Dale Earnhardt Jr. and team owner Rick Hendrick weren’t the only ones excited about Earnhardt’s test Wednesday at Darlington Raceway.
Crew chief Greg Ives said Earnhardt’s first time behind the wheel of a race car in nearly a half-year went “really well,” and almost like an early Christmas present during an exclusive interview with NBC Sports’ Dave Burns.
“It’s one of those things you never can prepare for, how things go,” Ives said. “You try to rehearse perfection and make it as seamless as possible.”
Ives is as excited as Earnhardt is to get to the season-opening Daytona 500.
“After the test, I said I could have won every race when he was out and it wouldn’t mean as much to me as what happened Wednesday,” Ives said. “It’s one of those feelings where I signedup to be crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr., we’re here to win races for him and it’s something special to me that he’s going to be back in the car.”