Bristol II: Earnhardt Jr post-race interview

DALE EARNHARDT JR. , NO. 8 BUDWEISER MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 3rd: ON RUN IN TONIGHT'S RACE: "It was pretty uneventful, the car was handling different every time we put tires on it. Sometimes it was real difficult to drive, other times it...

DALE EARNHARDT JR. , NO. 8 BUDWEISER MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 3rd:

ON RUN IN TONIGHT'S RACE:

"It was pretty uneventful, the car was handling different every time we put tires on it. Sometimes it was real difficult to drive, other times it was pretty easy. Matt (Kenseth) just had a faster car than we did all night. That was pretty evident. I tried really hard to make a run at him but it was all for nothing. The No. 5 car was coming there at the end. I just thought, you know, we are having a good points night, lets just do what we can to maintain that so I didn't want to hold him up and have him get in the back of us and cause us a lot of trouble. No. One, we had really great pit stops. We beat people off pit road all night long, I was really happy with that. Our pit crew has been tweaked a little bit all year long. Tony (Eury), Jr., has made a lot of adjustments with it as he has with the car itself. Tonight it really worked to perfection and I was really excited about that. That is something good going in to the next couple of races trying to make the Chase."

ON BEING 92 POINTS AHEAD OF 11TH AND FEELING COMFORTABLE WITH TOP-15 FINISHES NEXT TWO RACES:

"I hope so. Make me feel a whole lot better going in to California where we have struggled. We are optimistic about how we ran at Michigan and are taking that setup out there, but that doesn't always work. I feel confident at Richmond that I can run in the top-10 there. I feel a whole lot better now about trying to get in. I mean, from me and Kyle (Busch) on back, it is 40 some points, pretty tight, you know. So I think all of us are just really have got to watch what we are doing, minimize mistakes and utilize every once of practice that you get to tune on your car to try and get yourself the best opportunity in these next couple of race. I think we have a really good shot at it now. Before, it was 50-50 up for grabs between me and Kasey Kahne. But I feel like we are in a better position, obviously."

ON CALL BY TONY, JR TO NOT PIT WITH LEADERS ON ABOUT LAP 116:

"This is the deal, when you qualify in the back, you try to pit under the early cautions within the first 40 laps. The leaders are obviously not going to come down pit road. We tried to do that. When the leaders pit when there is a caution around lap 80 or 100, we might have an opportunity to stay out and gain track position. It was just a track position deal and that is what did we won here. We qualified 29th and did the same thing. It was a quick and easy way to get toward the front. If your car is good enough, you can maintain on those guys with new tires and we tried our best, we weren't quite as good as we needed to be. We fell back to like eighth then finally the caution came out again and saved us. My pit crew was so good, we gained four spot on the next stop and then we were in the lead on the next stop."

ON GUYS BEING ON THEIR BEST BEHAVIOR TONIGHT TO MAKE RACE A LITTLE LESS EVENTFUL THAN USUAL:

"I don't know if anybody is on any better behavior, I guess opportunities didn't arise for some of those guys to get into trouble. There was a hell of a mess going on inside my car. But outside my car, it was pretty uneventful. Aside from the No. 19 blowing up and having to miss him, I just pretty much tried to get a little gap between me and the next guy and the guy behind me and sit there and wait until the race ended. And see where I was and if I could make a run on Matt. He was just too strong, Matt was awesome. Kyle was better than Matt at the end, but just didn't have enough time to get to him. Those two had great cars when it counted and we were just sort of maintaining, trying to hold our own. We were very fortunate to finish in the top-five."

ON "MESS GOING ON INSIDE MY CAR":

"Man we have had some really good cars here before and we were ok in practice. The track just seemed slicker to me. If you had a push, it was more difficult to control, if you were loose it was more difficult than in the past races here. At least for my car, maybe we had something different in the shocks or something that was a little more aggressive. The car was just sliding around all night long, I was in front of Matt and I almost wrecked it coming off of two. I almost wrecked there in the middle a bunch of times. Getting in the corner, I was spinning out, it was just all over the place. It was that we ran third, but it wasn't the best race car we have had here."

ON BRISTOL BEING THE WILD CARD IN THESE RACES LEADING UP TO THE CHASE AND NOW THE RELIEF THAT IT IS OVER:

"I feel really relieved about it. It has given me a lot of nerve troubles. I have been about as bad as I get about being a jerk to be around. I have been a jerk all week coming in to Bristol. I like the racing here and I have fun when I am doing it. Practice the other day, it was so darn hot, I just didn't want to be doing that because it was so darn hot. I would rather be back at the house. So I flew home, I didn't get here until 3:30 today. I quit drinking Sun Drop and started drinking water so I should be good to go. I haven't had a Sun Drop since Pocono. It doesn't wear me out, I feel good but it is so mentally tough. You try not to spin your own car out. You are trying not to get spun out. You are hoping that nothing doesn't break or blow out. All kinds of happen. I am just glad it is over."

ON THIS NIGHT RACE BEING SO CLOSE TO THE CHASE, WHY IT SEEMED TO CALM DOWN A LITTLE BIT:

"Maybe so. I am always relieved to come out of here with a good run. It is so hard to get a good run here a lot of things can happened, that hasn't changed. But with the Chase and everybody being so close, there was a lot more respect out there on the track tonight, a lot more than you have seen in the past. A lot more respect being shown. When I caught guys, they moved over, and I did the same for others. You don't normally see that here. You make people work for every spot. It seemed tonight like everyone was being very respectful."

ON KENSETH BEING CHAMPIONSHIP FAVORITE HEADING IN TO THE CHASE:

"Matt has come on here really strong. Just hopefully he hasn't peaked to soon. It is tough in this business to stay on top over a span of races like that. There is no real way to know how to do it. They seem to have found some things that making their cars work and handle good and these are a couple of tracks where he always runs pretty good at. It is a good little span of racing for him where he can make up a lot of ground. The obviously have to feel pretty good going in to the Chase the way their cars have been running."

-credit: gm racing

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP