenge at Daytona. The car was so good I could pull away, but because of the aero(dynamic) package, if you get too far out in the lead, the pack can really get a run on you in the draft. You almost have to hold back to stop the other 42 cars from getting a run and just thrashing right past you."

Dale Jr. and the No. 8 Bud Team at Daytona
Winston Cup Starts: 5
Best Start: 5th (Feb. 2002)
Best Finish: 1st (Summer, 2001)
This Race, Last Year: St: 13th / Fin: 1st Led: 116 (of 160) laps

Last season's unforgettable, heart-stopping victory is just one of the highlights of Dale Jr's short Winston Cup career at Daytona. Including the Budweiser Shootout and the twin-125 qualifying races in 2001 and 2002, Dale Jr. had a streak of five consecutive races with a finish of no worse than second place at the historic high-banked oval.

In 2000, the Bud team finished 35th in this nighttime event due to a blown engine, but were impressive while they lasted, including a dramatic moment where Dale Jr. passed 11 cars in a single lap.

The Dominator
In the last six points-paying restrictor-plate races at Daytona and Talladega, Dale Jr. has three wins, has led 360 laps and recorded five top-8 finishes. His only non-top-10 finish was 29th at this year's Daytona 500, when a cut tire sent the Bud car into the wall while running in second place.

Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie, Chevrolet, and Budweiser
Last season's victory in this race was achieved carrying a special paint scheme celebrating the Major League Baseball All-Star game. The promotion was such a hit with the fans, that Budweiser (the official beer of MLB and NASCAR) have teamed with MLB and Dale Earnhardt Inc. to again celebrate the mid-summer classic game. Dale Jr. will race a special baseball-themed paint scheme this weekend, and then will jet to Milwaukee on Sunday for the festivities leading up to the July 9 All-Star game.

-dei/budweiser-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt