Quotes from: DALE EARNHARDT JR. / Driver, ...
Quotes from: DALE EARNHARDT JR. / Driver, #8 Budweiser Chevrolet:
"I'm pretty excited going to Richmond. For us, I'm not sure there's a better track on the schedule than Richmond. It's a very good track for me and I have a lot of fun racing there. Every time we go, we know it's an opportunity to win. I know we'll have a good car, so I think I can put it up front and win again. That's the mindset. But anything can happen to you. You can get involved in crashes or do something stupid, so we'll try to be smart, and we'll try to lock ourselves into the Chase. We're peaking at the right time. We've had some really good runs the last few weeks, and they've been at tracks that are completely different from each other. That has me optimistic that if we do make the Chase, we can really make a run at the championship."
At California, a second-place finish meant you gained three positions in the standings, but lost ground to 11th-place Kasey Kahne, the race winner.
"The positions don't really mean anything to me. A wreck or a mechanical problem will still knock you out because it's so close. We've been lucky to keep our car clean the last few races. We need that luck to continue this weekend. Kasey is doing what he has to do to get in the Chase, and I feel like we're doing all we can, too. It's no time to feel comfortable. We know what can happen. We know better than anybody how fast you can drop, so we're not taking anything for granted."
Will you run the high line like you did in May when you won for the third time at Richmond?
"If the high line is the fastest line, I'm all about running it. I love running right up against the wall, and the great thing about Richmond is that there is more than one way to get around. You can move around and run different grooves. The top works pretty good if you need to try to get up around people and get a run on them -- especially when they repaved it a couple of years ago. Before that, it was really awesome. But obviously the surface was breaking up a little bit in some places and needed to be repaved. But it's a great race track. Moving up as the night goes on is a lot of fun -- running high and trying to get runs on people. It's fun to have a lot of different opportunities to pass people."
Where is the easiest place to get in trouble at Richmond?
"Turn two is a challenge. To get up out of that corner well is a challenge. There are little nuances all the way around the track. Like turn one. If you go in that corner and a guy checks up sooner than you expect, it's really hard to get on the brakes without spinning yourself out. A lot of times a guy will not get on the brakes and run in and wreck the guy in front of him just to keep from wrecking himself. You see that a lot."
"A Place In The Chase" / NOTEBOOK:
Dale Jr. can lock himself into the 2006 Chase for the Championship with a 16th-place finish at Richmond this weekend.
"Sizing up Richmond" / NOTEBOOK:
In 14 career races at Richmond, Dale Jr. has three victories, seven top-fives and eight top-10s. His three wins at RIR are the second-most at any one track for Junior, topped only by his five wins at Talladega.
Dale Jr. enters the weekend as the most recent winner at Richmond after leading 47 laps for the victory on May 6. It was Junior's 17th career victory.