DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: ON IF HE IS SATISFIED WITH HIS POSITION "I am satisfied. We have never really qualified better than 15th here on qualifying day, so for me, it was a fantastic lap. I didn't expect to...
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
ON IF HE IS SATISFIED WITH HIS POSITION "I am satisfied. We have never really qualified better than 15th here on qualifying day, so for me, it was a fantastic lap. I didn't expect to beat Michael, much less by that margin. It was kind of bittersweet to lose the pole, but in a way, we have so much to be proud of because we've improved so much. We've got a locked in position for the start of the race and our teammate Michael is in the 125s. So at this point, for me, I think he's my toughest competition. It's going to be fun to race in the 125 with him."
ON THE CHEVROLET'S DOMINANCE IN QUALIFYING "I've never really understood, nor felt like I knew enough, to comment on the manufacturer's battles or disagreements. I think the way you bridge the gap is hard work and who puts in the most effort. The guys that are complaining should be over there working on their race cars. I guarantee you if we build a Ford, a Pontiac, we can make it run just as fast as we make our Chevrolets run. It makes me angry that sometimes we get a disadvantage because we work harder. Our confidence is based on our effort. When we go out there and do something good or build a good race car that comes down here and tests fast or whatever, we get mandated for it. It's hard to understand and hard to swallow."
WERE THE SPEEDS WHAT YOU EXPECTED TODAY? "I didn't know what to expect, to be honest with you. Sometimes when you wash the track off with rain, you get a little quicker lap time. I know that as qualifying goes on, that can change or vary from start to finish. Also the wind, the weather pattern, the storm and everything and the cloud cover had been gone, so how was the wind going to change as that was happening.
"Would there be a headwind at the beginning of practice down the back straightaway or a tailwind and would that swap and be the opposite for the end of qualifying? You never know what you are going to be dealt with. I think that when me and Jeff (Green) went out, that was probably the most optimum conditions because we were so much faster than everyone else. We got some mixture of tailwind down the back straightaway, but it's hard to say because it's something you can't measure. Those are just fast laps. We weren't as good as Michael and didn't expect to beat Michael and we did, so I have to give my guys some credit because that's three-tenths that you are talking about."
COMMENT ON THE RCR SUCCESS "My father had a big impact on their success with restrictor plate programs to date. I think that his efforts and his success is still felt around there and around the shop and I they probably put a prominent effort towards the restrictor plate program. They take a lot of pride in their cars. Bobby Hutchins and the guys over at RCR are very up front and forward about how proud and content they are with their success and ability to run well at restrictor plate tracks. It doesn't surprise me. Richard's cars qualified well here last year and the year before that. I was not really surprised to see him do that well because they normally do."
ON CARRYING ON DALE EARNHARDT'S LEGACY AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY...HAS RCR BEEN FORGOTTEN? "He won't just out of respect. Similar to my situation, being drivers we're not as big as part of the equation as we are at other racetracks. A lot of the credit goes to who puts the race cars together, who builds the motors and how the combination of them run. Similarities between RCR and DEI is that we take a lot of pride in our restrictor-plate programs, and Richard always has and they've always ran well at them and always had a lot of success there and they continue to today. It's no different than us. They don't have the same track record, but still again, they're always up front in qualifying and they're always up front in the race."
DOES IT MAKE IT EASIER TO GET KNOCKED OFF THE POLE BY YOUR FATHER'S FORMER TEAMMATE AND A FORMER BUSCH SERIES RIVAL? "I never really battled with Jeff that much, but he drove for my father for a year or so and I know him kind of well. It's definitely easier. It's never fun getting outrun. I didn't expect to do as well as we did. It was a surprise. It was kind of a situation where you didn't get too carried away because you could've gotten beat like we did right after that. I'm very proud for Jeff and how far he's come. He's put a lot of effort into all these years to get to where he is today and he's really worked hard for everything he has."