Dale Earnhardt Jr - "Bristol's Like Havin' A VCR On Fast Forward"
Bristol Motor Speedway officials talked with Dale Earnhardt Jr on Tuesday, August 9th in Charlotte, just moments after unveiling the paint scheme Jr will run in the August 2011 IRWIN Tools Night Race. The car features the Bristol Motor Speedway 50th anniversary logo in tribute to the track's historic history.
What do you think about running this car for Bristol's 50th anniversary?
“We’re real happy to be involved. Bristol’s turning 50 and they’re real excited about it. I’m honored to be a part of the program. We put a little bit of gold on our car for this race to honor them and what they mean to this sport. It’s rare that you see this kinda happen in this sport where a track is honored in this fashion, like this, but Bristol’s different… Bristol’s just different. Bristol’s just something else. Nothing’s like it, it’s one of a kind and we’re excited about it, I think the fans hopefully will enjoy it and we appreciate what the gesture is and I appreciate Bristol for what it is and hopefully we run well and hopefully we’ll win the race.”
Bristol obviously holds a special place in your heart. What makes it so different from other tracks?
“Well, it’s small. I like short track racing and it’s a short track and it’s really high banked and it’s very fast. Y’know, not many short tracks are banked that much and they don’t allow cars to run as fast as they do, but I think the other thing is the grandstands all the way around, wrapping all those people all around the race track. It really brings a lot of energy. “
What would you tell someone who's considering making the trip to Bristol for the first time?
“I would try to tell them that Bristol’s really… if you’re going to try to get introduced to NASCAR, that that’s the first place I would take you to. I wouldn’t try to take you to Daytona just yet, I’d take you to Bristol and give you a heavy dose of what racing’s about and then it would open your eyes to the rest of the sport. That’s definitely probably the the one thing that can certainly grab anyone’s attention is a race at Bristol."
“Just the overall speed of the cars going around the track at that fast at that small and the fact that once the green flag drops there’s pretty much cars all around the race track and there’s always racing and racing for position on some area on the race track. There’s never one lap that lacks action, and it’s hard to know which end of the race track to be watching.”
How is being inside the race car at Bristol different than racing at other facilities?
“You’ll get into a long run sometimes and wonder what place you’re in and who you’re racing around ya ‘cause there’s just so many cars around and you don’t know who’s on the lead lap and who isn’t.”
“There’s just so much happening and so much can happen in run of 80 laps or so that you don’t really know where you’re at and you have to look at the scoreboard coming down the back straightaway to get an idea of what position you’re in.”
“Bristol to me is just really, really fast. When I first went there to… when I first got to race around the track it was like a havin’ a VCR on fast forward. My brain couldn’t measure what was happening… what I was seeing… and it took me awhile to adjust to it.”
How special is it to be the one chosen to run the 50th paint scheme?
“It’s a big honor to be part of this and to be doing this with the race track. I feel lucky to be ‘that guy’, I feel lucky to be the driver that gets to do this, because Bristol means a lot to me and I’m glad that I’ll be able to be the one honoring them and given that gesture that evening.”
No doubt you’re ready to go to Victory Lane again. Would it mean even more to get the win in Bristol in this 50th anniversary car?
“I’m ready to win anywhere, anytime and Bristol’s one of my favorite tracks, and to get a second win there would mean a lot to me.”