DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: ON YOUR NIGHT "It was pretty wild there for most of the evening. We seemed to be kind of in the middle of and around everything that was happening. Steve Park got spun out somehow or...
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
ON YOUR NIGHT "It was pretty wild there for most of the evening. We seemed to be kind of in the middle of and around everything that was happening. Steve Park got spun out somehow or another. I don't know how he got loose, but we were right in the door of him when he turned sideways. I don't know how we missed that. Then the big wreck on the back straightaway - I just went to the apron. I had seen that before.
"I saw that happening about five laps before it happened. We had that good a car all night. A couple of people were asking me where we came from, but our car was that good all night. We just had to dodge wrecks and blown motors. Mark's (Mark Martin's) blown motor about sent me into the wall. Then, we decided there at the end to take two tires during that last little run because as you can tell, second on back doesn't pay that much. $150,000 tonight (for second), that's like winning a race, so I believe Teresa (Earnhardt) will be pretty happy."
HOW CONVINCED WERE YOU ON THAT FINAL RUN THAT YOU COULD CATCH RYAN NEWMAN AND EVENTUALLY PASS HIM? "It's real early for me to really tell you right now whether I should be in victory lane right now. Of course, I'll play it over a thousand times in my head for probably weeks wondering how I could have done something different. We had new tires, fast car, that's going to be enough to take the lead. You know, with 10 cars, five laps to go, you know those guys behind you are probably going to do it.
"I could have done a lot of things different on the last couple laps to beat Ryan. I got into the back of him in turn two and I didn't take advantage of it. That cost me a lot of momentum. He had an awesome powerplant, too. Getting to him was easy, but getting by him was a different story."
WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY SAYING THAT YOU COULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING DIFFERENT TO GET BY HIM? "I was catching him pretty good in two. We'd got down into one about the same and then he would just have trouble getting on the gas because we had newer tires. I got a run on him, got in the back of him, I backed off because I thought he had spun him out. But, he saved it. I should have just stayed in the gas. He'd have went up the track and maybe I could have gotten on the inside of him. But, if he'd have spun out, I would have come back to the checkered flag - that would have kind of been bittersweet. I mean, $750,000 is a lot of money - an awful lot of money. But, it ain't worth all the people that you'd piss off by wrecking somebody to get it."
ON WHAT THIS WIN WOULD DO FOR RYAN NEWMAN "It's a huge win - an awful lot of money. The money really puts the prestige in the victory itself. This race - I think the coolness would have worn off long ago if we were still racing for $200,000. That's nothing nowadays. It's a great race. It really says a lot of the guy and the team - the combination of the two - that can win here under these circumstances. You don't really set your car up exactly like you would in the '600.' There are a lot of things that you'll do different. We do things different with gas and tires for each little segment for different reasons.
"It just says a lot. He'll come out of here with so much more confidence in himself and his ability and his team. He'll be able to take that with him the rest of the year."
IS TONIGHT ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE YOUNG GUYS TAKING OVER THIS SPORT? "Yeah. Tony (Eury) Sr., my crew chief, he figured that the last 10 laps would not have the expected racers or runners in it that everyone thought there would be. As you kind of saw, it was me, Matt (Kenseth), Kurt (Busch), Newman, Jimmie Johnson - all the young guns they all talk about. Me and Matt, aren't necessarily young anymore. I guess we're middle of the road. But, it was fun. We had Bill (Elliott) out there. I don't know if he wanted to be out there or not. But, it was an interesting little group. As we were kind of coming out of three and four for the green flag for the 20 laps, I was thinking that. I was looking at the guys I was around and I was like, 'Man, Rusty and (Dale) Jarrett and all them guys, they're not here.' It was so amazing that it was just our little fraternity up there having a good time."