DALE EARHNARDT JR. , NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Note - Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins his 12th career Nextel Cup victory, third this year. "I was real loose on new tires. But it turned and didn't get tight. We really like this place....
DALE EARHNARDT JR. , NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
Note - Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins his 12th career Nextel Cup victory, third this year.
"I was real loose on new tires. But it turned and didn't get tight. We really like this place. We've won five or six races here. This is a good car. This is a good set-up. We like the track and the new pavement. We could run up top. It was great. It's fun to win, it really is."
ON HIS PERFORMANCE
"It was a great race. They did a great job paving the track. We were able to run side by side. We run well here. We won 3 or 4 Busch races here. We usually have a good car every time here. I felt real confident about coming back here and having a good finish this weekend and hold onto the points lead.
"We decided under the caution with 50 laps to go, we thought about pitting with Tony. I knew a lot of guys were going to pit. My car was really loose with new tires. A lot of time at these races you get cautions at the end. It thought staying up front was a good choice. It was about as good as it was going to get. We kept putting a little bit of time on Jimmie (Johnson). He kept getting smaller and that's what you want to see - less and less of your competition." My car was handling great. I was turning real good.
"I really like the line you run here to be competition. It really suits my style. We didn't have the best car but over a long run we had a car that was real stout. I was just trying to conserve my car. My brakes were giving me some problems. I was real worried about my brake rotators flying off the car into the fence. I took it easy on the brakes and saved the car for the end of the race."
IS THE TEAM HUNGRY TO WIN THIS CHAMPIONSHIP?
"We're as hungry as every other team in the garage. There's no argument that within 500 miles of this place that we're not a contender this year. We have a real good team. They were talking about us bouncing back after a bad run last week and if that shows signs of a championship team. I think it shows signs of a team missing a few pieces. We need to run better at Kansas and Homestead to be able to win the championship. Right now we don't know how to get around those places. We've got to get better at those tracks to win a championships. We're still learning and still needing to improve a few areas but to come here and get a win is important."
ON THE TRACK
"We were running a second faster tonight than we normally do run here so it'd definitely be harder to pass. I was really worried they'd catch a lot of hell for repaving the track. Everybody should count their blessings. Never have I seen a track get paved and come in produce that kind of race right off the bat. It's a real good track, it's got the whole package."
ON THE LAST 40-LAP SEQUENCE
"Tony Jr. actually told me to pit but I didn't hear him. We stayed out. I thought I'd have Jimmie Johnson on the inside of me for the rest of the race trying to pass me. We just drove away. It took a long time for me to get comfortable for me to drive it hard and fast. My car was at its best with 40 or 50 laps on the tires. That was the best case scenario for us to be leading with 40 lap tires on."
ON RUSTY WALLACE RACING HIM HARD AT THE END
"Rusty is a fierce competition. You have regular Gatorade and you have fierce Gatorade - Rusty fits in the fierce Gatorade catEgory. He'd be the blue ice or whatever. If I wanted to get by him I would have."
ON HAVING FUN
"It's fun to be a part of racing at this time. I feel real confident in the people running this sport that they have everyone's best interest in making changes likes that. Just to jump out side of Jimmie and race side by side. Me and him had a lot of fun racing together. I really do find the enjoyment in it. We're move than just drivers nowadays. It's still comes down to getting paid to do something that you probably shouldn't get paid to do. I used to get so nervous and wonder if that would ever go away. Now I just go out there and have a good time. I feel great right now to have so much fortune come my way."
ON HIS APROACH TO WINNING A CHAMPIONSHIP
"I'm curious to what the future holds and my appeal the fans if and when I win a championship. What kind of pros and cons is that going to be on the other side of the fence. The more I contend I see the gray area is less visible. It's a little more black and white of who like and me who don't in the grandstand. There's a backlash to everything. You just got to roll with the punches. My dad never really let it bother him and he got booed plenty of times."
ON RUNNING THE BUSCH SERIES IN MEXICO IN '05
"I'm really excited that one day the Nextel Cup series will be more international. I look forward to the day we race in Canada, Mexico and maybe South America. I don't know if we will ever be overseas racing but you never know. It would be cool to race in Europe and see what kind of reaction from the fans we'd get."
ON THE RACE TRACK
"I've always liked running here. This was a neat place before it was reconfigured. This was one of the first races I came to when I was a kid. I look forward to racing in new areas. I'm curious to see how many people show up and their reaction to the sport. I'm looking forward to the new venues and spreading the sport more evenly across the state."
ON THE UPCOMING RACES AT CHARLOTTE
"It's a great race track. I have a good friendship with Humpy. He represents our sport in a different in a light that a lot of the other race tracks do. Whether I live there or not I think it'd be the same feeling. It should be a lot more exciting for the fans to have a larger field at the end of the race track for the win. It's a tough race but I'd like to put my brother's name in the hat for the race. I hope either Kerry Earnhardt or Carl Long gets voted into the All Star race."
ON HIS FATHER
"There's never too many times where I've liked to have compared myself to my dad. I've always kind of been favored to my grandfather Ralph in terms of my driving style and what not. I jumped out there on the outside and Jimmie and go the lead. I'm normally not that aggressive with the car for just a second I felt like my Daddy. It was kind of neat. I don't know if it really had come over me before. For that moment we raced and I finally got into position and it was some good racing and the fans were enjoying it. You don't see a whole lot of that in the sport anymore, the side by side racing for a couple of laps. It was great."
WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR CHARLOTTE?
"We're limited on practice for the All Star race. That afternoon practice will be quite tricky for setting your car up for a nice race. You take the All Star race as a good test session for the 600. I'm just looking forward to getting laps on that track. We've always run good at Lowe's and hopefully having a good run the next couple of weeks."
ARE YOU PLANNING TO TEST IN KENTUCKY NEXT WEEK?
"I have no plans to go. I tested last week. I got appearances booked throughout the week. Wednesday I'm testing a Corvette in Michigan for a race we're going to run in Sonoma in July for the off season."