Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn't a fan of road-course racing, and particularly dislikes Infineon Raceway. So it's no surprise he wasn't in the most talkative mood on Friday.
"Woo. Exciting," he said flatly when asked whether he was happy to be in Sonoma.
Earnhardt Jr. has raced at Infineon 11 times and has yet to record a top-10 finish – though he's come close. Last year, he finished 11th.
Though the track is far from one of his favorites, he said the expectation and goal is to "make it my favorite place."
"I think if I ran well here, I'd be happy," he said. "It's just a real hard track to get around – it has a lot of turns and stuff. These cars aren't really built for road courses. So it just really makes it a hassle, trying to race and pass."
Earnhardt Jr. said his good runs in the past – he nearly had a top-10 finish in 2009 until he was spun late in the race – gives him confidence that he "kind of" knows what he's looking for out of the car.
"We just want to go out there and be a factor all day," he said.
Though Earnhardt Jr. doesn't enjoy driving at Sonoma, he understands why fans would like it. The road courses have turned into the new short tracks, with beating and banging and tempers flaring.
"It's probably really, really fun to watch, because you just know somebody is going to get run over every other lap," he said. "Somebody is going to get in the tires; you see a lot of guys screwing up, driving crazy, running into each other."
Earnhardt Jr. said the most interesting place to be is on the helicopter pad after the race – though he doesn't fly out of the tracks on helicopters anymore.
"It's pretty interesting after the race (at the helicopter pad)," he said. "Everybody sort of just gets what's on their mind out, and they talk it out. Or they don't talk, and it's just kind of awkward."