DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) "Gordon is really running good in practice this morning. We did qualify well, and I've got basically the same setup we had in the race last spring and it ran real well. I think we'll be...
(No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo)
"Gordon is really running good in practice this morning. We did qualify well, and I've got basically the same setup we had in the race last spring and it ran real well. I think we'll be competitive. I think we'll be in good shape."
"Darrell and I have had some great races and some excitement between us through the years. To see him retire, I'm proud to see him race through his career and enjoy it and then retire. He's going to TV and he's got a lot of things to be excited about. It is going to be sad to see him retire and not be around. As you go through your career and racing changes for you, it becomes time at some point to retire. Darrell was quite a statesman. He was a good leader and champion when he was champion. I think he's been good for the sport."
"It's been cold and wet here before. No problem. I've had a good time this year. It's been fun to race and watch my kids race. A lot of things have happened to us in the sport and we've been excited about it."
"I've got three different sponsors and three different teams (DEI). I've got to give everybody the same opportunities. That's to be as competitive in one as the other. We give the same engines, same cars, same opportunities to each driver. It's been great as an owner. To see 'em win races is great. The 3 team is the important team to me when it comes to start the whole program and to start the year. What we've done this year is going to be good going into next year. Even though we came up short this year, and every year it gets more competitive."
"He (Earnhardt Jr.) was another racer on the track. I can't let him make a difference in what I'm doing on the race track whether it's win, lose or draw. Everybody says he made Earnhardt more competitive. No. I think the resources that we draw from the 1 and 8 have been a positive thing for Childress and the 3 and 31. That's the basis of it."
"This has been a great race track for us. Before when they changed it around, it was a great race track. It's a great race track today. It's a race I enjoy racing. It's faster than it used to be. It used to be more of a handling race track than a high-speed race track like it is now. Now they both come into play, the aerodynamics and the whole thing. It's a unique race track and a track I've enjoyed racing at over my years. I look forward to the race on Sunday and next spring's race to get started on the new year."
"Darrell has been a great statesman over the years and a great champion and a leader in the sport. He's really helped promote the sport well, take us to another level. To see him go through his career and retire is pretty gratifying, pretty satisfying to me to see a guy be able to do that and not get hurt or have problems or whatever. He knows and feels like it's time for him to retire. I still feel like and he feels like he can win races. The racing fire is still inside him. The time comes and you know when it's time to retire, so it's sad to see him go in a way but it's good to see him going to be around next year on TV. He'll be around still aggravating me I know, still talking about me on TV. We'll give him a little present tomorrow that he can remember us by and do a little something in pre-race there. I'll give him a little something he can definitely remember me by."
"I'll probably know when it's time to retire when I'm racing for 31st instead of first in points. The last 12 years, I've been in the top 10 in points. When you're racing in the top 10 in points, I don't think that's getting less competitive. I'm still winning a race or two and still racing competitively. Why would you retire? Why would you even think about retiring? Why would people think you'd be ready to retire? Why would people think you're over the hill when you can still race these guys and race up front? We've had bad races like last week at Homestead. We finished 20th. That was a bad day, but still we finished 20th. We didn't finish 40th."
"I think all our race teams at DEI have done well and because of them and because of the 31 and the 3's effort together, we've been more competitive. Park has done a great job this year. Dale Jr. came out of the box pretty hot and excited and competitive and put some pressure on the 1 car really. The 1 car had a tough first part of the year, but as they went along they got better and I think they turned their season around very nicely. They won a race, ran competitively and sat on the pole, things like that. I'm proud of our race teams. I'm proud of what Ron Hornaday did for us in the Busch and truck series and winning races this year with the Busch car. I'm excited to see him move on to Winston Cup with A.J. Foyt. I'm excited about my son Dale Jr. and Steve Park in the Winston Cup division and Kerry in the ARCA division has been great. It's been a good year for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and Dale Earnhardt himself. To be a competitive driver and win races in Winston Cup and look around at your team and everybody in the team has won races. That's quite an accomplishment."
"They were all excited about what was happening. They work awful hard. Sometimes they work too hard and sometimes they don't work hard enough, but they work awful hard and sometimes forget what the big picture is. They get awful frustrated because they're tired and they work hard and they get behind a little bit. The pressure has been on 'em a lot mid season and this last half to catch up with and do well with Park and what he's been doing. It's really neat to see the competition between 'em even though they work together and work together on engineering and test stuff trying to be the best they can be."
"I'm frustrated about letting the eighth championship slip away with the races we've had trouble with or didn't finish well in like Rockingham and Charlotte. Homestead and Phoenix were tough races for us. We just didn't hit the mark. You've got to put those races together when it counts and we didn't. We have a chance at falling back to third in the points and we don't need to do that. We need to finish up second. There's a lot riding on tomorrow's race. To think that this is the only opportunity I'm going to have to win that eighth championship, I don't. I feel like I've got several opportunities, next year and the year after. You don't win the championship every year. It's a tough thing to do."
"At the first of the season, everybody was worried about it being a competitive year. I think it's turned out to be a great year for NASCAR. The racing side of it, everybody has been competitive. Different cars have won, different teams. You have a couple of rookies to win races. It's been a competitive year for NASCAR, an exciting year for NASCAR. To see Matt Kenseth win a race, Dale Jr. win a race, these guys that are kicking off their seasons. I think it's been a good year. It cranked up from the start. Daytona wasn't an exciting day for nobody, but it came back at Atlanta (in March) and started from there and got exciting from there on out."
"What kind of championship is Bobby Labonte going to make? He's going to make a good champion. He's been around and watched what went on with Terry and all the rest of these guys. Him and Joe Gibbs is a good championship team. You've got to be involved to be a good champion, a good ambassador for NASCAR. I'd like to have another chance at doing it, to see if I could do well one more time. I'm excited about them having that opportunity to go out and be champions for the year. They've worked hard for it. I'm excited to see Bobby and Terry both have the championship."
"It is a lot more competitive when you win the championship and then the press and things that you do, your obligations do crowd your schedule up a little more, of course everybody's schedule is pretty crowded this day and time. It's quite a juggling act to make it all to make it all happen and put it all together. I think it is harder to repeat as champion. Hopefully we can have that opportunity to win that championship and figure out how hard it is to do it again."
"Come Daytona in February, we're going to be in the 24-hour race, Dale Jr. and myself. We're going to go down to Sebring this week and test the car for the first time. It's going to be fun. Andy Pilgrim and the Corvette guys have given me some confidence. I was excited about him being a driver in it. He's going to help us adapt well to the car and what goes on. I was interested to see we didn't drive but hour and a half shifts. Maybe that's all the gas it will hold. If it held more gas, me and Dale Jr. might drive a little longer. As long as he (Dale Jr.) doesn't bend my race car, I'll be all right. He's got to be careful. Andy will be the driver who needs to start the race because of all the traffic at the start. When things get settled down, maybe I'll take over and then put Dale Jr. in last. We'll see how that works out for awhile, but that's all up to the team. I'm sure Andy will start. I don't know who'll end up in it. Hopefully we can end up at the front of our class at the end of the day."
"Right now we're looking at some options (for Kerry Earnhardt in 2001). Some things are happening that haven't come together yet. We surely hope we can get some things going for him more than he had this year. He had a pretty good ARCA season this year with some seconds and thirds and winning a race. He's excited about racing. He needs a good, solid opportunity. We focused on putting good, solid equipment under him this year. We supported him well, and that made a difference."
"I hope next year is the year Michael Waltrip turns it around and wins a race. He'll be in our car when he does it. We're definitely going to give him the resources it takes. That's very important. You've got to have the right pieces and right opportunity to win today. I don't care who you are. I think Mike is a competitive racer and with the right parts and pieces, I think that NAPA Chevrolet will be up front. I'm proud of NAPA and excited about them being our sponsor through the truck series and the Busch Series and now step into Winston Cup. That says a lot to be involved with a sponsor like that and to graduate or to grow with them like that. I feel like they support us well. They're a great sponsor. I've been with them a long time. My dad used to ride with them to go get parts at the N A P A store like we called it back in those days. I've been around NAPA for a long time and to have them step up is going to be fun."
"The Daytona 500 will be a good race, I feel like. We tested those rules at Daytona and we felt good about them there. The race at Talladega was exciting. I can't believe we won it from 18th with four or five to go. We're looking forward to Daytona. I think it will be an exciting race. There's a lot of new things happening next year. A lot of new teams, a lot of different drivers switching around. It's going to be exciting again next year. We've got to start over working on trying to win that eighth championship."
DALE EARNHARDT Jr.
(No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"It's pretty cool. It's very flattering. A lot of drivers in it with me seemed to enjoy it (People article, photos). That's what we need. Whether you're doing good or not on the race track, it doesn't hurt to be in People Magazine. We'll see who calls."
"We've had a lot of good times at the beginning of the year. Things went downhill at the midpoint of the season. We're still optimistic about the future. Everybody on the team seems to be positive and that's important. Park's team has definitely turned it around since their win at Watkins Glen. Hopefully with Michael coming aboard and with the experience he's got, we can get up and run with them pretty quickly. Hopefully what we see as a legitimate goal is having all three teams in the top 15 in points next year."
"I think it depends on what's going on that day. He's definitely not going to show any favoritism to anybody. It doesn't really matter. When Park wins a race, dad is real happy about it and that's what he's going to talk about. When I win, he's very happy about it and that's what he's going to talk about. If Park's running in the top five four or five weeks in a row, he's not going to get lunch and dinner at the house, you know what I'm saying."
"Some of the things we enjoy and like is what's happening now, it's what's going on in this world now. We're just products of the people we grew up around and the stuff we see on TV and hear on the radio. That's all we are. They've already got the market of my dad's generation. They've probably got less than 40 percent of our market, our generation, people from 20-28 years old. I think if they gear their advertisement toward that, to be able to attract those type of people, they're going to be able to have a bigger audience. I know these people my age would love this stuff if they would just turn it on. They're out doing different things. I'd be doing the same things if I wasn't driving race cars. If they'd turn the TV on one time and watch for five minutes, that's all it takes."
"I'm just ready to get the year over with so I can get a little time off. It's pretty much over (chance to win rookie title) now. It was a goal at the beginning of the year because we had a chance to do it."
"I think everybody up and down the garage area wants to do well in the last race, particularly our team. It would be cool to run well and end the season on a good note. It would keep everybody pumped up throughout the off season."
"I think if you look a lot deeper into the situation (Dale Earnhardt), you'll see improvement on his team and his cars, how his cars drive. Even himself, he's made some improvements with some operations he had over the winter. He's improved his health and the way he felt about driving and his comfort level in the car. You can't drive if you're in pain and you're hurting."
"The first win at Texas, the win at Richmond, passing my dad for that. The win at Charlotte in The Winston, running well in the 600 was a lot of fun. Being in People Magazine, Rolling Stone Magazine, other things off the track were enjoyable. We've been pretty well publicized."