After Dale Earnhardt Jr. won Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway and snapped a four-year winless streak, he had plenty to say to reporters during a visit to the media center.
Here are some of Earnhardt Jr.'s selected comments:
On whether he thought about his fans' reactions:
I felt the fan base. I felt the excitement and the emotion from them immediately, almost immediately. As soon as I got out of the car, that was my initial thoughts was about how many people were in their living rooms screaming at the top of their lungs and running out in the yard or whatever they do.
I just wish I could see it all at once. That was the one thing I kept thinking about.
On his emotions after crossing the finish line:
I thought it would be all relief, but it was not relief at all; it was excitement.
On whether he expected to have the winning car:
I woke up this morning just antsy, not knowing how this was going to play out. We had done so well up to this point (in the season), cognizant of the top‑10s and the laps we have ran and how steady we have been all year and I just want to keep that going each weekend.
I felt like we might be getting ready to have a difficult race. It turned out to be the exact opposite for whatever reason.
On other drivers coming to congratulate him in Victory Lane:
I guess it means I'm an all‑right dude.
On whether he was nervous at the end of the race:
That's the worst feeling riding around there with 15 laps to go wondering what's going to happen or how you were going to lose. I was just thinking, man, those laps could not go by fast enough.
I was just in there going crazy, thinking. And I'm looking all around the racetrack hoping there's no debris around the next corner. I just knew I was going to come around the next corner and see a piece of metal laying in the racetrack. ... So that was terrifying to be honest with you.
On what it means to his team, organization, friends and family:
I like seeing the smiles on everybody else's face. I'm going to enjoy this and I am enjoying this. It's so awesome to see how many other people it affects and how many people are affected by that kind of what happened today.