Martinsville: B. Labonte, Earnhardt Jr press conference


BOBBY LABONTE , #18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (Finished 2nd, started 23rd inside row 12)

"It was a good long day for us, a hard day. The guys fought back. We didn't have the best handling car yesterday in practice. They fought real hard to get a good car today. They gave me that. They gave me some good pit stops there at the end and had some good track position. The car was really good all day long. To get track position was the big key. Towards the end of the race we got better track position and it showed more and we were able to get close but not quite close enough. I want to congratulate him (Rusty). He had a great day."


"If I could have got to him I would have probably hit him and spun him out. (Laughed) Seriously, you ask him when he comes in here, the best story would have been if I would have hit him coming out of turn four on the last lap, flipped him over, he would have burst into flames, slid down the front stretch on his roof shooting flames and sparks and still won the race. That would have been perfect for him. Seriously, catching somebody here and passing them is two different things. We had a great run today and we will take this second place finish and run with it."

DALE EARNHARDT JR. , #8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (Finished 3rd, started 4th outside row 2)

"The car was good in practice all weekend. We started the race and it run real good but we worn the tires off. We had to adjust on the car so it wouldn't do that the rest of the day. I definitely wasn't the best today. The difference for us today was that we had the best pit stops. I'm really happy with my 5th top five finish in a row."


"No the Red flag didn't have any affect on leading my car."


"I go in there with a cautious optimism. We don't have the car we'd like to have since it's in the museum in Daytona. I won't be surprised if we struggle in qualifying but we should be OK when it comes to the race."


"This track is real difficult to learn. It's much like growing up, it's about self discipline. It's important to make consistent smooth laps and be consistent by breaking early, staying on the break further in the corner and letting off and rolling into the center. We tested here a couple years ago and got a good set up."


"Yeah, I saw it. It looked like a block of lead had fallen off somebody's car. I had seen it for 3 or 4 laps. I was talking to the official in my pit about it. It's unfortunate Jeff hit it. He still had a decent finish and the best car on the race track. Before that he had the best car as he usually does. It's a freak thing."


"The track builds rubber in the corners. That's the way it is. Under cautions the new tires will pick that stuff up and you got to keep the tires clean. We run a little bit softer of a tire here. I assume that added to the problem today. I liked the tire but it felt like it wore out quickly."


"I like racing at Martinsville an awful lot. It allows you to move around the corner and adjust for how your car handles. Now that we're getting better at getting our cars to handle better and anticipate running in the top five, I like short track racing and wish we did more of it. It's a double edge sword. I like it here and Richmond but I'm not real fond of Bristol. You can run side by side there (Martinsville and Richmond) and that's unbelievable for a short track."

"Deep down inside me, there is some real disappointment because I was where Rusty was but all of a sudden, the car quit turning. Fortunately, the car came back to us and we had to fight our way around the 12 car (Ryan Newman). I had to give him a bumper down in turn four to finally get around him but that allowed Bobby (Labonte) to get around at the same time.

But hey, the first time I came here I hit everything in site including some of trucks in the infield, caused I don't know how many yellow flags and it was just a horrible day. We are good and consistent and we will take this to the next race."


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ryan Newman