Quotes from: DALE EARNHARDT JR. / Driver, ...
Quotes from: DALE EARNHARDT JR. / Driver, #8 Budweiser Chevrolet:
What are your thoughts about this weekend's race at Infineon Raceway?
"We're coming off a strong finish at Michigan, which we needed to prove to everyone -- and ourselves -- that we can compete for the championship. I think we can keep it going at Sonoma. We've had some really really good race cars the last couple of times there. I haven't been able to capitalize. I tore a transmission up last year. I was really fast in practice and really happy with my car the last two years and I made mistakes and the car broke a couple of times. I want to get a top-10. I've had a car that's capable of being in the top-five, but a top-10 there would make me happy."
Do you feel like road course racing has a place in NASCAR?
"Road-course racing isn't my favorite, but it is fun. It's enjoyable to get some time under your belt. I don't think we should be doing any more road-course racing than we already do, but to have two (road-course) races on the schedule is cool with me."
Should a road course race be in the Chase?
"No, I don't like it that much. In a perfect world it would be in the Chase, and it probably deserves a spot much more than a restrictor-plate track where it's pretty much rolling the dice. On a road course, you are in control of where you finish. Most of the drivers and teams would rather it not be in there, but to the true enthusiast, it would be."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #8 Budweiser team enter the Sonoma race weekend on the heels of a third-place effort in the rain-shortened race at Michigan. It was Dale Jr.'s fifth top-five of the season, and moved him up two spots in the Nextel Cup point standings to fourth. Junior is now 31 points behind third-place Kasey Kahne and 275 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson. Through 15 races, Dale Jr. has one win (Richmond), five top-fives and seven top-10s.
INFINEON WEEKEND NOTEBOOK:
* Dale Jr.'s best road-course finish is third at Watkins Glen in 2003.
* Junior has two top-five finishes and three top-10s on road courses in his Cup career.
* The Budweiser team led one race for nine laps (2004) at Infineon Raceway, and have two 11th-place finishes.
* Dale Jr. has been running at the end of each of his six races at Sonoma.
* Dale Jr. is riding a string of six consecutive finishes of 14th or better. He has top-15 finishes in all but three races in 2006.