DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - UPDATE FOLLOWING FIRST HAPPY HOUR SEGMENT PER TEAM REP: Dale Jr. got in the car and ran about 8 laps of practice. His speeds were within a tenth of Martin Truex Jr's best time. He did...
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - UPDATE FOLLOWING FIRST HAPPY HOUR SEGMENT PER TEAM REP:
Dale Jr. got in the car and ran about 8 laps of practice. His speeds were within a tenth of Martin Truex Jr's best time. He did not go out in the second segment.
Junior said he felt comfortable in the seat. He says he has less discomfort sitting behind the wheel then he does in a standing position.
The plan for the Seimens 300 has not changed. Junior will start the race and the team hopes to make the driver switch under the first caution.
There are three permanent changes to the No. 8 Budweiser pit crew:
Jay Guarneri: Rear Tire Changer
Jeff Clark: Gasman
Bill Snyder: Catch Can
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Post Happy Hour comments:
"We've had a tough Saturday. The car isn't exactly where we want it. So we're going to go back to where we had it for the last two times we were here and had victories. We tried to improve our package and unfortunately we didn't get it just right here today. If you look at our past few races, our past few attempts here, and where we're at in points, it's a good time of the year for us right now. We have a lot of success, a great qualifying effort, points on our side, and (we're) past champion of the race so we should wake up Sunday morning with smiles on our faces and go to work.
"Momentum is a weird deal. If you're down, it brings you down. If you're going up, it brings you up. One this about this Lowe's team is that regardless of which way the momentum swings week-to-week, we try to put a positive spin on it and bring it back up. If you look back, we crashed at Rockingham and went to Vegas and were one of the best cars. And then we've been able to keep consistent runs from there on out. It's a very unique situation I have with this team and I'm very proud of everybody and all the hard work they put in."
IS THIS A GOOD TIME FOR NASCAR TO ALLOW SUBSTITUTE DRIVERS IN INJURY SITUATIONS WHEN IT COMES TO THE NEW POINT SYSTEM? "We're seeing a benefit of the new points system where you can have a driver start the race and get out and not play as big of a role. I think the new point system favors the idea of a substitute driver and allows drivers that are competing for points to sit out a race or two. Luckily Junior isn't hurt to where he can't get in the car and drive it. But the system is forgiving now where every point doesn't count. If they weren't able to find as good a replacement driver as Martin Truex Jr, they could have put a lesser driver in the car and it still wouldn't affect them as badly."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We struggled yesterday and I was a little disappointed with that. It certainly will make for a lot of work for tomorrow's race. But the car is much better today and I'm real happy with the race conditions.
"I feel optimistic about being able to work my way up through the field. I'm happy with the pit stall we got on pit road. We're just going to need that total team effort to work our way through there."
ON THE NEW TIRE "I tested it last year and we tried the tire out - or one similar to it - and I was a big fan of it. We're going to have to wait and see. So far, I'm liking what I see. I think it should make for a good race tomorrow."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT BEING TRAPPED IN A FIRE? "It's something that you prepare for but you hope you're never in. I think it's probably one of the scariest things you can go through in a race car. I feel like we're in pretty good shape as far as safety goes on fires. It's always a work in progress on all types of safety measures. We learn all the time and we try to get better all the time."
DON'T YOU GET HOT IN THE RACE CAR WEARING ALL THOSE FIRE-RETARDANT UNDERGARMENTS? "I do. I always have. I think I just have gotten used to it from my Sprint Car days. Sprint Cars require a three-layer suit and underwear and a head sock and everything. But you're outside and you have air to cool you down. These cars are so hot and that's why we work so hard on cooling my cars down because I do wear the underwear. It's very important to have it on. With DuPont being a manufacturer of Nomex, I've learned a lot about it and what it really takes to be safer and have those extra seconds in a fire. Fireproof underwear is a big part of that. And that's why I'm constantly working harder to make my feet and my helmet and everything cooler.
"These cars are very claustrophobic. There is no air that moves around in these cars. On a hot day here in New Hampshire, there is zero air getting inside the car. It's really more that you feel suffocated. That's why these helmet companies have worked hard for us to get air inside the helmets. We've worked hard on the carbon fiber seat to keep me cool. Until we can get them cooler, I don't think you'll see many guys wearing them (but) I do wear a skirt around the outside of my helmet and I feel like that's better than not wearing anything at all."