(photo courtesy of Steve Langley)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. attended the 2009 Sprint Sound & Speed presented by Suntrust for his second year, held at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium on Saturday January 10th . During the media interview session, Dale was asked how he spent his winter. He said he spent a lot of the time helping to develop a racing simulator with John Henry, at IRacing.com. He also said he had run at least 8,000 laps since December 1st with the project (that and going to the Whiskey River Bar to have fun).

See more Q and A after the fold…

*Q:* What do you like about coming to the* *Sound & Speed *’*fan fest’?

*Dale, Jr.:* It is the 1st interaction with fans, they always wish me well in the coming year and their excitement gets me excited about the upcoming season of racing.

He continued; You sit around for months and become a bum, this brings you back, it’s kind of a tease and makes you excited to go to Daytona. You get to meet new people in the Country and Western world, get to see old friends and drivers you haven’t seen all winter.

*Q:* About the 2009 racing season, what do you think your year is going to be like?

*Dale, Jr.:* The season’s long and the economy is in bad shape, everybody knows that , and it’s going to have an impact on everything, but we all have to weather out the storm the best we can. Everyone is making cuts to their organizations and trying to maintain, people are loosing their jobs in our sport. Their just trying to get to the end of the recession. The season is long but I am a racer and I’d rather be in the car.

It’s funny, when I’m racing, all I can think of is my next day off but when I’m off, all I can think of is getting back in the car.

*Q:* What about the lack of testing? What about your prospects for the 2009 racing season?

*Dale, Jr.:* Not testing is good for us, we have a lot of resources and a lot of good engineers so we’re good when we get to the track. A lot of teams don’t have that advantage so we’ll have an advantage as far as non-testing goes.

*Q:* What do you think of having Mark Martin as a new team mate?

*Dale, Jr.:* I haven’t seen or talked to him much since last year. Mark is appreciative and always has nice things to say. He ran a Busch Race for us at Vegas and he won that one. I was clamoring to get a photo for my collection of him in that uniform with “Jr. Motorsports” on the shoulders! I think it is awesome what he has done in this sport, and how long he’s been around. I’ve known him forever, since I was a kid, I think his son Matt, is a great kid.

Marks is an asset to this sport and an amazing guy. I’m glad he is coming back full time so I can learn more from him.

*Q:* What happens when you go back home after being here?

*Dale, Jr.:* It’s always fun to meet all these country stars and my family back home always have a ton of questions about the stars I get to meet here in Nashville. The majority of the stars are down to earth and it’s fun to be a part of it here in Nashville.