DALE EARNHARDT JR. / DRIVER, ...
DALE EARNHARDT JR. / DRIVER, #8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET:
On his first career victory at Texas being tabbed as one of the top-10 moments in Texas Motor Speedway history:
"That's pretty neat, a pretty cool honor. It was definitely one of my top moments, because it was a wake-up call to the world that the Bud team was officially on the premises. That was a special day. And it was a very special Victory Lane with my dad and all. I remember him popping his head into my car as I pulled into Victory Lane, and he told me that he loved me and to soak this all in, because you can get so swept up with what's happening all around you that you can't enjoy it for yourself. Then he told me to find my own way home, because he wasn't waiting on me."
On the overwhelming crowd reaction after climbing out of the Bud car yesterday at Martinsville with a fourth-place finish:
"That was really cool. It means a lot. That's really the biggest reward out of the whole deal is when everybody appreciates what you do. To be honest, I don't ever remember getting cheered like that for anything less than a win, so it's neat that they recognized what we went through to get that top-five. It was loud. They were chanting, cheering, raisin' hell. I wish I could've been up there with them, because I'm sure it was a fun race to watch."
"I think people are finally seeing that we know what we're doing. The guys are spending late hours there. I'm just so proud of the whole effort everybody's giving me this year. We had a hard year last year, but the company has bounced back. I can take credit for wheeling on the car, but you can't do it if the car doesn't work. This year, my cars have been working, and I think people are realizing that."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #8 Budweiser team is sixth in the Nextel Cup point standings, 109 points behind leader Matt Kenseth and eight points out of fourth. Dale Jr. has two top-fives, three top-10s, and has finished 11th or better in five of the six races in 2006. The #8 Bud car has led two races this year for a total of 33 laps.
TEXAS TIDBITS: In seven starts at Texas, Dale Jr. has six top-10 finishes, more than any other driver. He has finished ninth or better in each Texas race except one. His three top-five finishes include a victory in 2000 -- his first career win in only his 12th Nextel Cup start. Should he win this Sunday, Dale Jr. would become the first repeat winner at Texas Motor Speedway. The Bud team has led in five of seven races at TMS for 253 laps. His average starting position is 7.5, aided by a Bud Pole Award in 2001. He also won his first career Busch race at Texas in 1998.