DALE EARNHARDT JR. , NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: (WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH YOUR FRONT LEFT TIRE?) "They just kept going flat. You'll have to talk to Pete and those guys about what they think the initial cause was, but the car was ...
DALE EARNHARDT JR. , NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
(WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH YOUR FRONT LEFT TIRE?)
"They just kept going flat. You'll have to talk to Pete and those guys about what they think the initial cause was, but the car was handling great. I made a big, big mistake in qualifying that caused us a good starting spot. We had a great car and we were going to work ourselves up there. I thought we had a top 10 car at the start of that race and we got it even better. It depends, I mean, we just had some problems.
"I was really proud of the way the car drove. The car was driving pretty good. And even after we fixed all the problems and didn't have any more flats, it was still driving alright. I just didn't want to get up there jerky and racing those guys that were on the lead lap. You know, those tires going flat--that was weird.
"We didn't change anything and we didn't have any problems any more. We didn't change. We stayed at the air pressures--everything was the same. They just quit, blowing out.
(IS THERE ANY EXPLANATION FOR THE TIRES?)
"I don't know. I just know the outside edge was 300 degrees on the corner and that makes it come apart fast. We didn't see that at all during practice."
(CAN YOU COMMENT ON THE RACING? KEVIN HARVICK SAID IT WAS NOT EXCITING)
"I agree with Kevin. Of course I would, you know, I was in the back. You know, we had a good car. I mean I got a fast ass pit crew and those guys get me a couple of spots on pit road about every time. They were doing that for Michael, you know, for years. So, I knew we were going to get in the top 10 and have a good finish. That second run we were coming up there pretty good and I was just taking my time and the car was still staying with me. On long runs they were backing up fast to us. So, it was looking like it was going to be a pretty good day. I wanted to get a good run, you know, shut everybody up because everybody says we've been having a hell of a time until we get a top 5 or something like that, you know."
(HOW DID THE CAR FEEL OVERALL?)
Really, really good.
(EVEN WITH THE NEW BALANCE ON THE CAR?)
"Everybody is chasing their cars out there. No matter what they do with the spoilers, a guy is going to drive away from everybody. You know, you're going to have guys that are passing and guys that win races. Aside from them bringing the race cars to us, it's going to be hard to get an IROC-type of feel going on and a bunch of racing like that."
(COULD YOU RUN SIDE-BY-SIDE WITH PEOPLE AND FEEL COMFORTABLE DOING IT?)
"No, not with that spoiler. I mean, who could? Would you think you could? I don't think that makes any sense to take that off and say it's going to make it better running side-by-side, obviously. Somebody's got to wake up here, you know what I mean? Somebody's got to--the lightbulb's got to come on. They've got to figure this out. Taking the spoiler off it is going to make it more difficult to drive. The softer tires give us more grip, so it hauls ass and then it falls off--that's okay. You know, that's not a bad deal. We need some more downforce."
(DO YOU EXPECT SOMETHING SIMILAR TO THIS IN LAS VEGAS?)
"Yeah. Pretty much everywhere except for Martinsville and that there. But everywhere."
(HOW MUCH OF THE SPOILER DO YOU NEED BACK?)
"I'd like to get an inch back. What's wrong with that? Give me an inch more spoiler and give me some more front downforce. Give us all that, you know, give us everything. Then we'll have a hell of a race, you know what I mean? Think about what it would be like if we all had good downforce, could drive our cars really good, because they don't drive good. They drive like they were built 20 years ago--because of the spoiler that we got on there. They don't turn, they don't grip in the back too good. I don't want to complain too much because I got my car driving pretty good, comparable to everybody else, you know what I mean? Everybody was just all over the place off the corner, chasing the back, spinning the tires. But, I think if they give us a lot of downforce, you know, we could race a lot closer and charge the corner, get on the outside of guys. When you don't have that spoiler on there, if you get to the outside and it shows the nose on that air, shoot man, it just spins out."
(WHAT THEY WERE TRYING TO DO IS PUT MORE OF THE DRIVER AND CREW CHIEF. DO YOU FEEL THAT HAS HAPPENED?)
"Yeah, I mean we're working harder to figure it out. If that's what they wanted, yeah. It's kind of like Algebra II or geometry, you know what I mean? Geometry is a little bit harder and that's what we've got now. I was really happy with the way my car drove. It was really tough with no practice. I like the impound deal because it was a lot less work but I would have liked to have got a couple of laps after qualifying. You know, it's kind of like a shot in the dark, I felt, because I screwed up really big in qualifying. That cost us a really good lap. We had about a 20th place car, I thought, from qualifying. And then when the race started I thought it was a 15th place car and then some guys would fall out and I'd get a top 10, which is better than I've been running here in the past."
(IS HAVING YOUR GUYS OUT HERE ALL MORNING ON SUNDAY A WASTE OF TIME SINCE THEY CAN'T WORK ON THE CARS?)
"It sounds like one to me, but who am I, you know?"
(YOU DON'T WAKE UP UNTIL NOON ANYWAY, SO WHAT DOES IT MATTER?)
"Yeah! I mean if they want to come hang at the bus, they are welcome. We can all hang at the bus. It would be hard not to get into a case of beer, though, at that point. But, you know, they're making all these changes and change is good and everybody-- The thing about us and you all, we're all going to pick and grind at everything they do. Actually, it's a lot less work and if the guys are going to complain--Hell, the less they've got to do, the less anybody has to do in life the better they like it, you know what I mean? It's probably--it's nice and it's going to save money, regardless of what people say and it doesn't as much money when you don't have racing on the track and that much changing and all that.
"That's smart, but I'm not sure. Speedway tracks we should do it. Maybe we should do it more at the short tracks and mile tracks. But these tracks here, you know, you need a little bit more. Or you would like to have more understanding about your car in race trim after qualifying. Maybe they should do one hour and then qualifying and then one hour. That would be awesome, you know what I mean?"
(CAN WE EXPECT MORE OF THE SAME AT LAS VEGAS?)
"I hope I run a little bit better. And I hope I don't have any problems with my tires and get us a good finish."
(IS IT GOING TO BE THIS TYPE OF STRUNG OUT FIELD?)
"Yeah. It's what you got with this package. It's what you got. They want to get them bunched up. Look at what we do at the plate tracks to get them bunched up."
PETE RONDEAU , CREW CHIEF, NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
(WHAT HAPPENED WITH JUNIOR'S LEFT FRONT TIRE?)
"We're not really sure. At first we thought something was cutting it down. It might have been camber-related. We'll take it back and look at it and look at the information we get."
(JUNIOR SAYS THE LEFT FRONT WAS 300 DEGREES)
"It wasn't quite that hot, just on one side. It wasn't quite that hot, but just one edge of it. And we're not sure if we had a rub at the same time or what."