CHEVY NSCS AT SONOMA: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Press Conf. Transcript



American Muscle


JUNE 24, 2011

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET met with media and discussed road racing at Infineon, qualifying, next week’s race at Daytona, and more. Full Transcript:


HOW IS EVERYTHING BETWEEN YOU AND MARK MARTIN? “It’s good. We handled it after the race (last week at Michigan) and talked a little bit and texted each other back and forth. Everything’s cool. In the heat of the moment, things just didn’t go my way. I was mad about finishing wherever I think we should finish that day. That’s the way it goes.”

DO YOU KNOW HOW HAPPY YOUR FANS WERE TO SEE YOU TICKED OFF LIKE THAT? “I’m just trying to do the best I can. I just show up and try to do my job and not worry about nothing else. I just show up and try to do my job and try to run as good as we can run. I had a good idea of what kind of race car we had and I wanted to finish where I feel like we should have finished that day.”

SONOMA HAS NEVER BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO RACE CARS. WHAT IS THE EXPECTATION AND HOPE FOR YOU THIS WEEKEND? “To make it my favorite place and go out there and be fast and competitive. I’ve ran well here before. I’ve had some pretty good cars here before, so I kind of know what I’m looking for in speed and in the car and we want to go out there and be a factor all day and look forward to coming back the next year.”

ON SET-UPS (QUESTION INAUDIBLE) “You’ll have to ask him. But all four teams know what we’re doing and knows what everybody’s set ups are and we can lean on each other; we lean on Boris (Said) a little bit too. So we should be able to find something that works.”

HOW WOULD THIS BECOME YOUR FAVORITE PLACE? IS IT ALL BASED ON RUNS? “I think if I ran well here I’d be happy. It’s just a real hard track to get around. It’s got a lot of turns and stuff and these cars aren’t really built for road courses. So, it just really makes it a hassle trying to race and pass. It’s fun; I talked to my spotter T.J. (Majors) about it. It’s probably really, really fun to watch because you just know somebody’s going to get run over and every other lap somebody’s going to be in the tires and you see a lot of guys screwing up and driving crazy and running into each other.”

IS THIS LIKE A SHORT TRACK RACE WHERE EVERYBODY GETS MAD AT EACH OTHER? “Yeah, this place gets interesting; especially up there on the helicopter pad afterwards. I don’t fly to the race tracks on helicopters no more but it’s pretty interesting after the race (laughs). Everybody just sort of gets what’s on their mind out and they talk it out or whatever. Or, they don’t talk and it’s just kind of awkward.”

WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL AT THE NIGHT RACE AT DAYTONA NEXT WEEKEND? “We’ve got a fast car. We sat on the pole there in February. We rebuilt that car and we’re taking it back. And I’m sure it’ll be great. I’m sure it will race really well. It looks like you’re just going to have to team-up with a guy and work with him all day long and try to stay out of wrecks and push him to the lead or get pushed to the lead you know, I don’t know. It’s all going to come down to circumstances.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE TWO-CAR-STYLE DRAFT? DO YOU ENJOY IT? “I don’t enjoy the two-car draft because when I push somebody I can’t see around him. And I would like to be in control of my own destiny all the time; be in control and be able to win the race. I was happy to push Jimmie (Johnson) to the win but in a perfect world, me and him both would rather just be racing our own cars and not have to worry about being obligated to push anyone to the win. You want to drive your own car across the finish line and that’s the way it ought to be.”

WHAT DID YOU LEARN AT THE DAYTONA 500 THAT YOU CAN USE FOR NEXT WEEK? “Well, I think I learned more at Talladega. We ran okay at Daytona but it’s just circumstances. I thought it was a lottery five years ago (but) good Lord, it’s ridiculous now.”

ON QUALIFYING AT INFINEON “I don’t really worry about qualifying here because it’s a fuel mileage race and if you qualify bad you can use a different strategy to help you. But I don’t really worry about qualifying here too much. It’s nice when you qualify well, but if you don’t, it’s not a big deal.”

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