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Chase off to promising start

| Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2006

CHARLOTTE, N.C.

I really can't believe we got out of Loudon with a top 10.

Actually, before the race on Sunday, my crew chief, Robbie Reiser, and my engineer, Chip Bolin, and I were talking and we all agreed that a top 10 would be a heck of a day for us.

It wasn't pretty, but it was about the best that we could do, and that's all you can ask for.

We've had some recurring brake problems throughout the year, and Sunday was no different. I don't know why, but we've had those issues at a lot of flat tracks this year.

Hopefully, we can get that figured out by the time we get to Martinsville. I would hate to end up with the same results as we had there in April, when the brakes finally left us with just under 10 to go and that ended up being our only DNF of the season.

Let me go ahead and say this again, because I know someone will ask me this week: No, I do not think that just because Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch both had bad days at Loudon that they are out of it.

That's absurd.

Kurt Busch finished 42nd at Atlanta in the 2004 Chase and still won the championship. In my opinion, you can have one bad finish and still make up ground.

Look at Jimmie in 2004 -- he had a couple of bad finishes at the start of the Chase, then won something like three or four races toward the end and came close to winning it all. My point is, if you get hot and start knocking off top fives, you can make up a lot of ground in a hurry.

This week is Dover and a track that is pretty special to me. My first Cup start was there in '98 when I filled in for Bill Elliott, whose father had just passed away. It was really cool because no one had ever heard of me.

The car was great and we ended up finishing sixth in my first Cup start! I won a couple of Busch races there with Robbie back when no one had heard of either of us. Then, we finally broke through with a Cup win there this past June, and it was one of the best days of my career.

I always said that Dover was my favorite track, but when I would say that, it seemed like something bad would happen to us there. So, since we're going there this weekend, for the record: I really don't like Dover and I'm dreading going back.

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