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November 19, 2017

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Homestead, Florida

Q. How important was that to you to go congratulate Martin, Dale? You invited him to the party later?
DALE EARNHARDT JR.: Oh, man, shoot. It's so good to see him win this title. He is a professional and a gentleman and just a perfect friend. We've been pals a long, long time. I was glad to have a hand in getting his career going. I can't take all the credit. Richie Gilmore also was a big part of that. But he's just such a great guy. I told him, I said, man, we're going to have fun in Vegas celebrating your championship. I am so proud of him.
The sport needs drivers like Martin Truex Jr. They do. I mean, he's just a really good guy, very easy to relate to, easy to talk to. And everything that he's went through as a driver, and beyond that, everything he's went through in his personal life, everything Sherry has went through, the whole sport has been behind them for so long and supported them for so long, but it's just great.
Cole, you know, he's just himself. He's a really cool guy, comes to work in a tee shirt. You've got to love his attitude and personality. That personality and attitude encompasses the whole team. It's just fun to watch. And they're sort of the outsiders way up there in Denver. Beat all us boys down in North Carolina.
It's impressive. Impressive what they've become. If you look at where this team was years ago, so impressive, so impressive. But I'm proud of Martin, and I can't wait to‑‑ his life slows down a little bit so we can have a cold beer together.

Q. I love how you called the door ding a high‑five. I thought that was a good way to call it.
DALE EARNHARDT JR.: Well, I wasn't the one who hit him, but me and Rick ‑‑ I gave Rick my helmet, I keep the car, so I'm like, I want to hit Martin so if something is on my car I can remember him winning the championship. Yeah, I mean, I couldn't be happier about that. I just really‑‑ I can't wait to see what he accomplishes beyond this. I mean, this ain't the end of it, right?

Q. I know you wanted to celebrate with Martin, but have you checked your watch? The race was over like an hour ago. You can leave if you want. You're soaking all this in, aren't you?
DALE EARNHARDT JR.: I told my guys when the race was overwith, I said ‑‑ I told them a couple weeks ago, the only thing I care about really is finishing all the laps and pulling down pit road and getting out of the car and having a beer with my team. These are my brothers, and we're very close, and I want to just have a moment with them before I leave and go home. So we got a couple beer coolers out and we drank about two, three beers apiece and sat there and talked for a while and had a lot of fun and enjoyed each other, and you wouldn't‑‑ it's hard to understand that relationship that you have with those guys, but it's very close. You know, we're a big part of each other's lives away from the track and support each other in everything going on in our personal lives, and I've worked with a lot of those guys for a lot of years, and we've been down and we've been out, and we never turned on each other. We stayed together. We finished this together. It's meant a lot to me. Those relationships I'll have beyond driving race cars.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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