Jul 4, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT
In his mind, he knows what he has to do in order to claim a win that would make him the sixth Sprint Cup driver in history to sweep both Daytona races in the same year.
“I have a pretty good understanding of what I was going through and what I was thinking through the last 100 miles of the 500,” Earnhardt said Thursday at Daytona.
“I understand what was working for me and what mentality I need to have. You just really have to crack the whip and push yourself mentally as hard as you can for every position.”
Earnhardt recalled the importance of not giving up the lead during February’s Great American Race in order to control the field on restarts and have lane choice.
“You had to keep reinforcing to yourself as you were running, that if someone would get up beside you for the lead, how important it was not to let that person have the position,” he said.
“You had to run extremely aggressive side drafting and try to box them in on the fence. You wanted to make it really hard on them to take a position away.”
He also hopes that this aggressiveness will help him erase his surprisingly poor result at ‘Dega in May, which is still a source of embarrassment for NASCAR’s most popular driver.
As that race went into its latter stages, Earnhardt opted to fall toward the back in order to avoid potential crashes. However, he was unable to make up ground in the end and later received a lot of criticism from the NASCAR fan base.
It wasn’t the first time an athlete has had an educated decision backfire in the middle of a contest, and it won’t be the last. But Earnhardt still appears to be stung a bit by the backlash he took.
“I think when I was out there running this year, I got real selfish at Talladega, and how the result affected anyone – I never took into account,” said Earnhardt, who said he learned some lessons from that ill-fated day.
“I was just out there really thinking about me, and what I thought, and what I wanted to do, and how frustrated I was. I forgot that there was a team behind me, and depending on me. Lot of fans there to see us race showed up to spend hard-earned money, so it was a difficult thing to go through.”
But that’s in the past now and Earnhardt is focusing on attaining the aforementioned Daytona sweep, which will no doubt be a tough task. Before Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson pulled off that feat last year, it hadn’t been done for 31 years (Bobby Allison, 1982).
However, Earnhardt is up for the challenge.
“I would love to sweep the races at Daytona because that is a cool thing, but I just love winning here,” Earnhardt said. “So to go to Victory Lane here regardless of what we did in February, would mean a lot to me.”
Aug 27, 2014, 1:23 AM EDT
MotorSportsTalk sorts out fact from fiction regarding the yet-to-be-revealed 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, based on hints from today’s NASCAR schedule release.
Aug 26, 2014, 10:41 PM EDT
NASCAR star Kevin Harvick has never been afraid to speak his mind. But the Tony Stewart/Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy has caused him to be more judicious in what he says and also “frustrated” at how the media has dealt with the entire incident.
Aug 26, 2014, 8:51 PM EDT
The long-awaited release of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule was much less of the surprise many expected. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Aug 26, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT
Brad Keselowski won his first Camping World Truck Series race last Thursday at Bristol, but his and two other teams have been dinged by NASCAR after their Trucks failed post-race height requirements.
Aug 26, 2014, 7:06 PM EDT
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s executive vice president of racing operations, explains the factors that influence how the final racing schedule is created.
Aug 26, 2014, 6:21 PM EDT
The NASCAR AMERICA crew make their initial observations of the 2015 Sprint Cup docket (Hint: They’re really happy about Darlington returning to Labor Day weekend).
Aug 26, 2014, 5:01 PM EDT
NBC Sports Group begins its 2015 NASCAR race coverage on July 4th (Nationwide) and 5th (Sprint Cup) from Daytona International Speedway.
Aug 26, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
The big moment is almost here. Click this post for stream links to today’s special edition of NASCAR AMERICA – featuring the announcement of the 2015 NASCAR schedule!
Aug 26, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT
It’s the first of a planned four-book series that’s designed to help kids be more self-confident and make good choices.
Aug 26, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT
Notes and numbers to keep in mind as NASCAR sets up shop in Atlanta this weekend.
Aug 26, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT
The new Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2 Super Trofeo has been officially revealed in the last week, and will race in the single-make Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo series.
Aug 26, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Hamilton also vows that he won’t be out for revenge against Rosberg at the upcoming Italian Grand Prix.
Aug 26, 2014, 12:13 PM EDT
With 35th win, Scott Dixon ties Bobby Unser on the all-time win list.
Aug 26, 2014, 11:46 AM EDT
We should know within the next few weeks whether Cosworth’s intentions to align with an OEM will become a reality for IndyCar. Meanwhile, there’s plenty coming from the company.
Aug 26, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT
Dutch media peg Giedo van der Garde as close to a 2015 race seat with Sauber.
Aug 26, 2014, 10:34 AM EDT
Wide guest list to join tonight’s one-hour NASCAR AMERICA, as the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule is revealed.
Aug 26, 2014, 10:23 AM EDT
Len Terry was behind the success of the Lotus 38 that won Indianapolis with Jim Clark.
Aug 25, 2014, 8:32 PM EDT
With two regular season races left, the pressure’s building for those drivers without a win and are outside of the Chase Grid.
Aug 25, 2014, 8:14 PM EDT
After Saturday’s radio altercation between Busch and crew chief Dave Rogers, NASCAR AMERICA’s Frank Stoddard wonders if their boss needs to take a harder line against his talented but sometimes mercurial driver.
Aug 25, 2014, 7:40 PM EDT
For the second straight year at Bristol, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick were involved in one of the night’s bigger incidents.
Video from NASCAR America
- NASCAR schedule reveals some potential 2015 IndyCar schedule hints; Texas IndyCar returns 1
- Kevin Harvick riled at Tony Stewart portrayal in Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy 18
- Like a good stew, 2015 Sprint Cup schedule and new Chase format need time to simmer for best taste 0
- NASCAR AMERICA: How did the 2015 schedule come together? (VIDEO) 0
- NASCAR announces 2015 Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Truck Series schedules (VIDEO) 1
- FIA won’t punish Nico Rosberg after Belgian GP incident with Lewis Hamilton 5
- Will Power once again in position for IndyCar title – but this time feels different 1