Pocono: Dale Earnhardt Jr preview



On moving to fourth in the point standings:

"It's the highest we've been all year. This sport rewards consistency, and we've been pretty consistent. We're doing a better job right now than we've ever done, so I'm happy about that. It's what we like to see. We don't need to dominate or lead laps to climb up in the points. If we continue to bring good cars to the track, then we'll keep running in the top-10 and hopefully get us some more wins."

On the upcoming schedule:

"The next few races are going to be important for us. It's Pocono this week, and then Michigan and Sonoma after that. All those tracks we've been hit or miss. We need to be able to get through this stretch with some satisfaction and confidence in how we ran. I think we can go to Pocono and do OK. Michigan makes me a little nervous, because we haven't got the good finishes I think we should be getting. I like that track, and I've run good there before, but the past few years we've fallen behind. Sonoma, I've had some great racecars, but I just seem to find a way to ruin them or blow out transmissions. Hopefully we'll do a better job when we go back there."

On the biggest challenge at Pocono:

"I don't really have one. I'm just going to try to save it and bring it back to Tony (Eury, crew chief) Jr. in one piece. If I'm able to do that, then the car is good enough to get us a good finish. Championship teams are consistent and stay in the top-10 each week, and that's what we want to be."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #8 Budweiser team enter the Pocono race weekend fourth in the Nextel Cup point standings, 282 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson and 66 points behind third-place Mark Martin. Through 12 races, Dale Jr. has one win (Richmond), four top-fives and six top-10s. The #8 Chevy has led five races for 89 laps.


* Dale Jr. has three top-5s and four top-10s in 12 career starts at Pocono.

* Junior has maintained or improved his points standing in eight of 12 races at Pocono.

* The Bud team has led four races for 89 laps at the 2-mile Pennsylvania track.

* Pocono is one of five tracks where Dale Jr. has never failed to finish a race. Daytona, Homestead, Sonoma and Richmond are the others.

* Dale Jr. has finished 12th or better in all but three races in 2006.

MIDWAY REPORT: At the halfway point of NASCAR's 26-race "regular season," Dale Jr. is fourth in the Nextel Cup standings. At this point last year, he was 15th. It is the highest Dale Jr. has been in the point standings this season, although he has been in the top-eight in every week but one.

PIVOTAL MONTH FOR BREW CREW: The top-10 at Dover marked the beginning of a pivotal stretch for the Bud boys, as June is the only month of the racing season in which the #8 team has never recorded a victory.

DID YOU KNOW... Dale Jr. has now been in the top-10 in points in more than half of his Cup races since becoming a full-time Nextel Cup driver in 2000? (114 weeks in the top-10 out of 217 Cup races since 2000. This excludes the five races in 1999 in which Dale Jr. did not run for the championship.)


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jimmie Johnson , Mark Martin