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DATE News (chronologically)
01/17/10
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Will Earnhardt Jr. fail again in 2010?  
Will NASCAR's biggest star continue as the worst Hendrick driver and again win no races in 2010?
Anything less than three wins this season would be a disappointment for Dale Earnhardt Jr., the Hendrick Motorsports driver said Friday at Daytona International Speedway.

“Our goal is to win as many races as we can, win a championship, challenge for the championship,” Earnhardt Jr. told Scene Daily during the preseason Fan Fest. “I’d like to win – I think anything less than three races this year, I’d be a little bit disappointed.

“Depending on what tracks those are – it’d be great to win at some tracks we haven’t necessarily been great on in the past. … We’re just going to go out there and try our hardest and be ruthless from the first lap to the last.”

“It really wasn’t that long ago where we didn’t know what was going to happen with Lance,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “Everybody in the shop was unsure about the future of the team. That creates so much instability when you’re not sure about something that prominent.

“When he was able to solidify his position and we could move forward – this was the deal, this was how it is – everybody wrapped their minds and trust around that. … Getting to the belief and the understanding from everybody in the shop in the two cars and the people that are intertwined between the two teams, getting them all kind of working and believing again in the 88 is what I think has changed a lot.”

“We should aspire to come out of the box good,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “Me and Lance seem to have a pretty good relationship. I’m pretty comfortable with him. I don’t think there’s much to do gel-wise with us, maybe some small things.”

“There’s definitely an obligation to your fans to make the Chase,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “There’s an obligation to your sponsors. When I’ve missed the Chase like I have twice in the last three years, it’s disappointing to me. I felt like I’ve let [the fans] down. I feel like I’ve came up short for them because they put up a fight with you all year long.

“They fight every week right there with you. … You feel like you’ve let them down when you don’t make the Chase. That’s really not asking a terrible amount from your driver. You feel pretty bad. That’s probably the thing that bothers me the most out of having a disappointing year. I could care less where I finish. If you don’t make the Chase, it really doesn’t matter. Missing the Chase itself is what’s the hardest part, not the fact that we were outside the top 20.”

“I feel a lot of pressure from you guys [in the media] or from the public to live up to the expectations,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “You get the headlines every offseason about what everybody expects you to do in the offseason and I’ve dealt with that all the time.

“Most of the time, the headlines sting a little bit, so you just kind of wait for that to wear off. I feel like I know what I can accomplish as a driver. … You just gear up every year and go to work and make the best of the situation. That’s all you can do. I don’t really put a ton of pressure on myself. I’ve already accomplished more and gotten farther in the sport than I probably have dreamed.”

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