|Earnhardt remains focused|
Earnhardt’s JR Motorsports NASCAR Nationwide Series team recently parted company with Competition Director Tony Eury, Sr., and crew chief Tony Eury, Jr. – Earnhardt’s uncle and cousin, respectively – and while admitting that those moves were difficult on a personal level, “It doesn’t really weigh on me when I go work.
“It’s something that I can easily put aside when I’m at the race track this weekend, or any given weekend,” he said. “It was not easy at all to sever the working relationship with Pops or Tony, Jr. But we’re a company that wants to improve over what we’ve been doing, and we’re making some changes to see if we can make that happen.”
While his Sunday ride with Hendrick Motorsports remains top priority, Earnhardt said, “I do like to have heavy involvement in (JR Motorsports). I do have general concerns about the company, even when things are going good. I like to be plugged into what is going on and the direction we’re going.”
Sister Kelley Earnhardt-Miller is tasked with overseeing the day-to-day operation of the race team, and Earnhardt said he has competent managers in place with his various other business interests, as well. allowing him “to focus on my main priority, which is driving the Cup cars. It needs to be fluid, and work as flawless as possible. I’m not in a position in my life to invest my focus in it, with everything else I’ve got going on. Driving race car cars (is) the priority (and) I won’t overload myself or take away from that, especially with the opportunity I’ve got right now to win the Chase, win the championship.”
“I won’t let anything take away from that.”
Earnhardt also said he was unhappy with his performance in the opening round of the 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, and expects more of himself and his team this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“I was a little bit disappointed with finishing eighth last week,” he said. “We’re going to need a little bit more than that to win the championship. (New Hampshire) is a track that I feel like owes me one. We’ve been running here for a long time. We’ve had some good cars here, and we’ve had some cars capable of winning races. We just haven’t been able to finish the job. It’s got to happen sooner or later, and I feel like that it needs to happen now.”
He said a strong run at The Magic Mile is important to maintain his team’s momentum and morale.
“There’s a bit of urgency,” he admitted. “Not a whole lot, just enough to keep us motivated and real positive. I feel pretty positive. I’m really to attack and go work on the car in practice; try to find a great balance. We had a real good car when we tested here a few months ago. I feel like we are really close. Hopefully, we can hit on a few things in practice and really get the car moving.”