NASCAR At Bristol: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Pleased With Team's Performance, Not Results

As he waited to be interviewed by FOX following Sunday's NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. peered inside Jeff Gordon's hauler.

After accidentally ruining the day of his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Earnhardt Jr. knew he'd have some "damage control" to do this week.

Earnhardt Jr. finished 15th after a speeding penalty on the final pit stop relegated him to the back of the lead-lap cars, but most fans will remember the No. 88 car's day for unintentionally cutting down Gordon's left-rear tire.

"I feel bad in what happened to Jeff, but damn, man, we were just racing," he said. "That wasn't nothing! We barely touched. It was just kind of a freak deal. So I'm not going to beat myself all to hell about it. I feel bad what happened to him, and I'm going to tell him about it."

Gordon said the teammates were racing "a little bit too tight."

"He was pretty good on the restart there and we were racing hard," Gordon said. "I know that it was not intentional, but it certainly ruined our day."

Aside from the incident with Gordon and his speeding penalty (Earnhardt Jr. said he didn't think he was speeding), NASCAR's most popular driver said he felt positive and upbeat about his team's performance.

"We're running good; I think we're a good team," he said. "We're showing ... we're capable of running up front and maybe winning a race or two this year. We're going to keep it up. I'm going to take all the positives I can out of this one.

"We didn't run good here last year; we struggled and kind of limped around and made something out of nothing, but today we ran good. I feel good about that."

A reporter asked Earnhardt Jr. why he appeared happy after what seemed like a frustrating day.

"I'm mad because I screwed myself on pit road speeding there; I'm pretty upset about that," he said. "And I feel bad about running into Jeff's car. I had a good day other than that; I had a good time."
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