Michigan: Dale Earnhardt Jr preview

"We're grinding 'em out. I don't think we've been as competitive as we wanted to be lately, but somehow we've fought for good finishes. I wanted to come into the season and average better than a 12th place finish - that's historically what it...

"We're grinding 'em out. I don't think we've been as competitive as we wanted to be lately, but somehow we've fought for good finishes. I wanted to come into the season and average better than a 12th place finish - that's historically what it takes be near the points lead late in the year. So far we're averaging less than eight (average finish through 14 races: 7.64), so I'm pretty happy with that. I think everyone is kind of unsure about the new points format and what it will take to win the championship in the final 10 races, but I'm guessing that kind of average finish would put us near the front in the hunt or the chase or whatever anyone wants to call it."

"It's been busy. We've been pushing hard and testing every week. Short tracks and a lot of laps at Kentucky, plus an occasional road course test at Virginia Intl. Raceway throw in. It's what it's going to take, plus I've been doing appearances and TV commercials and promotions in between all of that. It's hectic but I've been able to focus and concentrate on the race car once I arrive at the track each weekend."

Dale Jr. has scored top-10 finishes in the last four races, the longest active streak on the Cup circuit. He will attempt to match a career-best streak of five consecutive top-10s this weekend. (Previous five-race top-10 streak: Texas through Richmond, 2003) He has finished on the lead lap in 12 of 14 races.

This is the sole track where the Budweiser team has scored more than one Bud Pole Award, grabbing one-third of six career NEXTEL Cup pole positions in the Irish Hills of Michigan. Despite qualifying in the top-10 in 10 of the first 14 races this season, the Bud car has not sat on the pole since Kansas in Sept. 2003 (a string of 57 races). The Budweiser No. 8 team has led in six of the nine career starts at the two-mile Michigan oval.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt