Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Budweiser Winston Cup season review: In the Rearview Mirror. Dale Jr. Quotes /`2002 in Review "We didn't hit our goal, which was a top-five finish, but I don't think any of us will worry about that this off-season. We ...
Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Budweiser Winston Cup season review: In the Rearview Mirror.
Dale Jr. Quotes /`2002 in Review
"We didn't hit our goal, which was a top-five finish, but I don't think any of us will worry about that this off-season. We finished really strong, and we just missed getting back into the top-10 in points. If you look at the numbers, we did better than ever before... We had more top-fives, more top-10s and we led more laps, so I think we grew as a team.
"Yeah, we struggled after that big hit in Fontana (in April), but once we all got together and began communicating better, we really came on strong. I don't see any reason why we can't string together that sort of consistency all year next year. We were more consistent than we had ever been in the last 10 or 12 races of the year. We're a good team - and we can be a great team - so we're going to keep working on being the championship contenders I know we can be. The first few tests of the new 2003 Monte Carlo have made us really excited about the potential for that car and for the Bud team... Look out!"
Need an Off-Season 'Dale Jr. Fix?'
Fret not, Dale Jr. fans. Just because he's not going to be in your living room in the Budweiser car each Sunday, that doesn't mean he'll be completely out of sight. Dale Jr. will be featured alongside some of the world's biggest stars, as Chris Isaak hosts "Elvis Lives!," on NBC, Thanksgiving Night, Thursday, November 28th at 10 pm Eastern. Tune in and rock out with Dale Jr. plus Bono, Tom Petty, Brittney Spears, Sheryl Crow and many more as they celebrate Elvis Presley's influence on the world.
"Driver No. 8," Dale Jr's written record of his rookie season in the Winston Cup series, will hit the shelves in paperback form on December 1. The hard-cover version from Warner Books spent 13 weeks on the New York Times Best-Seller list (peaking at No. 4) earlier this year, and expectations for the paperback are equally high.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. / No. 8 Budweiser Team 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Season Statistics
All of these categories, except victories, were career-bests for Dale Jr. and the team this season:
Victories: 2 - Talladega (April and October)
Bud Poles 2 - Michigan (August), Kansas
Top Five Finishes: 11
Top Ten Finishes: 16
Races Led: 22 - Led all Winston Cup drivers
Laps Led: 1068
NASCAR Bonus Points: 125 - Tied for season best with Ryan Newman
Top-5 Starts: 13
Top-10 Starts: 19
Consecutive Top-10s: 5 - Kansas through Atlanta
Consecutive Top-5s: 3 - Atlanta, Darlington, Bristol (March)
Did Not Finish: 3 - Texas, Fontana, Charlotte (May)
Other Key 2002 Stats:
Money Won: $4,510,151*
(*Includes the Winston Million for win at Talladega in October, but does
not include the approximately $340,000 bonus for finishing 11th in
Point Standings: 11th
Average Start: 12.8
Average Finish: 17.1
- Both victories for the Bud team came at Talladega, giving them a string of three consecutive wins at the Alabama superspeedway. The October victory secured a Winston No-Bull bonus of $1 million for the second season in a row..
- Dale Jr. and the team have now scored at least two victories in each of their three full seasons of Winston Cup competition.
- The team has recorded two Bud Pole positions in each of their first three seasons, earning a spot in the 2003 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona.
- In 111 career Winston Cup starts, all with the No. 8 Bud team, Dale Jr. has earned more than $13 million in prize money.
- Though generally known as a team that dominates on the superspeedways, Dale Jr. and his Bud mates actually excelled this season on the short tracks, recording five top-five finishes in six races at the shortest of tracks: Martinsville, Richmond and Bristol.
- Dale Jr. finished second in each of the "non-points" races he entered this season: the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, the Twin 125, and The Winston.
- Dale Jr. won two of the three Busch Series races he entered this season, including a debut victory as a Busch Series car owner at Richmond in September.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 8 Budweiser Team Winston Cup Career Numbers (1999 - 2002)
Wins: 7 - Tied for 52nd in all-time Winston Cup victories
"Other" (Non-Points) Wins: 1 - The Winston, 2000
Bud Poles: 6
Prize Money: $13,082,859
Avg. Money Per Start: $117, 863
Top-Three Finishes: 14
Top-Five Finishes: 23
Top-10 Finishes: 36
Top-10 Starts: 46
Races Led: 49
Laps Led: 2261
Races w/Most Laps Led: 8