NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Sprint Showdown
Topics: Sprint Showdown
May 21, 2011
CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA
THE MODERATOR: Good luck in the next race.
We're welcoming into the media center David Ragan, who finished first in the Sprint Showdown tonight. This is his first All-Star Race that he qualified for.
We're also welcomed by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. who, as we previously announced, was the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote.
We'll get opening statements from both and then take a couple questions.
David, talk about the showdown, your thoughts going into your first All-Star Race.
DAVID RAGAN: Clean air was everything. I felt like those restarts was going to determine who was going to win and who wasn't. If you would have threw a guy running sixth and seventh in the lead, I think they would have had the speed to stay up there.
Just fortunate we were able to get through the restarts, not lose a lot of ground. Our car was pretty good there at the end. So it was cool to get the win.
There for a little while I was going to be happy running second, but the car was just a little bit better than Brad's and it feels good.
THE MODERATOR: Dale, 2.4 million votes cast. Talk about what that means?
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: I thank not only my fans, but all the fans that voted. I know my fans worked really hard. I kept up on the Internet about the temperature they had about it. They were committed pretty hard. So I appreciate the help.
We did struggle a little bit today. We hit on some things right there at the end that made the car a good bit faster. I was really happy with the speed on the last run.
Just a short race, starting so far back, we knew we were going to have to probably take no tires on that halfway break. I knew the guys were in front of me, if I couldn't get by them in the first 20, were going to do the same thing. That dirty air was pretty bad.
Running pretty good on the second segment. David and the 27 were side-by-side in front of me. I started plowing, getting real, real tight, ended up losing the nose. Got a break to change it under caution with 13 to go. The last run was really good.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take some questions for David and Dale.
Q. David, what does this do for your confidence that you can do this?
DAVID RAGAN: Yeah, it does a lot for our confidence, for myself, for the team, for the competitors that we race around. We've been so close to closing the deal and haven't been able to do it. There for a few laps tonight, I thought we were going to have to run second.
But we kept fighting. Everything is a lot easier if you have a fast racecar. I just tried to not make any mistakes the last few runs. It will give us some extra confidence just to be out here in this All-Star Race. This is a race we've had to watch the last three years. It's been pretty tough to go back home and watch it. It will give us some confidence being out there.
I'm more than proud for my team to be a part of it. They've been working hard. We didn't get a chance to go down to the All-Star Pit Crew Challenge. Really happy for my guys, it means a lot to them.
THE MODERATOR: David, thank you for your time. Good luck tonight.
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