Martinsville: Pole winner interview

Denny Hamlin , No. 11 FedEx Express Impala SS, Pole Winner: ON HIS RUN TODAY: "We had a car that was capable of winning the pole at Bristol and we let it get away. The race was also a tough one to swallow. To come back to my home state and win...

Denny Hamlin , No. 11 FedEx Express Impala SS, Pole Winner:

ON HIS RUN TODAY:

"We had a car that was capable of winning the pole at Bristol and we let it get away. The race was also a tough one to swallow. To come back to my home state and win the pole, definitely wins a lot.

ON JOE GIBBS RACING BEING OUT IN FRONT OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF IMPALA SS:

"A lot of it has to do with the staff that has been working on this car at JGR the last two to three years. We have a lot of great engineers that have come from Indy Car racing and what have you, that have dealt with the wings before. Not to say that is the only reason for our success, because we are on a slower track and the wings don't mean so much. So really, I think we are just one of the teams that has adapted to it. I am not going to say we are the best team, it is kind of conceded to say it. But we are one of the better teams right now. But that will slowly go away in time as but we are going to try and ride it as long as we can."

"We would like to think that is going to be our strong suit when we get to these bigger tracks, having these guys from Indy Cars. Tracks like Dover and Loudon where aero is going to mean a lot more than these race tracks do, and Richmond. That is where it could really play in to our hands. It is tough to say that we are going to be any better than we are right now, but it is looking that way."

ON UNVEILING THE NEW TROHY HERE A FEW WEEKS AGO:

"It definitely means a lot to me. I sat here and we unveiled the 60th anniversary trophy for Martinsville Speedway and that was a moment where I definitely was excited about coming back to Martinsville. You always see it on the schedule and it means a lot to come back here knowing I got so many laps here. That trophy in specific is one that I would really love to have and have missed out so many times here that it's time for us to bring one home."

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT POST-RACE HERE WITH HEIGHT AND WITH THE INSPECTION MACHINERY?

"I don't know. There's always a debate on what they should allow and I agree what I saw that they're going to allow more tolerances after the race for a little while and I think that's the right thing to do because these teams have not seen how these cars react over 500 miles yet and they had an issue with the 16. But it's new to all these guys. No one knows what they got yet so I think NASCAR should be a little bit more lenient for the first five, six races and then clamp down and make this car what it should be and that is (tape inaudible) every piece of it and that's going to make for better and tighter racing."

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO KEEP THAT CAR OUT FRONT SUNDAY TO KEEP THE AIR FLOWING THROUGH IT AND MAKE YOU HAVE PLENTY OF BRAKES AT THE END IN CASE YOU WANT TO MAKE A RUN AT SOMEBODY?

"You know I really underestimated the track position factor at Bristol last week. Bristol has never really been a track where you pick up a lot speed out front, you got better air, but it was a big, big deal with these cars. They punch such a big whole, air around that track really got disturbed and it seemed like once we got out front we could check out. If we third or fourth in line, I mean we were just really, really tight so I don't know that you're going to see it as much here because the corner speeds are a bit slower here than what they are at Bristol. So you're probably not going to have a big aerotype problem but I think it's still going to be there more so than it would with the standard cars.

"Tony's taught me here and through the late model races that I've run that you've got to save stuff for the end and I do it at every race track. I'll typically run half to three-quarter speed for the first part of these races and then pick it up second half. We were biding our time at Bristol last week when Tony was leading all those laps. We were just sitting there, sitting there waiting to go and when he dropped out that was our cue to go ahead and take off. We definitely feel like up front is going to be a big deal but saving your stuff is always going to be big here."

AT THE END OF YOUR RACE IN BRISTOL, KYLE BUSCH FELT LIKE IT WAS MORE THAT YOU GOT HIM DOWN IN TRAFFIC. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHY YOU WEREN'T ABLE TO STAY UP FRONT MORE AT THE END?

"Kyle kind of closed in on me there with lap traffic. I was probably being a little more conservative than what I normally would be and honestly I was really wore down at the end of that race. I was really tired and you don't know how much mentally that plays into how you are on the track. But we had started pulling back away with 15 to go and you know, I knew I was in trouble because I saw a wad of six or seven cars 30 yards in front of me going everywhere so I knew he was really going to catch me and he caught me 10 cars lengths in that corner. And I thought the right thing to do was follow Tony on the bottom to go by the 25. He was slowing up up high so when I followed Tony I don't know whether he panicked or what to try to get out of my way but he got on the brakes very hard. I was either going to smash into him or I was going to have to check up and when I did the 5 just flew right by us. It's just like begin on the interstate and I chose the wrong lane.

"No we were on the same tires. When that caution came out we chose not to pit. We still felt like had that race not had that caution it was our race to win because we had the pickup problem with the fuel but had we had not stopped it wouldn't have been an issue. But it was an untimely caution for Gibbs racing."

ARE YOU SAYING THAT THE CAR OF TOMORROW IS SO MUCH MORE TO DRIVE AND THERE'S SO MUCH MORE WORK YOU HAVE TO DO THAT YOU PHYSICALLY GET TIRED IN THE CAR OR IS IT THE MENTAL PART THAT IS WEARING YOU DOWN?

"Well I think a lot of last week was obviously everyone made note of how much the cars were bouncing of the cars that we ran so of course that's going to take it's toll on your body. It was our first hot race of the year. It's a very long race and hard race anyway so I think all that just kind of took its toll on me. I knew with about 150 to go that I was going to have to really dig deep to try to get everything I could out of it and I knew that last year in the shape that I was in that there was no way I was going to be able to make it. At least we were able to salvage something."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Denny Hamlin