(Earnhardt Jr. is hoping to end his winless drought with a Daytona 500 victory Sunday - Getty Images)
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Count Dale Earnhardt Jr. among those drivers who have embraced NASCAR's new rule to limit the two car tango and encourage more pack drafting at Daytona.
Junior believes the return to a more traditional style of restrictor plate racing plays more to his strengths running at Daytona.
“Yeah, I would agree with that," Earnhardt said Wednesday at Daytona. "I feel like I’m definitely more comfortable with this style. I feel like I’m more in control of what is happening. In the (Budweiser) Shootout I felt like I was able to formulate a plan to get to the front and take the lead. I would see something I wanted to do and try to go do it and it would happen. That was a good feeling. I do feel more confident than I did coming down here and tandem drafting. I never felt really great about that. It is a completely different style of racing and it’s not what I enjoyed. I definitely feel better about this."
But Earnhardt also realizes the two car draft is still going to be weapon in a driver's arsenal and expects it to play an important role in Sunday's Daytona 500.
"Still, tandem is going to win the race," he said. "It won the Shootout and it will probably win every other race down here this week. For the most part, I feel like I can be in a better position with this style of racing coming into those last few laps. Hopefully, find the right partner right at the right time like Kyle (Busch) did to win the Shootout and win my share of races down here.”
Earnhardt is also very much aware that his winless drought is entering season number four in 2012. He understands how vital it is for his title chances as well as his team at Hendrick Motorsports that he finds a way to break into the win column this year, preferably sooner rather than later this weekend in Daytona.
“We lost a million dollars by not being in the winner’s circle program last year for the company," Earnhardt said. "They could use that money. There are just so many benefits to getting in the winner’s circle. Not only will it help our team and validate what me and Steve (Letarte, crew chief) have been trying to do over the last couple of years. It is the Daytona 500 the biggest race of the season; it would be pretty spectacular for me personally to win it. It would do so many other things that I can’t list right now for the team and the company going forward. It would be awesome.”