Brooklyn, MI - Dale Earnhardt Jr and the ACDelco Team were strong all day, the only two cars that gave the driver of the #3 ACDelco Monte Carlo a challenge was the #24 of Jeff Gordon and #93 driven by Dave Blaney, Blaney had a bad pit stop and lost some valuable time on the track, he never made up the distance.
Earnhardt Jr and Gordon made the day exciting as they swapped the lead a number of times, Dale Jr used some great strategy passing lapped cars to stay ahead of Gordon, when it came down to the closing laps Earnhardt Jr stretched his lead and took the checkered flag for the fifth time this season, the ACDelco Team now leads by 89 points over Matt Kenseth, Kenseth had engine problems and drifted back through the field.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
"It wasn't easy at all. I had to try to conserve my tires. Gordon and I worked off each other. We were both a little loose when we were out front. We traded off lap after lap. It was more comfortable that way, and we pulled away from everybody. The 93 started coming up through there and we had to watch him, but we had a little bit left. I got around those lapped cars and it tightened up my car a little bit. We had a great race car. Goodyear brought a new tire, and we seemed to get a little loose on long runs. It's not really a rivalry thing with Gordon. I just enjoy racing with him. He's a great race car driver.
"Jeff Gordon is one of the best in the Winston Cup series. Whenever you can beat a team like that and a driver like that, it's got to make you feel good. We're real excited. We're happy to keep the points lead and even build on it some. It's unfortunate Matt Kenseth had some trouble on the track, but we'll take it any way we can.
"We've had a lot of reality checks already this year, so I'm going to be a little conservative with my confidence. We're happy, and I know we can win. We've just got to stay out of the wrong situations at the wrong time and continue to make good decisions. It's difficult to do. Last year it seemed like it was a breeze even though we'd never done it before, but this year it's difficult to stay out of trouble and up front.
"You've got to devote a little time, a lot of time actually, to the Winston Cup deal, but I feel like we came here with a good chance to win, and I feel like we're going to do well in the Cup car tomorrow. We needed some chassis adjustments today, and we needed a good pit stop. We just didn't run away with it. We needed to be smooth on the racetrack. We were real lucky and fortunate, and I just hope we can keep doing it.
"The first run we were very loose. The second run we added a pound of pressure in the right front and it seemed to help the car a lot on the long runs. There at the end, we were still a little loose. It was sliding all over the track, but you get the car too tight and it won't run. We just had to hang in there.
"(Beating Jeff Gordon) is something you don't see very often, and something I didn't think I'd be able to do this early, so I'm excited. They do a good job and put forth a good effort with their Busch deal. They probably don't spend as much time with it as we do ours. I feel like it's still an accomplishment for us.
"Tony said that Blaney was coming, so I stepped it up a little bit. This is a big wide track and you don't see a lot of crashing or anything. It'll be a long race for us tomorrow."
"This was a great run for this team. Dale Jr. just beat us. That's all there is to it. We were a little bit loose there early in the run. We tried to swap positions with him. We'd tighten it up, and I just didn't have anything for him there at the end. It got a tiny bit tight there at the end. I was still pretty good. They made some adjustments and he was pretty loose early in the race and he got a lot better.
"They were just better than us. This Gordon-Evernham Motorsports team did a great job today. It's only our fourth race, and this was our best effort. The guys did a great job preparing this car. In the past races we didn't have anything for 'em. At least we had something for them this time.
"It was pretty evident that the Busch guys didn't want us out there today. They didn't like us at all. This team is built to be a future full-time Busch Grand National team. That's my hopes and dreams. I'd like to have a Busch Grand National regular with a full-time sponsor. We're building for the future. A lot of people were in the grandstands to watch this race. I think they came out to watch the Busch guys, especially Dale Jr., but they're coming out to watch these Winston Cup drivers, too. I can understand when there's that many, their complaints.
"(Dale Jr.) is very smooth and smart, and that's what it takes to win races at this level and the Winston Cup level. He's got great equipment and he's taking advantage of it. If he does all those same things on the Winston Cup side, you're going to see a lot of success out of him there also. I know how proud I was when the Winston Cup guys were running with us (in Busch races) and we could outrun them. That's why I like for the Winston Cup guys to run in the Busch series. If you do outrun them, it only makes you more confident and gets you more prepared for Winston Cup.
"We had a little bit of trouble at Charlotte. We didn't finish the race. To come here and not only finish the race but run that strong, to lead for the first time ever, I'm real proud of them. They're working hard, and we're building our confidence together."