Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Impala SS, met with members of the media at New Hampshire International Speedway and discussed what he wants to accomplish the next 10 races, Martin Truex, Jr., drivers not having a teammate in the Chase, his...
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Impala SS, met with members of the media at New Hampshire International Speedway and discussed what he wants to accomplish the next 10 races, Martin Truex, Jr., drivers not having a teammate in the Chase, his upcoming announcement and being a public figure.
ON COMPETING AT NEW HAMPSHIRE: "I'm just excited to obviously be at New Hampshire. This is a track where every time we show up we seem to run really well and I think we're getting closer and closer to having an opportunity at victory. We came here with the COT earlier this year and led a lot of laps and finished fourth I believe. We've led a lot of laps here in the past and (I'm) looking forward to trying to do that all day Sunday."
OTHER THAN WINNING RACES WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH IN THESE FINAL 10 EVENTS WITH DEI? "Well I think we would like to just continue running well and in the top five every week and showing up each week and running well. That's really all I enjoy doing behind the wheel. That satisfies me just being able to get my car in the top five and challenge the leaders and stuff like that. If I can do that every week that's fun for me and that's all I ask for. The motors are really good power wise and hopefully we'll have no more failures the rest of the year. We threw a belt last week and we've thrown a belt before and we just need to figure out how that's happening and I think those guys are trying to do that. I want to help Martin however I can. If I can do anything specific to help Martin and his race for the championship I'd like to be able to do that, however that may be. Whatever he needs, I don't know."
ON MARTIN TRUEX, JR. BECOMING THE FACE OF DEI AND WHAT HE HAS SEEN CHANGE IN HIM AND HOW HIS RELATIONSHIP HAS CHANGED WITH HIM: "We're still pretty good friends. I expect to continue to be friends regardless of who's in charge as far as drivers go at DEI. Martin's going to be that guy next year. He hasn't really changed his way of how he does his job or his mentality or his work ethic. He's always serious about racing and always been that way. His team, fortunately for DEI, started to get really competitive through the middle part of the year and has obviously worked their way into the Chase which is exactly what that company kind of needs to give it the confidence to be able to be competitive in the future. I've never bow hunted before and I'm going to go in a couple weeks with Martin to Oklahoma. So I think the friendship and the bond we have will continue on after the working relationship at DEI is over with. But he's definitely going be the leader of that program as far as the drivers go and I think he'll do well with that. I think that that's really in a sense what he's been waiting for and what he needs to continue to grow as a driver and get more confidence and become a champion contender. He needs to be a leader of a race team because he's that talented behind the wheel."
WAS MARTIN THRUST INTO IT WHEN YOU LEFT OR DO YOU THINK HE WAS READY FOR IT? "There's no tangible throne so there's no real way to.there doesn't even have to be a leader if nobody wants to. It's really by choice and I think he wanted it and when we made the decision to leave, he went out there and won at Dover and sort of stepped up to the plate and became that guy. I think that he wants to be that guy. I think he really wants to because he's raced underneath me for a couple years now and he answers all the questions about Dale Jr. and this, that and the other and he does it with patience. I would have a hard time putting up with it all the time. I think it's something that he's really looking forward to, really getting out from behind that being at the forefront of the company."
DOES IT MAKE A DIFFERENCE BEING A DRIVER COMPETING IN THE CHASE WITHOUT HAVING A TEAMMATE IN THE CHASE? "I don't think so. I think it actually is a better situation because the teammates can get really competitive on the race track. I don't think that that gives them any advantage but even if I'm in the Chase or not I can help my teammate the same way that they might help each other, the other teammates that are in the Chase. I don't think it makes a difference but we're a good team and we run well. We run in the top five. Martin's got that data to look at and use if needed and that's really what's helped him and me this year is that we've both been competitive and that's sort of helped both teams when we needed help, needed speed and needed some handling issues fixed. We've been able to lean on each other pretty good because each of us is showing up at each track and running really well. He'll have that and that's going to help him a lot."
CAN YOU GIVE US ANY HINTS ABOUT YOUR ANNOUNCEMENT WEDNESDAY AND NARROW DOWN THE LIST OF NUMBERS? "No. I've done about as good as I can do about narrowing it down and what not. It's going to be a lot of fun to really see the reaction of the fans and I hope that they really enjoy what we're going to do and we've been having a lot of fun with design and with the approach and sort of forming what our identity is going to be on the race track and off the race track. It's going to be lots and lots of work.the hardest part is when you're working with anyone new whether they're a sponsor, whether they're a PR person named Mike Davis or whatever, trying to hone them into how you want them to work and how you see yourself as an individual. The hardest part is not changing anything you do personally about your personality or your mannerisms or anything and trying to get them to understand that that's who you are. That's how you stay comfortable and you stay grounded. Our new partners are very aware of that, that we want to continue with our personality and we don't really try to re invent the wheel or try to propose this new attitude or anything on the fan base. I just want to keep doing my job the same way I've been doing it and I want to keep being the same person I've been all this time and they're pretty comfortable with that."
ON WHAT HE HAS LEARNED ABOUT MAKING A COMMENT AND THAT BECOMES THE BASIS FOR SOMETHING BEING FAR BEYOND WHAT HE SAYS AND HAVING TO SAY THAT'S NOT WHAT HE MEANT: "Yeah, for example after the Richmond race I said that the motors always seem to fall apart when they put them in my car and that sort of sparked all the conspiracy of someone or somehow I was being put in that situation to where my motor was going to blow on that exact lap or whatever. It's just an off the cuff comment, just trying to make light of the situation, which was very disappointing at the time. That's the unfortunate part about where we are now is that yeah those comments sort of get taken too seriously and I don't know when everybody started taking me so seriously but it's not a very comfortable situation to be in (laughs) I'll tell you that."
ON MARTIN'S PERSONALITY: "I think that we're similar in our personalities and being quiet and stuff. I told Martin when he went to New York to really try to have a really good attitude about it. He would do the same thing I would do 'Man, I got to get up at six. Got to be downstairs at the hotel at six thirty. Got to do Good Morning America and all that stuff and go on Letterman and all that.' It's fun when you're finished and you look back on it. But you look back and you go 'Man that was cool I was on Letterman.' But building up to it, either you're so nervous that you talk yourself into not enjoying it or you really just don't like doing those type of things. But I told Martin try to really enjoy it. He's worked so hard to get there. You look at all the photo albums and pictures of him coming up in go-karts and running his modifieds and running the Busch East or what was the Busch North Series? When you see where he is now and how hard he's worked to get there. I think that he sees where he wants to be and sees where he wants to get to and he wants to win a championship and he wants to win races and that's all that matters and I feel like he knows how talented he is and he knows that he's the caliber of driver that needs to be the A driver or the number one driver in the lineup. He's the kind of guy that's getting there and I think that this is the perfect opportunity for him and I think that he sees that it's a good opportunity. Hopefully he handles that with respect and makes the right choices and does the right things and says the right things over the next couple years. He can totally take on that role man and really get that whole company believing in him and behind him and listening to him. He can start really forming and steering that company in decisions it makes whether it be change in manufacturers and huge decisions like that or small decisions as small as a shock guy on a different team or on the 15 car or whatever. Martin can start really start steering those decisions to make the company work and look and feel how he wants."
DO YOU THINK MARTIN HAS THE INTANGIBLES IN HIS GUT TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR OR IN THE FUTURE? "Well I pick Martin to win anytime anybody asks me. I think Martin's team is competitive enough. From what I'm seeing from the competition and I think the way Martin runs and his abilities and how competitive his team has become over the year, I think that he has the chance. He has as good and probably a better chance than he even believes he has so really it comes down trying to minimize your mistakes and I've learned that the hard way a couple times. You can't have any part failures and you got to minimize the mistakes that you make as a driver. The team will do their job and the cars will be competitive for Martin so he's got a good shot. He's my pick to win it."
-credit: gm racing