Junior back at site of his first big wins

Updated: November 11, 2009, 1:31 PM ET

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Now that owner Rick Hendrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are on the same page about their crew chief for the foreseeable future -- Lance McGrew -- it's time for the team to jell.

Back where it all started

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his first Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway on April 2, 2000, after starting fourth and leading 106 laps. It was only the seventh Cup race of his career. He also visited Victory Lane for the first time in the Nationwide Series at the track, taking home that trophy on April 4, 1998.

Earnhardt on Texas Motor Speedway: "I like racing at Texas. It's a fun track. The fans always seem to be excited about us coming out there. We've had some good success at Texas, too, so that helps a lot and makes us get excited about coming back. I just like the enthusiasm that the crowd has and the people that are from in and around that area have for racing, so it gets me excited."

Lance McGrew, crew chief, on running at Texas: "We've had some good runs on intermediate tracks but just haven't had the finishes we need to have. I like going to Texas. It's a fast track. Corner speed at Texas is crucial. You are going to fight tight off of Turns 2 and 4, so your driver has to be able to get in the throttle, accelerating off the corners to go fast."

Compiled from Hendrick Motorsports news release.


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Rick Hendrick said it

"I have total faith in Lance and what he's capable of accomplishing with Dale Jr. There was a lot of pressure with how he came into this deal, and the way he's handled it has been extremely impressive."

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Junior by the numbers

88-556: This week's chassis. It led for 41 laps at Kansas.
82: Percentage of laps in the top 15 in the past nine Texas races.
13.9: Average finish at Texas.
67: Top-10 finishes in 172 intermediate track starts.