Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a love-hate relationship with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
While the 38-year-old appreciates the history of the track, his results on the two-mile loop have been less than stellar -- until last year. After 13 starts at Indy, Earnhardt posted his first top five behind the wheel of the No. 88 Chevy in the 2012 Brickyard 400.
But Junior remembers his first Brickyard experience vividly. As the defending Nationwide Series champion in 1999, Earnhardt was invited to participate in the International Race of Champions (IROC) series. Out of 12 cars, he finished 11th.
"The first time I came here I ran an IROC and just got destroyed by everybody out there," Earnhardt recalled Friday, which was practice day for Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.
"It was just such a different track and a really big place. The shape of the track is unique compared to anything else we race on. It's a real technical track, and if you are just looking at the race track, you would a...