DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS, following engine failure during practice for the Budweiser Duel at Daytona Qualifying Races:
WILL YOU GO TO BED A LITTLE WORRIED TONIGHT? "No, it's just part of racing."
IS THIS ANY SORT OF A SETBACK? "Not really. Everything is good. We were just making some single car runs by ourselves. Everything seemed like it was working. Just trying to find a little more speed, and we found a few things that seemed to help the car. We'll try to get out in this next practice, and see what else we can learn, but everything should be fine."
DID YOU HAVE ANY WARNING THAT IT WAS GOING? "No."
WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE? “I don’t know. I want to watch first (after watching the replay). My car came around. I don’t know if it was the air off of Carl’s (Edwards) car or what. My car just came around. (Referring to the replay) You can see the backend getting light there. I think it’s just an aero situation, but that was news to me. Carl (Edwards) came over and said ‘hey man’… I said ‘I don’t even know what to tell you yet’. It was unfortunate for our Quicken Loans Chevrolet, but that is why we had practice. That was my first experience, but I guess my car just got light in the back going into the corner.”
HOW BADLY WOUNDED IS YOUR CAR? “I think it’s totally fixable, it’s just a matter of time and getting practice and everything else. Matt (Borland, crew chief) and the guys are assessing the situation.”
CARL (EDWARDS) CAME OVER IMMEDIATELY TO TALK TO YOU. WHAT DID YOU GUYS TALK ABOUT? “Just what happened. I didn’t know what happened and he honestly admitted that he didn’t know what happened. Just all of a sudden my car was going across his nose. He did say that he tried to come up and put the air brakes on me. I think in doing so it just made my car that loose. I hadn’t been loose the entire time. It was just something new and a different characteristic of this car I guess.”
YOU HAVE NOT FELT THAT SIMILAR SITUATION WHY IS THAT DIFFERENT? A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT A WEIRD AERO DEAL THERE? “I think some of it has to do with the huge shark fin that we have on that side. When you pack air up on that side it’s not going to the spoiler it’s getting blocked off from the spoiler. There are a lot of things to think about and talk about.”
YOU GUYS ARE PLANNING TO FIX THE DAMAGE RIGHT? “We are going to fix it. It’s a Catch-22 we brought this car for a reason. The engine is fine; it never spun backwards all that stuff is good. We don’t think we will make it back out for the second practice, but we will be fine.”
EVEN IF YOU DID WOULD YOU PRACTICE DRAFTING OR DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DONE? “No, we will still practice drafting. That is what it is going to take to win the (Daytona) 500.”
Team Chevy Racing