BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER MONTE CARLO SS: ON DISNEY/PIXAR'S ANIMATED FEATURE FILM 'CARS' SET FOR RELEASE JUNE 9: "The studio was amazing. There was really a lot going on with all the computers they have...
BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER MONTE CARLO SS:
ON DISNEY/PIXAR'S ANIMATED FEATURE FILM 'CARS' SET FOR RELEASE JUNE 9: "The studio was amazing. There was really a lot going on with all the computers they have there running everything and all the animation. It was pretty impressive. Actually working and doing the part was a lot of fun. Even though it's a small part, they really took it serious and they really wanted me to do a good job. So it felt good. It was a lot of fun. I wish I'd had a lot more to do and it would have been fun if I had a bigger part. I guess that's what happens when you get in there and get excited."
WHAT DO YOU GET OUT OF DOING SOMETHING LIKE THAT? "It's cool to see the credit when they run the credits and you're in there and you're part of it. My mom gets a kick out of it. I'm going to take her to the premier and walk the red carpet with her. I've got a niece and my sister's had another baby, so we'll watch it and enjoy it. It's something that I felt like it was really important. The sport's starting to get that type of recognition to where people are actually going to spend millions of dollars to make movies about it. So hell, I want to jump in that pool and be a part of it. It sounds like a lot of fun."
ON THE STRATEGY THAT GOES WITH THE SMALL FUEL CELL: "We'll probably pit 15 to 20 times for the 600. We'll just have to stop sooner than normal. I don't really know strategy-wise what it will do. I don't really know. We're working on trying to get our car to handle really good. Everything else just takes care of itself."
HOW WAS YOUR CAR IN PRACTICE? "I think we've got a lot of work to do. We're really not that great right now. We need to get a little bit better and we know that. So we're working really hard. It's a long race. But we've got to get our car a little bit better than it's been working. We haven't had a good handling car in the test or the All-Star weekend. It wasn't that good. It wasn't good at all. We've got a lot of work to do."
DO YOU THINK HUMPY WHEELER WAS TREATED UNFAIRLY LAST YEAR FOR THE TRACK CHANGES? "He might have gotten a lot more criticism than he deserved, but there was a lesson to be learned at the same time. So, I think we've learned it."
BY STARTING THE RACE IN THE AFTERNOON AND FINISHING AT NIGHT, ARE THERE TWO DIFFERENT TRACKS OUT THERE? "I don't know. We haven't run a race on the new asphalt starting that early. You just go as hard as you can go however good your car handles. You just wheel it. You jump in there and wheel it."
ON THE TIRES: "They're really, really hard and they don't wear out. They last forever -- about 300 laps."
EVERYBODY SAYS THEY CAN'T FIGURE OUT THE TIRE. ARE YOU CLOSER TO FIGURING IT OUT? "Yeah, we haven't. Some people I believe have an idea or are on the right track. But we'll figure it out or find out somewhere along the line or down the line."
DO YOU THINK IT'S THE TIRE YOU ARE STRUGGLING WITH OR THE NEW TRACK SURFACE? "The tire is tough, man. The thing is so tough you can't get a hold of the race track with it. The track's got a lot of grip and the tire is real hard. It's not a good combination."
CAN YOU IMAGINE SEVERAL YEARS DOWN THE LINE WHEN YOU AND KEVIN HARVICK AND JEFF GORDON ARE HERE AS CAR OWNERS AND NOT AS DRIVERS? "Sure."
IS THAT SOMETHING YOU WOULD WELCOME? "Yeah. I'd have to have a whole pile of money from somebody. You know, you just can't snap your fingers and make stuff like that happen. If I get the proper relationships with the right sponsors and get a good program... I don't know if you could build a team from scratch anymore like some of these guys are trying to do now. You've got these new multiple car teams that just won't let you in. It's like the mom & pop country store down the road that are getting run out of town by 7-Eleven. But you can't even start that stuff up no more, you know what I mean? I don't know if I'd really come out of the box with something new as opposed to being a part of something already there."
LIKE JR MOTORSPORTS? "Well, JR Motorsports can survive in the Busch Series. But the Cup Series is a whole other level. I don't know, man. It's tough to say. It wouldn't be easy at all."
IN THE FEATURE FILM 'CARS', DID YOU JUST READ THE LINES THEY GAVE YOU OR DID YOU JUST MAKE UP SOME AS YOU WENT ALONG? DID YOU JUST REPEAT THE SAME LINES 60 DIFFERENT WAYS? "I'm a one-take guy. I don't need 60 takes. I got her done. I was in there five minutes."