Dale Earnhardt Jr in Victory Lane at Pocono.
Dale Earnhardt Jr on his race today – “We had a real good car in practice yesterday, felt pretty comfortable. Throughout the race we had a pretty fast car. We were mired in fifth or sixth place for the most part of the day, but I knew that our speed was good, and it just really come down to who was going to be leading on that last restart. That guy was going to be the guy that was going to be hard to beat. It’s real hard to pass here, and I knew that dirty air was going to be a big challenge for anybody, so if you can get that clean air like Brad did, he was going to be hard — that was what was going to win the race.
You know, I tried as hard as I could on those restarts to do anything that I thought could give me a shot to get by him, but he was very strong entering the corner especially, so it was hard for me to do anything on restarts. He would get clear pretty easily.
But with about eight laps to go, Steve said he was complaining about his temperatures. He had a lot of stuff on his grille, and I thought for sure he wasn’t going to do anything like he did in Turn 1. I thought he’d just go ahead and motor on and just hopefully the engine made it.
But we got down into Turn 1, we went up the race track to chase that lap car and try to get that stuff off his grille. I don’t know what his temperatures were, but they must have been very, very hot for Brad to do that. I knew right then when he did that, he was so slow, I thought we were going to pass him, we’re going to take the lead, we’re going to have four laps to go, and if I just run tidy corners, he would have trouble. He would have trouble with the dirty air and wouldn’t be able to get to us.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Well, first off, really proud of the speed we had today. The guys did a great job. I feel like this one is kind of on me and the circumstances. I was trying to do something to help my car out and I knew it was going to break and I was going to get passed so I was trying to make whatever move I could do to help clean it off, and I’m not sure I did enough to make a difference.
But I made enough of a difference to lose the lead in the process. I thought I had enough of a cushion, and when I got down in the corner and the car in front of me got sideways I realized I had made a mistake. But it was too little, too late, but still proud of the speed, good execution today on probably all ends but mine, and something to look forward to as we move forward and come back here in a month or so.
I probably ran — I probably under-drove the car a little bit there at the end, but I just wanted to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes because if he did get to us, it was going to be challenging because I think he had a little better car there at that particular point. I just had to keep him in dirty air and keep him back there, and he wasn’t going to get within a couple car lengths I don’t think.