Charlotte Motor Speedway
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway and discussed racing in the Coca-Cola 600, Kansas Speedway, Danica Patrick and other topics.
WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO ONE OF YOUR COUNTERPARTS GOING 128 MPH ON A PUBLIC ROAD? “Sometimes you go a little fast, even away from the race track I guess. I’ve been guilty of the same thing myself just been lucky enough not to get caught.”
YOU DID 128? “I don’t really know if I got that fast, I didn’t know if we had enough straight road in North Carolina to get going that quick, but, apparently there is a piece somewhere (LAUGHS).”
TALK ABOUT RACING ON MEMORIAL DAY, WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU: “It is a good time to reflect what the military has sacrificed for us; for us to live like we want to live; to have the freedom we have. It is a good time to thank somebody that you know that has served and tell them how much that means to you. It is just a good time to remember everything that they’ve went through.”
DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FOLLOWERS IN THE MILITARY THAT YOU KNOW OF? “I imagine that we’ve got a lot of people that pull for the National Guard race car every time it is on the race track.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS OF DANICA GOING FULL-TIME IN NASCAR NEXT YEAR? “We’ll just see what she decides to do. I think she wants to have more success and doing it all the time would be a good move. She just has to choose what she wants to do. What is right for her. What she thinks she will be happy doing. Just make the right choice for herself, that is what is important.”
DO YOU THINK SHE IS READY TO MAKE THAT MOVE? “She has been racing with us enough to know whether she is ready or not. It is really up to her. It is really not up to anybody else. My opinion on that deal really doesn’t matter. She is the one who knows the truth and she’ll make the decision I think she needs to make and that will be that.”
HOW ARE YOU ON THE LONG DISTANCE PART OF RACING THE 600? “It is a long race. It is fun and it is challenging. Those last 100 miles can be pretty tough on you, more mentally than physically. Real tough mentally to stay focused for that long.
“You might remain a little more relaxed early in the race. If things aren’t progressing like you would want, you might be a little more calm knowing that the race is longer. You have time to turn it around. It is a real long event. Plenty of things can happen and you can reverse your fortune and have plenty of time to get a good finish.”
How much practice do I get?
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL AT KANSAS? “Kansas is a tough track. It is getting slick down in three and four and off of turn two. It is starting to get pretty slick over there. Just trying to get good forward bite out of the corner without getting the car too tight in the middle, that’s the key.”
IS THERE SOMETHING THAT DISTINQUISHES KANSAS FROM THE OTHER MILE-AND-A-HALF TRACKS? “The only thing that is different about the tracks themselves is just the condition of the asphalt. The condition of the track surface. Some tracks, depending on the region they are in, get slicker than others.”
IF YOUR TEAM OWNER RICK HENDRICK, TOLD YOU THAT YOU WERE GOING TO HAVE TO DRIVE A WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINT CAR FRIDAY NIGHT AT THE DIRT TRACK, WHAT WOULD YOUR FIRST REACTION BE? “(GRINS) Well….How much practice do I get? That is probably what I would ask him. But, I don’t know. I’d have to probably do whatever he says I reckon."
-source: team chevy