Michigan: Dale Earnhardt Jr preview

Quotes from: DALE EARNHARDT JR. / Driver, ...

Quotes from: DALE EARNHARDT JR. / Driver, #8 Budweiser Chevrolet:

On running a retro paint scheme for Father's Day (see photo of the retro Bud car on www.Budweiser.com):

"I like doing stuff like that. When I was doing the Chance2 Busch Series deal (in 2003), we were coming up with all these cool paint schemes and neat things to do with tributes (to the late modified legend) Richie Evans. That's fun to do. And so anytime I can do some kind of cool tribute to honor somebody who I think deserves it, it's great. For my dad on Father's Day and for my grandfather (Ralph Earnhardt) especially, we sort of have a stage to speak from in this sport about Richie Evans and Ralph Earnhardt and those kind of guys. It's great to fill people in on what kind of people they were and how cool they were."

On the race at Michigan:
"This is a very important race for us. No question we've struggled there. I felt like we really gave some points away at Pocono, and this isn't the time we need to be giving points away. I was real disappointed because I feel we should be in the top-10 every week. Michigan has been a place where we've won a couple of poles and been fast in brief spurts, and then other times it felt like we were going in there with a blindfold. But I'm confident we have a better game-plan going into this weekend. The Fontana and Vegas races earlier this year helped us a lot. They were big steps in the right direction on these flat speedways. Hopefully we can continue gaining on them this weekend at Michigan."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #8 Budweiser team enter the Michigan race weekend sixth in the Nextel Cup point standings, 16 points out of the top five and 295 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson. Through 14 races, Dale Jr. has one win (Richmond), four top-fives and six top-10s. The #8 Chevy has led five races for 89 laps.


* Michigan is the only track where Dale Jr. has won multiple Bud Pole Awards (Aug. 2000 and Aug. 2002).

* Michigan was one of five tracks that Dale Jr. appeared during his limited five-race schedule in 1999. He started 17th and finished 24th that day.

* In 13 starts, Dale Jr. has seven top-10 starts and two top-10 finishes.

* The Budweiser team has led six races at Michigan for 65 laps.

* Dale Jr. now has five consecutive top-15 finishes. In 2006, he has 11 top-15s in 14 races.

THE BUD DRIVER AN AMERICAN FAVORITE: For the third consecutive year, Dale Jr. was named to Harris Interactive's "Most Liked Athletes in America" list, ranking number five among all athletes. Dale Jr. first landed on the list in 2004 when the Harris Poll, which surveys over 2,000 adults online, tabbed him the nation's fifth most-favorite sports star. He moved to eighth in 2005 before reclaiming the fifth spot this year.

Tiger Woods claimed the top spot, bumping longtime front man Michael Jordan to second. Brett Favre was third, Derek Jeter fourth and Dale Jr. fifth. Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Jeff Gordon, and Barry Bonds rounded out the top-10.


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson