Dale Jr. will be here in 10 minutes to take your questions!
Hey Dale, congrats on the big win! What is the most challenging aspect of road coarse races?
The most challenging part is we don't road course race but twice a year. We don't have a lot of practice and time doing that. It takes a unique set of skills and a different set of skills than on the ovals. It's a bit of a challenge.
Where does the Batman paint scheme rank with all the other ones you have ran?
It's right up at the top five for sure, especially after a win.
How has your relationship with Steve led to your success this year?
Steve is the best crew chief in the business. He puts a lot of great people around him and he has a system that's successful. He's a cheerleader and really easy to work with
So, have you always been a fan of the Batman series, and do you get an early screening of The Dark Knight Rises? Nice win, by the way.
I have not seen the movie. I like the old series that was on cable from the 50s and 60s. I like the first movie with Michael Keaton. I've seen all of the movies. Batman is iconic. It's meant a lot for me to have it on the car and partner with those guys this weekend.
Awesome win Dale! Seems like Hendrick Motorsport's has found a good balance in the cars lately Ya'll seem real fast. What changed?
Well, we just did a lot of hard work in the offseason. We improved speed on all four teams. Since the start of the year we've been better than we were last year.
How has your move to Hendrick Motorsports helped you as a driver?
When you work at Hendrick Motorsports there's a certain level of accountability and professionalism. There is a standard you are held to and a professionalism that's top in the sport, in my opinion.
can you drive a black car every week? maybe a black car is good luck for you
I'm sure the fans would love to see it come back to the track this week. It was a one time deal. I do like to change it up once in a while. Kind of like reorganizing the furniture in the living room. It's fun to do every once in a while.
How much would it mean to you to win the Championship and join Dad as a Cup Champion?
That would be the best thing that I could accomplish in my career. Once you get that label it's there for life. Being a champion and being called a champion for the rest of your life would be a big deal.
How noticeable is it when you take the lead to see or hear the fans in the stands waving and shouting? Is that something you look forward to when making a pass for the lead?
Yeah, it is. You can definitely notice and see the fans cheering. I don't know if theyr'e standing every lap, but I know when I took the lead or came for the checkered flag this weekend, you see them go crazy. The only thing I can hear is the engine, but you know what it sounds like and you can imagine it.
how important was it to thankt he fans this past weekend?
It was the most important thing, I thought. It was the first thing I did when I got out of the car. I wanted them to know I appreciate them staying loyal and sticking with me all of these years.
I know you said you don't keep very many trophies at your house, but will this one make it there?
Yeah. It will go to my house or JR Motorsports. I'm not sure where it will go yet. I haven't had to think about that one for a long time.
Congratulations to you and the team on the win! What improvements do you and Steve see necessary for the team/car to stay ahead of the other teams and make a run for the championship?
We would like to find a little more speed. We've been looking for that all year. The last few weeks we've started to see that happening. A lot of the tracks in the Chase are good for me. We feel pretty good that we can get to the Chase and put up a good fight.
Where does this win rank with your other 18 wins in the cup series?
It's one of the important ones, because of the losing streak having been so long having been 4 years since we won. Plus winning with Steve meant a lot to me. He's a good crew chief and our combination, it felt good to get to Victory Lane.
How do you feel about upcoming road course race this Sunday?
I have never got a top 10 in Sonoma, so that's our goal, go in there and get a top 10.
What is the biggest difference with the 88 team this season versus what you have had in the past?
It's hard to say. We just have a good group of guys. Everybody is buying into what we're doing. Everybody's buying into the program. A lot of continuity.
Have you been ablevto sleep much the last couple of days with all of your obligations?
Yeah, I got a lot of sleep. I'm feeling good today. We sat around the house and talked about the win all night long, but I rested yesterday. Feeling good.
Who's got the toughest job on the 88 team between you, your crew chief Steve Letarte, and your spotter TJ Majors?
I definitely Steve has the toughest job. He has to be accountable for a lot. I have it pretty easy and TJ has it the easiest.
Do you see similarities this year compared to the year you had in 2004?
We won a lot of races. We won 6 in 2004 so we're behind that mark. The average finish after 15 races is eerily similar.
How do you prepare for road courses?
We go to test at Road Atlanta or Virginia. You just run laps and get yourself accustomed to shifting a lot like you do at road courses.
is it special to you to realize you won on fathers day knowing this is what your father did? also, where can i buy the dark knight hats like you wore this weekend?
Yeah, it was. I had a lot of fathers that are friends of mind that said that was a good Father's Day gift. It meant a lot to know that the win could have that effect.
Now that the pressure of that elusive win is off your back, do you think you are gonna win a few more this season?
I do. I feel like we got the monkey off our back and we can focus on taking a few more risks and putting ourselves in the position for more wins.
Dear Dale, how does it feel to get Rick Hendrick in a bear hug?
I haven't had a chance to see him, personally. I look forward to seeing him. I know he's worked hard to make it work for our team. I hope he enjoys it and we can get a few more wins.
Do you have any race-day rituals that you perform?
I don't. I don't have any rituals or superstitions to be honest. Our race day mornings are pretty choreographed. We have some hospitalities that we perform in the morning and then the drivers meetings.
What did you think of Tony's comments after the win? Biffle & Kenseth seemed real happy for you. Smoke, not so much...
Well, I thought Tony, I don't know, he was probably disappointed having run second and having such a strong car. And he's probably tired about getting asked questions about me. I can understand his frustration.I wasn't upset at all.
Because Tony congratulated me and texted me the next day. I know where he stands.
is it exciting to know that you've now qualified for the Chase?
Yeah, I feel a big relief as far as that goes. We've been concerning ourselves with points a lot. And now we can focus on single races. Hopefully we get the opportunity to take some risks.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to connecting with the fans. Hopefully everyone enjoyed the win. And hopefully it won't be long before we're celebrating again.
Thanks for chatting Junior!