Earnhardt Jr. - Watkins Glen Friday media visit

Team Chevy

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO., 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET met with media and discussed the races between now and the start of the Chase, staying in the top 10, and more.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT STAYING IN THE TOP 10? “I was glad to get a good run in. We needed it. We needed to do something to sort of stop the slide and give ourselves some momentum going into these last few races.”

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON YOUR CHANCES AT THE UPCOMING TRACKS? “I feel like my chances are good. I run good and like those race tracks and I feel that we can go in there and get the job done.”

DO YOU THINK YOU NEED TO WIN ONE OF THESE RACES TO STAY IN THE TOP 10? “Staying in the top 10 should be good enough. Winning a race would definitely make it a lot easier.”

HOW MUCH DOES A WILD CARD CHANGE EVERYTHING FOR EVERYBODY? “It makes things a little bit different, but I’ve always said however they want to line up the deal and stack up the bowling pins, its fine with me. And I think it’s interesting. I think it makes it pretty neat. And it makes it fun. I think it makes it a little more colorful. So I kind of like it.”

A LOT OF THOSE GUYS ARE WATCHING YOU TO SEE IF YOU’RE GOING TO SLIP BACK “Who’s that?”

THOSE WILD CARD GUYS “I bet they would. They want some of us to slip back there; some of us who haven’t won a race. So we’re going to try and fight real hard to stay and hold our position if not improve it some.”

WATKINS GLEN IS A TRACK WHERE YOU’VE RUN OUT FRONT BEFORE. “I feel good that we can come in here and do well. It’s a tough track. And we’ve had our ups and downs here. But I feel like, given the right circumstances, we can come in here and do the job we need to do.”

WHEN YOU ARE WHERE YOU ARE IN THE POINTS, CAN YOU BE AS AGGRESSIVE AS YOU WANT TO BE, OR DO YOU HAVE TO BE A SCOREBOARD WATCHER? “You’ve got to race hard and race smart like you always do. I try to race hard and get to the end of the race with my race car, no matter what the situation is.”

ON RACING AT MICHIGAN NEXT WEEK, WHAT KIND OF GAME PLAN DO YOU HAVE? “I really don’t know. I just kind of let Steve (Letarte, crew chief) decide what that is. We really don’t talk race strategy much. And we talk more just about mechanics and nuts and bolts. I let really just kind of call the strategy how he wants.”

WHAT IS SIDE-DRAFTING AT MICHIGAN? CAN YOU EXPLAIN IT? “You get real close to a car and it makes your car go faster to a certain point. Drafting has always been a bit part of racing at Michigan. The cars are so equal now that you are trying to get every little advantage you can so there is tons more side-drafting than there used to be.”

ON THE RACING LEADING UP TO RICHMOND, TALK ABOUT HOW THOSE TRACKS ARE GOOD FOR YOU “Well, you don’t take it for granted. I’ve gone to some tracks that I really like and then been baffled by how bad we’ve been a few times. But you don’t take anything for granted. But we’ll try to be smart and just go in with a package that we feel comfortable with in the race car; a set-up that we feel confident in. And we have to be careful to really orchestrate the weekend and practices and all that stuff properly that we don’t have any set-backs or that we don’t feel like we are behind the eight ball trying to get everything you can out of practice with the way the tires are and the way qualifying is and how they line-up for qualifying. You have a lot of guys on different paths to get there, and we’ve got to be sure to choose the right ones.”

WHERE IS YOUR CONFIDENCE LEVEL TO STAY IN THE TOP 10? “It’s as high as I think it needs to be. I feel like we can do it. I don’t feel like we’re a poor race team that’s lucky be where we are. I feel like we’re better than this and we should finish in the top 10 without a problem.”

WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO WATCH THE NATIONWIDE RACE? “I’ll probably just sit and watch it on TV. They do a good job of covering the races and you can see everything. It’s kind of difficult to move around this place. You’ve got a lot of intersections and stuff. It’s like a little town inside this place. You can get lost if you aren’t careful, so I probably won’t go too far.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags chevrolet, earnhardt, nascar, sprint, watkins glen