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NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: QUICKEN LOANS 400


June 14, 2015


Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Martin Truex, Jr.


BROOKLYN, MICHIGAN

THE MODERATOR:¬† We have Dale Earnhardt Jr., our race runner‑up in today's 47th‑annual Quicken Loans 400, and he drives the No.88 Amp Energy Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports.¬† Dale, certainly the race today, we battled those pop‑up showers throughout the afternoon and early evening, and just talk about that and how‑‑ just how big of a factor all that was here today as you competed for the win.
DALE EARNHARDT JR.: ¬†Yeah, I mean, you just had to wait on the weather to get moved out, wait on them to dry the track.¬† You know, it didn't give you a whole lot of opportunities to understand your car and know exactly how to adjust your car and what to work on, so we were still dealing with some issues that we wanted to improve when the final shower came.¬† But we had great long‑run speed.¬† We didn't really get a good qualifying effort in.¬† We haven't qualified well all year, and we got a good long run in and the car took off and passed a lot of guys.¬† I was working the track bar and passing a lot of guys.¬† I probably couldn't have passed all the cars without the track bar adjusting.¬† The track bar adjuster helped me today get around a lot of guys, and then we‑‑ so I got some good track position.
When it came to the restarts, we didn't take off as well as the 41.  We saw the same thing at Charlotte, the 78 and the 41 take off real good.  We were just kind of tight waiting on the front to work, don't have the good speed that they have the first three or four laps, and that was the difference today, and the 4 having the trouble he had.  He had the field covered.  I think on the long run, again, we were one of the best cars.  Us and the 4 seemed to match each other into that last run and found some good speed running the very top of the groove, had the car turning.
I was behind Truex at one point, and he was fast, and he was loose, so I said, I've got to get loose, and ran my track bar up and then went forward, started passing cars, so it was good.
THE MODERATOR:¬† Finishing third in today's race is last week's winner, and that's Martin Truex Jr., and he drives the No.78 Furniture Row / Visser Precision Chevrolet for Furniture Row Motorsports.¬† Today was your 14th top‑10 finish out of the first 15 races of this season.¬† No one in the sport has accomplished that since 1969 when Richard Petty did that, so congratulations on that accomplishment.¬† That is a very, very‑‑ it's hallowed ground that you're racing in right now.¬† Talk about the 78 car, again, very strong throughout practice, qualifying, and here today at Michigan.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:¬† Yeah, just honestly a good weekend for us.¬† Didn't qualify as well as we would have liked to, and right at the start of the race we kind of drove up there and got through traffic pretty good, got to the front and felt like we were in good shape.¬† I think the biggest thing that hurt us today was the first pit stop.¬† We had to wait on fuel, and we came out‑‑ I think we came out 7th or something and I had to restart on the bottom and the bottom was tough to restart on today.¬† Lost a lot of track position and fought the rest of the day trying to get it back, and ultimately lost spots to the 41 and Dale in traffic there with‑‑ I don't know, 40 or so to go, I got inside the 41, had him passed, and he got back to my outside corner on the front straightaway in traffic and then he brought the 88 around the outside with me, and once they got me by I couldn't get close enough to get back by them.
The race for us was really ‑‑ that was really the turning point for us, but awesome race car and another great job by the team.¬† Just missed it a little bit today, but really proud of our season, really proud to have obviously my name mentioned next to Richard Petty, The King, is pretty special, so thankful for my team and what they've done this year, and hopefully we'll keep this thing rolling.

Q.¬† Dale, this is kind of an off‑week question, but can you talk about your decision to go to Germany and what you look forward to doing over there?
DALE EARNHARDT JR.:  Well, I got some specific towns that we're going to go visit that we understand that my ancestors are from.  I've been searching my genealogy for about five years now, and I made a promise to myself then that I would go to Germany and understand more about my ancestors when I turn 40, so here I am.  I'm real nervous about flying over there.  I haven't flown commercial since 9/11, so it's been a long time.  My friends tell me I'm in for a treat, and just hopefully it's just a good trip.  I'm taking my sister and LW, her husband, Larry Wayne, and Amy is going with me, of course, and the lead IT guy at JR Motorsports, Martin Frederick, he's from Germany, so he's going to go with us, as well, and really kind of help us understand how not to insult anybody.
Should be a lot of fun, and I'm really looking forward to it.
We should come back with some great stories.  Hopefully I'll get pictures, and we'll certainly share.

Q.  This question is either for Dale or Martin.  During those first three red flags, you can't touch the car, you're kind of limited.  How do you kill time during that downtime?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:  Honestly, you just go to your pit box and talk to your guys about the race car, and that only lasts a few minutes and then you talk about everything else, what we're going to do on the off weekend and all that kind of stuff.  Really just trying to kill time.
There's really not a whole lot you can do in the rain delay, so it's all about, like I said, a few minutes to talk about the race car and then just really anything else to kill some time.

Q.¬† Beginning of the season, all we hear is how important it is to win, get yourself locked in.¬† Junior, when you won Talladega you talked about how relieved you are.¬† Now as you start to move closer to the Chase, is it more important to get these top‑two, top‑three finishes to keep your momentum and confidence up as a team?
DALE EARNHARDT JR.:¬† I don't think so.¬† Over the last several years we've been as good or better than anybody during the regular season and never‑‑ just haven't showed up in the Chase.¬† I told my guys after Pocono when we run 11th with about a third‑place car that I wasn't going to worry about finishes and I wasn't going to worry about trying to get everything I can on finishes.¬† I was just going to go to the track, try to win, try to learn.¬† We need to make sure when we get to the Chase, we understand everything we can about the car and how to deliver the best car every week.
Trying to be as consistent as you can and finish as well as you can can kind of mask some of your weaknesses, I guess.  You can forget that you need to work.  Everybody is trying to catch you.
I just ain't going to worry about it.  We've always done well during the first 26 races and never done well in the Chase, so I'm just concentrating on the Chase now that we're locked in.  We go to win these races, we don't win them, it doesn't really matter to me where we finish just as long as we've got fast cars and we're understanding how to get better.

Q.  Is it mentally taxing with the stopping and the starting?  How do you stay up while that's happening?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:  More than anything it's just a pain in the butt.  I mean, you get in there, you get ready to go, and you're like, all right, here we come, getting ready to go green, and it's raining again.  It's just a pain in the butt.  Once you get in the car and get the helmet on and get mentally prepared, you're ready to go, it's kind of just a big letdown when you've got to stop and get out of the car again.
More than anything, we just want to get out there and get racing and put on a good show and then get to go home and spend some time there.
THE MODERATOR:  Guys, thanks for being here this weekend and putting on a good show for us.  Dale, have a great trip to Germany.  Martin, keep it up.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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