DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Talladega Superspeedway and discussed racing at Talladega, what it would mean to make it four in a row for Hendrick Motorsports, his incident at ...
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Talladega Superspeedway and discussed racing at Talladega, what it would mean to make it four in a row for Hendrick Motorsports, his incident at Phoenix and more.
WHEN YOU COME BACK TO TALLADEGA IS THIS A TRACK WHERE YOU THINK YOU CAN ALWAYS GET A "W" AT? "I do like running at Talladega and we always run good here. The fans they're always great to us here so I enjoy coming here."
GIVE US YOUR REACTION OF STORIES THIS WEEK AFTER RICHARD CHILDRESS MADE THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT HE WAS SWAPPING CREW CHIEFS, RUMORS DENIED BY HENDRICK THAT THEY WERE THINKING OF SWAPPING CREW CHIEFS WITH YOU AND MARK MARTIN. "I don't comment on rumors. That's all it is."
YOU GUYS ARE STILL GOOD THEN, IT'S JUST A RUMOR? "A rumor is a rumor. I don't want to get in the middle of that. I've got a job to do and I do it. You shouldn't listen to rumors."
AFTER YOUR THREE TEAMMATES WON IN THE LAST THREE WEEKS, WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO YOU TO COMPLETE THAT CIRCLE FOR HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS? "It would mean a lot to win here. We're a team that needs to win pretty bad. We like running here and have had some success here in the past. We've got a good shot at getting the win."
WILL YOU TALK ABOUT DOING THE DOUBLE DUTY HERE THIS WEEKEND? "Yeah it's pretty fun working both days here. I really like getting out there in the Nationwide Series and running when I can and learning a little bit more about our team. We've been pretty happy with how things have gone this weekend. GoDaddy is our sponsor on the No. 5 car this weekend and I'm looking forward to running that car. That program is going along really good. We've got some great partners. So it's fun to be a part of it every once in a while. Ryan Newman is going to drive it in a couple of races coming up and I'm excited to work with Ryan and have some fun there. Hopefully he enjoys his experience."
TALK ABOUT YOUR OPINION ON THE PROBATION AND WHAT HAPPENED AFTER LAST WEEKEND'S RACE. "I don't really have one. Me and (Casey) Mears are cool. We've been buddies. What happens on the track stays on the track. It's good to be on probation every once in a while I guess."
HAVE YOU TALKED TO CASEY ABOUT IT? "Yeah, me and Casey are real good friends so we definitely wouldn't go the week without having a discussion about it. He's having a better season this year but is still not satisfied and I'm definitely in the same position he is and we're just trying to run better. It's just frustrating. I knew that he had made a mistake because Casey doesn't run over people but I just lost my cool. It happens."
WAS SOME OF THAT YOUR FRUSTRATION COMING OUT? "Well not really. I just hated leading the race and running good and then getting wrecked running 20th. That's all that was."
CAN YOU TELL US HOW SPECIAL IT IS TO WIN THE ALL-STAR RACE? "Winning the All-Star race is really hard because obviously you only get a shot at it once a year and there's so much preparation going into it and it's an exciting race. I think it's a great addition to our season and I'm looking forward to seeing how the format works out this year. I think going 10 laps at the end of the race is an exciting option for the drivers and the fans. I'm really more excited about it this year than I had been in years past. Some of the formats in my opinion were really, really boring. So this is pretty exciting for me."
DOES RUNNING SATURDAY HELP YOU FOR SUNDAY? "Not really. It don't really help you. It might help a rookie but not me."
DO YOU GET TO TALK TO YOUR CREW CHIEF ABOUT WHAT CAR YOU WANT TO USE FO RTHE ALL-STAR RACE? "We normally have an open test there and we would choose that way. Tony (Eury) Jr. builds a certain car for the Budweiser Shootout and he builds a certain car for the Daytona 500 so he'll do the same for the All-Star race because it's different races. The cars need different things and there are different ways to build them to make them go fast. We just need a car to go quick for 10 laps. So we'll have some options to change a few components around that we wouldn't normally do for the longer races and what happens is that car becomes quite a chore to switch over to run a 500 or 600 mile race the next week so they won't typically use the same car in both events. Now a lot of teams may."
HIS THOUGHTS ON LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY. "Well I just love it because it's in our back yard. It's a beautiful facility. It's really large and got great grandstands. They're always trying to improve and make a great experience for the fans. I'm really proud of it as an individual from that area. It's a proud part of the region and it's a place where I enjoyed watching a lot of races as a kid and I've enjoyed running a lot of races there. Everything Humpy (Wheeler) did for the place and everything Bruton (Smith) has done for it and the future looks great for it. They've got a lot of accomplishments to be really proud of at that facility. The way it started out was so interesting and cumbersome. The way they had problems financially and how they kind of rebounded and made it work. You wouldn't have that opportunity today to fail so many years and struggle so many years you wouldn't get that opportunity to recover like they did today. It would be rare to see another story like that."
SHOULD YOU ALL BE ALLOWED TO BUMP EACH OTHER ON THE COOL DOWN LAP, SHOULD THAT EVEN BE A PENALTY? "NASCAR had the same penalties for the same infractions before so they can't really change the way they do the penalties without getting a lot of fuss especially if I'm involved. I don't care. I don't think it's a serious issue. I don't want to put anybody in danger, anybody coming out on the race track you know people walking across the race track or whatever. I don't know enough about Phoenix to have known better to known if that was a safe place to do something like that. Maybe it's best that they continue to penalize people for doing those type of things just for the safety of the spectators and officials and all. Six weeks probation is a good penalty because as a driver you're kind of taught to watch yourself the next six weeks and you get back in the habit of acting more professional on the race track. So it's good to have the penalty but it's good to have the fireworks too. I think they kind of have to go hand in hand at the same time. I wouldn't have done it if my car wasn't tore up, you know what I mean? I don't want to tear up my car if ain't tore up but it was already wrecked. I didn't have a real problem doing it because I knew they were going to have to put a new front clip on it anyway. That fender and everything was going to need to be removed. If I'm NASCAR you deal with it on a case by case scenario and move on. I think they did the right thing this weekend and I think they did the right thing in the past and they'll do the right thing in the future."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW SPECIAL TALLADEGA IS TO YOU GUYS AS DRIVERS? "Well Talladega is a different, unique race track. I've said they should build more short tracks but I wouldn't mind having another one or two of these around. It's great because it's huge and there's such an ability to accommodate so many different people that want different things out of the weekend. The fans in the infield, the fans that are outside of the race track. It's a great, great race to watch. It's a fun race to be in. It does a good job at maintaining excitement in the sport. When we have a lull or you hear people complaining about the action or the level of racing and you never hear it from out of here. We always put on a great show and there's always a lot of drama. It's very dangerous but we've got a safe race car and they get safer every year. So you don't even worry about that hardly anymore. It's a unique place and it's got a great history too. Like I said, if it were up to me we would be running on another track like this somewhere else maybe. This would be the perfect thing to take to Los Angeles. They'd love this."
-credit: gm racing