Monday, June 18, 2012

Rick Hendrick talks about Dale Junior's win at Michigan

SPEED Interview with Rick Hendrick

Q. Rick, first of all, we're sorry you couldn't be here to actually witness this thing. Logistics kept you away from it. How satisfying is this and how well is the season going for you guys?

RICK HENDRICK: Well, you know, a little bit of a slow start, but we had a lot of speed. Then we get the 200th win and then the All-Star race, and Kasey gets a win, Jimmie gets another one, and I thought Dale had a real shot last week at Pocono. But to get it this weekend, that's outstanding. It's like ahuge load off our backs.

Q. Rick, everybody has been looking to this team, and again, you never lost your focus and the confidence in this group as a whole. Steve Letarte as well as Dale Earnhardt Jr. … what kind of advice have you given these two?

RICK HENDRICK: You know, they just get along so good. I think the chemistry is the best I've seen with any crew chief and driver. And you just look at the way they've been running and had a lot of speed, you knew it was going to come. And just try to say, Dale, don't worry about that, man. You're almost leading the points here. You've got more top tens than anybody. When you run second, third and fourth, you're going to win races. And we hated Pocono, took a chance, but there was too much on the line. I can tell you that's the longest 18 laps I've ever spent, at the end of this race.

Q. Rick, we're having fun with this victory. You know where you were at when you got married, what church. On this day where were you exactly when you saw Junior cross the start/finish line and win this race?

RICK HENDRICK: I was doing laps around my couch, trying to end this race, man. Batman was in a hurry. I was too nervous to stand still. Linda and I were just watching it, come on, no problems. I was so afraid there was going to be a caution, or something was going to happen.

Q. What do you think about the championship potential for the number 88 team?

RICK HENDRICK: Well, you know, when you see a car, and a driver get momentum, and all of the cars are running real well, they're sharing a lot of information, and Dale is just -- he's just switched on. He's got the confidence, Stevie has got the touch and every week they're the best by far. I think he's sitting in the cat bird seat to win his first championship.

Q. Well, Rick, when you -- what will you guys do to celebrate this?

RICK HENDRICK: Well, we had Brad Paisley come down and play for our 200th win. No telling what we might do for this one, I don't know, but we're going to do something. We do like to celebrate together, because the organization just works so hard, and they want to see Junior do so well. So stay tuned.