Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hoping To Pick Up Speed in Atlanta
Friday, October 22, 2004
No driver in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup has a better record than Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
His average finish in 10 starts at Atlanta is 10th. In the last six races at AMS, Earnhardt Jr. hasn¿t finished lower than seventh. He won the Golden Corral 500 in the spring, finally capitalizing on his string of consistently strong finishes.
So forgive him is he¿s a little bit confident about making up ground when the series returns to the fastest track in NASCAR next weekend for the Oct. 31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500.
¿I can¿t wait to get back and win another one,¿ Earnhardt Jr. said.
Earnhardt Jr. discussed his championship chances, as well as his affinity for racing in Atlanta, while in town this week for a media appearance at Malibu Grand Prix.
¿I¿ve always loved Atlanta, from the first time I came here in 1999. It¿s a really unique track,¿ Earnhardt Jr. said. ¿In turns 1 and 2, I swear the race track must be 100 or 200 feet wide, and you can run anywhere in there. The number of race tracks with that wide of a groove is very small. It¿s a lot of fun to run here ¿ every lap¿s a blast. I¿ve just always loved it, and always run good at it. There¿s not many tracks you know you¿re going to run good at every time, but Atlanta¿s one of them for me.¿
And it¿s a good thing Earnhardt Jr. feels that way, because when he returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway, there will be a championship on the line.
Earnhardt Jr. trails Busch by a mere 24 points with five races remaining, but he has a higher average finish at each of the remaining tracks except for Phoenix. And although Busch also has one win at Atlanta, his average finish at the speedway is just 17th.
¿Atlanta¿s been a good race track for me, and I think we can gain some points on Kurt (Busch, the current NEXTEL Cup points leader) when we come back next weekend,¿ Earnhardt Jr. said.
One thing is certain ¿ the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup is far from over, and the action will be sizzling-hot when NASCAR returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend. Great seats are still available for the entire Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend. Weekend ticket packages start at $69 for all three days of racing and can be purchased from any Ticketmaster location or the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211.