NASCAR

RIDING WITH JUNIOR: Twin 125 Race 1

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foxsports admin

 
   
 
Want to ride with .? Well, we can't put you in his Chevrolet Monte Carlo -- for one thing, there's only one seat -- but we can put you inside his head.

OK, just his helmet. Throughout the rest of the Nextel Cup season, come back here to see what Junior and his crew talk about on the radio. Every week we'll have text from Junior's best conversations during the races. You can't get any more inside the game than this.

TWIN 125 QUALIFYING RACE 1

In the early laps, Dale Jr. struggled keeping the Budweiser Chevrolet in the groove, but he found a friend in , who drafted with him until the caution came out on lap 22:

Dale Jr.: "Do me a quick favor. Tell Jeff thanks for hangin' with me and being patient. He could've gone to the inside many times, but he stayed on my bumper.

Stevie Reeves (spotter): "10-4, I'll relay the message."

Dale Jr.: "You guys check out that right-front tire. Something's been plowin' on it. I guarantee you it ain't gonna last much longer."

A quick pit stop brought Junior from third to second, right behind the leader, :

Tony Eury Jr. (car chief): "Great job boys!"

Dale Jr.: "Yeah, that was awesome ... Hey, that boy (Scott Riggs) blew his right-front tire out, didn't he."

Reeves: "10-4."

Dale Jr.: "Yeah, we were all about to do that."

Reeves: "I just talked to Jeff (Burton's spotter), and he said he was having the same problem as you were. He was just hangin' there with ya."

Tony Jr: "We picked up one spot, Junebug. I was hoping for one more, but we'll be alright."

Dale Jr.: "Tell Jeff I'm gonna run the bottom for awhile, because I don't think we can beat those guys if they're running the bottom and we're on the top. It will be the same ol' deal as last time."

As Dale Jr. crossed the finish line...

Tony Jr: "Good job guys, but we gotta a lot of work to do..."

HE SAID IT

. earned his second consecutive win in the Twin 125s at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, taking the lead from teammate with 15 laps to go, then leading the rest of the 50-lap qualifying race. The win gives the No. 8 Budweiser team the third starting position in Sunday's Daytona 500. It also moves Junior into a tie for 14th with Peter Gregg for the most career victories at Daytona with seven. finished second, followed by , Waltrip and ..

"This softer tire compound makes it harder to pass the leader. I knew if we were gonna pass Michael, we were gonna have to do it fast. It's hard as hell to get to the lead out here, because these cars are just so tight. I was lifting (off the accelerator) to avoid hitting the wall, but I knew if we could get out front and get some of that clean air, we'd be all right. I knew I had to make the pass, so when I saw the hole I went for it. "The softer tires make it harder to team up with somebody. I was behind Michael for awhile, but I got so tight being behind him that I couldn't stay there. In the past you could kinda pick and choose who to draft with, but now it seems like you gotta do whatever it takes to get to the front and get that clean air. I know if I would've stayed behind him, I would've definitely hit the wall. On whether today's win means as much to the Bud team as it did last year: "I guess we don't seem as excited because we kinda learned our lesson. We won this race and a couple others last year and were like, 'Yeah, we're kicking everybody's butts out here,' and then we finished bad in the (Daytona) 500. We're excited to win the 125, but we want to win the 500, so we know we've got more work to do. The car can always be better. I don't think we're ever satisfied, and that's the way a championship team should feel."

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