Danica Patrick, Dale Earnhardt Jr. talk racin' at Michigan
I’ve compiled a couple of NASCAR interview videos from Michigan International Speedway’s (MIS) August race weekend that I thought race fans may be interested in as the two drivers are the most sought out on many racetracks. The first is of Danica Patrick talking about her introduction into NASCAR and how she felt on Michigan’s 2-mile track. Hopes were high that she’d do well on her long awaited return to MIS but she finished 27th in her beautiful No. 7, Hot Wheels, Nationwide, stock car. Danica was a lot more fan friendly than the last time she was here in 2007 when running in the IndyCar Series. She looked much more relaxed in front of the cameras and large crowds of fans, and went out of her way to give autographs. I still get a chuckle every time I see her standing near the male drivers. Her build is probably a little smaller than Mark Martin’s but her competitive attitude is every bit as large as any of the boys.
And then there’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. You have no idea what I went through to get that one on tape. While videotaping his interview in the MIS media Center I was told by a NASCAR official to stop taping and to “Come see me when this is over!” I graciously followed instructions while pleading my case to the official; I made sure to find out where I could and could not videotape after the June race when I was checked out on the track by a fellow photographer. Regardless of what I told her she was insistent that I turn off the recorder, and I did. Just a couple of minutes later, the NASCAR official came back over and apologized for interrupting my taping. Must be I’m on the cutting edge when it comes to local media outlets taping the driver interviews. Turned out, I was right, go figure. I’m probably the only photographer to have ever been kicked out of the speedway. I wasn’t going to have that happen again.
Anyway, back to Dale Jr. You’d think that with all of the attention he gets he’d be used to talking in front of people but he’s just like most anyone else in that regard. I’m surprised he hasn’t bit a hole in his lip as much as he chews on it when in front of large crowds. During the interview he gradually relaxed, became the dude next door, and talked candidly about cars and tracks. By the end of the interview he was joking about how sometimes when communicating with the crew chief it turns into a heated discussion but they hold no grudges.
“You forget about any exchange over the last caution, whether it was good or bad or whatever,” said Jr. “The best thing that can happen really in any conversation that’s going south is someone has to be the bigger man and bite their tongue. That’s normally Lance. So, uh…I have a hard time biting my tongue and always want the last word and all that good stuff. And, I’m in a 120-degree hot car and feeling like, at the moment, I feel like I’m doing the majority of work. Right or wrong, I’m just saying, that’s how you feel, whether it’s right or wrong. So uh, you don’t want to hear no crap and you don’t want to take no crap.”
Ya gotta love that down to earth candidness! It’s no wonder he has so many fans.