Watkins Glen: Dale Earnhardt Jr preview

Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver, No. 8 Budweiser team: "Until this race last year, we really hadn't proven to ourselves - or to anyone else for that matter - that we could run road courses real well. We were kind of just floating in the wind in those...

Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver, No. 8 Budweiser team:

"Until this race last year, we really hadn't proven to ourselves - or to anyone else for that matter - that we could run road courses real well. We were kind of just floating in the wind in those races, so it was a part of our program we really tried to step up our game, and it paid off with a third-place finish (in the 2003 Sirius At The Glen). Being out front last year (leading 11 laps) was one of the coolest times I've had in a race car. When you're in a car that's that good and you're out front, man, it's like you own the place. It's a hell of a lot better than feeling like the place owns you."

On the status of his injuries:
"I felt good, physically, in the race car at Indianapolis (Dale Jr. completed his first full race Sunday in the Brickyard 400 since suffering burns in a sports-car accident on July 18). I still have some open wounds on my legs that haven't healed yet, but they didn't give me any problems. The burns might've hurt a little, but the adrenaline was pumping, and I was driving my guts out trying to get us a good finish. Hopefully another week of treating the wounds, cleaning them and dressing them will get me closer to being 100 percent again. I'm ready for this to be over with."

Dale Jr. and the No. 8 Budweiser team turned the corner at Watkins Glen last season, finishing third at a track it had previously averaged finishes of 29th. The Brew Crew led 11 laps in the 2003 Watkins Glen race and cruised to its best-ever finish on a road course.

With five races to go before the "Chase for the Championship" begins, Dale Jr. is in third place in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings (-240 behind leader Jimmie Johnson and -142 behind Jeff Gordon) after a 27th-place finish at Indianapolis. Dale Jr. was in sixth place with one lap to go before a blown tire sent him plummeting to his finishing spot.

On the season the Budweiser team has three wins, nine top-fives and 12 top-10s.

SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE: Who does Dale Jr. think are the world's most irresistible women? His answers may surprise you. Driver 8 offers up his short list of personal favorites on "Spike's 52 Most Irresistible Women" this Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on Spike-TV.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson