What does Michael Annett and Reed Sorenson have to say ahead of this weekend's Pepsi 400?
Michael Annett and Reed Sorenson spoke to the media today in Daytona, here is the full transcript of their press conference.
DO YOU THINK THIS IS YOUR BEST OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE THE CHASE WITH A WIN HERE AT DAYTONA?
ANNETT: “I think so. It’s hard to say. We’re both very competitive race car drivers but we also know what we’re up against. Just going off of the past, you see small teams that circle the superspeedways as probably the most even playing field that we’re on. The way we ran at Talladega, I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t come out of here with a win. I’m 30th in points right now and it’s something I keep looking at thinking man, if we go to Daytona and won that race, we’d be in the Chase. If our team is going to pull that off I think it would be something pretty special.” SORENSON: “I agree. It’s pretty special. This is probably the best chance for us to win a race. Any of the restrictor plate races kind of evens the field. Everybody knows that. So, yeah, if one of us could get a win that would be great. And that’s what the new system has kind of enabled a smaller team like ours to have that opportunity if you were able to win a race. So, this would be a place to do it, for sure.”
BEFORE THE KENTUCKY RACE YOU SAID YOU HAD A PRETTY GOOD CAR. WHAT DID YOU LEARN THERE THAT WILL HELP YOU MOVING FORWARD?
ANNETT: “Kentucky was just a whole weekend where you always go out for that first run when you unload off the truck and it kind of sets the tone for the whole weekend. I knew right away that it was a really good car just throughout practice, I knew it. I’ve had a lot of success at Kentucky in Trucks and Nationwide and everything. So I had a really good feeling about that weekend. I can’t pinpoint exactly one particular thing that we learned, it was just fun to be running up there in the top 20 all night. It’s a totally different ballgame. Moving up to the Cup Series was a big step, but when you actually have a good car like that and the whole night you’re racing with those guys, you definitely learn a lot. So, if (Kevin) Bono (Manion, crew chief) learned something, I don’t know. He’s forgotten more than I’ll ever know. But I just learned a lot the whole night racing with those guys.”
DOES IT GIVE YOU MORE CONFIDENCE COMING INTO THIS WEEKEND AT DAYTONA?
ANNETT: “Yeah, I’ve had a lot of success here and Daytona is a place where sometimes you love it and sometimes you hate it. I had to miss three months of the year a few years back when I broke my sternum here, but I won an ARCA race here and it’s a place you love to hate. But I’m looking forward to the weekend. It’s always a crapshoot, but I think we have as good a shot as anybody else to win the race.”
YOU HAVE TOP 20 FINISHES AT THREE OF THE LAST EIGHT RACES, HIGH HORSEPOWER TRACKS WHERE TYPICALLY A SMALLER TEAM DOESN’T DO AS WELL. SO WHAT HAS HELPED YOU IN THAT SENSE?
ANNETT: “I can’t point one thing out that we’ve been doing different. My relationship with Bono just keeps growing and our guys are working as hard as ever. We have a really good alliance with RCR and we’re starting to see those cars (like) Paul Menard in the top 10 every weekend. We have a good alliance there. When they learn, we’re learning the same stuff. Across the board, I think all the teams are starting to run better.”
LOOKING AT PRACTICE TODAY, IT WAS WINDY. IF WE HAVE THE SAME CONDITIONS FOR QUALIFYING TOMORROW, HOW DO YOU THINK THAT WILL PLAY OUT? DESCRIBE HOW THE CAR FELT IN THE WIND
SORENSON: “I asked how windy it was because I was in the car the whole time before that storm rolled in. My car was moving around, too. He (Annett) said his drove good, so maybe it wasn’t the wind, maybe our cars weren’t driving correctly. It shouldn’t affect qualifying.”
ANNETT: “The wind is going to be the least of our worries (laughter).”
SORENSON: “During qualifying at Talladega, our biggest issue was see-sawing back and forth trying to get runs on each other. It’s kind of a cluster out there. Even today in practice, we went out there and then pulled back in and then went back out. Everybody wants to be in the back to get that run. So, that’s going to be fun.”
ANNETT: “We always have an idea.”
SORENSON: “I don’t know and I’m going to find out after this what the plan is.”
ANNETT: “Obviously we want all the ECR engines to qualify up front. So, that’s pretty much what we tried to practice today. There are a lot more small teams like us where guys want that run too, so they jump in line with you and that’s why we rode around. I was in second gear I think and then came down pit road.
SORENSON: “At Talladega, I was supposed to go with him in Qualifying, behind him; but I don’t think I ever saw him in Qualifying at all. It’s hard to plan it but I think that’s the plan.”
WHAT’S IT LIKE OUT THERE GOING IN SECOND GEAR?
ANNETT: “It’s something I’ve never been a part of until we started doing this. It’s pretty crazy. It’s different. I kind of laugh at how much thought goes into it because it doesn’t matter as soon as the green flag drops, where you qualify. If you’re lucky enough to get the pole, obviously that’s a huge boost for your team, but second through 43rd doesn’t matter where you qualify.”