Las Vegas: Dale Earnhardt Jr preview



How will the team rebound after the problems in Fontana (three blown tires during the race)?

"By just fixing the problems we had and moving on. It wasn't much fun driving around with tires blowing out all day, but that's what happened and it's behind us. Nobody said it was going to be a cakewalk. We're going to get better because of what happened. I was real happy the way (crew chief) Pete (Rondeau) and all the guys handled the situation. Pete had me calm and chilled-out at a time when I probably would've lost focus and been all over the place. I like that about him."

And now on to Las Vegas, a track where you struggled at last year.

"I'm actually looking forward to it. We tested at Las Vegas (in January), and we learned a lot of stuff in the last half of the California race that should help us there. Once we blew those tires, we turned the rest of the race into a test session. We're taking the same car that we used at California."

Why the same car?

"Because it was a good car when the tires stayed on it. Once we fixed that problem, it was pretty fast, but nobody noticed because we were more than 10 laps down. We tried a lot of things, the car got better, and we learned a lot about the car that should be good for us at Vegas. When I would get behind somebody I would lose a lot of grip in the front. It was slick and hard to pass, but I wasn't the only one with that problem. Clean air and track position is the key to running fast with the new spoiler. The car was never a hassle to drive at any point during the race. It was by far one of the better cars I've driven at the big, flat tracks, so we're taking it this week and seeing what we can do with it."

Martin Truex Jr. won Sunday's Busch Series race in Mexico City in a car co-owned by Dale Jr.

"That was pretty cool. Martin did a great job. He told me on the phone the night before that the car was good, but I don't think anyone really expected him to win since that was his first time at that track. I was really proud of him and Bono (crew chief Kevin Manion) and all those guys. It was a great win, and it was really cool to see the fans in Mexico embrace the sport the way they did. A good day all-around."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 8 Budweiser team enter the third race of the Nextel Cup Series season 14th in the point standings after a 32nd-place finish at California Speedway. It breaks a string of 70 consecutive weeks of being in the top-10 in points for Dale Jr. - who is also known as 'the Adrian Fernandez of the United States.'

PACING THE FIELD: Dale Jr. has led in four of his five races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for a total of 144 laps. He led 97 circuits around the 1.5-mile speedway in 2003 en route to a runner-up finish.


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Adrian Fernandez , Martin Truex Jr.