Friday, October 13, 2017

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hopes for One Last Dega Victory

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

by Courtney Horn

Six-time Talladega winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. is looking to add to his legacy this weekend at the track where his family has had so much success. Earnhardt Jr., who announced his retirement in April, will be making his 35th and final start at the superspeedway this Sunday.

“We’ve been looking at this race as a great opportunity for us to come in and get an awesome run or finish and maybe a win,” Earnhardt said. “Just been focusing on the car and trying to get the car to be as good as possible. Make sure it’s driving the way we need to drive it so we can be aggressive in the race.”

Earnhardt said he hasn’t thought about the extra emotions in his final start in the Alabama 500, but acknowledged the motivation the fans provide when coming to see him race well.

“I do know this place has been great to me. We got a lot of fans that come to see us run here, because they see it as a great opportunity to see us run well.”

Earnhardt Jr. will be honored state-wide on Sunday, October 15, 2017 as Governor Kay Ivey declared it “Dale Earnhardt Jr Day” in the state of Alabama.

Earnhardt Jr., who has 12 top-5s and 16 top-10s along with his wins at the 2.5-mile track, will miss learning how to make his car better to work in the draft.

“You either love it or you hate it.” Earnhardt said of plate racing, “It seems like there’s no middle ground.”

“I always enjoy coming to the track and trying to figure out what’s working in the draft and what’s changed and as you change the cars, and we’re gonna have a brand new Camaro next year, how will that work in the draft. I always kinda liked to find that out. Just be able to make moves and find your way up toward the front. That’s always fun when you do something that your team gets excited about.”

Earnhadt Jr. had hoped to wear the helmet camera during Sunday’s event to prepare for his transition into broadcasting, but it obstructs his vision too much. He hopes to wear it at another event before season's end.

“I wanted to wear it one time before the end of the year, so if we saw it next year I could talk about it with some experience.” He explained, “I’ve always felt like if it motivated you, bring it on. Add it to the puzzle.”

Sunday’s Alabama 500 at Talladega SuperSpeedway starts at 2 p.m ET on NBC.



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