Q and A: Earnhardt Wants COT Changes
During a press conference at Michigan International Speedway over the weekend, Dale Earnhardt Jr. took some questions about the Car of Tomorrow.
Here is a partial transcript of that press conference:
WHAT Were you getting at with recent comments about NASCAR engineers could do more to make these cars safe?
Earnhardt: “I just think, that everyone needs to…, what I am getting at is I think we need to open our eyes a little bit, everyone. I think media could address it a little stronger. I think that the drivers could be a little more vocal about it. I think NASCAR could probably be a little more urgent in improving our product. With the ultimate result is great, exciting racing that the fans will enjoy. That the drivers enjoy and so everyone is happy. That should be our quest always, even when things are good. I feel like especially right now, we need to really, really try to turn over every stone.
“That includes where we are with this COT and where we feel like its development is. And where we feel like its future goes and where we feel like this car goes; how it evolves. I just have a sense of urgency over the last couple of weeks I guess to see if we can’t do better.
“The reason, I think, where that comes from, is the double-file restarts and the spark that really put in to the racing. I enjoy it, I think all the drivers enjoy it. I think the fans love it. We need more of that. We need to do that. Things that are tangible such as the cars themselves and think of more ideas we can do within the races to add more of that. The double-file restarts gave us an opportunity to be exciting for only a moment and we need to figure out how we can maintain that throughout the entire race.
“I feel like, I just remember how the other cars drove. I liked how they drove and I like how this car is safe but I want to be able to race it like we raced the other cars.
“NASCAR is open to all of the drivers. I was just asked a question and gave an answer. I’m not trying to start a crusade against nobody or cause anybody problems. We all, I think, the drivers, myself included, we all work together with NASCAR to do this. I am just trying to remind everyone of the optimal goal and prize for us is to have better racing.
“Even when things are good, we shouldn’t rest on any success we may be having. We are not really where we want to be, I don’t think, as a sport. We need to do thinks to excite corporate America. Excite the fans. We need to get proactive immediately to make that happen.”
HOW would you rate the racing after the double-file restarts?
Earnhardt: “Before that, I thought it was rather poor, I did. The races to me were very poor and we almost depended on the late cautions to save the day to make somebody race side-by-side for a couple of laps at least within 10 laps of the finish of the race and somehow that saved the day. Then there was no argument the next week, it would go away. It was very frustrating because 95% of the race wasn’t worth the price of the ticket.”
IS the town meeting valuable or not?
Earnhardt: “I was testing that day (of the first one). (LAUGHS) I feel like that those meetings are good. Those meetings are great. We need to do them more and I am sure NASCAR probably doing it without us evening knowing. I just think that we need to be proactive all of the time to try to make it better. And I think that the car is really safe and there are great characteristics about it but we need to be looking to opportunities on what could we do to make it even better, even greater.”No Comment