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Feb 24, 2014 - 06:11 AM
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2014 Daytona 500: Dale Earnhardt Jr. NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Quotes
Posted by: ASkyler on Feb 24, 2014 - 06:08 AM
NASCAR News
2014 Daytona 500: Dale Earnhardt Jr. NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Quotes


DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS - WINNER

DOES YOUR SECOND DAYTONA 500 WIN TAKE ON EVEN MORE MEANING CONSIDERING THE JOURNEY YOU’VE TRAVELED OVER THE PAST SIX YEARS?

"Yeah, I think so. Man, winning this race is the greatest feeling that you can feel in the sport, aside from obviously accepting the trophy for the championship. I didn’t know if I’d ever get a chance to feel that again and it feels just as good, if not better than the first because of how hard we tried year after year after year funning second all those years and wondering why and what we needed to do. I’ve got to get my head together. I’ve got to thank National Guard and Diet Mountain Dew and all our sponsors; Kelly Blue Book, Chevy, and Sprint and my team. This race car was awesome. We showed them there night long how good a car we had and it’s because of these guys right here putting it together in the shop. We could fight off battles after battles. We got a little help from Jeff (Gordon) to get away on that restart and tried to take care of it from there. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I’ll never take this for granted because this just doesn’t happen twice, let alone once. I’m so thankful. Thanks to all my fans out there for supporting. We pretty much might be in the Chase? We get that off our chest and we are two-time Daytona 500 champion."

 

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WHAT DID YOU DO ON THAT LAST RESTART? WHAT DID YOU HAVE TO DO TO KEEP THE LEAD? "We had enough car to battle them off all night long and if they took the lead we could grab it back pretty quickly. We had a real fast car. I’ve got to thank Steve Letarte, Mr. Hendrick, all this team that put this car together. When you come down here and race the car does most of the work and these guys deserve a lot of credit for how good a piece they had out there tonight. Just real proud of my National Guard team. Got to thank Diet Mountain Dew, Kelly Blue Book, Chevrolet and Sprint, all our partners. Those last few laps I just got in front of my teammate Jeff (Gordon) on that restart. Worked with him on getting a good restart and getting pushed out in front, so I’ve got to thank him, without that I don’t win the race. Then once I got out front I just kind of listened to my spotter TJ (Majors) and started watching in the mirror and seeing what lane I needed to get in front of, who I needed to get in front of to give shoves. I knew I had some tough competition back there Brad Keselowski is getting smarter and smarter every time he races at these places. He is as good as anybody now at plate racing and I figured he was going to put up a pretty good battle. I was a little worried about that, but we had such a strong car we were able to hold everybody off."

IT SEEMED LIKE THERE WERE A COUPLE OF TIMES YOU WOULD GET SIDE-BY-SIDE WITH FOLKS AND MAYBE GET BACK A LITTLE BIT, BUT YOU WERE ABLE TO BATTLE BACK. WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE? "Just the race car was so superior to a lot of the competition out there. It starts in the body shop, the engine room at Hendrick, all those guys that put all that effort in. I keep saying it over and over, but just a reference to how much goes into the body of this car. There are 11 coats of clear coat on top of the decal. These guys work their guts out all winter long on every part of the car from front to rear. It’s perfectly prepared. The whole series is like that it is so competitive, but I love this crew that I’m with. We are as competitive as we can be. This could be a spectacular year for us."

YOU MENTIONED THE CREW BEFORE YOU TALKED TO ANYBODY YOU GOT AND YOU WENT AND PERSONALLY THANKED AND HUGGED EVERYONE OF THEM: "(Laughs) I love ‘em man. We have so much fun, every one of them said last year even when we didn’t win a race that was probably the most fun a lot of them had, had in the series just in a year racing we were having so much fun. This is truly a special group. I won’t take it for granted. I won’t forget it. It’s been a real pleasure working with every one of them and we are making things happen. Hopefully we will have solid year."

YOU ARE THE FIRST ONE TO QUALIFY FOR THE CHASE: "I know I’m the first feature winner and we are in the Chase. I’m pumped up man. Trust me man we are going to have a blast this year."

STEVE LETARTE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS - RACE WINNER

CAN YOU EVEN PUT INTO WORDS WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU AS A CREW CHIEF AND FOR YOUR FAMILY TO GET YOUR FIRST DAYTONA 500 WIN?

"Oh, no; this is the one. You work all winter long at the shop and come down here with your best equipment. They built a great race car and everybody worked really hard. Dale drove a great race. But if you’re going to win one, this is the one you want to win. I’m glad. He knew I really wanted to win this one and he drove a great race. There is nothing better I could think of in the world than to give Mr. Hendrick a 500 win in the last year."


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