DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - (Qualified 2nd): "It was a great run for us. I'm real happy with the team and real proud of the guys. There was a lot of work in practice to get the car comfortable. It was a great lap.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - (Qualified 2nd):
"It was a great run for us. I'm real happy with the team and real proud of the guys. There was a lot of work in practice to get the car comfortable. It was a great lap. It's frustrating to see a lap get beat because it was such a great lap compared to most people's. But they've done a great job the last half of the season. He's a worthy competitor (Kurt Busch, pole winner) when it comes to qualifying here lately. It's a lot better than we've run here in the past and the lap was real good. It was real comfortable down in (turns) one and two and a little bit free through (turns) three and four. Hopefully we'll get a good run on Sunday. We're doing pretty good the last half of the year."
HOW IMPORTANT IS THE POLE?
"Poles are good; but more so for the team. I've already got my pole this year. The only reason it's important to me is so that we can be in the Bud Shootout. So, once you get one, you're pretty content. But it does a lot for the team."
WHILE ALWAYS TRYING TO IMPROVE AND MOVE UP, WHAT RUNG ARE YOU ON IN THE LADDER?
"We've had a great second-half of the year. The first half wasn't too bad either, but we've gotten more top fives and more top 10's than we did last year. I feel like we're a great team and we're where we need to be. You can walk up and down the garage and see where each team can improve here and there.
"Our flat track program, specifically, has gotten a lot better since we started. We came here to a lot of these places like Homestead and New Hampshire and really were not competitive at all. This year, we've been very competitive. We've been competitive at Bristol and Martinsville. I'm glad to see improvement and I've seen quite a bit of it. Hopefully, we can be real consistent next year like we have the last half of this season and do what we can in the points.
"When it's your year, it's your year. I think it comes down to having some luck and having all things going your way. We've got new bodies for next year to fool with. They may throw us a curve ball; they may not. A lot of it just falls down to whether all the pieces of the puzzle fall together. Hopefully that'll happen for us next year."
HOW DO YOU RACE TONY STEWART AND MARK MARTIN IN THIS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS RACE?
"I don't know. If Tony Stewart of Mark Martin comes around me and they're faster - I don't care what race it is - you just kind of get out of the way. They do the same for you. I try to give all those guys as much room as I can. But when it comes down to the end of the race, you try to win."
ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO SORT OF FADING INTO THE BACKGROUND FOR A LITTLE WHILE DURING THE BREAK?
"I'm looking forward to the off-season just the same as anybody. I can't wait to spend some time with the family during Christmas and get back to my friends for New Years and all that. I'm really looking forward to see what these new bodies are going to do for us and get it all rolling at the speedway tests and stuff like that. It'll be over and done before you know it. The off-season doesn't last too long."