Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dale Jr. Meets the Media at Daytona Testing (8)

Interview Part 8 of 8

Dale Earnhardt Jr. met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed the departure of Steve Letarte as crew chief in 2015, his outlook for the 2014 season and other topics.

NASCAR Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. - Testing at Daytona
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - Testing at Daytona

Question: Not just you but any driver, I guess, I would assume your crew chief needs change throughout your career. I know you said you sort of needed a Gary Hargett figure when you started, but what do you need in the middle part of your career and the latter part of your career?

Dale Earnhardt Jr. I guess. I mean, when I got hooked up with Steve, we became pretty good buddies. He fit the role. Whatever it was that I needed at the time, he was perfect for that role. You know, I needed to get my confidence back. I needed to perform on the racetrack to be able to see that and to be able to understand my capabilities and my potential again. And we were able to do that, and he was able to help me through that process.

You know, like I said, I'm not going to make any discussions on who I think we should get in there to replace Steve, but I'm ready to win races. I think that the team is getting really close to being able to accomplish that. The way we ran last year was an improvement on the past season, and 2012 was an improvement on 2011. I want to keep that going because we're getting really close.

You know, whoever we bring in and whatever decisions that Rick and everybody makes in that regard, I hope they're ready to keep moving in that direction. I hope that we're able to maintain the integrity of the team because I think all the guys that I got working with me are the best group in the garage, and we'll just have to cross that bridge when we get to it.

But we've got a whole 'nother season to go through. It's a long year and a lot of things that a lot of challenges ahead at all these racetracks we've got to run at, and we've got a lot of things unfinished that we've got to accomplish this year.

A lot of things going on. A lot of things to think about. We've got I'm confident in Hendrick Motorsports to be able to juggle that, for us to be able to focus on this season and try to run well and also be able to hunt for the guy that's going to replace Steve. I feel confident that HMS can get it all done.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Driver of the NASCAR #88

MODERATOR: Dale, thank you for your time this morning. Good luck in 2014.

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