DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 1st How was your qualifying run? "It was a good pick-up for us. Hard for me not to be happy about that. Missed (turns) three and four a little bit, but...
No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 1st
How was your qualifying run?
"It was a good pick-up for us. Hard for me not to be happy about that. Missed (turns) three and four a little bit, but overall happy with our FedEx Ground car. We definitely gained a lot of grip from what we had -- we gained it in the race car. I was just on the track 10 minutes ago and it was slick -- the track was extremely slick. So, I think we just made our race car a little bit better right there."
Did you find 'something' to improve your time from your practice time?
"It was a good pick-up. For some reason, we got a lot of speed out of the race car. I was just out there 10 minutes ago in the Nationwide car and the track was very, very slick. So, it's hard for me to say what picked us up so much. I know we threw everything but the kitchen sink at it and it seemed to be a ton better."
Why did you get in the Nationwide car for Kyle Busch today?
"I'm not sure how he's feeling. Obviously, if he's getting out of the car, he's not feeling well at all. It was different, he (Kyle Busch) obviously requires a whole lot different feel on a car than what I do. When I got in it, it didn't feel like a JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) Nationwide car at all -- it felt a lot different so it's definitely getting keen to his driving style. We've been in that situation before, where I've needed Kyle (Busch) and Joey (Logano) to kind of step in when that kind of stuff happens and that's the good thing about it though, that we've got good enough talent in our teammates that we can rely on them. I'm sure he'll be fine for tomorrow and if he can't we'll be there and ready."
How do you feel about getting your first pole of the season?
"It definitely comes at a good time. We like to keep streaks alive for sure and one is to have a pole each year and we know we're obviously going to keep that alive. Qualifying has been so bad for us during the course of the season. We picked it up a little bit in the last two months. For the most part on our Friday if we end up 15th, we're pretty happy. This is out of the blue for us but I think we're starting to learn so much about our mile-and-a-half and two-mile program that I'm confident the next one we go to, I think Charlotte, I'm pretty confident that we're going to have another car that can contend."
How important is track position here at California?
"It'll be important to get five points more so than to be up front early. For myself, I typically had to come from the back here at this race track. What advantage I'll have is to get a better gauge of my car early in the race. Usually, our race weeke nds end up happening where we qualified 20th to 30th and we get to the top-five with about 100 laps to go. Then, we start adjusting our race car to try to win the race. By starting up front, you get more adjustments in to try to fine tune your car and I think that's a lot of times why you see the guys that qualify up front will finish up front because they get more opportunities to refine their car for the dash at the end."
-credit: toyota motorsports