Hamlin - Saturday media visit

Martinsville

Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

What are the challenges in setting your car up for Sunday? “It is a guessing game. The conditions tomorrow will be 10 degrees hotter than it is today. We don’t know the reason the track isn’t rubbering up. Is it because it’s just too cold because we saw it in Bristol? Once it heated up the track rubbered up just fine. I don’t know what it is, but it’s going to be interesting to see how it all plays out because I think everyone said it’s going to be different.”

Will the tire situation change who should be the favorite for the race this weekend? “I don’t know. I think when it comes down to it whoever has got the patience and the technique -- it all still works out in the end. That’s why Jimmie (Johnson) has won with new car, old car, all kinds of different situations because of his technique. So, I think no matter what you throw out there as far as different rules, different tires. It’s still the guys with the best ethics at this race track are going to still end up right up at the top you would think.”

What is your mindset for tomorrow’s race? “The biggest thing for me is the fact that when we come here we expect to win and everyone expects us to win. No one puts more pressure on myself than me so when I come here I know I’ve got a lot of laps around this track, some more than these Cup drivers, so I expect to be the best if I’m here the most. It’s just pressure on myself because if I go out here and I finish a close second don’t get me wrong I’m still going to be happy because we had a good day, but obviously winning is our number one priority right now.”

How do you think tomorrow’s race will play out? “It’s going to be interesting. I don’t know how it’s going to play out. I know after 35 laps yesterday we pretty much wore out a set of tires so it’s going to be a big question mark on how it’s going to all play out. I think that’s going to be better, it typically always is from practice to the race here at this track tire wear gets a little bit better. And with it getting warmer, the track should rubber up. Everything that you fought yesterday should be 50 percent better tomorrow.”

How confident is your team this weekend to get your fourth straight win at Martinsville? “Very confident. We showed up this weekend with a new car. Obviously, we’re doing everything we can to try and get a win this weekend because obviously with the points situation we want to get wins right now. We’re just doing everything that we can and obviously pretty confident with the car that I was given that we should be okay.”

We’re just doing everything that we can and obviously pretty confident with the car that I was given that we should be okay.

Denny Hamlin

Is there more pressure on you this year coming into this race or last year with you knee injury? “I think they are about the same. Different feeling, but about the same pressure-wise.”

How big of a concern is your uncertainty for tomorrow in the overall picture because it’s a long race? “I think the race is long enough and the runs that we get here are long enough that it’s not going to be too bad. I remember the first run here in the last race we had a tire build up and we went all the way back to 20-something after starting on the pole. So, we might as well start at 20-something -- and we made it right back up. I think the runs are long enough. The good part about it is with the tires falling off as much as they are it makes it a little easier to pass.”

Do you have to change your setup this year due to the tire changes compared to years in the past? “We’ve had to change our setups quite a bit especially this weekend. We’ve always had kind of a base that we kind of played around all of the time. One of the small concerning things for us is our setup is way out of the box from that this weekend so we’re going to see if it’s better or worse.”

Do you think you still have a big advantage on the rest of the field even with the tire changes? “I think you figure out a setup and you’ve got a tire that’s been the same here for a long time and now they change it and we’ve had to change everything because of it. It probably levels out the playing field a lot more.”

-source: toyota motorsports

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags gibbs racing, hamlin, martinsville, toyota