NASCAR & Auto Racing

It's different, but transition

going well, Earnhardt Jr. says

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who had the fastest lap in Tuesday morning’s single-car runs during testing at Daytona International Speedway, is not ready to get into the forecasting business.

“I don’t want to sit here and guess how many races we’ll win,” Earnhardt Jr. said of his new No. 88 team at Hendrick Motorsports.

“I just like running up front every week. ...That's really all I wanted out of driving race cars. I want to be up front and be toward the front and challenging, and when I show up to the race track I want people to expect me to run well.

“We'll win some races, and I expect to win soon. I'm a good driver with a good team, and if we don't make mistakes on a Sunday we should have great finishes and win some races.”

Earnhardt Jr., who left Dale Earnhardt Inc. following the 2007 season, said so far he is enjoying his transition to a new Sprint Cup team.

“It has been pretty nice to be able to concentrate on the things that are important right now and testing and working and getting to know the guys,” he said. “There's a little bit less pressure in certain areas and more pressure in other areas.

“I didn't have to worry about job security when I was over at my other job, but I've got to worry about that now. I think if I do what I've been doing, I should be fine.

"But with being the son of the guy who built the place, you can get away with a few more things than most guys could.

“I've got a really good owner that makes me feel comfortable, and so that eases a lot of other pressures, talking to him and hearing from him and listening to his thoughts on what we're doing. It takes away some pressure from that side of it. But I don't know the guys that well, so I'm just nervous in getting to know them and hoping that they like me and like the kind of driver I am and they're happy that they have me as their driver.

“Everybody at Hendrick is really pumped up and giving me a good vote of confidence going into the test and going into the season, so it really makes it exciting to face all the challenges we're going to face.”

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