|Not smiling today|
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHEVROLET – Involved in an incident on lap 218
THEY ARE TRYING TO ADDRESS WHAT DAMAGE WAS DONE BEFORE THE INCIDENT AND WHAT DAMAGE WAS DONE AFTER YOU HIT THE WALL, BUT DID YOU HAVE ANY IDEA AT ALL THAT THERE WAS A PROBLEM?
“We came out of the pits and there’s some oil in the pit stall I noticed when I was getting lined-up for double file, is smoking. I don’t know why. But it’s got oil all over the engine compartment. So, in the corner, it just went straight in the wall. I don’t know what’s broke, but I think that’s the end of the day."
ACCORDING TO NASCAR RULES, YOU HAVE TO DO TO THE MEDICAL CENTER. DO YOU FEEL OKAY?
“I feel good. We’ll get in here and find out."
“I don’t know we broke something in the oil system under caution. The guys said there was some oil in the pit stall after our pit stop. I noticed when I was getting lined up double file for the restart the car was smoking. I just thought maybe we had a tire rub for some reason, but I couldn’t remember what might have caused that. And went into Turn 1 on the restart and the car went straight into the wall with oil all over the tires. Came into the garage there and they are working on where the hole in the system is. Just something is messed up, but that is going to be the finish for us. It’s unfortunate. We weren’t running that great, but we were working on our car and trying to figure out how to get it to run better. And get something out of today, but we are going to have another bad finish. We have had a lot of them this year. It’s going to be tough."
ON THE TRACK SURFACE:
“I hate to really make any comment one way or the other because our car wasn’t driving well enough to give the track a good recommendation. I like the fact… one of the things I noticed in the race is that the leader doesn’t seem to be trapped by the lap cars and he has an option to get around these guys and they were lapping up to where I was around 20th in these little green-flag runs we are having. As a guy that is running toward the front you’ve got to like that. The way it was before, you were kind of stuck behind guys up on the high line and if… even a guy that is three tenths slower than you he could hold you up if he wanted to, but now you’ve got options. You can run the top in (Turns) 3 and 4 would get going and would become a good line and the bottom of (Turn) 1 and 2 was always good throughout the whole run. As a driver, you like to have those options. I like it."
WERE YOU A LITTLE SURPRISED YOU WEREN’T BETTER THAN YOU WERE?
“Yeah I was because we practiced well. But we ran into some issues at the end of the last practice with the car and they were still there today. I don’t know what in our set-up is creating that. It’s not like I’m feeling something that I wasn’t familiar with. We did have some good practices and felt pretty confident, but apparently, whatever we got into the car late in the last practice we didn’t tune it back out. We were really tight in the center and tight in the throttle and guys beating me really bad back to the gas. That ain’t no way to run anywhere really."
ARE YOU OKAY AFTER HITTING THE WALL?
“Yeah, it wasn’t that bad. I feel pretty good. Obviously, it wasn’t a real hard lick. I got the car slowed down a little bit and it really didn’t damage the car too badly. Had we not had something terminal with the oil system we would have slapped tires on it and kept going."