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Dale Earnhardt Jr.: ‘We have a car that’s better than all of them’

Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup series race at Daytona International Speedway early Monday.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup series race at Daytona International Speedway early Monday. AP

Dale Earnhardt Jr. let his No. 88 Chevrolet do what it does best at NASCAR’s superspeedways on Sunday night and on into Monday morning.

“There are a lot of drivers with the same skill level that know what to do,” Earnhardt said after winning the rain-delayed Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. “But my car can do things I want it to do. I just feel like we have a car that’s better than all of them.”

Both of Earnhardt’s victories this season have come on NASCAR’s biggest and fastest tracks – Daytona and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. He also won the Daytona 500 in 2014.

“If you talk about our history the last two years, (our) shop has built, in my opinion, two of the best restrictor-plate cars in the sport. The car we won Talladega with and won with (Monday) is another example, or a carbon copy performance-wise, to the Daytona winner.”

Earnhardt led 96 laps in an event that that will be most remembered by Austin Dillon’s violent crash as the race ended.

Earnhardt started the race from the pole, earning that position by having the fastest practice time Friday after Saturday’s qualifying was rained out. That quick start Friday set the tone for the entire weekend.

“It all kind of started out when we got down here Friday,” said Greg Ives, Earnhardt’s first-year crew chief. “I’ve been kind of preaching that … if we start qualifying better, we’ll end up having more success and be able to dictate some of our pit strategy off of that.

“It’s definitely something that we need to drive home through our guys, through myself, through Dale, to make sure we do our jobs on Friday so it makes the Sunday win even better.”

Scott: 704-358-5889; Twitter: @davidscott14

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