Dale Earnhardt spent Wednesday afternoon sliding a Camaro around the Charlotte Motor Speedway infield in a commercial shoot featuring drifting, a Fast and the Furious-style of racing.
“It was really hard,” NASCAR’s most popular driver said. “I didn’t do as (well as) I thought I was going to do, but I kind of knew that. It’s just like people watching NASCAR and saying, ‘Man, that looks easy. How hard can that be, going around in circles?’ That’s what I thought about drifting until I got out here. I was like, ‘That’s not very easy at all.’ “
Though he struggled (Earnhardt gave himself a 2 while giving an 8 to fellow Sprint Cup driver and shoot participant Juan Pablo Montoya), the Hendrick Motorsports driver emerged in a loose mood that mirrored the exhibition of freewheeling driving talent.
During a wide-ranging interview with a small group of writers afterward, Earnhardt covered myriad topics stretching from Tiger Woods’ recent win to the Tim Tebow phenomenon to his passion for food. A few of the highlights:
Q: You’re in the midst of a long winless streak, and Tiger Woods just ended a two-year skid last weekend. Did you have a chance to watch it, and would you relate to the expression of relief on his face?
A: I ain’t watched it. I’m a big Tiger fan, and I’ve been pulling for him to succeed. I related to the pressure he was under the last couple of years and all the doubts about his abilities and whether he would get back to where he wanted to be. I felt like I kind of knew where he was mentally. For him to come back and win gives me confidence in my ability to do the same thing. I’m not in any way trying to compare myself to him. I just see there are similarities and comparisons. There’s things I can draw from his experience and what he’s going through that I see and can relate to his deal. So hopefully, I can win a race and know what that feels like. I’m sure it would be a huge relief. I think we’re really close.
Q: Some fans have taken to comparing the attention you receive in NASCAR with that received by Tim Tebow in the NFL. Any thoughts on that?
A: I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about that one. Do I need to work on my throwing motion? Is my throwing motion OK with everyone? Everybody happy with it? (chuckling) I don’t know. That guy is under too much damn pressure. I’ll tell you that. I like him and think he’s a good guy, but man, I think he lives under twice the microscope I ever did. He’s incredible. He doesn’t really fan the flames on that (exposure). He just does his own thing. But I don’t know. I guess that ain’t a bad guy to get compared to.
Q: Hendrick Motorsports has been sitting on win No. 199 for nearly six months. If you get the 200th victory, will that overshadow the milestone for team owner Rick Hendrick?
A: I don’t think he’d have a problem with that (laughs). No, I believe if anyone wins in our company, the win overshadows the 200th as far as the media coverage. Doesn’t matter who wins. When you’re inside the company, inside those doors, then the driver side isn’t quite as important. The 200th win will be the big deal at the next company luncheon.
Source: USA Today | Nate Ryan