By Bob Pockrass
Saturday, April 16, 2011
TALLADEGA, Ala. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. wasn’t worried about qualifying Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway or even about how he will handle the two-car draft in Sunday’s race.
He plans to go out and race a style of racing he isn’t all that fond of and just do his best in the Aaron’s 499.
“I don’t really like the two-car stuff, it’s just silly,” Earnhardt Jr. Said prior to qualifying Saturday. “I don’t think that much into it. You’ve just got to find somebody to push and just push them. … I’m hoping this kind of racing goes away fast so we don’t have to talk about this no more. This is a bunch of crap.”
Earnhardt Jr., who has five career victories at Talladega but none since 2004, qualified fourth but said prior to qualifying that he wasn’t all that concerned about where he started the race.
“Everybody’s cars are the same,” Earnhardt Jr. Said. “It’s however you push and, I don’t know, they’re all the same and you just go out there and push somebody around the race track.”
Does he have a strategy?
“I’ll just try harder not to wreck,” Earnhardt Jr. Said.
Earnhardt Jr. Said he will have his Hendrick teammates and Stewart-Haas Racing drivers on his radio and will try to hook up with them in the draft.
He doesn’t mind drafting, but believes the two-car draft looks strange and he doesn’t like the fact that two-car drafts are about 15 mph faster than cars running alone and faster than cars in a big pack.
Earnhardt Jr. Stopped short of criticizing NASCAR for the new rules.
“I don’t know whether I’m right or wrong,” Earnhardt Jr. Said. “I just know what I prefer, what I like. It’s my opinion. I’m entitled to one.
“You remember when we would go out to practice and even the few fans that are here Thursday and Friday, that’s pretty interesting to them. How interesting was practice yesterday? Everybody thinks it’s cool now because it’s new and it’s neat and wow, what’s going on?
“Everybody is getting a big kick out of it. But in the long haul, it’s not the best. It’s not as good as 40 dudes in one pack racing like #### trying to get to the front. It’s nowhere near as good as that.”
While Earnhardt Jr. isn’t all that enthused about racing this weekend, he has had some good laughs this week, particularly with a video of him playing a prank on employees at JR Motorsports, who were sent to get a drink out of a cooler and a fake snake popped out.
Among the victims of the prank, which took place during the shooting of a commercial for Nationwide sponsor Suave, were his JR Motorsports crew chief and team co-owner Tony Eury Jr. As well as JRM driver Aric Almirola.
“We had a lot of fun pretending we were going to interview them and figure out a way to get him in that cooler,” Earnhardt Jr. Said. “Some people were not scared at all and some people I was surprised at how big of a reaction we got from some others