DALE EARNHARDT, JR. , NO. 8 BUDWEISER MONTE CARLO SS PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT: Q. Dale, great run there. You were 8th with 40 to go and then made a real strong run at the end. Talk about that DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: We had about the same...
DALE EARNHARDT, JR. , NO. 8 BUDWEISER MONTE CARLO SS PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
Q. Dale, great run there. You were 8th with 40 to go and then made a real strong run at the end. Talk about that
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: We had about the same scenario as Mark (Martin), real good on long runs. I was just hoping the caution didn't come out there at the end so we could hold our position. I didn't think we had anything for the two guys in front of us.
We had a hard day; we had got a flat tire and got the lucky dog and came back. With 100 laps to go we were outside the top 30, so I was happy to get all the way back up to 3rd. It was a real good car to drive today and I was real proud of my team for working hard on it and staying after it. Tony (Eury) Jr. called a good race on the pit box with the changes they made.
It was a tough day, a long day, but good finish for us, just real ?? we like to run good here, so it was a good run.
Q. Dale, you came into the season with a lot of optimism. Do you feel like your results so far have backed up what you thought you had, and do you think six wins before the Chase is that still kind of a possibility
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: Yeah, I mean, anything is possible. The cars have been driving great this year compared to last year, obviously last year. But compared to '04 when we had such a great season, the cars are driving better. I had a top 15 run going to Vegas before I sped on pit road there, 11 places in California, just some big improvements. We were able to maintain kind of our consistency in the top 5s here in Atlanta, and I just think we're going to be fine.
It's a good start for the season. I'd have liked to have that Vegas finish if we could have got it. But it's a great start to the season for us, and I think we can just ?? I mean, my cars are way better, my people are better, my guys are better, the attitudes are better. Everything about it is just better. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season.
Q. We've got some guys who are digging themselves some holes a little bit. Is it too early to get worried about points?
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: Somebody told me on pit road at this race last year and the year before, eight guys in the top?10 that are in it right now were still there at the Chase. You've got to ?? you can come back. I mean, I've had some crappy starts to some seasons and come back and finished in the top 5. Mark (Martin) probably knows better than I do about all the history and stuff.
You can still do it. I mean, you've got some strong teams out there.
Q. The tire wear today was sort of reminiscent of a Rockingham or a Darlington in that slower cars would come out of the pits and were obviously faster past the leaders. I'm assuming that you guys think that's a really good thing?
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: Old tracks get wore out, it's getting slick, but it's still fun to drive.
I never really enjoyed going around Rockingham or Darlington, they were a little too wore out for my taste. But this place, I wouldn't consider a paving job for several more years. It's really starting to come into its own. It's got some great characteristics and it puts on a great show. There's a big difference when you put tires on, but that's the way it should be.
Q. Could you comment on your teammate Paul Menard's top 10 finish?
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: Yeah, I was real happy about that. Paul did a great job. It's hard to remember, he has quite a bit of racing experience prior to running stock cars, and he's just a real professional on the racetrack. I've been around him and watched him run several races. He doesn't make any mistakes, he doesn't put other people in jeopardy, or himself for that matter, just runs smooth and gets what he can out of the car. He drives the car really good when it handles well.
I'm just real proud of him. He's a cool guy, and the more I get to know him, the more I like him, and the more I'm proud to have him as a teammate.
Q. Junior, in a way, your finish, it was kind of at the cost of Robby because of the pass through penalty. Do you feel for a guy like that? He had a great run, he had a DEI motor in there, then he finishes 28th?
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: My race was a cost to Robby?
Q. Because he was running 3rd and then because of the penalty ??
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: I was happy to finish in the top?10, regardless. Obviously 3rd is a great ?? I love coming in here and talking to you guys after a race.
But Robby had a good run. I think he had a right front tire he thought was going down. I'm not exactly sure what the issue was, if he had a motor problem or whatever. He had an awesome car, and I'm sure that was pointed out throughout the telecast. He had a great run. He's been doing great this year. That team is starting to get some speed and some momentum. I'm not surprised myself talking to him and knowing how he runs his company.