DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 3rd: TAKE US THROUGH YOUR LAP AND WHY DO YOU THINK THE SPEEDS HAVE JUMPED TLIKE HEY HAVE?. "I think a lot of people have learned a little bit about this place. This is our ...
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 3rd:
TAKE US THROUGH YOUR LAP AND WHY DO YOU THINK THE SPEEDS HAVE JUMPED TLIKE HEY HAVE?.
"I think a lot of people have learned a little bit about this place. This is our third time here. The temperatures are definitely a little cooler, the track was cooler. That's the acceleration of technology, and everybody has a learning curve and everything coming into play. My car was pretty good in practice. We were trying to figure out among the three sets of tires which was the best to qualify on. We made a few changes, tried some shocks that really helped the car. For some reason, we seemed to pick up quite a bit on our qualifying run. We did that last year too, so I had a lot of confidence in the car. It did what I wanted it to do. I made a few technical errors with my entry into Turn 3, but I don't know how much difference that would have made. Probably not enough to beat Jimmie or Michael, but I was real happy with the lap."
COMMENT ON THE RECENT NASCAR RULES CHANGES.
"I was really against it and kind of still feel like it needs a whole lot of work. I feel that NASCAR is in the right in trying to make a difference and trying to change a certain situation or fix a problem. What I think about most of the time is when they started doing the pit road speed and opening the pits for even- and odd-numbered cars and whatnot. It was a big cluster when they started that. They finally figured out how to get that right, fix the problem and get it to where the competitors could understand it. But at first, it was really ridiculous when they started doing that. I think that was in the early '90s. I feel like this is kind of the same situation. They're trying to fix a problem, which I understand needs some attention. But I feel like what we have now is not going to be the way things will probably be. I hope they fix a few things. I don't really agree with letting a guy get his lap back. I benefited from it last week. I took total advantage of that opportunity. It just doesn't seem right to the rest of the guys out there racing to see a guy get a free ride back into the mix that he didn't necessarily earn. It's kind of tough, but you don't have the opportunity for the leader to give you your lap back, so rarely will you be good enough to pass the leader under green to get it back on your own. So it's kind of a catch-22 for everybody, for NASCAR, the drivers. The way it is, I think NASCAR agrees it's not a finished product, it's not a finished situation. They'll continue to mix it up and tweak it and try to make it better, try to make it more understandable, more comprehendable and tolerable and we'll work it all out."
MATT KENSETH HAD MORE PROBLEMS TODAY. WOULD YOU HAVE LIKED TO HAVE SEEN HIM HAVE THIS TROUBLE SOONER IN THE YEAR?
"Well, I don't like to see Matt go sliding into the wall, whether it was at the first of the year or now. It was a fortunate opportunity for us to gain some points on him last week, unfortunate for him and a couple of his teammates. But we're going to need a lot more of the same thing to be able to gain on him in the points, and numerically, we're still in the mix. But we don't sit there every week and wait for Matt to blow up or smash into the wall. We run our race and try to beat the guys that we're out there racing with and gain as many points on whoever it may be. You've got Jimmie and the 29 car and a couple of other guys up there that we're racing for point positions and they all pay pretty good themselves. You have to think about all those things too."
HOW DIFFICULT IS IT FOR A DRIVER TO GET ON A HOT STREAK?
"There's like a little group. Ryan Newman gets on a hot streak and stays on it for a while. Jeff, he kind of runs good. Guys like Jimmie and Ryan get on a streak and hit a little something, and it's hard to catch them after that. But I like it because it makes us work harder, makes us better. It's fortunate for most of us that Ryan had such bad luck at the start of the year or this would be a two-man race for the championship. But it's good to see him and his team run so good. It makes everybody run harder and makes everybody run better."
DID YOU SEE ANYONE THIS WEEK FOR THE CONCUSSION?
"No, I didn't see anybody this week. Everything seems to be fine. I went and did my own thing. I didn't have any problems."