Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Monte Carlo SS, met with members of the media and discussed his sponsor relationship with Budweiser, racing at Chicagoland Speedway, what he expects his relationship to be like with Jeff Gordon when he joins...
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Monte Carlo SS, met with members of the media and discussed his sponsor relationship with Budweiser, racing at Chicagoland Speedway, what he expects his relationship to be like with Jeff Gordon when he joins HMS in '08, how teammates work together, the timeline for when his new sponsorship will be announced, new sponsor demands, his desire to keep the No. 8 on his car, his hopes for the type of driver who will replace him at DEI, his expectations as an owner of his Busch driver Brad Keselowski and possibly putting Andy Pilgrim in the car on road courses.
Select quotes from driver interview:
ON HIS SPONSORSHIP WITH BUDWEISER COMING TO A CLOSE AT THE END OF THE 2007 SEASON: "It would be cool if they did stay at DEI, but wherever they decide to go, will be the right choice for them. They always make the right decision."
"I've really enjoyed my relationship with Budweiser and things like that, that you're comfortable with and that you know and you're familiar with and things you want to keep and continue to enjoy. I felt like we've only accomplished have of what we could do together. So that part of it is kind of unfortunate and sure, I would have loved to continue working with Bud, but under the circumstances, that's not a possibility. We'll have to change our frame of mind and see what the opportunities are for our primary sponsors next year. And those should be in line with what I like and what I enjoy. And I'm excited to put that together and see what it looks like, you know."
WILL YOU STILL HAVE A PERSONAL SERVICES CONTRACT WITH THEM? "My association will be over at the end of '07. Budweiser and we came to an agreement on that. So I think that will help us and them. But as far as our future, our future's apart. But you don't have to pay me to drink the beer. It's good beer and I'll always drink it. And I enjoy it. That's part of my life. The relationship I had with Budweiser and the partnership we've had for all these years is a big huge chunk of my life and it'll always be very memorable to me. And they'll always be a huge part of that and that success that I've had and the races that we've won. And when I look back on it in 20 years from now, it'll be a real positive thing for me."
DOES THE BUDWEISER DEAL AFFECT WHAT YOUR CAR NUMBER WILL BE? DO YOU STILL WANT TO BE NO. 8? "I would still like to be No. 8, but that's between the owners and obviously NASCAR. I don't have any influence, I reckon."
ON RACING AT CHICAGOLAND SPEEDWAY: "I enjoy it. This track is starting to age really well. The shade of the asphalt has changed quite a bit. The track is going to really come in with a second and third groove during the race, just like it did last year. Those are fun race tracks. And I look forward to it. I really do. It's a fun track."
HOW DO YOU EXPECT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH JEFF GORDON TO GO NEXT YEAR? "I think we'll be fierce competitors on the track. I think we'll race each other like we do now. We like to beat each other. I like to outrun Jeff any chance I can. I think he feels the same way about me just because of the fan base and the differences between the two. But we'll be teammates and we'll be in team meetings together. We'll be doing things like that where we'll be essentially working toward the same goal. But when we get out on the race track; when we pull out of the garage and out on pit road and get ready for practices and things like that, that'll still be a high level of competition between me and him. I think that has to remain. That's can't go away. I don't want it to go away. But I like the rivalry him and my dad had and I'd like to continue that."
-credit: gm racing