Phoenix: Earnhardt Jr qualifying press conference

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (qualified 3rd) "It was a pretty good qualifying run for us. I was pretty happy with the car. In practice we worked on it and changed some shocks and sway bars and things and got the car...

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (qualified 3rd)

"It was a pretty good qualifying run for us. I was pretty happy with the car. In practice we worked on it and changed some shocks and sway bars and things and got the car pretty fast. We haven't really been good here in the past. I think this weekend we're going to run a lot better than we have here judging by how the car was in practice and on how we were able to make some gains on it. I was surprised at how well we did. I thought the track would be a little bit different after the Truck race and it was for me. My car was loose in practice this afternoon and the Truck race seemed to tighten the track up a little bit more with more rubber on the track. That helped us out."

DID THE WEATHER AFFECT YOUR RUN?

"I think that the tires needed a little bit of heat in them to get a better grip on this race track. The few laps you get in qualifying plus the cool temperatures - I think it helped us to be able to go out early. If it had gotten too hot, of course the track could get greasy. I think the draw we had wasn't bad for us. It might not have been much of an advantage, but it definitely wasn't a disadvantage. As it got cooler, I felt like some guys were losing some of the grip in the corners."

CAN YOU COME FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT TO WIN THIS RACE?

"It's great to start up front anywhere. It's a kind of difficult place here to pass - maybe not more so than other places, but it's hard to pass here. In the Truck race, you saw that moving a guy away or getting on top of him and grounding him down to the bottom seemed to be a way to get by people. Looking at last year's top ten, a lot of them didn't start there. So, you've got to have everything going for you. You've got to be able to get on and off pit road good and make all kinds of good decisions all day long and just have a good car. If you have a good car, you can come from the back to the front."

ON RYAN NEWMAN'S SUCCESS AT QUALFIYING THIS YEAR

"He seems to be really fast. He's always a tenth or a tenth and a half better than even the top five in practice. It's really surprising. They've got a great handle on the car. They've got exceptional horsepower. They can probably take some chances and try to learn some things on their motor research. That's benefited him. It's also bit him a few times this year. But they're in a situation where they can really make some gains in the points in these last couple of races. He's been real competitive in qualifying this year."

WHAT CHANGES DID YOU MAKE IN THE CAR WHEN YOU GOT HERE?

"When we go here, the car was really tight. We yanked some right front out of it and put some right rear spring in it and took out some front bar and just did some normal changes that you'd normally make anywhere else. The car seemed to react to it. We also borrowed a few shocks from the No. 15 (Michael Waltrip) car that they run real well with at Homestead and he seemed to like them here. They put me up about seven thousandths or a tenth. We just kept on making little gains on the car. I didn't know we would get into the .20's in qualifying, but I felt like we had a good car that would run a .30 or .40."

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOUR TEAM TO BE IN THE TOP 10 IN POINTS?

"It's a boost for the team. I think it's an accomplishment to say you got something out of the season. We had an opportunity to break into the top ten. This ain't the season we wanted to have or expected to have, but looking back about six or seven races ago, I'm glad to be in this position to at least get something. We're going to race hard and try to accomplish that. Hopefully the race will come our way and we'll outrun those guys in front of us."

-team monte carlo-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip