DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD-DRIVE THE GUARD/AMP ENERGY IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Richmond International Raceway and discussed the practice accident, racing at Richmond, Brad Keselowski's first Cup win and other ...
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD-DRIVE THE GUARD/AMP ENERGY IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Richmond International Raceway and discussed the practice accident, racing at Richmond, Brad Keselowski's first Cup win and other topics.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE ON-TRACK INCIDENT WITH JUAN PABLO MONTOYA? "We just pulled out on the track and went around turns three and four and he was looking down the inside, down the front straightaway and we went in the corner and he buried it in there, locked the brakes up and hit me in the door. I tried to keep from hitting the wall real hard. We've got a little bit of cosmetic damage, but we were able to get back out there and practice and get going, get to work."
WHAT MAKES YOU GOOD AT RICHMOND? "I don't know -- I just like short track racing. I do pretty good at all the short tracks for the most part. I ran at Myrtle Beach, which is a lot like this place and configuration. I just always enjoy it."
DO YOU HAVE SOME MOMENTUM AFTER LAST WEEK? "I don't know if momentum really, truly exists other than just good attitudes. Trying to keep your attitude up and keep positive and a run like last week definitely gets everybody's moral up and that's important."
DO YOU THINK THE ISSUE WITH KYLE BUSCH AND YOURSELF IS STILL RELEVANT? "It's pretty relevant to what happened last year and what they need to showcase to sell tickets and so that's perfectly fine with me -- I'm okay with it. I think he's probably over it and so am I. At least I hope he's over it -- we'll find out I guess."
DO YOU THINK KYLE BUSCH RACES YOU ANY DIFFERENTLY THAN ANY OF THE OTHER DRIVERS? "He doesn't like a Hendrick race car and everybody knows what he says on the radio every time he gets around us and all the things he says. He just doesn't have a good perception of any one of us and I guess me."
DO YOU THINK KYLE BUSCH LIKES YOU? "I don't think he does. I think that's pretty obvious. Kyle's (Busch) a hard racer and I think the older he gets, the more I like him."
HAVE YOU TRIED TO EVEN THE SCORE WITH KYLE BUSCH? "I don't think there was a score to even. His deal was an accident, racing hard. We were racing for the lead and kind of like the same thing that just happened to me during practice and there wasn't anything on the line. A lot of people wreck here in practice."
IS THERE A SIDE OF YOU WE HAVEN'T SEEN? "I don't think so."
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU ARE DOING THIS YEAR TO HELP RACE TRACKS FILL SEATS? "I don't know. I was going to Myrtle Beach when there wasn't 100 people going to the race track. I wasn't cognizant of that and I wouldn't have even known where to begin to help. There will be a lot of people here this weekend. There will be enough to make me happy and I don't think that you have to have a sell out to call it a success. Some of the expectations are unrealistic -- it's a tough economy right now and people are trying to recover and save what they can save because there's good news about it. The stock market has stabilized and everything, but there are a lot of other things that haven't gotten better and nobody truly knows who to believe from all the experts. People are just probably taking it easy right now so I am not surprised at all that only some sell out. I still feel like that it's a success when we put people in the seats. We will have a good percentage of them filled this weekend."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT MEETING WITH SCOTT LAGASSE, JR. LAST WEEKEND? "I met Scott (Lagasse, Jr.) before he got the job with the 11 team and talked to him really before anybody, including myself, knew him. He seemed like a really good guy and he wants to learn and I raced him real hard at Vegas this year and he impressed me. He's done well so I just wanted to -- he was really appreciative and I wanted to help him out. I hope I was able to give him some good advice for the race. He was asking all the right questions and I am pretty impressed by his demeanor and what's on his mind, what he is conscious of and thinking about as far as being a race car driver."
HAS BRAD KESELOWSKI ASKED YOU FOR ANY CONTRACT ADVICE THIS WEEK? "No, not yet. We're not in a hurry. We don't need to get into any talks right now. He needs to enjoy that and he needs to concentrate on doing what he can in that Nationwide car for the next several months. I have to be honest, if Brad (Keselowski) feels like he's ready to run a full-time Cup season then he needs to look at those options first before he can decide what to do with our Nationwide program because obviously if he drives Cup next year he has to be in a Chevrolet to be able to drive my car. If he signs a deal with a Dodge team or a Toyota team then he can't drive my Nationwide car or won't be able to drive it. We would have to do something else. I will just wait on him to figure out what he's going to do and if he needs any advice and I have plenty of it and I will try to help him the best I can."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT KEVIN HARVICK HAS BEEN ABLE TO BUILD WITH HIS TEAMS? "I think both of us have sort of run parallel together. I have been very proud to compete with Kevin (Harvick) as an owner and I like Kevin as a person. He's actually given me a lot of great advice when I started my team. It's real, real easy to tell when people wish you well and want you to do well and want to help you and those are the type of people that I respect the most. Kevin is just like that as an owner. I'm real happy to see him do well and I'm happy to see him have success and DeLana (Harvick) is a great person too and they have a great relationship. It really, really clicks. It's been fun to compete with them and see what they have been able to accomplish."
WOULD YOU CONSIDER TAKING JR MOTORSPORTS TO CUP WITH BRAD KESELOWSKI NEXT YEAR? "We would consider it, but we have to do what's right for the company and the business. I feel like I just need to make sure that's the right thing to do for the business. It might not even be what Brad (Keselowski) wants. He might want to jump into an established program, which I would too -- probably. Being a rookie it would be kind of hard to start a program. Matt (Kenseth) did it, I did it and other people have done it, but I am sure he has some other opportunities that might be more entertaining."
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WHEN YOU CAME BACK TO THE TRACK FOR THE FIRST TIME AS A RACE WINNER? "It was cool, everybody shaking your hand and happy for you. It was fun aggravating Matt (Kenseth) because we were in a rookie title chase. It was just cool. Back then when you won your first race and I am sure Brad (Keselowski) will get it today, but everybody in the garage and all the crew members that you don't even know and some drivers that you haven't never even spoke to will come up and shake your hand or tell you good job. It's a good feeling because that's coming from your peers and those are probably you're toughest critics. He'll enjoy it I think for a couple weeks at least -- until something bad happens. Just like with Mark (Martin), it takes one week to go from the top to the bottom in this sport. It's not even that long. This sport can humble you just as fast as it makes you feel like a hero."
-credit: gm racing