Dale Earnhardt Jr. hasn't found Victory Lane yet during Speedweeks and already suffered one blown engine, but he continues to have a positive outlook heading into Sunday's Daytona 500.
Earnhardt talked about his Speedweeks so far following his ninth-place finish in Thursday's first Gatorade Duel.
Q: What did you learn out there?
"We've got to work on our handling. Our car was really really tight. At the first, we were on the splitter pretty bad; we worked on it yesterday and went a little too far. Got a little too aggressive with that. But put a packer in on that pit stop, and it was still real tight. I was having to lift in the center of three and four, just to get off the corner. I had to lift real big getting into one on the first lap where Juan (Pablo Montoya) got into the fence behind us. We hadn't been around any packs. I didn't anticipate really the balance being a big deal because the car does have a good downforce package; we thought the balance would be pretty close. Figured we would be fighting loose a little big. We have to work on it. We will; we'll fix it."
Q: Anything you learn going to help you for the 500?
"We've got a good car. I was able to do some things. I did learn a few things about when those guys get up top. I found some ways to make gains; make passes one car at a time. If you get greedy and try to get a couple, you end up getting trained to the back. Learned a lot of things out there. Just how this car is working with this package that will help us on Sunday."
Q: How indicative is that of what we'll see on Sunday?
"I think it is exactly what you are going to see. You'll see a lot of racing. It'll be single file around the bottom some. It will be single file around the top some. Then all of a sudden everybody will start racing for no apparent reason. Then it'll go back to running single file for awhile. We don't really dictate that as driver. Not the field. The field really is at the mercy of the guys of front. If those guys up front chose to race a certain way, the filed sort of has to follow suit just to be able to maintain the draft. I think it will be a good race. It's a long race, you know. We can't run three-wide every lap as much as everybody would like to see that. I think its good racing."
Q: Can you win?
"Anybody can win, but we've got a good piece. We've got a real good car. We get that balance right, and get the thing to turning good, we'll have a great shot."