But does Earnhardt really want? A Cup championship.
Earnhardt was asked Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway how important was to make the Chase and his take was very telling:
"I don’t know how important it is. It is probably all professional really. You have a lot of race fans; a lot of sponsors and me as a driver; my car owner; everybody. That is your ultimate goal to get in the Chase at the start of the season. It is important to us all on a professional level. On a personal level, I don’t really know how much it matters to me.," he said.
"Making the Chase is just an afterthought. I really want to win the championship, you know. Making the Chase is great and all, but as a person, you want to be the champion. Making the Chase doesn’t really make you feel better at the end of the season if you don’t win a championship, you are really disappointed. I don’t really think about, I need to make the Chase, personally, those aren’t my thoughts. I think more about what could we have done last week? What do we need to go into Bristol? What did we do last time we raced here?
"I’m thinking more about the particular day-to-day stuff and I want to win a race. How can we put ourselves in position to do that? Things like that. The Chase stuff, the points and everything sort of takes care of itself. You try to do the best you can throughout the year to put yourself in the best position there, but, I miss the Chase, I’ll probably catch a lot of s*** about it. It will save me a lot of s*** if I make the Chase so that is probably the only thing personally that I have to worry about."