Following what appeared to be his most aggressive and wild race in recent memory, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was just as animated after getting out of the car as he had been moments earlier on the track during a seventh-place finish at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday.
"That right there was basically, 'Hey, the season is running down, we're not gonna be racing much longer and I'm going to miss it,'" he said. "So I came to the buffet and got everything I could eat today!"
Earnhardt Jr. said he showed up this morning at Martinsville Speedway and was "just kind of hanging out," but he decided to have a couple of his sponsor's Amp Energy Drinks before the race started, and "I was probably a little too excited."
"I calmed down after awhile, but that first 100 laps, man, it was fun!" he said. "I was having fun, you know? I enjoyed it."
Perhaps his competitors weren't having as much fun. Earnhardt Jr. drove like a man possessed, rooting and gouging his way to the front and bumping plenty of cars along the way.
He accidentally spun Joey Logano, slammed doors with David Ragan and traded paint with Paul Menard, among others.
So was he worried about future retaliation?
"Nah," he said. "I mean, c'mon, man. Everybody I think I ran over – even accidentally – got me back in some way, shape or form today. I don't know if they think we're all even, but I ain't really worried about it. If they want to come at me, (then) come at me!"
Earnhardt Jr. said observers and fans may have been surprised at his racing style because NASCAR doesn't do enough short-track racing anymore.
"So when you see this kind of thing, you're like, 'Whoa! What's going on?'" he said. "Cause we run on these mile-and-a-halfs, and you don't ever see that crap. If we ran on these things more often, this would kind of be more acceptable, I guess, to the mind."
To that point, Earnhardt Jr. looked into the cameras around him and said (to some unknown powerful person): "Please build some more short tracks."
"We need some more short tracks," he said. "All these mile-and-a-halfs, man, I know you can get more seats or whatever, but they just don't really turn everybody on."
With Earnhardt Jr. so wound up after what he said was perhaps the most fun race of the season, one had to wonder if fans in post-race traffic were going to have to keep an extra close eye on their rear-view mirrors.
"Well, I'm helicoptering out of here," he said. "So they're in good luck today!"