Beyond the Cockpit: Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

_Dale Earnhardt, Jr. made a visit to Atlanta, Ga. to help promote the coming night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. While speaking to a pool of reporters at a restaurant, Fronstretch’s Doug Turnbull had a chance to ask the driver of the No. 88 a couple of questions._

*Doug Turnbull, FS.com –* “Your current crew chief Lance McGrew is still listed as an interim crew chief. Is there talk of anyone trying to replace him, or is he the man of the future, as of now?”

*Dale Earnhardt, Jr. –* “As of now, he is the man of the future and he is the guy that we are all placing our confidence in to make the correct decisions. He’s taken quite a task on to try and improve our team and change the direction of our team and make it more competitive. I think me and every other member of that team has confidence in him to make that happen. I feel really comfortable with him; I like working with Lance and I look forward to seeing how the rest of this season plays out.”

*Turnbull –* “Are there any more developments with your Nationwide Series driver Brad Keselowski? Nothing is settled for him coming to Cup, but he hasn’t committed to your Nationwide Series program either in the No. 88.”

*Earnhardt –* “He has to decide what he wants to do. We don’t control his situation; we don’t control the direction he goes next year. It’s up to him if he wants to go into the Sprint Cup Series and if does that, it will likely change the opportunity for him to drive our car, because we wouldn’t be able to work in a conflicting relationship if he is driving for x owner. We are a Hendrick program and developing this new [Nationwide] CoT car and a lot of the information we get would be information that we would not want anyone else to know. So, we would have to look in new directions.”

“Brad’s a really good guy. Our program means a lot to him and he has a good feeling about his relationship with [crew chief] Tony [Eury] Sr. and what they’ve done for him and what he’s done for them – they all sort of built this together and that’s important to him. And he’s struggling with that to do. ‘Should I stay where I am at, where I know what I am doing, where it’s working, where I have built branding with my sponsors? Or do I try and go into the Cup Series where there are several unknowns and make it from there?’ I have confidence that he can do the same thing in the Cup Series that he’s done with our program. It’s really up to him what he wants to do. I’m sort of standing here holding the trophy I always wanted out of this deal – and that is to take somebody and help them turn into the racecar driver that gives them the opportunity to race in the Cup Series and that’s what we’ve done with Brad. That’s what he’s done with our program. I just feel that we have succeeded with what I chalked up on the screen as our ultimate goal. If Brad moves on to do something else, we will have that opportunity with someone else.”

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