Michigan II: Earnhardt Jr. - Friday media visit

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD DRIVE THE GUARD/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET met with media following the 'Drive the Guard' program press conference, and discussed building race cars, radio conversations, and upcoming races leading into the ...

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD DRIVE THE GUARD/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET met with media following the 'Drive the Guard' program press conference, and discussed building race cars, radio conversations, and upcoming races leading into the Chase.

KYLE BUSCH SAID EARLIER TODAY THAT ONE OF THE PROBLEMS HIS TEAM IS HAVING IS EACH OF THE THREE DRIVERS HAVE GOT ONE OR AT MOST, TWO GOOD CARS AND THE OTHERS ARE CONSIDERABLY SLOWER. HAVE YOU HAD THAT PROBLEM, OR ANY OF YOUR TEAMMATES HAD THAT PROBLEM? "I think that we're building new cars throughout the year. I don't really know for sure what (crew chief) Lance (McGrew) has in mind as far as how he plans all that out. But we're consistently driving newer cars. But ever since I drove race cars, you'll build new cars that just aren't good and have old cars that are favorites and that have always done good and you always like driving them. As a driver, Kyle probably pays more attention to it than I do, about the serial numbers and which cars go where and all that stuff, but back when it was a little bit smaller, you had car # 5 and car #8 and car #7 and you knew which ones were good and which ones weren't and you had different colors and interiors and stuff to help you keep track of them.

"But that's probably common in every garage. You build cars on the same jig and some of them the driver just like them better. There's little nuances. There's one thing I'm not sure can ever be perfectly replicated and that's how the body is hung. Maybe that's where it is. I feel like most of the new cars that we put together, we hit it on four out of five cars that it's going to be a good car and it's a car I like. In the last six or seven years it's become more rare that you build a brand new car that you just don't like at all."

ON RADIO CONVERSATIONS DURING THE RACE, DO YOU HAVE TO HAVE INCREDIBLY THICK SKIN NOT TO TAKE IS PERSONALLY? "Well, I don't even remember what I've done or said after a race. For some reason you're so plugged into hitting the corner and you forget about any exchange over the last caution, whether it was good or bad or whatever. The best thing that can happen, really, in any conversation that's going south is somebody has to be the bigger man and bite their tongue and that's normally (crew chief) Lance (McGrew). I have a hard time biting my tongue and always want the last word and all that good stuff. And I'm in 120-degree hot car and at the moment I feel like I'm doing the majority of the work. And right or wrong, I'm just saying that's how you feel, whether it's right or wrong. You don't want to hear no crap and you don't want to take no crap. I think that me and Lance actually do pretty good and I think the more we work together, the better we get at it. We've really run pretty rough in the last little stretch here and we've survived it; our working relationship has survived it and we're coming into Michigan where I feel like we've unloaded a good car. I was expecting to. And we're more positive about what we might have as far as opportunities this weekend. I like holding him accountable. And I want him to do the same to me. I like getting that same pressure. I want him to ask me, 'What was the deal right there? Why did you do that? Why did you make that decision?'

"It makes me a better driver when I put myself in a situation to think the process out and figure out if there was a better way to do it or a better decision to make. I don't like arguing too much but when you're in a hot race car and you're not leading the race by half a lap, you're going to argue. You're not going to be happy until you're just dominating and dominating."

SPONSORSHIP IMPLICATIONS ASIDE, HOW MUCH DOES CHASE QUALIFICATION IN A GIVEN YEAR DEFINE A DRIVER IN THAT YEAR? THERE ARE FOUR GOOD TRACKS COMING UP FOR YOU; HOW WOULD YOU ASSESS YOUR CHANCES? "Well, we got lucky last week with Clint's (Bowyer) misfortune. We were better than the No. 5 (Mark Martin) in the race and just didn't drive as hard as he did on the last restarts or get the breaks going down into Turn 1 in getting the right line; hell, it's three or four-wide through there and you just have to hope you were in the right position. You're going to gain four spots or lose four. I didn't do very well with that. But we were better than him and should have beat him, being a teammate. We're still racing for the final Chase spot. We lost to some guys that were right behind us that ended up passing us in the points. I mean I feel like it's not impossible. I remember, it just seemed like it was six races ago that we had just passed Carl (Edwards) for 12th. And now he's 300 points ahead of us. So I mean the points are there, if you can get the car going and you can get it done. The problem is, if we keep running like we're running, that ain't going to get it done. But we do have some good tracks coming up and if we can capitalize, we can go into Richmond with a real legitimate opportunity to come out of there in 12th place. There are only 12 that get to make it, but the guys that are consistently making it, that's a feather in their cap every year. We're not one of those guys. It's pretty frustrating to not be consistently in there."

-source: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Mark Martin