Bristol II: Earnhardt Jr - Friday media visit

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 8 Impala SS, met with media members Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed the new Bristol surface, tomorrow night's race and resolution to not running No. 8 in 2008 and beyond. Select quotes from driver interview ON ...

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 8 Impala SS, met with media members Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed the new Bristol surface, tomorrow night's race and resolution to not running No. 8 in 2008 and beyond.

Select quotes from driver interview

ON CHANGES TO BRISTOL: "It is different. I think it is going to be a lot of fun. It is a lot wider. I would rather they had asphalted it, because I think we could get to the top a little better, but I am sure we will be able to work the top groove. It looked like everybody in the Truck race was pretty happy. All the drivers said good things. I expect us to be the same. Tires are a little hard but that was just a precaution I believe with the new surface. If they get us a little softer tire the next trip here, it will be a lot more fun.

"I think the bottom will get a lot of rubber on it and you will see guys move up just like you do at a bunch of race tracks."

ON STRATEGY FOR BRISTOL RACE: "I have to keep myself excited. Running conservatively sounds boring. It is Bristol, it is a new track, I will be looking all over this thing trying to find a groove, be searching all over the place trying to find where the car is fast. There is a lot of room. It is a lot wider. So I am excited, I am looking forward to the race and having some fun. Running real real hard and seeing what happens."

ON FEELING BAD FOR FANS OVER SITUATION OF NOT BEING ABLE TO TAKE NO. 8 TO NEW TEAM FOR 2008 AT AND BEYOND: "I feel pretty bad. There isn't much I can do about it. It was pretty much out of my control. I do want to say while I have a couple of media members here that it is about time to give Teresa a break. She makes the decision on the number because she owns it. And as much as I am disappointed and frustrated over the fact that I don't get to keep driving the No. 8, the stuff I read that I read on Internet and the stuff that I am hearing that is going on, the remarks about her, directed toward her, I don't think anybody deserves that. If people just take a step back and look, she hasn't done anything intentionally that is detrimental to me. I have a good future, I have a good opportunity in my hands, she is doing what she needs to do, what she feels like she needs to do. I think everybody needs to lay off a little bit because she was married to my Daddy and I know he wouldn't be too happy about it what is going on and what is being said about her. It bothers me a little bit."

ON WHETHER THIS WILL DIE DOWN ONCE NEW NUMBER AND SPONSOR ARE ANNOUNCED FOR NEXT SEASON: "Well, probably not but, I think they will get excited about what we are going to do. We have some cool stuff in the works. I am excited about it. I know my fans will enjoy it. I wish I could be in the No. 8 and I don't think that is something that goes away or I get used to. When I look at the possibilities I am looking at, I like them a lot and are pretty cool. I think I can make an identity with them. When we are ready to make those announcements, we will make them. I shouldn't be too long until we do that."

ON NEED TO HAVE DEI BE STRONGER THAN EVER: "NASCAR needs Dale Earnhardt, Inc. to be healthy and to be around. I never thought it would fall apart. I think the company will be active and productive. I always thought that. It has never crossed my mind nor have I ever pondered what if DEI doesn't make it out because it will. It is going to be fine. I am not worried about DEI's future. Because I think it is right.

"I hate to see somebody be crucified on the Internet and whatnot like Teresa has. She has a daughter that goes to school, that has friends. She has to put up with that stuff. It is just hard-core man. People have just been really really rude and really over the line, way over the line, on some of the things that have been said. I know Teresa doesn't know half of it because won't read it and she won't put up with it. If anybody in their right mind knew that was going on, they wouldn't be around it and deal with it.

"It still gets back to Taylor, maybe it does, I don't know, but nobody deserves that and it just isn't fair.

"I didn't like how it was understood between me and Teresa. We obviously didn't have a good line of communication. We obviously don't understand each other. We obviously don't know much about each other. You know. She underestimates my determination and my willingness to give it all I have got and obviously I probably know that little about her and her determination.

"But it doesn't matter, I am going to do something different. I want the best for DEI - simply put. If there is opportunities for me to help them, or there are programs that they want to involve me in that are interesting and fun for me, I have interest there. I am wide open to doing those things because they will make sense.

"The relationship that I have with Teresa as an owner I didn't like and I didn't enjoy and didn't want any more. That was the only single thing that has made all of this what it is today and that is one thing that I will avoid in the future when working with DEI."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt